The curious omission in @AntonioSpadaro attack piece: Reagan’s “Evil Empire”… MISSING

john-paul-ii-ronald-reaganJesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, in his attack on Americans, especially American conservatives, in Inciviltà cattolicaalong with his coauthor from Argentina, left a curious omission.

Spadaro tars two American presidents with the brush of “Manichaenism”.

At times this mingling of politics, morals and religion has taken on a Manichaean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil. In fact, after President George W. Bush spoke in his day about challenging the “axis of evil” and stated it was the USA’s duty to “free the world from evil” following the events of September 11, 2001.  Today President Trump steers the fight against a wider, generic collective entity of the “bad” or even the “very bad.” Sometimes the tones used by his supporters in some campaigns take on meanings that we could define as “epic.”

Who is missing?  How about the modern American president, an iconic president, who provided us with the quintessential “evil” label: Ronald Reagan famously, unforgettably, dubbed the Soviet Union as the “evil empire”.

Pres. Reagan is mentioned a couple times in the rest of the attack article, but not in such a way that he receives the “Manichean” slur.

Why would “2+2” purposely exclude Reagan from that important early paragraph, in which he sets up the rest of his, for lack of a better word, “argument”?

The answer is clear.

Spadaro doesn’t want to link Pope Francis to insults aimed at the universally, highly admired Ronald Reagan.

Presidents Bush and Trump are unpopular, especially by Europeans, who ape liberal Dimocrats.  It’s okay to insult those American presidents.  In fact, it is obligatory to insult them.

But Reagan?  No way.

In the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dishonest Arguments, find Fr. Spadaro’s picture next to the entry for “Double Standard”.

Here is the video of the famous “Evil Empire” Speech.  When Reagan is introduced, he is even praised for his “love of the Bible”. This was an Address to the National Association of – wait for it – Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. He opens, saying that a friend of his would rather see his young daughters die believing in God than see them grow up under Communism, no longer believing in God.

Watch this video and tell me if this doesn’t – by orders of magnitude – far outstrip the alleged “Manichaen” rhetoric and hate-speech that Spadaro, Figueroa and their ilk are reviling in President Trump and American conservatives.

But touching Reagan is like stepping on the third rail. They can’t risk linking Pope Francis to that.

A bit of the speech here…

The entire speech here…

Another point.

The “Evil Empire” is Russia (the Soviet Union, fine… Russia). Today, Russia is Putin. Dimocrats and their Euromimics hate Putin. Hence, Spadaro, et al., can’t call out the Evil Empire as “Manichaen”.

Instead, Spadaro, etc., call out only those conservatives who are not Ronald Reagan as “Manichaens”.

Let me spell this out.  The La Civiltà Cattolica attack article was artfully written.  It’s not just a rant with arguments.  There is a strategy behind it.


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VIDEO – Sun Reflection and Moon Shadow

I am thinking ahead to the total solar eclipse that will be visible across these USA in the next month.

I found a spiffy video at Astromony Pic of the Day.  This is very cool.

Explanation: What are those lights and shadows crossing the Earth? As the featured five-second time-lapse video progresses, a full day on planet Earth is depicted as seen from Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite in geostationary orbit high above the Pacific Ocean. The Sun rises to the right and sets to the left, illuminating the half of Earth that is most directly below. A reflected image of the Sun — a Sun glint — is visible as a bright spot that moves from right to left. More unusual, though, is the dark spot that moves from the lower left to upper right That is the shadow of the Moon, and it can only appear when the Moon goes directly between the Earth and the Sun. Last year, on the day these images were taken, the most deeply shadowed region experienced a total eclipse of the Sun. Next month a similarly dark shadow will sweep right across the USA.

Posted in Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged | 6 Comments

Parry and riposte over Jesuit James Martin’s defense of homosexuality

james_martinYou have probably seen commentaries on the recent book of homosexualist activist Jesuit Fr. James Martin concerned with “building bridges” between the Church and homosexuals.

It might help to put some of the major players into a single post.

