UPDATE: A bishop urges priests to encourage reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, kneeling. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

UPDATE 19 April 2017:

The full, transcribed text of Bp. Morlino’s sermon is available HERE

___ Originally Published on: Apr 12, 2017

Last night, Tuesday in Holy Week, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, the Extraordinary Ordinary, Bishop of Madison, celebrated the Chrism Mass.  The bishop blessed all the special oils used during our sacred rites in the upcoming year.  Customarily, the priests of the diocese who are able attend the Chrism Mass, not only in a sign of unity but also, practically, to receive the oils for their parishes.

My friend Fr. Heilman, who writes at Roman Catholic Man, records that, this year, Bp. Morlino asked the priests of the diocese – beginning in September – to encourage reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.


In his Chrism Mass homily, Bishop Morlino highlighted the fact that the Catholic Church is very good at social issues at every level – Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes and individuals – but, ours is a crisis of faith, revealed by less than 25% of Catholics attending Mass any longer (less than 5% in many parts of Europe). Where we are failing is in a lack of fervor in our faith, Bishop stated. This is most evident in how we, as priests, are offering the Mass, and how the faithful are praying the Mass.

Bishop Morlino went on to speak about “actuosa participatio” as being more about “actual participation” than “active participation.” [Sound familiar?] Bishop lamented that we seem to feel everyone needs to be busy “doing something” at the Mass, when it is more important that we are deeply contemplating what is being done at the Mass … that God is made Present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This should stir our soul and fill us with awe and wonder. But, are we too busy to take notice?

Last Fall, as part of [the] Bishop’s overall plan to add sacred beauty and reverence to all Masses in his diocese, Bishop Morlino encouraged all of his priests to strongly consider Cardinal Sarah’s call to offer the Mass ad orientem. Bishop Morlino then announced he would, from now on, be offering all of his Masses ad orientem.

Now, during last evening’s Chrism Mass, Bishop Morlino concluded his homily by appealing to all of his priests in his diocese to strongly encourage their parishioners to begin receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling, beginning this September.

Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

THIS is the New Evangelization, my friends.

What Bp. Morlino did brought to my mind the phrase cura animarum, now somewhat outdated, fallen into desuetude.

Cura animarum, “the care of souls”, is the office, or duty, of those to whom, pastoral roles are entrusted, to help the souls in their their care get to heaven.  The cura animarum in mainly connected with the offices of bishop and parish priests, pastors, though there are other roles in which a priest can care for souls.  The cura animarum involves, especially, the exercise of the threefold munera or offices of priest, prophet and king.  The pastor (French curé) tends to his flock and shepherds them towards heaven through catechetical instruction, sermons and other admonitions.  He sanctifies them through administation of the sacraments.  He has to be shrewd and prudent and use many methods and tactics to attain his goal: more souls in heaven, for their good and for God’s glory.  The pastor of souls, with the cura animarum, is responsible before God for the souls in his charge.  He will answer to God for these souls when his time for judgment arrives… and it will arrive.

The priest who senses the weight of the cura animarum, relying on the help of God to make his own hands strong enough for this work – so that ever good work is Christ crowning His own works in us – will come to sense zelus animarum, “zeal for souls”.   You might know the famous first antiphon for Tenebrae of Holy Thursday, Matins, Zelus domus tuae comedit me… Zeal for your house consumes me.  Since the first time I ever sang that antiphon at the first Tenebrae I ever participated in,  that’s been it for me.  Zeal for souls, zeal for God’s “house”, which means souls who are, as Paul describes, the stones that build up the Church, should animate a priest and a bishop.

Priests and bishops are not here to make you feel good about yourselves.  They are given by Christ the High Priest to the Church, to you, to help you get to heaven.  There are zillions of routes by which priests can work for the care of souls.  Sometimes it happens that they must stress material needs… but always with an eye on the true and over riding goal: a soul for heaven.

Earthly life is short.  Eternity is long.

Was it St. John Bosco who said, “Da mihi animas!  Caetera tolle!”?

Fathers, think about souls for heaven, not about being “liked”.  Don’t take the soft and deceptive road which might prompt plaudits and coos in this life.  Be a priest!  Be that immediately, local manifestation of Christus Medicus.   Hard times need hard love.  The doctor doesn’t stop applying the remedy just because the patient screams for him to stop.  “Nice” doesn’t get souls into heaven.  And you will be judged for your care of souls, dear Father… ohhhhh yes.  One day you will be in the presence of the Iustus Iudex, and you will have an explanation.  “These, who were mine, were lost!”

