My View For Awhile: Chinese Food Edition

On the way to my ride home.

Delta is being it’s usual pokey self, so there was more time for supper.

It was time for Chinese food in Queens.

Dan dan noodles.


Xiao Long Bao… the stuff of dreams.


Best I’ve ever had anywhere!

Spicy hot cucumbers.

Scallion pancakes with beef.  I may now have another obsession.

And so now I wait for Delta to make up its mind.  We will stay or will we go?

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…

My view for awhile.



Meanwhile – 

We are still here.   Apparently Delta’s computers are down.  So they are emailing the paper work to the personal email of one of the crew so they can get the information they need to … I dunno … a) fly b) in the right direction c) without running into anything.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark
Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 20 Comments

Bp. Schneider: Communion for divorced and remarried – the ‘homoousios’ of our days

Voice of the Family has an approved English translation of Bp. Athanasius Schneider’s comments on Amoris Laetitia.


It is important that everyone read this, agree or not.  He adds an important perspective.  I have already quoted from one part in my own translation from Italian.  Now we have the whole thing in English.

That said… here is another taste, to prompt you to read it.  My emphases.

The danger of general confusion with regard to the indissolubility of marriage

For some time already, we have seen, in some places and environments of the life of the Church, the tacit abuse of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion without requiring them to live in perfect continence. The unclear statements in Chapter VIII of AL have given a new dynamism to the declared advocates of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion in special cases.

We now observe the phenomenon of the abuse beginning to spread even more in practice, since those in favour of it are now feeling justified to some extent. There is also obviously some confusion with respect to the interpretation of the relevant assertions in Chapter VIII of the AL. This confusion is increased by the fact that everyone, both supporters of the admission of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion and their opponents, are saying that “The doctrine of the Church concerning this issue has not changed”.

Taking due account of historical and doctrinal differences, our situation shows some parallels and analogies with the general confusion caused by the Arian crisis in the 4th century. At that time, the apostolic and traditional faith in the true divinity of the Son of God was secured by means of the term “consubstantial” (“homoousios”), dogmatically proclaimed by the universal Magisterium of the Council of Nicaea I. The profound crisis of faith, accompanied by an almost universal confusion, was caused mainly by the refusal or avoidance strategies to use and profess the word “consubstantial” (“homoousios”). Instead, the clergy and mainly the episcopate began to propose alternative expressions that were ambiguous and imprecise, such as, for instance, “similar in substance” (“homoiousios”) or simply “similar” (“homoios”). The formula “homoousios” adopted by the universal Magisterium of that time expressed the full and true divinity of the WORD with so much precision that it left no space for equivocal interpretation.

In the years 357-360, almost the entire episcopate had become Arian or Semi-Arian as a result of the following events: in 357, Pope Liberius signed one of the ambiguous formulations of Sirmium, in which the term “homoousios” was eliminated. Furthermore, the pope, in a scandalous move, excommunicated St. Athanasius. St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only bishop who dared to rebuke Pope Liberius severely for these ambiguous acts. In 359, the parallel synods of the Western episcopate in Rimini and that of the Eastern episcopate in Seuleukia had accepted fully Arian formulas that were even worse than the ambiguous formula signed by Pope Liberius. Describing the confusion of those times, St. Jerome said: “Everyone was surprised to realize that they had become Arians” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et arianum se esse miratus est”: Adv Lucif, 19). [The whole world “groaned” and marveled that it was Arian.]