Martin’s basic notion is that, for her entire history, the Church has misunderstood God’s intentions and plans for human sexuality and that they should be corrected.  He rejects the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the “inclination” to “homosexual tendencies” is “objectively disordered” (2358).  He claims that, since they were made that way, so to speak, their sexual expressions are the equivalent of those between members of the opposite sex.

Writers such as Fr. Gerald Murray have demonstrated that Martin’s notions undermine the Church’s teaching.  HERE  Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, also showed the flaws in Martin’s bad ideas.  HERE

Others have criticized Martin’s book as well, for example, Archbp. Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.  HERE

Martin has tried to defend his notions, for example at Jesuit-run America Magazine.  He was unconvincing.

Another priest jumped into the fray over Martin’s book.  Basilian, Canadian Fr. Thomas Rosica, a sometime aid to the Holy See Press Office in times of high activity such as during Synods of Bishops, wrote at his media outlet Salt & Light a full-throated defense of Martin.  Fr. Rosica, being so visible, has not avoided controversies.  For example, despite his clear gift for languages, he wound up at the center of a translation issue during a press conference during a meeting of the Synod.  HERE  He is also known for his admiration for Gregory Baum, an ex-priest who married a divorced ex-nun, whom he too divorced.  Baum lead dissent against Humanae vitae and was involved in the infamous Winnipeg Statement.  HERE  Baum admitted in 2017 in an autobiography to a long-time secret, active homosexual life. HERE

The plot thickens with a response to Rosica’s defense in Catholic World Report by Deacon Jim Russell who serves in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In the initial blurb above Russell’s piece we read:

Fr. Thomas Rosica’s recent commentary on Fr. James Martin’s book seems to imply that the Church’s doctrine that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” actually misses the mark and doesn’t reflect reality.

Russell writes:

Rosica offers his thoughts on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the “LGBT community”. In the process, he appears to unintentionally reveal the core problem in the Church today regarding homosexuality, same-sex “marriage”, and related issues, such as the transgender phenomenon. As I read it, Rosica’s commentary manifests an “overly benign interpretation” of the homosexual condition itself.

Russell has quite a bit more on Fr. Rosica’s defense of Fr. Martin.

So, if you have been following this back-and-forth controversy closely, there’s even more reading to do.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Austen Ivereigh, liberal ex-editor of The Bitter Pill, attacks Fr. Z on Twitter

Spotted on Twitter:


Soooo… Fr. Z is an RC integralist who prays like an evangelical fundamentalist.

Ivereigh used to be the editor of a magazine.  He has clearly allowed his reading skills to get rusty.

Oh, right.  He was editor of The Bitter Pill (aka The Tablet, aka RU-486). Never mind.

What Austen missed is the fact that we pray for … wait for it… CONVERSION or Downfall of the Fishwrap.

You can always find the prayer linked on the top menu.  And it is HERE.

This is what I posted, and I still mean it.

May I ask you all to pray to St. Joseph, patron of the diocese where the offices of the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) are located? Pray that all the writers and staff of that heterodox and destructive publication either covert to orthodox Catholicism or else that they are driven to closure. Pray also that the bishops of these United States of America develop the courage to strip that publication of the word “Catholic” in their title.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Dear St. Joseph, Terror of Demons and Protector of Holy Church, Chaste Guardian of Our Lord and His Mother, hear our urgent prayer and swiftly intercede with our Savior, whom as a loving father you defended so diligently, that He will pour abundant graces upon the staff of that organ of dissent the National catholic Reporter so that they will either embrace orthodox doctrine concerning faith and morals or that all their efforts will promptly fail and come to their just end. Amen.

So, Austen, I recommend that you sloooow doooown when trying to read.  Even though tweets are pretty short, you are missing some important words.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Green Inkers, Liberals, Lighter fare | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

200 years ago: Jane Austen – RIP: a date of “note”

austen_10200 hundred years ago today, one of the great writers of the 19th c. died.  Jane Austen.