I cannot shake the sense that we are entering into a dark time such as we have never experienced before.  Christians have always, since the Ascension of the Lord, sensed themselves in the “end times”, and I don’t want to diminish that.  However, Our Lord also told us to watch the “signs of the times”.  I’m watching the signs of the time and I don’t like what I see.  I am left discomforted, which I suppose we all ought to be, given that one day we will go before the King of Fearful Majesty to render an account of our works and what we love.

What Bishop Morlino is going is exactly right.  It’s time to start growing more and more into serious, transformative sacred liturgical worship as individuals and as communities in the Church, small and large, families, parishes, dioceses, nations.  We have to sober up and grow up.

Our sacred liturgical worship was, as Benedict XVI so aptly described, fractured in the improper implementation of the reforms mandated by Vatican II.  We didn’t actually get what the Council Fathers mandated.  This rupture has reeked havoc with our Catholic identity.   Vast swathes of the nominally Catholic have little sense of the content of the Catholic faith, by which I mean both the fides quae creditur and the fides qua creditur.   Our liturgical worship has been screwed up for so long that the Lord’s vinyard as been, as Card. Sarah recently described, “devastated”.  Only the blind and obtuse – or those responsible for the devastation – don’t see this.

Years ago I posted my manifesto about the connection of what goes on in the wider world with our liturgical worship.  HERE  and especially HERE  For example,

Do we believe the consecration really does something? Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?

If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.

So does our good or bad reception of Holy Communion.

So must violations of rubrics and irreverence.

Mass is not merely a “teaching moment” or a “celebration of unity” or a “tedious obligation”. Our choice of music, architecture, ceremonies and language affect more than one small congregation in one building. We are interconnected in both our common human nature and in baptism. When we sin we hurt the whole Body of Christ the Church.

If that is true for sin, it must also be true for our liturgical choices. They must also have personal and corporate impact. Any Mass can be offered for the intentions of the living or the dead.

Not even death is an obstacle to the efficacy of Holy Mass.

Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.

If our liturgical worship as a Church is disordered, then everything else in the Church will be disordered.  The Eucharist is different from the other sacraments in that the Eucharist IS what It symbolizes.  The Eucharist is the great jewel around which the other sacraments glitter in Its glory.  The Eucharist, that is the Sacred Species as well as their celebration which is Holy Mass, is described as the “source and summit” of who we are, what we do.  Everything flows back and forth across our individual and collective lives in the Church, and therefore in the whole world, from and to the Eucharist.   If we don’t get this right, nothing else will be right.  If our worship isn’t properly ordered, then no other effort or initiative we undertake in the Church will bear fruit.

We have to rebuild our Catholic identity soul by soul.  The concrete physical gestures of worship, including getting down on our knees before GOD in the Blessed Sacrament, receiving rather than taking, humbly recognizing the anointed hands of the priest, help us in our spirit.  We are body and soul, both.  We need physical reminders of the invisible realities.

Hence, what Bp. Morlino did is exactly right.  He has provided a personal example.  He has shown leadership.  He has prudently allows a congruent period of time for instruction as well as dialogue with the priests and faithful.  This is great blessing to Holy Church as he fulfills faithfully his heavy mandate.  May his example be taken up by many pastors of souls.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

PASCHALCAzT 2017 50 – Easter Wednesday: My joy and my crown!

paschalcazt2017Today is Easter Wednesday.  I wish you and yours a blessed and grace-filled Octave.

Today’s Roman Station is St. Lawrence outside-the-walls.

Today you hear chant from the schola cantorum of which I was a member back in the day.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have it yet….



Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PASCHALCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All-black boys school in Philadelphia where Latin is the key

A reader alerted me to a piece in the Wall Street Journal about an all-black boys school in West Philadelphia where Latin is taught in a serious way: Boy’s Latin.

The subtitle of the article is outstanding:

A dead language helps forge identity and esprit de corps, like boot camp for Marines.


The boys are winning national awards.


“I invite anyone who doubts what this does for our students to come to a graduation and watch 100 black boys sharply dressed in caps and gowns and proudly reciting their school pledge in Latin,” says the school’s chief executive officer, David Hardy. “Not only is this an unexpected sight, it defies the low expectations society puts on young black men.”