Arguably, in our time, confusion is already spreading with regard to the sacramental discipline for divorced and remarried couples. There is therefore a very real basis for the assumption that the confusion may reach truly vast proportions, if one fail to propose and proclaim the following formula of the universal and infallible Magisterium: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (S. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84). This formula is unfortunately and incomprehensibly missing in AL. However, the apostolic exhortation inexplicably contains the following statement: “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (AL, 298, n. 329). Such a statement leaves the impression of a contradiction with regard to the perennial teaching of the universal Magisterium, as formulated in the cited passage from Familiaris Consortio 84.
There is an urgent necessity for the Holy See to confirm and re-proclaim the cited formula of Familiaris Consortio 84, perhaps in the form of an authentic interpretation of AL. This formula may be seen, to some extent, the “homoousios” of our days. The lack of such a formal and explicit confirmation of the formula of Familiaris Consortio 84 from the Apostolic See could contribute to major confusion with regard to sacramental discipline, with the subsequent gradual and inevitable repercussions on doctrinal questions. This would lead to a situation to which it would be possible, in the future, to apply the following statement: “Everyone was surprised to find that divorce had been accepted in practice” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est”).


Read the rest.

Posted in HONORED GUESTS, Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Synod | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Nigerian Bishop speaks about Boko Haram

If there is one thing that John Allen (now of Crux 2.0) knows well, it’s the issue of persecuted Christians across the globe.

At Crux, Allen has an interview with a Nigerian bishop, His Excellency Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto.  His diocese is in a traditionally Muslim corner of Nigeria.   He is in New York City right now and he will be giving a talk tonight at NYU about Boko Haram.  I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with him over the last few days, since we are staying in the same place.   He is a clear-eyed fellow.   I particularly liked something he told me about how he decided that in his diocese there were going to be Corpus Christi processions even though they hadn’t been done for many years.  We have to take the Faith into the streets!

In any event, check out Allen’s (phone) interview with with Bp. Kukah.

Here is a taste…

Located in extreme northwestern Nigeria near the border with Niger, Sokoto is overwhelmingly Muslim and the seat of the former “Sokoto Caliphate,” the traditional seat of Islamic rule in West Africa. The tiny Catholic flock of around 30,000 in Sokoto is about .2 percent of the population, and it’s long been consigned to second-class citizenship, frozen out of the media and public life, perhaps seen but rarely heard.

Especially with the rise of the radical Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram, life for the Christian minority in northern Nigeria has become increasingly perilous, and they often have the sense of facing it alone – not feeling great solidarity from fellow believers around the world and, for that matter, even from the largely Christian areas in the south of their own country.

In that context, Kukah, 63, in many ways is their great hope.

He’s one of Nigeria’s most respected Catholic intellectuals, holding a Ph.D. from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, has a list of books to his credit longer than some small publishing houses, and has a gift for putting complex ideas into accessible and ever-provocative ways.

I can confirm this description.  I think his talk will be great.  Alas, I cannot attend since this is my final day in Gotham.

Take a look at the interview.  His remarks about Boko Haram are pretty interesting.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

For Francis, the Church’s doctrine is subordinated to the primary value of mercy

If you, like I do, suffer from Amoris defetiscenia, you might be clicking past pieces you see about the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.  I confess that I have to fight the temptation to tune out and just ignore the document and its coverage.  Alas, I cannot.  I must constrain myself to read more.

That said, pop over to LifeSite for a peek at an entry by Monica Miller.  HERE  She doesn’t  offer anything that is startlingly new, but she provides a succinct review of the difficulties within the document. Quite helpful is her swift review of the sore spots in the deeply troubling Chapter 8. Then she offers an opinion about what makes Pope Francis’ pontificate tick.

Amoris Laetitia: the key to the Francis pontificate

[… I’ll cut to the end…]

The ultimate key to understanding Francis comes at the end of AL, Article 311:

We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel. It is true, for example, that mercy does not exclude justice and truth, but first and foremost we have to say that mercy is the fullness of justice and the most radiant manifestation of God’s truth. For this reason, we should always consider “inadequate any theological conception which in the end puts in doubt the omnipotence of God and, especially, his mercy.”

Given what Francis has indicated in previous paragraphs, it is reasonable to understand him here to mean that the canonical requirement that those who have divorced and remarried should not be admitted to the Eucharist until they have received an annulment is a “condition on mercy” that waters down the Gospel. Such a “theological conception” challenges the omnipotence of God.