I read today that the UK unveiled a new £10 note, printed on polymer, at Winchester Cathedral where the novelist is buried. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Cathedral and seeing her memorial stone in the floor of the aisle of the nave. There is also going to be a £2 coin in her honor. Sorry… honour. The bill will be issued on 14 September, which is also the 10th anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. The bill will boast a quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Caroline Bingley says to Mr Darcy: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” The dreadful Caroline was, of course, not in the least interested in reading. Also, I read that bill will contain traces of tallow, an animal fat. If there are any Brits who don’t want to handle the bills because of this, please save them up and give them to me. I’d like to visit England this fall.

Also slated for release in 2020 is a new £20 featuring the painter J.M.W. Turner. You might recall that his The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838, in the National Gallery, was judged by some to be the greatest English painting. It is hard to argue against that.

Winston Churchill is on a new version of the £5 note. He is arguably the most important person of the 20th century. Yes, there are other great candidates, but Churchill has to be close to or at the top of that short list.

Have you never read Jane Austen?


From 2008… already!



I thought I might watch a Jane Austen based movie tonight in honor.. honour of the author.  I’m having a hard time finding one.  Sense and Sensibility is a good one.  I suppose Hunger Games is about the same, right?  A woman author tells the tale of the difficult relationships of a young woman and other young people, all playing games according to social expectations….

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And now for something completely different….

Each year I try to watch a lot of the Tour de France and some of Wimbledon.

At the risk of making some Jesuits jealous, I have to post this.


Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged | 4 Comments

Prayer Request – Thomas Peters

UPDATE 18 July:

Thomas let me know that they are praying in a special way to Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

So, those two are already canonized (2015).  I was thinking that they might be asking a Venerable or Blessed whose cause still lacks a miracle.


Originally Published on: Jul 17, 2017

Thomas Peters, son of the distinguished canonist Ed Peters, who also has his own online presence, has his birthday today.

Moreover, yesterday was the anniversary of the accident that put Thomas in a wheelchair with serious damage to his spinal-cord.

Thomas is doing well, but, in your charity you might say a prayer for him and even ask God for a miraculous healing.  It may be that the family has a particular Venerable or Blessed to whom they raise their requests for intercession.  I suspect that, if they do, I’ll be able to post it soon.

Ask for miracles.

For a recent story about Thomas: HERE


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Archbp. Chaput responds to Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro and La Civiltà Cattolica


One of you readers caught this and posted in the combox.

To submit a reply to Archbishop Chaput’s column, the anti-spam quiz currently is “What is 2 plus 2?” Very shrewd. This will prevent Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro from leaving a reply.

For the comment and for the person who set up the comment form at Catholic Philly.

Fr. Z's Gold Star Award


__ Originally Published on: Jul 18, 2017 @ 13:37

chaputHis Excellency Most Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has weighed in on the anti-American attack in Inciviltà cattolica.

Among other things, Chaput is the author of the thoughtful book: Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian WorldUS HERE – UK HERE

The coauthors of the anti-American attack are Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro and Argentinian Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa.

Spadaro is so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).  Figueroa once had a TV show with the future-Pope Francis and a rabbi and is now the editor of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

Here is Archbp. Chaput at Catholic Philly with my by-now-legendary ornamentation:

A word about useful tools

History is full of great quotations that people never said. One of the best lines comes from Vladimir Lenin. He described Russian progressives, social democrats, and other fellow travelers as “useful idiots” – naïve allies in revolution whom the Bolsheviks promptly crushed when they took power.  [The Archbishop is off to a good start.  Where will this go, I wonder!]

Or so the legend goes. In fact, there’s no evidence Lenin actually spoke those words, at least in public. But no one seems to care. It’s a compelling line, and in its own way, entirely true. The naïve and imprudent can very easily end up as useful tools in a larger conflict; or to frame it more generously, as useful innocents. The result is usually the same. They’re discarded. [What popped into my mind on reading the above is another thing that wasn’t precisely said by the one who said it, Joseph Goebbels, about the “Big Lie”. You know how it goes: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”  He sort of said it, however.  Read more about that fascinating quote HERE  It’s origin happens to be Mein Kampf (one of the books that Benjamin Wiker identifies among the 10 that “screwed up the world”. US HERE – UK HERE]

History is also full of unfortunate comments that really were said – as found, for example, in a recent Rome-based journal article that many have already rightly criticized. The article in question, La Civiltà Cattolica’s “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,” is an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.  [In an ironic twist, Spadaro and Figueroa are trying to create “useful idiots” with their article.  To a certain extent they succeeded.]