Latin was one component of my double-major for my BFA.  Let’s just say that I aced my GRE.  

If only I had been given Latin at an earlier age!

This is a key for the renewal of the Church, by the way.  We need Latin in our Catholic schools (as long as we still have a few left).  Start Latin as early as possible.  Give our Catholic children a huge head start.   Moreover, I believe the Latin will have an impact on vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Latin aids a person’s entrance into the Catholic “thing”.

More from the WSJ piece…

Why Latin? Partly it’s that the language immediately raises expectations all around. You can’t fake Latin, either.[] When these boys learn it, they taste the satisfaction that comes from achievement.

Partly it’s the school’s thing. Even if students hate Latin, says Mr. Hardy—maybe especially if they hate it—it’s something everyone at Boys’ Latin goes through, what boot camp at Parris Island is for Marines. It builds identity and esprit de corps.

It’s also what helps make Boys’ Latin attractive to the Philadelphia School Partnership, an influential group of donors whose mission is to get more of the city’s kids into great schools—and put more on the path to college. Since 2011, these men and women have spent nearly $60 million in private funding to help thousands of low-income students attend schools such as Boys’ Latin.

As long as the school is doing great things, folks at the Philadelphia School Partnership don’t care whether the institution they are supporting is a traditional public school, a charter school or a private school. When they look at Boys’ Latin, for example, what they see is this: a high school that sends more black boys to college than any other in Philly— and has a waiting list to get in.

Here’s the deal… to teach Latin you need some books and a chalk board.  You don’t need to throw zillions of dollars at Latin.

I’m with Fr. Foster on this one…  HERE

If you don’t know Latin, you know nothing!”

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Fr. Murray hits another triple

Fr Gerald MurrayMy good friend Fr. Gerarld Murray has a sobering, withering, and yet salubrious piece today at The Catholic Thing, called “Cardinal Sarah and the Innovators”.

Fr. Murray cites idiot statements from Thomas Reese, S.J., and provides his responses while citing His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah.

However, Murray, as Card. Sarah, correctly connects the liberal project of the dissolution of the Church’s doctrine with their project of the degradation of the Church’s liturgical worship.

Please go over and read it HERE.

There is a truly funny line, by the way.

But before you go, … take a couple minutes to order up your very own copies of Card. Sarah’s books.

I am ever more convinced that His Eminence is exactly right both in his assessments of the state of the Church and in the cures for our spiritual and ecclesial maladies.

God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith


If you have not read, at least, this one… well… what have you been thinking?

May I suggest that you give Card. Sarah’s books to your priests?

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.


This is the translation of  Le Force du Silence, hitherto only in French, is as I write available to PRE-ORDER in ENGLISH. It will be released on 15 April (Holy Saturday).  A great Eastertide reading gift to yourselves or friends.

The original French, if you prefer…


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 9 Comments

A spiritual opportunity for Mother’s Day

I bring to the attention of the readership a great spiritual opportunity for mothers.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near LaCrosse (build by Card. Burke) has provided a way to enroll mothers for an intention in Holy Mass on Mothers Day, 14 May 2017.  HERE

I can’t give you the card and envelope, but I can direct you to the site.  Contact information…


Posted in Our Solitary Boast, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

IN THE WILD! Clement XIV joins the Navy!

My friend Fr. Johnson, USN, sent me a photo of his newly acquired Papa Ganganelli (aka Clement XIV Of Glorious Memory) coffee mug.

Here it is, strategically situated in Father’s stateroom aboard USS KEARSARGE (LHD3).


Fr. Johnson regularly celebrates the TLM while deployed with Marines, in port, or at sea.

Thanks Shipmate!

Everyone: I very much enjoy seeing your In The Wild shots.

Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

For all the selections click


… and you could have your very own Papa Ganganelli mug!

Impress your friends!  Annoy liberals!  Make Jesuits sweat!


Did you know that the great impressionist painter Manet painted USS KEARSARGE?

No, not this one…


This one… the predecessor from the time of the Civil War.


During the Civil War, USS Kearsarge sank the Confederate Alabama near the coast of France.  It was widely covered by the French press.  Manet painted the scene twice.  This painting is in the Met in New York.  The other is in Philadelphia. Manet visited the ship at anchor near Boulogne.

If you want to know more about Manet and the Impressionists, I warmly recommend Ross King’s The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism.