To understand what drives the Francis pontificate, is to appreciate his personal spiritual doctrine: the doctrinal pronouncements of the Church are subordinated to the primary value of mercy — and to insist on the practice of the demands of the Gospel (the rules) as a requirement for ecclesial membership opposes this primary value. Rather than mercy and the demands of the Gospel existing in a Christian paradox, for Francis they exist in conflict. Mercy is such a value for him that Francis states “the name of God is mercy.” I would argue that God’s name is not “mercy.” God’s name is “love.” It is love, and not mercy that is the essence of God out of which he exercises mercy toward sinners.

This emphasis on mercy first, the ethical requirements of discipleship second, explains why Francis consistently refers to moral absolutes in AL as the “ideal” with the emphasis placed on understanding the mitigating circumstances that prevent many from reaching that “ideal.” By placing mercy first in the hierarchy of spiritual values, and by subordinating to it the call to discipleship—a call which Christ himself taught involved the carrying of the cross, there is the possibility that the call to follow Christ will be muted and taken less seriously than Our Lord would wish. One may fairly conclude that in the spirituality of Francis, mercy trumps justice, love trumps truth—but without concluding that justice and truth are of no consequence.

The emphasis on mercy also explains Francis’ ecclesiology in his repeated description of the Church as “a field hospital for the wounded.” The field is mostly likely the battlefield of life itself, and in the midst of this broken, battered world, persons can come to the Church and be healed—the Church being that emergency room of welcome where wounds of personal sin and alienation are bound up. This idea of the Church is true, but only partially so. [Let us not forget that not everyone who goes to a “field hospital” lives and not everyone comes out with all their parts.  Also, they don’t have time to lie in a “field hospital”.] The metaphor gives the impression that Christians are not expected to perform acts of service, but to only receive acts of service—while we simply lay in hospital beds of mercy. There is no sense here that merciful healing leads to heroic fidelity to the Gospel which includes carrying heavy crosses.

Mercy is not simply important to Francis. The key to his pontificate is his insistence that mercy is the spiritual imperative of the Gospel that compels him to see as less imperative to the Christian life an insistence on the objective practice of the Gospel—a dynamic that certainly deserves deeper analysis. Let me conclude by saying that mercy is not the fullness of justice—as if to say that justice is subordinated to it. Rather, the fullness of justice is the new man recreated in the image of Christ through the grace he won for all on the Cross, a justice God wills all to possess.

And the beat goes on.

Posted in Pope Francis, Synod, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

NYC EXILE – DAY 5: Lions and Hot Dogs and Mass!

Today is the Feast of St Mark.  What else does one do but go to the Met to hunt for images of St Mark?

These guys were back!

I’m in a bit of a hurry so forgive me if I add descriptions later.

First things first… lunch.  That doesn’t need much ‘splanin’.

Processional Cross, Italian, 15th c., probably Sienese.

Processional Cross, Spanish, 15th c. probably from Aragon.  Silver with enamel.

A view of Venice and, therefore, San Marco, where the remains of the Evangelist are entombed, by Francesco Guardi.

A 14th c. pulpit from the workshop of Giovanni Pisano.

Back to Venice for a moment.  We all recognize Canaletto.

Reliquary Cross, Italian, made from c. 1366-1400.

We found a few more but these are representative.

More later.

Oooops forgot this … by Vivarini, probably St. Mark, the patron of Venice, dated to 1473.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 10 Comments

ASK FATHER: Dressing for weekday Masses

From a reader…

For Sundays and holy days, I always wear suit and tie (Sunday best!). One priest made a rule that all the guys at church had to wear a tie, so I followed.

Aside from dressing immodestly, does it matter what types of clothes we wear to weekday mass? Is Sunday best still recommended?

The Mass is the Mass is the Mass is the Mass. At each Holy Mass, Our Lord is presented and offered to the Father.  Reason suggests, and faith confirms, and love prompts that we be on our best behavior at every offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Of course, some of you are already objecting,

“But Father! But Father! Isn’t it enough that I show up for Mass?  God should be happy that I’m there at all, right?  I mean, I’m busy!  You are just trying to make people feel guilty and out of place if they don’t have special clothes on. I mean, Jesus accepts and welcome EVERYBODY, just as we are!  Pope Francis says I can wear anything! You really do hate Vatican II, don’t you?”