Catholics and other Christians who see themselves as progressive tend to be wary of the religious liberty debate. Some distrust it as a smokescreen for conservative politics. Some see it as a distraction from other urgent issues. Some are made uneasy by the cooperation of many Catholics and evangelicals, as well as Mormons and many Orthodox, to push back against abortion on demand, to defend marriage and the family, and to resist LGBT efforts to weaken religious freedom protections through coercive SOGI (sexual orientation/gender identity) “anti-discrimination” laws.  [It is interesting to see who lines up in support of the Civiltà attack. Not a few have a vested interest in the “coercive SOGI” agenda, don’t they.]

But working for religious freedom has never precluded service to the poor. The opposite is true. In America, the liberty of religious communities has always been a seedbed of social action and ministry to those in need. [It is exasperating that some liberals will lambast those in favor of tradition with complaints about paying attention to, say, liturgy, instead of paying attention to the poor, as if a) it weren’t possible to do more than on thing at the same time and b) liturgy is also for the poor and c) without proper worship of God at the heart of works, working for the poor turns into a self-congratulatory exercise.]

The divide between Catholic and other faith communities has often run deep. Only real and present danger could draw them together. The cooperation of Catholics and evangelicals was quite rare when I was a young priest. Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to so worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power. [Right.  It is hard to understand how they don’t understand that we banded together in some respects because we are in a fight for our lives, over here.]

As an evangelical friend once said, the whole idea of Baptist faith cuts against the integration of Church and state. Foreign observers who want to criticize the United States and its religious landscape – and yes, there’s always plenty to criticize — should note that fact. It’s rather basic.

Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a “narrative of fear” — as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously [a kind word] describes it — might have made some sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully ignorant. It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian belief.  [Those who support the Civiltà attack are also those who tend to harp at “culture warriors”.  A writer at Fishwrap is a perfect example.]

So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.  [Which epitomizes the aforementioned Fishwrap.]

Earlier this month, one of the main architects and financiers of today’s LGBT activism said publicly what should have been obvious all along: The goal of at least some gay activism is not simply to assure equality for the same-sex attracted, but to “punish the wicked” – in other words, to punish those who oppose the LGBT cultural agenda.  [Wow.   I looked that up and found it at The Christian Post.  HERE  Tim Gill, a software entrepreneur, has spent over $422 million to advance the homosexualist agenda.  He was interviewed in that bastion of virtues Rolling Stone.  “We’re going into the hardest states in the country,” the Rolling Stone article quoted Gill as saying. “We’re going to punish the wicked.”]

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out whom that might include. Today’s conflicts over sexual freedom and identity involve an almost perfect inversion of what we once meant by right and wrong.  [What do you want to bet that the homosexualist list will line up with the S-lists of some highly placed church officials.  What do you want to bet?]

Catholics are called to treat all persons with charity and justice. That includes those who hate what we believe. It demands a conversion of heart. It demands patience, courage and humility. We need to shed any self-righteousness. But charity and justice can’t be severed from truth. For Christians, Scripture is the Word of God, the revelation of God’s truth – and there’s no way to soften or detour around the substance of Romans 1:18-32, [see below] or any of the other biblical calls to sexual integrity and virtuous conduct.

Trying to do so demeans what Christians have always claimed to believe. It reduces us to useful tools of those who would smother the faith that so many other Christians have suffered, and are now suffering, to fully witness.

This is why groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts, legislatures, and in the public square – distinguished groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Becket (formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) – are heroes, not “haters.”

And if their efforts draw Catholics, evangelicals and other people of good will together in common cause, we should thank God for the unity it brings.

Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Chaput for getting involved and responding to Inciviltà cattolica.

What does Paul say in Romans 1:18-32?

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Religious Liberty, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

PODCAzT 154: Card. Sarah in La Nef on 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum

17_07_18_La_Nef_cover_SarahRecently the great Robert Card. Sarah had a piece in the French magazine La Nef.  Only fragments were out on the interwebs.   I eventually got my hands on the entire thing in French.  I now also have a translation into English which I will make available to you.

The translation into English was sent by a young priest in France, to whom I am grateful.  It isn’t a perfect translation in every English respect, but it is very good and it won’t trouble us in the least.

So… here it is!  You don’t even have to turn pages.  I’ll read it for you.

I think that many of you will not agree with everything that the Cardinal offers.  I don’t.  However, this is thoughtful, helpful, and worthy of prayerful consideration.  I mean that sincerely… prayerful consideration.  I am going to take a few of the things that I find challenging in his piece to prayer and see what happens.

Otherwise, I resonate strongly with most everything Card. Sarah offers in this piece.  As a matter of fact, on some points I wonder if he hasn’t been reading this blog, or perhaps we have a Vulcan mind meld going.  Of course a simple explanation is that we have some of the same influences.

Also, please consider getting these books, if you have not already.

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.


God or Nothing: A conversation on Faith


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, PODCAzT, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Updates on Challenge Coins, Gregorian Masses, Birettas, blog nuts and bolts

17_06_26_coin_obverse_02_det-200Firstly, I am having a great time with my Challenge Coins.  I’ve been sending them out to a select group of military, LEOs, and others, including NASA and CIA types.  I’m getting notes back that they’ve been received.  I have another going out today to a cop in my native place who was just promoted.  Other coins have gone to priest friends.  I sent a few out to some long-time benefactors and also one to a fellow who used the donation link on the sidebar where the Challenge Coin image is: it is a specific amount and those donations will hopefully, eventually, offset the cost of making the coins.  Anyway, it’s fun sending them out.  I hope to have some good exchanges.  All the coins are numbered and I’m keeping track of where they go.

Also, it seems that suddenly people who wanted Gregorian Masses said for their loved ones woke up!  Channeling my inner yenta I have facilitated connections between priests and people to get these Masses arranged.  That is deeply satisfying.  More on that HERE.  I usually have a link for this on the upper menu.  So, if you are looking at the blog on a mobile device, check the full version too.

17_07_08_biretta_seminarian_anon_03Remember to pay attention to the BIRETTAS FOR SEMINARIANS PROJECT!  Summer is passing.  There will be new crops of seminarians.  Birettas are required.  Do you part!

Please donate generously to our Pontifical Vestment Project.  I want to get those folded chasubles made in time for them to be used.  We also are going to have eventually new black, rose and even BLUE sets for Pontifical Masses.

Today I corrected (I hope) a redirect problem from the main domain page.  I hope it works better now. comes straight to the main page of this blog. goes to a page that redirects.  It was “hanging”.  The blog needs an overhaul.  Also, there are problems with search engines that mystify me… but also don’t mystify me.

Don’t forget ALWAYS to use my Amazon search box on the sidebar when you shop online.  That helps enormously.  Repeat to yourselves before shopping… “Must help Fr. Z… Must help Fr. Z…”

If you are regularly using the blog, please consider subscribing to a monthly donation.  Even small amounts help.  I regularly offer Masses for the intention of benefactors and I remember you all in my prayers daily, with gratitude.

Send email feedback.  HERE

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Mass “facing the people” and priest control freaks

ORIENTEM CAR 01The other day I had the privilege of meeting with a group of the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulcher to talk about the Novus Ordo, the TLM and so forth. In talking about celebration of Mass I brought up Jewish mizrah, or “East”, the direction of prayer for the Jews, “oriented” toward where the Temple of Jerusalem was. The misrach is also the east wall in synagogue where the rabbi is, and in a home. Also, their Torah “ark” containing the Scriptures is usually there, in the East, covered with a curtain.