Posted in In The Wild, Mail from priests | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Easter Sunday Clerical Supper

I was pleased to have had a guest priest come to town to help with our Sacred Triduum in the Extraordinary Form. His presence allowed us to have a Solemn Triduum. It also allowed me to brush off my cooking utensils.  I hardly do any entertaining these days.

Priests should regularly have Suppers For The Promotion Of Clericalism (SFTPOC), for the building of priestly identity over large pieces of beef and bottles of wine, followed by cigars.

On Easter Sunday (after a nap) I made oven roasted potatoes, asparagus, bone-in rib-eye roast, Bearnaise sauce.

If you want your potatoes to turn out like you find in Rome, give them a good long soak in salt water.  I kept a rosemary plant alive all winter.  Not easy where I live, but life without rosemary is hardly to be imagined.

Behold, the Bearnaise.  I haven’t made it for many moons and it was perfect.

With the pan drippings.

It was spectacular.  Everything was exactly right.

And yet… I have to post this, too.

Last year one of you readers gave me a butter lamb mold.

I tried several times this year to get the butter lamb thing going, but…  I must admit that it has defeated me.

I tried different timings with the freezer.  I tried different butters.  I managed to turn out one that didn’t split in half or break into uneven pieces.  Here is the lone “lamb”, to use the word equivocally.

Alas, it looks a bit like something from Alien… no… better… Bp. Fatty McButterpant’s loathsome, somewhat deformed dog Chester over in the Diocese of Black Duck.  It once, wisely, bit Fatty’s old classmate, Bp. Antuninu “Dozer” Ruspa of Pie Town.

It’s the ones you hate that live forever.

Anyway, I am sincerely grateful for the gift and for the opportunity to experience greasy, ignominious defeat.  Better luck next year!

Posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Robert Mickens is exactly wrong about priestly vocations. Here’s why.

spirit_Vatican_IIOne of the worst of the hyper-liberal catholic publications, Commonweal, publishes a regular column by long-time Rome correspondent Robert Mickens.

Many readers here will recall that Mickens loathes Benedict XVI.  He lost his job with The Tablet, the UK’s worst catholic weekly, when in 2014 he posted disgusting comments about Benedict.

This week Mickens addresses the issue of vocations to the priesthood.  He goes after St. John Paul II  and Benedict XVI.  Since it’s the Easter Octave, I won’t trouble you with much of his text.  His bottom line is that 1) narrow, clericalist, backward-looking Popes of the past blocked the work of the Holy Spirit (which Mickens seems to know better than they) Who clearly wanted an end to clerical celibacy and the ordination of women, and 2) the stifling of the “spirit of Vatican II” has caused a huge drop in vocations, which has prompted bishops to reach our for priests from Third World countries to take up the slack and some of those bishops and priests are not in sync with Pope Francis, and 3) there are at long last bright rays of sunshine in the obscurity caused by men, near messianic figures, who coincidentally are associated with the political left and the liberal, progressivist arm of Pope Francis’ pontificate.

Ergo, these bad bad males must be replaced.  His line-up includes (titles removed for the sake of speed): Kasper, Schönborn, Farrell, Tobin, and McElroy.

Along the way, Mickens alternates between the green ink and the purple patch.  You’d think that the Battle of Narnia was about to begin.

Boiled down, Mickens thinks that these bad bad males, these Tridentine, clericalist scaredy-cats have repressed priestly vocations.

Mickens is exactly wrong.

There is no lack of priestly vocations where bishops are capable of projecting solid clerical identity and where they teach perennial Catholic truth in charity and in clarity.

Hows_Liturgy_CandleI come from a parish where in 30 years there were 30 First Masses.  I live in a diocese where in a decade the bishop turned around vocations from 6 to 30.

The proportion of priests to people is more or less constant.  Why?  Lay people get the priests that they produce and that they deserve.   Lower Mass attendance results in falling numbers of priests, not the other way around.

Liberal clerics inevitably fall into the sin of the clericalism which they hurl as tar and feathers at conservative, faithful priests and bishops.  For example, when the former drag lay people up into the sanctuary and let them do something that is really their own role, they clericalize the laity in the most condescending way.  Similarly, libs think that bishops produce vocations like Zeus produced Athena.  In truth, families produce vocations.

In the places (countries, dioceses, parishes, families) where the “spirit of the Council” was pushed à la Mickens, there has been devastation of Catholic identity.

Following Mickens’ logic, the whole Church should look rather like Belgium.