If it’s a matter of having only a torn paper sack to wear and not attending Mass, by all means, wear the paper sack and come to worship the Lord.  After all, in many parishes, the servers and sacred ministers look like they wear little better than that.  And, folks, if you see someone wearing a torn paper sack, please give her a lift to the nearest St. Vincent de Paul store, at the least, and then help buy other cloths as well.  Works of mercy and all.

DO NOT criticize or gossip about what others are wearing (there may be situations or circumstances that explain the torn jeans and dirty t-shirt). Worry about you wear!   Of course if you are responsible for little people, do your duty.

That said, Mass is special. Wear special clothes.

Every Mass is special.  But isn’t it the case that Sundays and Holy Days are, as it were, specialer?  Sunday is the Lord’s Day.  It should be distinguished and distinctive.

On Sundays and Holy Days, were are obliged not only to attend Holy Mass, but also to abstain from undue labor and to recreate ourselves appropriately in relaxation and prayer. It makes sense on these days to spend extra time on our appearance and wear our “Sunday best.”

Other days, when we do not have a strict obligation to attend Mass (but are mindful of how salubrious it is to do so when we have the opportunity), we have to consider other obligations. A workman who shows up to daily Mass before his shift begins in his work clothes still honors the Lord. A nurse who wears her uniform and sensible shoes after her shift prays effectively. A Vegas showgirl who … well… She should ditch the feathered headdress in the car and put a sweater on, at least.

Wearing casual clothes, especially to daily Mass, is not sinful, nor even necessarily slothful, as long as one’s appearance is clean, respectable, and modest. Keep the Sunday best clean for Sundays, but – unless it truly is all you have – leave the ripped jeans, short skirts, concert t-shirts, and flip-flops for the mall or pool side.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 34 Comments

“Dare to do as much as you are able.” Wherein Fr. Z rants.

“Quantum potes, tantum aude” is what we sing in the Angelic Doctor’s wonderful Corpus Christi sequence.   “Dare to do as much as you are able.”

Were this prudently applied to sacred worship in all our churches and chapels, and we might see a renaissance a Catholic identity that is effective both ad intra and ad extra, both within the Church herself and also in the public square.

Each community has different resources, of course.  But in all places we can please God by doing our best!  In some locales that will be humble and in others grand.  But let God be worshipped with our best!

In the Latin, Roman Church that means a deep and brutally honest reassessment of our liturgical practices.  It also means the use of the Roman Rite! Fully.  Of course I mean the Extraordinary Form.  This can serve first as a remedial influence and then as a deepening force, particularly on the priests who use it, who in turn create a knock-on effect in their congregations.

Sacred music is a huge element of our worship.  Quantum potes, tantrum aude.   It is hard to turn around the musical practices of a parish.  This is one sphere of life which makes people freak out.   We must have a lot more catechism and patient work to turn around our understanding of the role of music in worship and to pry open again the great treasury of sacred music, simple and complex, that was taken from us, slammed shut, locked up, and sunk in the depths of shallowness in the name of Vatican II.

A friend (here) in NYC who is involved at Holy Innocents in Manhattan happened to email me something from their upcoming musical items for the week.

Music for the Week of 4/24/16

4/25                Monday          6:00PM          Mass

St. Mark II solemn tone

 P:        LU1431 (Protextísti me LU1146)
O:        Mass IV LU25; Credo IV LU71

4/27                Wednesday   6:00PM          Mass

 St. Peter Canisius III solemn tone

P:        LU1432 (In medio LU1190)
O:        Mass XII LU48

4/29                Friday             6:00PM          Mass

St. Peter of Verona III solemn tone
P:        LU1436 (Protextísti me LU1146)
O:        Mass XII LU48

4/30                Saturday        1:00PM          Mass

St. Catherine of Siena III solemn tone
P:        LU1437 (Dilexísti LU1225)
O:       Mercadante

They are willing to arrange the musicians (who, in a city like this are available) and then spend the money.  They also have volunteers.  Some music is simple, some complex.  Some chant is now so familiar that all can sing.  Some is not and they listen… actively.  Some works, some doesn’t!  They keep moving forward and it is NOT DUMBED DOWN.

Over the years the congregation has grown amazingly, as has the congregation (250 yesterday, larger than any of the other Masses), thus creating a beneficial “circle of (liturgical) life”.

Some “creative destruction” is needed in our parishes to make room for new growth.

If you step out of your house and get into your car to drive some place, and you suddenly realize you are going in the wrong direction, do you still keep driving in the wrong direction? Or do you turn around, retrace your path, and go in the right direction?  In many places the wrong direction has been the aim for so long that the right direction is hardly to be imagined any more.

Without a revival of our sacred liturgical worship no true renewal of the Church, any sphere or sector of the Church’s life, is possible.

Everything starts with and comes back to and flows from our sacred liturgical worship of God.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | 11 Comments

“All members of the Church… have the duty to ask for an authentic interpretation.”

At the Italian site Corrispondenza romana we find a longish reaction to Amoris laetitia from His Excellency Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider.

The text is in Italian, but eventually it will be translated in full (but not by me and not today).  Here is a taste:

The need for a “veritatis laetitia”

Fortunately and without question Amoris laetitia contains theological insights and affirmations of great pastoral value.   Nevertheless, realistically, it is insufficient to affirm that LA would be interpreted according to the doctrine and traditional practice of the Church.  When in an ecclesiastical document, which in our case is lacking a definitive and infallible character, there are discovered elements of interpretation and application that could have dangerous spiritual consequences, all the members of the Church, and in the first place bishops who are the fraternal collaborators of the Sovereign Pontiff in effective collegiality, have the duty to indicate this fact respectfully and to ask for an authentic interpretation.

When ambiguous elements of the Exhortation seem, in an honest reading, to contradict Catholic doctrine and practice, and when there is a realistic danger that some priests and people will willingly interpret the ambiguities in a way that manifestly contradicts Catholic doctrine, and then they cause scandal and spread errors, we have a right and duty to seek clarifications, solid teaching, authentic interpretations of the law, which defends and upholds doctrine.

It seems to me that it is not enough simply to read again what Card. Schönborn said during the presser that presented the Letter.  Nor is it sufficient to review what Pope Francis said in an airplane presser about reviewing what Card. Schönborn said.  I, for one, would like open statements that are clear, informed by charity, and easy to understand.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, The Drill | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

NYC EXILE – DAY 4: Of Sung Mass and Sunshine

It was another picture perfect day.

Before heading to Mass today I made sure to have a brief stroll in the park.

After Mass, eggs… Benedict, of course.

After Sung Vespers, several of us went to China Town (which is taking over Little Italy).  Our trek included a visit to Precious Blood, the National Shrine of San Genaro.

San Rocco.

There is a great presepio in the church.


It’s not often you see statues of Sts. Cosmos and Damian.

They are marvelously… what’s the word… kitschy?

We had a nice walk in the park.  The men were on one side, playing Chinese Chess, the woman on the other, playing cards.  There were a couple live combos playing folk music.  The trees are blooming.

Hand pulled noodles sounded like a good idea.

Afterwards, toast with condensed milk and tea.


A sweet end to a sweet day.  Several of us went and had a glass of Chartreuse afterwards, which is a celebratory stable among the Holy Innocents crowd.

Meanwhile, on Monday there will be at Holy Innocents at least a Missa Cantata if not a full Solemn Mass for the Feast of St. Mark.

Monday, April 25at 6:00 PM for Feast of St. Mark



Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 11 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

Let us know.

At this point I plan on talking about sins against Hope.  Will I moved to speak on something else?  Who knows?

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 29 Comments