Today His Hermeneuticalness has an interesting post about similarities of Catholic and Jewish liturgical worship. HERE

He made an insightful point about the orientation of the priest whereby he has, or does not have, the sight of the people in the congregation.  One of his points concerned where people sit in some synagogues, men on one side women on the other, as well as other customs such as arrival time and bowing and so forth.   He comments:

4. reminds me of the practice I heard about once, in which the congregation were told to remain standing in their place after they had received Holy Communion, wait until the last person had received, and then all sit down together. The experience of the traditional Latin Mass is not as freeform as Judaism 101’s description of Orthodox Jewish liturgy, but in fact there are no rubrics for the people, only customs. [NB] I think that whether the priest is facing the people or turned to the East has an influence on how closely he tries to control what everyone does. If you are focussed on the altar and the crucifix, rather than trying to make eye-contact with everyone, you are less likely to be bothered if people choose to occupy the rearmost pews.

Did you get that?  It could be that there is a correlation between versus populum celebration and attempts of priests to control the participation of the congregation.  I think Fr. Finigan is on to something here.

I, for example, could care less whether people sit or stand for most of Mass.  Of course there are times when it is most appropriate to kneel.  I think people properly kneel for the consecration, etc.

I could care less about when people come forward for Holy Communion.  Frankly, I’d like the practice of row-by-row Communion to fade away, and the psychological pressure to go forward when you shouldn’t along with it.  So Communion time is a little messy. Okay.

In my experience liberals are far more controlling than traditionals in certain aspects of worship.  Of course we all know some relaxed libs and some controlling trads, no question.  However, in the main, my experience has been that trads – at least those in communities which have finally gotten comfortable and don’t fear persecution any longer – are pretty laid back, while libs are control freaks.

Perhaps the greater structure of the liturgical rites gives trads space to “be”?


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Mail from priests | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

UK Catholic weekly critiques ‘Inciviltà cattolica’ v. Americans

spadaro stairsAt the UK’s best Catholic weekly, there are not one but two … two critiques of Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro’s attack on Americans in Inciviltà cattolica.

They are useful because they are not in an American source.

Antonio Spadaro has discovered a brand of Protestantism he doesn’t like by Stephen White


Sadly, that seems to be the recipe for most of the piece: present a parade of horribles in a way that suggests to the reader that they’re related even if they’re not, drop in a gratuitous jab at George W. Bush for zest, sprinkle Donald Trump’s name generously, add one dash of Steve Bannon, and then contrast the whole thing to Pope Francis and voilà!

Why is Civiltà Cattolica attacking American Christians? I have a theory by Tim Stanley


The Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica has just published an essay on US religious politics that beggars belief. I cannot comment on the theology, but I know my American history – and this article is full of so many errors that it’s impossible to keep silent about it. It matters because one of the authors, Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ, the magazine’s editor, is said to be a confidant of the Pope. [Spadaro is also so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).]


My biggest gripe with the article is its lack of clarity. It makes sweeping generalisations that are untrue. Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, for instance, and not all evangelical fundamentalists are Right-wing activists.


The essay makes a number of statements about American Protestantism that are inaccurate.


The essay betrays a European’s take on America, forcing the template by which we might read European history on to the United States. It doesn’t fit. For instance, far from being a 99 per cent white movement, as the essay suggests, some of the most outspoken religious conservatives in America are black. Fundamentalists in the Twenties often denounced Darwinism because they linked it to eugenics. Until the Seventies, fundamentalists withdrew entirely from politics on the grounds that saving souls was all that mattered; many opposed prayer in schools. And yet, in a fine example of reductio ad absurdum, this essay goes so far as to equate George W Bush with Osama bin Laden, because both were influenced by philosophies that divide the world between good and evil:

“At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the world-views of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart. We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible. So, it is not just accidental that George W Bush was seen as a ‘great crusader’ by Osama bin Laden.”

This is offensive. I suspect I know what’s behind it. If the essayists are allowed to engage in corny psychoanalysis, then permit me to do the same. Many Europeans and Latin Americans, ashamed of their countries’ dalliance with fascism, often try to implicate America in the same historical forces. But it’s more a more complex job than they think. There is such a thing as American fascism: slavery and segregation are its most obvious outward signs, and Catholics engaged in both alongside Protestants. But in the Thirties, democracy held out in the US in the way that it didn’t in Europe. And part of the reason for that was a history of resistance to state power and corporatism that is part of the DNA of America’s vibrant, violent, sometimes quite insane religious culture. American history is complicated. It defies lazy caricatures.


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

Have you ever heard of, or heard from, a “Notation Knife”?

Enjoy this fascinating video!  Biretta tip to The Catholic Thing.

This is about a “notation knife”, which could be called a Benediction or Blessing Knife.  At the end, they have worked out parts to match the notation and have a little group sing it.  Beautiful.  What a great custom this would be.


Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 6 Comments

Mickens tries to pull a fast one as he attempts, again, to insult Pope Benedict

140325TabletMickensTweetAt far-left-leaning Commonweal, long-time Rome-based writer Robert Mickens has a new insinuation piece.

Context: To review Mickens a bit, he dislikes Benedict XVI so much that, in social media, he rooted for his death, which got him fired from the ultra-liberal UK weekly The Tablet. HERE.  He is out of the so-called “closet”.  HERE He is terrified of the new generation of priests, who have Papa Wojtyla and Ratzinger in their marrow.  HERE He thinks that the laity should elect bishops.  HERE

When you read Micken’s musings, you need to park your logic and door and also read for what he leaves out.

In the latest Commonweal piece he strives once more to smear Benedict XVI.  Here’s how he does that.  This is distasteful, but these are the problems arising in Rome and they are the coinage in which the catholic Left peddles their wares.


Then there’s the case of at least two priest-officials in the Roman Curia who were recently reported to be engaging in scandalous homosexual behavior, [scandalous … is there any other kind?] a perennial dark side of clerical life in the Eternal City.

One was denounced for “cruising” St. Peter’s Square in search of sex with young men. The culprit is said to be a member of an important religious order and an archbishop in a major Vatican office. [NB] There are only five such people that fit the description: two are Jesuits, another two are Dominicans, and one is a Legionary of Christ.  [The problem here is that this is unsubstantiated rumor.]

The other cleric reportedly caught in a gay sex scandal has been identified as a monsignor who serves as personal secretary to one of Pope Francis’s most important curia allies. The incident involving this priest supposedly included the use of cocaine. Some “journalists” have embellished their accounts of this sordid tale with sensationalized and factually erroneous details, including the assertion that the said cardinal knew (or should have known) what naughty business his secretary was up to. [There are variants in the reporting but it is clear that it did happen.  Vatican Gendarmes were involved.  The priest in question was institutionalized.  It has been substantiated.]

Vatican employees and Church commentators who are not especially keen on Papa Francesco have seized upon this series of “bad news” and have tried to throw it like mud at the pope. But, most likely, it won’t stick.

First of all, the religious-archbishop accused of cruising for gay sex and the cardinal who allegedly turned a blind eye to his priest-secretary’s drug-fuelled sexcapades were both appointed by Benedict XVI. So you can’t blame Bergoglio for showing bad judgment in personnel matters, at least not these appointments.


This is a piece of nasty, to be sure.  But, horrid as it is, let’s pull it apart and get some daylight on it.

Note that Mickens is framing this in terms of people who don’t like Pope Francis, hence. Mickens is against how they “throw mud” at the Pope he favors.

He is guilty of the same unfair mud throwing.

To whom is Mickens referring?  Who are these “five” Archbishops who are religious?

“two are Jesuits”… that means, Ladaria Ferrer, until recently Secretary of the CDF and now Prefect or Vasil, Secretary at the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

“two are Dominicans”… that means, DiNoia, also at the CDF, or Bruguès, the Vatican Archivist and Librarian.

“one is a Legionary of Christ”… that means Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, though he is a Bishop.

All of these men were appointed by Pope Benedict… get it?  HUH?!?  Get it?  That’s the mud.

However, pace Mickens, there are not only five Archbishops in the Curia who are religious.

There is also the conspicuous Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, clearly one of the more important dicasteries of the Holy See.

Why would Mickens – purposely – leave him out?  Someone as experienced in Rome as Mickens doesn’t usually make these mistakes.

Rodriguez Carballo was appointed to his position by Pope Francis in 2013.   He wasn’t just some invisible Spanish Franciscan before his appointment.  He was the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, one of the three major families of Franciscans.  He was known.

Why would Mickens leave him out?  Was it just a lapse?  I don’t think so.  Mickens is almost always wrong about everything, but he knows who is in the Roman Curia.

[UPDATE: There’s also Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., (Salesian) Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.]

Let’s get something clear.  We shouldn’t smear people, especially highly placed pastors of the Church – to the delight of the Devil and Hell – with mere rumors especially unsubstantiated rumors of that disgusting nature.  So, it is especially distasteful that Mickens should traffic in this sort of thing.

Finally, what Mickens is peddling about curial Archbishops is from an unsubstantiated blogger and no eyewitnesses to such “cruising” have been identified.  No one has been detained or charged with anything.  On the other hand, the “cocaine party thing” and Card. Coccopalmerio’s (a favorite of Mickens) secretary is substantiated.

What Mickens did was doubly crafty, and that had to be pointed out.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Liberals, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Drill | 5 Comments

Robert Royal on the anti-American Spadaro/Figueroa smear

The well-deserved fallout continues for the vicious anti-American attack piece penned at Inciviltà cattolica by Jesuit Fr Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, who is also so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).

Today I read at The Catholic Thing a great commentary by Robert Royal, called “Are Americans from Mars?”

At first I thought he was going in the direction of “Americans are from Mars, Jesuits are from Venus”. Which could be true… unless they are from Ganymede.

Prof. Royal, whose mind was surely honed on Dante (US HERE – UK HERE) rather than on Tondelli, makes a great analogy using the mysterious Red Planet and Spadaro/Figueroa’s long-distance viewing of these USA.

Here are a few amuse-bouches with my usual treatment:

Percival Lowell was a member of the distinguished Boston Lowell family, graduate of Harvard, founder of the Lowell Observatory, the most prominent American astronomer – some say – until Carl Sagan. He also believed, on the basis of what he thought careful scientific observation, that there were canals on Mars, and wrote several books about what might have driven Martians to such a vast undertaking.

Unfortunately, his “observations” were an optical illusion (as several scientists already knew in Lowell’s day). Recent Mars probes have discovered no signs of the civilization Lowell thought once existed there.

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian hand-picked by Pope Francis to be editor on the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, have recently made quite controversial observations about America in “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism.”

They are, with good reason, destined to suffer the fate of poor Percival Lowell.

It’s not that they don’t have some data. But like many distant observers who know little of the concrete reality they are describing, they mistake the relative size and significance of almost everything.


Their main fear is that the collaboration of Catholics and Evangelicals in fighting the culture war is really a bid to create a theocracy in America. You usually hear a charge like that from Planned Parenthood or gay-rights groups or fringe academics. Not from the Vatican.  [Could the alliance between Catholics and Evangelicals have resulted in the fact that WE are the ones under attack rather than we being the ones on the attack?]

Further, the authors opine, the participants in this “surprising ecumenism” indulge in a “Manichean” view of Good vs. Evil that sees America as the Promised Land and her enemies as enemies of God whom it’s only right to destroy, literally, with our armed forces.

Taking this as the heart of the Evangelical-Catholic alliance is so delusional that a Catholic must feel embarrassed that a journal supposedly reviewed and authorized by the Vatican would run such slanderous nonsense. The authors would have done better to get out and see some of America rather than, it seems, spending so much time with left-wing sociologists of religion.


Go read the rest of his piece over there.  It will not disappoint, unto the end.

Posted in The Drill | Tagged , , | 2 Comments