Belgium, which followed the “spirit of the Council” down the storm-drain and out to sea, (the Bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, has called for rituals for “gay” marriage in the Church) now has 5% Mass attendance.   The reforms of the Church that Mickens desires have been so “successful” in Belgium that hardly anyone goes to Mass any more.  Subsequently, there are no vocations to the priesthood, either.

See?  What a success!

Posted in Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

PASCHALCAzT 2017 49 – Easter Tuesday: My Lord and my God

paschalcazt2017Today is Easter Tuesday.  I wish you and yours a blessed and grace-filled Octave.

Today’s Roman Station is St. Paul’s outside-the-walls.

Today you hear from the beautiful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, whose special apostolate is to pray for priests and bishops.



Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PASCHALCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

ASK FATHER: Questions about Pope Francis’ Easter Mass in St. Peter’s

I received a couple questions about the Pope’s Mass for Easter.

From a reader (this was NOT in the Ask Father Question Box… I usually ignore questions that don’t come through that link):

Was the Pope’s Easter Mass on EWTN in Latin? Might have been Italian, but I recognized the phrases from the EF.

I didn’t watch it or pay any attention to the coverage.  However, yes, the Pope’s Vigil is generally in Latin.

From a reader:

Watching the Easter Vigil this evening we saw clergy dressed in blue cassocks with red cinctures. We have not seen this color cassock used other than in Marian rites. Do you know what they represented.

As I said, above, I didn’t watch it and I’m not going to, and I’m not sure what “Marian rites” would be, but I’ll bet you that they were not blue, but rather bluish purple cassocks and, with the red fascia, they were seminarians from the Scots College.

The different national colleges (where seminarians live) in Rome have distinctive cassocks.  The Polish wear black with a green sash, Ukrainian blue with yellow, Germans red with black, etc.

It would be great to see all these cassocks return to common use.  Roman streets in the mornings and afternoons would be a lot more colorful!


I found my old list of college cassocks, somewhat dated now and there are holes.  I’d appreciate corrections.

Collegio Romano Roman Seminary: purple cassock and soprana with pendant strings, no fascia
Pontificio Pio Latino Americano: black cassock, violet fascia, a full cappa or cloak
Collegio Seminario Minore (Vatican): dark purple cassock with crimson trim and buttons, one crimson string decorated with the papal arms, shoes with silver buckles
Capranica College: black cassock, black soprana of shiny cloth, strings, no fascia, shoes with silver buckles
Propaganda Fide: black double breasted cassock, red trim and buttons, scarlet fascia and strings
German/Teutonic College: scarlet cassock, black fascia, scarlet soprana with pendant strings (because of their cassock, Romans nicknamed them “lobsters”)
Greek College: blue cassock, red fascia and pipings, blue soprana with strings or black soprana with wide sleeves when outside
English College: black cassock and soprana, black strings and no fascia
Scots College: purple cassock with crimson facsia, buttons and trim and black soprana with pendant strings
Irish College: black cassock with red piping, no fascia, black soprana and strings
French College: black cassock, no fascia
Lombard College: black cassock, violet fascia, soprana and strings
Seminary of SS. Peter and Paul: black cassock with a black fascia
Belgian College: black cassock with black fascia edged with red
North American College: double-breasted black cassock, blue piping and buttons, crimson fascia, pendant strings
South American College: black cassock with blue edgings, blue fascia, black soprana and strings
Maronite College: black cassock, soprana and strings
Czech/Bohemian College Nepomuceno: black cassock, maroon fascia edged with yellow
Armenian College: black cassock with red trim and out of doors black coat with wide sleeves
College of St Boniface: black cassock with yellow trim, black soprana with black pendant strings lined with red
Polish College: black cassock and soprana with green fascia
Spanish College:  black cassock with blue fascia, round black cape with vertical blue trim
Canadian College: black cassock no fascia
Ruthenian College: blue cassock, soprana with strings, orange fascia
Ukrainian College San Giosafat: blue cassock, yellow fascia
Philippine College: black cassock, blue fascia with red stripes
Brazilian College: black cassock, green fascia edged with yellow
Ethiopian College: black cassock, white fascia, white lining of cape or soprana
Portuguese College: black cassock, red and green fascia
Collegio Leoniano:
Mexican College:
Russian College:
Lithuanian College:
Korean College:

Note – the Soprana was a long sleeveless coat, often with two long strings or streamers hanging from the armholes to signify the state of tuition.

Posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 14 Comments

ASK FATHER: “Private Mass”… Mass “without people”

From a reader…

I hope your’e doing well and that you’re able to answer my question.
Is a private mass simply any mass not listed in a parish’s bulletin/website?
On one side, I hear/read that a Missa Sin Populo or “private mass” is a mass
with no people in attendance or in the congregation, save an altar server.
Others say that traditionally, the term “private mass” meant any mass not
publicized or announced in a church bulletin/website. I’m part of a lay
faithful group trying to bring the TLM to our diocese and would like to
invite people to go to the priest’s private masses, but I wasn’t sure if
doing so would then change it from a private to a public mass. Please
forgive my use of such clumsy terms; I know that essentially any mass
offered by a priest is public. I hope my point comes across, nonetheless.


I suppose the writer meant “sine populo” though I could speculate that a Missa Sin Populo would be a Mass for people named Sin, like the late, lamented Filipino Cardinal.

As you say, the terms “private Mass” and “public Mass” are not precise. At every Mass that is offered, the Church is present, and therefore, the Holy Mass is always a public matter. Article 2 of the great motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, notes that a priest may use either Missal (the Extraordinary Form or the Ordinary Form) in offering a Holy Mass “sine populo,” and Article 4 adds that the Christian faithful who freely ask may be admitted to such a Mass. This would make such a celebration, technically speaking, a Mass without people with people. Or a Mass with people without people. Or with people, a Mass without people. You get the point.

When I was in my freewheeling days as a college seminarian, there was a rule in our “Guidelines for Community Living” that stated that “No parties may be held in individual rooms. However, spontaneous gatherings are permitted.” Certain members of the seminary would occasional post notices on the bulletin board to the effect that “A spontaneous gathering will be held in room 210 at 8:00 p.m. this coming Friday.”

We can play with language and find ourselves ending up in some interesting places. It seems to me that the clear intention of the Holy Father with this motu proprio is to make celebrations of the Holy Mass using the 1962 Missal a normal part of the life of the Church. I think it can be a helpful rule of thumb to make the distinction between public Masses being those widely advertised on a parish sign, bulletin, website; and private Masses being those not advertised, even if they are well known.

Otherwise, I suppose one could end up putting something in the bulletin stating, “People are invited to a Mass Without People offered on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.”

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 5 Comments

URGENT: Benedict XVI’s new text about Sacred Liturgy – The Russian Preface™

For years I have contended that if we do not revitalize our sacred liturgical worship, every initiative we undertake as a Church will wither and face.  Everything we do must start in worship and must be brought back to liturgical worship.  We must reorder our efforts, prioritize if we truly want renewal.

This is one of the reasons that I pound my head on my desk when I read about conferences about “New Evangelization” that lack a strong liturgical component (other than the de rigueur vanilla Novus Ordo Mass with concelebration with some bishop or other for the attendees).

A friend tipped me to something in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera: a newly released text written by Benedict XVI in 2015: a preface for a Russian translation of the volume of his Opera Omnia on liturgy and liturgical theology.

This text – and volume – is being issued for the occasion of his 90th birthday, which coincides with Easter, and which is also Easter this year for the Orthodox (a “sign of the times”?).

Moreover – get this – the Patriarch of Moscow had the volume – on liturgy – from Benedict’s Opera Omnia translated into Russian.

There’s a lot going on there.  Let’s unpack it.


Some years ago, a project was undertaken to edit and to publish all Joseph Ratzinger’s works (Opera Omnia) in a series of definitive volumes.  (The projected volumes: HERE)  Then-Bishop, now Card. Müller was editor of the series.   The project has had its ups and downs, at least in the English translation and publication.  Ignatius Press was handling it.

In 2008 Benedict wrote the preface for the first volume of the Opera Omnia that was issued (in fact it’s Vol. XI) which includes his writings about liturgy and liturgical theology.

That was the correct choice: they began with the single issue that connects and roots all other issues even as it also indicates the Church’s direction and goal.  After all, the celebration of the Eucharist and the Eucharist Itself is the “source and summit” of the Church’s life.

It is interesting that the Russian Orthodox got on board with this.  No?

Do you long-time readers recall I what tagged Benedict XVI?

Pope of Christian Unity.

This was an ecumenical signal on the part of the Russians: watching the Catholic Church they, too, are concerned about our worship.  They clearly think that Benedict’s thought is worth promoting.

What does Pope Benedict say in his preface to the Russian edition?

He starts off with the famous phrase from the Rule of Benedict 43: Nihil operi Dei praeponitur… Put nothing before liturgical worship of God.   Literally, this is “let nothing be put before the work of God”, but ‘opera Dei‘ here means ‘liturgy’, which includes Mass and the public recitation of the Office, especially.  Let nothing have precedence over worship even other great earthly matters are pressing.  That was taken literally: when it was time to pray the office, monks were to stop what they were doing and, immediately, go to pray.  They subsequently returned to their tasks and their tasks were consequently themselves transformed by what they did.

Benedict spoke about this very phrase “Nihil operi Dei praeponitur” back in 2013 during his final encounter with priests of the Diocese of Rome, when he made the point that Vatican II also started with liturgy.  He made that very point again in his first preface to the Omnia Opera liturgy volume.  He clarified even then that, although this rock solid, pivotal principle rises from a monastic context, it nevertheless is a necessary guideline for the rest of the Church.  The monastic life provides a guiding force for the life of the active Church.

Back to Benedict and The Russian Preface™.  My translation (with my emphases):

Nihil Operi Dei praeponitur – Let nothing be put before the Work of God. With these words St. Benedict, in his Rule (43.3), established the absolute priority of divine Worship in respect to every other duty of monastic life. This, even though it is in monastic life, was now immediately to be assumed because, for monks, an essential duty was also in agricultural work and in learning [scienza]. In agriculture, just as in craftsmanship, and in the work of formation there could certainly be temporal exigencies that could appear to be more important than liturgy. In the face of this, Benedict, with the priority assigned to liturgy, unequivocally underscored the priority of God Himself in our life: “As soon as the signal for the time of the divine office is heard, let everyone, leaving whatever he hath in his hands, hasten with all speed, yet with gravity” (43:1).

Things of God, and with them the liturgy, do not appear to be at all essential [urgenti] in the consciousness of the men of today. There is an urgency for every possible matter. The issue of God does not ever seem to be pressing.  Now, one could affirm that, in any case, monastic life is something different from the life of the men in the world, and this is unquestionably true.  Nevertheless, the priority of God, which we have forgotten, is important for everyone. If God isn’t important anymore, the criteria for establishing that which is important are shifted. Man, in setting God aside, submits himself to constraints that make him the slave of material forces and that are thus opposed to his dignity.

In the years following the Second Vatican Council, I became aware once again of the priority of God and of the divine liturgy. The misinterpretation of the liturgical reform that was widely diffused in the Catholic Church led to putting in the first place more and more the aspect of instruction and of one’s own activity and creativity. Man’s “doing” almost led to forgetting God’s presence. In this kind of situation, it becomes ever clearer that the Church’s existence lives from the proper celebration of the liturgy and that the church is in danger when the primacy of God no longer appears in the liturgy and, therefore, in life. The most profound cause of the crisis , which has disturbed (sconvolto – “upset, shocked, ‘freaked out'”) the Church, rests in the obscuring of the priority of God in the liturgy.  All of this brought me to dedicate myself more extensively than in the past to the theme of the liturgy because I knew that the true renewal of the liturgy is the fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church. The writings that are collected in the present volume XI of the Opera Omnia were born on the basis of this conviction.  But, in the final analysis, even with all the differences, the essence of the liturgy in the East and in the West is one and the same.  And so I hope that this book can help also the Christians of Russia to grasp in a new and better way the great gift that is given to us in the Sacred Liturgy.

Vatican City
Feast of St. Benedict
11 July 2015

Benedict identifies the problem we face as a Church.  The Church’s identity has been “freaked out”, as it were, by the upheaval caused by the damage done to our sacred liturgical worship.

And now we are in a “situazione … situation”, as he put it, a typically Ratzingerian understatement.  I wonder what German word he chose: Zustand?  Lage?  In any event, his calm words ring with an urgent call to action: “Rome, we have a ‘situation’.”

Didn’t Card. Sarah make this same point recently in his address to the conference in Germany for the 10th anniversary of Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum?   Yes, he did.  He spoke of “devastation”.  The usual libs had a nutty right on schedule.

For years I hammered away at my conviction that Benedict has laid out, especially in Summorum Pontificum and his own ars celebrandi, a kind of “Marshall Plan” for the Church.  You long-time readers here will remember this, but it has been a while since I’ve presented it.

Here it is again:

After World War II many regions of Europe were devastated, especially its large cities and manufacturing.  These USA helped rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan so as to foster good trading partners and, through prosperity, stand as a bulwark against Communism.

After Vatican II many spheres of the Church were devastated, especially its liturgical and catechetical life. We need a Plan to rebuild our Catholic identity so that we can stand, for ourselves as members of the Church and in the public square for the good of society, as a bulwark – indeed a remedy – against the dictatorship of relativism.

NB: In his brief preface, above, Benedict says that if God is obscured, then our criteria for what is important shifts.  Relativism dominates us.  Where is our most regular and obvious, strengthening and informing meeting and attention with God?  Liturgy.  With out this constant formation and transformation, we have no idea who we are or what is important.

If we don’t know who we are as Catholics, if we don’t know what we believe or pray as Catholics, then the world has no reason to listen to anything we have to say as Catholics.  We will fragment into little self-enclosed groups, islands.  Enervated and drifting, we will be all the more easily driven from the public square by the enemies of objective truth, goodness and beauty.

I have been saying for years that, for any revitalization of our Catholic identity to be successful, we must renew our liturgical worship of God.

We need action in every other sphere as well, but … but… without a renewed sacred liturgical worship, nothing else will stand.  Everything else we do is inexorably tied to our encounter with the transcendent in worship.

Therefore, we must not give preference to any activity in the Church over our sacred liturgical worship.  This is a sine qua non existential priority.

Contrary to the notions of most liberals and progressivists, “the Catholic thing” did not begin in the 1960s.  Hence, I believe that Summorum Pontificum is a key to Benedict’s vision, his “Marshall Plan” as I call it.

His new Russian preface bears out exactly what I have been saying for years and it reaffirms me in my work.


We must work for the prudent and yet energetic application of Summorum Pontificum as far and as widely as possible.

Never be discouraged.

My recommendations follow:

1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before?   Been at this a long time?  HAH!  Get to work!  “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!”  BOO HOO!

2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable TLM Group” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH!  Think again.  If you love, you can do more.

4) Form up and get organized.  You can do this.  Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT.  Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

6) Fathers… MAN UP.   Get informed.  LEARN YOUR RITE!   Educate.

7) Don’t whine and blame others.

8) When you get what you want… DON’T REST.

As I have previously posted Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push.  Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!

Posted in Benedict XVI, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pope of Christian Unity, SESSIUNCULA, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

PASCHALCAzT 2017 48 – Easter Monday: Experience the Octave

paschalcazt2017Today is Easter Monday, “Pasquetta”.  I wish you and yours a blessed and grace-filled Octave.

Today’s Roman Station, for the Mass during the day, is St. Peter’s Basilica.

Today you hear from the beautiful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, whose special apostolate is to pray for priests and bishops.



Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PASCHALCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

D. Madison – Sacred Triduum PHOTOS

The Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison is working for the New Evangelization.    We are dedicated to helping the diocese and parishes in their revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.

Here are some pics from the parish’s Sacred Triduum celebrated at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff in the Extraordinary Form.

Holy Thursday

My friend Fr. Charles Johnson, USN did the honors.  We were blessed also to have Fr. Christopher Young form Davenport as Subdeacon.

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Good Friday

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Vigil of Easter





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Easter Sunday

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17_04_16_SMPB_EasterSunday_04   17_04_16_SMPB_EasterSunday_07

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices | Tagged | 15 Comments

PASCHALCAzT 2017 47 – EASTER SUNDAY: The Resurrection

paschalcazt2017Today is Easter Sunday.  I wish you and yours a blessed and grace-filled season..

Today’s Roman Station, for the Mass during the day, is St. Mary Major.

Today you hear from the beautiful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, whose special apostolate is to pray for priests and bishops.


The bells you hear are of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.


I hope that these daily podcasts, through the whole of Lent and the Sacred Triduum, were helpful to you.  They were a token of gratitude especially to the wonderful benefactors who have graced me with their donations and prayers.  Thank you.  You are remembered at the altar.   I will again offer Holy Mass for the intention of my benefactors on Easter Monday.

The devout recitation of the following prayer can gain for the faithful a partial indulgence.
(Handbook of Indulgences 47).

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

Deign to grant, O Lord, for the sake of Thy Name, eternal life to all those who do good to us. Amen.

For all who use this blog regularly, if it is useful to you, please consider subscribing to send a monthly donation.

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Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, PASCHALCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments