UPDATE: Bishops of England, Wales v. SSPX? Request for review of Good Friday Prayer for Jews

UPDATE 24 Nov:

Fr. H has updated his post about the attack on Pope Benedict’s prayer for the Jews on Good Friday waged by the bishops in England and Wales.  Fr. H asked me to update you.

The BC [bishops conference] has now published a Note (see the thread) which does considerable discredit to whoever drafted it. He or she, indeed, appears to be unaware that the Prayer concerned was written by the Sovereign Pontiff himself … or else wishes the fact not to be known. The Note gives no information about what it is in the text composed by Pope Benedict that contradicts Nostra aetate. It claims that “the Prayer produced in 2008 [written by Benedict XVI!] reverted to being a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity”, but fails to indicate which phrases in the text of the Prayer it deems objectionable. Whoever drafted it is clearly someone who believes, at all costs, in avoiding honest, or precise, dialogue.

At one point only does it come clean. “The Bishops of England and Wales have now added their voice to that of the German Bishops who have asked for the Prayer in the Extraordinary Form to be changed”. [So the Germans are attacking Benedict’s prayer, too.]

So now we know what is going on. Kasper’s belated revenge on Ratzinger, now that he can’t answer back.

____ Original Post Published on: Nov 23, 2015 @ 10:15 CT

Fr. John Hunwicke has at his excellent blog Mutual Enrichment an interesting bit of news.  Perpend:

“The Bishops’ Conference [of England and Wales] … ”

” … requests that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei review the prayer Pro Conversione Iudaeorum in the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in the light of the understanding in Nostra Aetate of the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism”.

There appears to be no indication whether this resolution, passed last week by the English and Welsh Bishops, was unanimous.
Assuming that the bishops did not all wake up one morning with one identical thought in every head, it would be interesting to know where this concern originated; particularly, whether with one of the bishops or in some Liturgy Committee. Such information is always available with regard to the deliberations of the American Episcopal Conference. [But not with the bishops of England and Wales?]

I find it extraordinary that whoever originated this move is unaware that the current form of that Prayer comes directly from the pen of Benedict XVI himself, who was at the Council as a peritus and, it has always seemed to me, gives the impression of knowing some of the Conciliar documents really quite well. And, while aware that a lot of people viscerally loathe Joseph Ratzinger, I have always found his writings, both as a theologian, and as Cardinal Prefect of the CDF, and as Successor of S Peter, cogent, convincing, and illuminating. I would like to be helped to understand where it is that I have gone wrong in this judgement.

A Conspiracy Theorist would probably wonder if this is part of an attempt to get rolling a movement for dismantling the Magisterium of Benedict XVI and for derailing the current rather promising rapprochement under the direction of Pope Francis between the Vatican and the SSPX. I, fortunately, am not a Conspiracy Theorist. What I would like to have, as a concerned Catholic Priest who tries to understand the Church’s Magisterium, is a lucid and unwoffly statement of what exactly it is in the Prayer which contradicts which precise affirmations of Nostra Aetate, [Good question.] a document to which, of course, I subscribe. Since the Prayer as composed by Benedict XVI carefully follows, even verbally, the teaching in the Epistle to the Romans of S Paul (an author whom I spent three decades teaching), I would also be very interested to know what it is in S Paul’s teaching which is deemed to fall under the condemnation of Nostra Aetate. 

I have written about Pope Benedict’s change to the Good Friday Prayer HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

In previous posts I give some context, a comparison of texts and my own analysis.


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Posted in SSPX | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

Earth Might Have Hairy Dark Matter!

Some news about your planet.

From the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

Earth Might Have Hairy Dark Matter

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought.

A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of long filaments of dark matter, or “hairs.”

Dark matter is an invisible, mysterious substance that makes up about 27 percent of all matter and energy in the universe. The regular matter, which makes up everything we can see around us, is only 5 percent of the universe. The rest is dark energy, a strange phenomenon associated with the acceleration of our expanding universe.

Neither dark matter nor dark energy has ever been directly detected, although many experiments are trying to unlock the mysteries of dark matter, whether from deep underground or in space.

Based on many observations of its gravitational pull in action, scientists are certain that dark matter exists, and have measured how much of it there is in the universe to an accuracy of better than one percent. The leading theory is that dark matter is “cold,” meaning it doesn’t move around much, and it is “dark” insofar as it doesn’t produce or interact with light.

Galaxies, which contain stars made of ordinary matter, form because of fluctuations in the density of dark matter. Gravity acts as the glue that holds both the ordinary and dark matter together in galaxies.

According to calculations done in the 1990s and simulations performed in the last decade, dark matter forms “fine-grained streams” of particles that move at the same velocity and orbit galaxies such as ours.

“A stream can be much larger than the solar system itself, and there are many different streams crisscrossing our galactic neighborhood,” Prézeau said.

Prézeau likens the formation of fine-grained streams of dark matter to mixing chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Swirl a scoop of each together a few times and you get a mixed pattern, but you can still see the individual colors. [There are people who think this stuff up.]

“When gravity interacts with the cold dark matter gas during galaxy formation, all particles within a stream continue traveling at the same velocity,” Prézeau said.

But what happens when one of these streams approaches a planet such as Earth? Prézeau used computer simulations to find out.

His analysis finds that when a dark matter stream goes through a planet, the stream particles focus into an ultra-dense filament, or “hair,” of dark matter. In fact, there should be many such hairs sprouting from Earth.

A stream of ordinary matter would not go through Earth and out the other side. But from the point of view of dark matter, Earth is no obstacle. According to Prézeau’s simulations, Earth’s gravity would focus and bend the stream of dark matter particles into a narrow, dense hair.



Read the rest there.  They break it down Barney-style for us.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , | 38 Comments

1st Bishop appointed for an Anglican Ordinariate

From a Press Release of the Anglican Ordinariate of St. Peter for these USA HERE


  • Bishop-elect Steven Lopes to be introduced at press conference today in Houston
  • Rome sends top official to North America to lead structure equivalent to a diocese
  • Vatican also approves use of new texts for the celebration of Mass

HOUSTON — Pope Francis has named the Rev. Monsignor Steven J. Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict [the Pope of Christian Unity] on Jan. 1, 2012, with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas. Founded to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America.

The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.

Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate since 2012, will introduce Bishop-elect Lopes at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. today at the Chancery Offices of the Ordinariate in Houston.

With this appointment, Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church. By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese — one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.

Bishop Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015.

Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship; since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts.

The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity and the concrete ways that Pope Francis is implementing that vision demonstrate that unity in faith allows for a vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith. The Ordinariate is a key ecumenical venture for the Catholic Church and a concrete example of this unity in diversity.


Steven Joseph Lopes, 40, is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. As the bishop-elect of the Ordinariate, he will reside in Houston, Texas.

Bishop-elect Lopes was born and raised in Fremont, Calif. The only child of Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes (deceased) and Barbara Jane Lopes, he attended Catholic schools in the Golden State, including the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in June 2001 and spent the first several years of his priesthood as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif.

Since 2005, he has served as an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for promoting and preserving Catholic teaching. He was named a monsignor in 2010.

His family includes his mother, Barbara Jane; his step-father, Abilio Dias; five step-brothers; and a step-sister.

Bishop-elect Lopes follows in the footsteps of Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who was named the first Ordinary (or head) of the Ordinariate when it was established in 2012. Msgr. Steenson’s retirement from his position as Ordinary is effective today, upon Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop-elect Lopes. However, Msgr. Steenson has been appointed Administrator of the Ordinariate and will continue to oversee its day-to-day activities until Feb. 2, 2016.

Bishop-elect Lopes is the first bishop to be named for any of the three Personal Ordinariates in the world: Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada; and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

The ordination of Bishop-elect Lopes is planned for Feb. 2, 2016 in Houston.

A biographical summary, photos, statements from Bishop-elect Lopes and Ordinary Emeritus Msgr. Steenson and other materials are online at www.ordinariate.net/bishop-elect-lopes.

Posted in Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Pope of Christian Unity | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Sam Gregg on the rise of young, fearless, dynamically orthodox Catholicism… in FRANCE!

Here is another – stop what you are doing and read this – article.

At Catholic World Report there is a piece by Sam Gregg about what’s going with a rise in France  of … Catholicism.  It is packed with interesting information, names, and analysis.

France’s Catholic Revolution

While Mass-attendance rates have steeply declined over the last 30 years, today France is witnessing the rise of an increasingly self-confident—and dynamically orthodox—Catholicism.

When many think about France and religion today, the images that usually come to mind are those of a highly secular society with a growing Islamic presence: a combination of widespread indifferentism, epicurean Voltairans, persistent anti-Semitism, increasingly radicalized Muslims, and now jihadist-inspired and organized terrorism. But now even some secular French journalists have started writing about a phenomenon that’s become difficult to ignore: an increasingly self-confident Catholicism that combines what might be called a dynamic orthodoxy with a determination to shape French society in ways that contest the status quo—both inside and outside the Church. [There’s that ad intra and ad extra thing I refer to pretty often.  Consider: If we don’t have a strong identity as Catholics, and if we don’t know what Catholics believe or we don’t know how to communicate it without waffling and temporizing, then why should anyone in the public square listen to us?  And we must be in the public square, with a strong and smart Catholic identity.  This is where I direct you back to my constant drum beat about the renewal of traditional liturgical worship!]

On October 30, readers of France’s main center-right newspaper, Le Figaro, woke up to the headline “La révolution silencieuse des catholiques de France.” What followed was a description of how those whom Le Figaro calls France’s néocatholiques have come to the forefront of the nation’s political, cultural, and economic debates. Significantly, the new Catholics’ idea of dialogue isn’t about listening to secular intellectuals and responding by nodding sagely and not saying anything that might offend others. Instead, younger observant Catholics have moved beyond—way, way beyond—what was called the “Catholicism of openness” that dominated post-Vatican II French Catholic life. While the néocatholiques are happy to listen, they also want to debate and even critique reigning secular orthodoxies. For them, discussion isn’t a one-way street. This is a generation of French Catholics who are, as Le Figaro put it, “afraid of nothing.


That’s how it starts.

There are some provocative paragraphs (for the Left.. heh).  For example:


In recent years, we’re heard much about the Church as a field-hospital. It’s true that the French Church finds itself providing much help to the many people damaged by the culture of cynicism, economic statism, self-loathing, and hedonism bequeathed by France’s May 1968 generation. The new Catholics, however, also recognize that no-one is supposed to remain perpetually in a field-hospital. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?  And another thing… lots of people DIE in field hospitals!  A field hospital is where the second moment of patching up takes place, after the battle field corpsman stops some of the bleeding, before the wounded are sent on to a higher level facility.  It often happens that the wounded don’t get out of the field hospital alive.  This is the Church Militant, after all.  We don’t want people to die, to fall away from the narrow path, to drift into error and spiritual peril (Fishwrap).  Christ died for all, but not all will accept what Christ did for then and be saved.  This happens in the Church: people fall aside and are lost.  And if parishes are supposed to be “field hospitals”, they had better be good, faithful parishes, where the wounded can find good salvific help.  I’m not saying that parishes are not field hospitals.  I’m saying that not everyone in field hospitals will be saved.  But I digress…] Nor are they interested in affirming mediocrity. Instead they have chosen to live out what Benedict XVI suggested would be Western European Catholics’ role for the foreseeable future: a creative minority — one that imaginatively engages culture from an orthodox Catholic standpoint in order to draw society closer to the truth, instead of meekly relegating Catholics to the role of bit-players in various secular-progressive agendas.


I also found this interesting:


Perhaps the most evident sign of this sea-change in French Catholicism is what’s called La Manif pour tous. This movement of hundreds of thousands of French citizens emerged in 2012 to contest changes to France’s marriage laws. La Manif’s membership traverses France’s deep left-right fracture. It also includes secular-minded people, many Jews, some Muslims, and even a good number of self-described gays. Yet La Manif’s base and leadership primarily consist of lay Catholics. Though the French legislature passed la loi Taubira legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013, the Socialist government has subsequently trod somewhat more carefully in the realm of social policy. After all, when a movement can put a million-plus people on the streets to protest on a regular basis, French politicians have historical reasons to get nervous.

Since 2012, La Manif has continued shaping public debate. This ranges from challenging attempts to impose gender theory through the educational system to disputing proposed changes to adoption and IVF laws. In doing so, it has been visibly supported by many bishops and even-more-visibly by many more young priests. Some of the latter are heavily active on Twitter and widely-read social media such as Padreblog. In certain cases, some names of the rising generation of French clergy—such as Abbé Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, Abbé Pierre Amar, Abbé Guillaume Seguin, and Abbé Antoine Roland-Gosselin—are better known than many French bishops.



Read the whole thing there.


Posted in New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

ACTION ITEM: Christmas Cards 2015 and ADVENT MUSIC CDs

From Christmas 2014

The time for sending Christmas cards is rolling around soon.  This coming Saturday afternoon will bring the 1st Vespers of Advent!

Last year I posted about Christmas cards on 22 December, which was late, especially for some readers in some parts of the world.  I’m a bit more pro-active this year.  Bales of cards arrived last time around, some as late as February.  HERE Sometimes I look at the blog’s stats and I see, coming and going, people from all over the world.  Hopefully you will take a moment or two to send a card.

I am not impressed by email Christmas greetings.   If someone wants to send me Christmas greetings, please send a card by snail mail, with really cool stamps, if possible. I’ll preserve the stamps and give them to a collector, maybe a homeschool group.

QUAERITUR: Does anyone do that anymore?  And do you try to get the whole of the cancellation mark, too?  Are there any philatelists out there?  Advice?

I have a mail box at a UPS Store.  Same address:

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
6666 Odana Road
PMB #455
Madison, WI 53719-1012

As I wrote last year, I enjoy all those sixes.  I wish there were only three, just to provoke the imaginations of some of my … fans.

From Christmas 2014

I give the USP Store address because, in this holiday stretch especially, the mail delivery where I live, at the chancery, is non-existent on weekends and it may be in flux because of the way the whole place is being restructured. There will also be holidays off for the staff. If I travel, and I will in mid-December, the UPS store will keep everything in good order for me.  Moreover, they can sign for anything that needs a signature (for example, gold bars, ammo, a Bugatti Chiron, bearer bonds, multiple cases of Pappy Van Winkle, you know, the usual stuff).  In addition, they are better at identifying ticking packages and defusing bombs than the people here.  And they can call the FBI equally well as the folks where I live.

Please: DON’T SEND PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS.  I am sure they would be wonderful, and not poisonous, mostly.  But, please, just don’t.

As I did last year, I’ll let you know along the way how the card count is going.

On another note, …


There is an album of Advent music available from the wonderful Benedictine Nuns in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Here are a few little samples.

There are zillions of Christmas music offerings out there.  Advent?  Not so much.

This disk can help you keep Advent as Advent.

The UK link is HERE.

And they have wonderful Christmas music, too.  Think about stocking stuffers. Sacred music CDs… Mystic Monk Coffee (go to their Sampler Page to see lots of packets of coffee, just 2 oz. each, four different 9 pack sample options and one 30 pack.) They also have Teas.

Also, you are going to need lots of coffee for your own entertaining.  5 lbs bags

They also have Teas.

And there is Z-Swag.

Order now.  Get it in time.  

And use the Amazon search box on the sidebar, please.

PS: I have also located and dusted off my Tactical Christmas Stocking, which will be hung up again on Saturday.


Posted in ACTION ITEM! | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments


To my friends and readers in the UK, there will be an event at St. Patrick’s in London (Soho Square) where my friend Fr. Alexander Sherbrooke is the PP.

I receive this from the parish’s director of evangelization

In light of the conversations that have been opened up by Pope Francis at the recent Synod on the Family in Rome, it is very timely that St. Patrick’s Parish in Soho, London is hosting a Theology of the Body Symposium to further explore the Church’s teaching concerning human identity and sexuality.
The Symposium, which is part of the Choose Life, Choose Love series, will take place from 13th – 17th January 2016. It is primarily aimed at young adults aged 18-35, or adults with pastoral responsibilities.

Christopher West, a best-selling author and one of the most sought-after Catholic speakers on the Theology of the Body will launch the Symposium on Wednesday 13th January with a public lecture. During the course of the Symposium, participants will receive formation on the key teachings of the Theology of the Body from Robert McNamara, Adjunct Professor at the International Theological Institute, Austria.

Places are limited and are filling up. Interested parties would need to respond promptly to in order to secure their place. Basic accommodation is offered at St. Patrick’s Church on a first come first served basis.

•The cost is £100.00 without accommodation and £140.00 with accommodation.
This will include all meals and all materials.

For more information and to book, please visit www.stpatricksoho.org/clcl or call 020 7437 2010

And in other news…

My friend Fr. Alan Robinson, the parish priest at Corpus Christi in Maiden Lane (where the Latin Mass Society has had week TLMs for decades now) sent me a now about a monthly Mass for Benefactors for the parish.  The have a great restoration project going on.  Be sure to give some support to Corpus Christi.  HERE  Help them and you are also indirectly helping also the cause of the Latin Mass Society.  And I very much like that confessions are heard for 30 minutes before each Mass.


I look forward to another trip to London.  Perhaps I’ll attempt something after the 1st of the year, perhaps – if I can get something going, and again in June when I am promised a cricket match by one of you readers.  Mayhaps another Mass at Maiden Lane and a blognic!


Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Pope Francis’ letter to “the best hermeneutical interpreter of the Second Vatican Council.”

Here is something interesting.  His Holiness Pope Francis has written a letter to Archbp. Agostino Marchetto… again.

Marchetto has helped to break the monopoly of the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” types when it comes to the interpretation of Vatican II. the Bologna School mafia

This time, Francis wrote on the occasion of the release of Marchetto’s book on Pericle Felici who had been Secretary General of the Second Vatican Council.  Here is the story about what Francis wrote to Marchetto… this time. HERE

However, let us not forget the first time Pope Francis wrote to Archbp. Marchetto.  HERE

“I once told you, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and today I repeat it, that I consider you the best hermeneutical interpreter of the Second Vatican Council.”

At the time, this was a serious smack in the face of the discontinuity team.

I just thought I would remind you.

Posted in Linking Back | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Notre Dame U. v. Fr. Miscamble, NDCatholic.com

At the blog of my friend The Motley Monk there is a follow up about a priest at Notre Dame University, Fr. Wilson Miscamble, CSC, who attempted to help Catholic students remain Catholic while at Notre Dame.

Fr. Miscamble was involved with a website which posted faculty profiles, etc., to help students find Catholic instructors.

Apparently Fr. Miscamble’s superiors shut him down.

Via TMM:


According to a post by the Sycamore Trust–a UND alumni/ae group dedicated to making UND a place where young men and women can be inspired through teachers steeped in the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition–Fr. Miscamble can longer be involved with NDCatholic.com:

Nevertheless, two days after the inauguration of the website Father sent us this message: “I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why.”

Reading further along in the post, here’s what transpired:

  • The day after the launch of NDCatholic.com, Father Miscamble advised the Chairman of Sycamore Trust, Bill Dempsey, that he had been directed to disassociate himself from the website.
  • Demsey emailed Miscamble the next day expressing his “surprise and deep disappointment” and concern that this would “reflect adversely on the university” in the absence of a persuasive explanation. Dempsey asked “What reason we should assign?”
  • Miscamble responded: “Dear Bill, I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why.

Well, it doesn’t take a neurosurgeon the likes of Dr. Ben Carson to figure out what transpired within the cone of silence:

  • UND administrators and CSC superiors determined that Fr. Miscamble was engendering dissension within the UND and CSC communities by agitating for a more demostrably Catholic UND.
  • His most recent effort, NDCatholic.com, was the “straw that finally broke the camel’s back.”


Read the rest there.

And.. no… I haven’t forgotten…

That sparked my manifesto.

Posted in Liberals | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

More weird sex stuff at Jesuit-run Fordham University

Why is it that when really weird things occur or bad ideas surface you can almost always find a Jesuit involved?

I received this note from the Cardinal Newman Society this morning.

So Fordham has approved the creation of “gender neutral” bathrooms in one of its buildings. The student activists who lobbied for were inspired by Fordham president Fr. McShane, who reportedly said to prospective students: “Fordham is a place where you may find that you are awoken to the world. You might be disturbed. I hope you are. I hope you end up a little disturbed.”

The student activists are hoping for more neutral bathrooms on campus. Would you be interested to share our article?  [OKAY!]

Fordham Changes Restroom Signs as Part of ‘Gender Inclusive’ Campaign

Check out the Cardinal Newman Society’s feed on my sidebar.  They keep tabs on what is going on in Catholic higher… sometimes lower, actually… education.

Posted in Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, Sin That Cries To Heaven | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Sunday Clerical Supper

I’ve been getting my cooking on these days it seems. I go through cycles between cooking up storms and, on the other hand, eating slapped together sandwiches or cans of soup directly out of the pan.

In any event, Sunday started early, before the roosters, before dawn, and cold at 10°F.

The sun shows its first sliver.

It was very cold and humid as well, so my car froze shut.  It took me a good ten minutes just to get into it, which made my dash to church just a little faster than usual.

The rush was, however, rewarded.  One of the altar boys gave me a picture that his little brother had drawn of him and… well..

These are among the best moments.

I had a Supper for the Promotion of Clericalism™ planned for the evening.  Even though it was really the 24th and Last Sunday after Pentecost, in an ecumenical spirit – I’m nothing if not open and flexible… and merciful – I included the intention of celebrating Christ the King.

I don’t entertain as often as I would like, so I decided to pull out a couple of stops, and stoppers.

Inspired by my rooster meditation before dawn, the main event (after pre-prandial libations, with a dividend) Coq au vin, which I haven’t made for a while.  Julia Child

The recipe is in Julia Child’s indispensable Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  HINT: Perhaps you could give boxed sets Christmas presents.  [UK link HERE]  Everyone should have at least the Volume 1.  My set was, by the way, a gift from one of you readers.  Thank you, again.  They have given me a lot of good meals and great times with friends.

My copy is now annotated with my own tips and observations, rather like someone else’s copy of Advanced Potion Making in Rowling’s series.  Also, the next recipe in the book, Poulet grillé à la diable, may be the next chicken concoction that I attempt.  I am a bit limited in what I can work up by the simple fact that I have no oven.  I have a large toaster oven which is serviceable for some things, but I can’t get the smaller of my Creuset French ovens into it.  That restricts me to recipes I can prepare on a hot plate.  Although, I did find a work around for the oven steps in the Boeuf Bourgignon recipe.  But I digress…

I did the onions and mushrooms early in the afternoon.  This is easy.  I use the little frozen onions, thawed completely and then dried by running through them with paper towels.  Braise them in butter and stock with thyme.

As I worked I plugged my older gen Kindle into speakers, switched on the text-to-speech, and listened through to the end of the second of Rowland’s Sano Ichiro murder mystery series set in 18th century Japan, during the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate.  The first book is Shinju.  [UK link HERE] Lots of twists and turns!   You have to skip a couple pages here and there, however. One of the things that really brings these books alive for me was a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum and to the Zojo-ji Temple complex during my last trip to Tokyo.  At the museum there were recreations of houses and streets from this precise era as well as the remnants of a famous bridge which is mentioned.  The Temple complex is referenced in the books and it the site of the tombs of some of the Shoguns.  Also, there are some fascinating insights into the lives of women in that culture.  But I digress.  Back to braising onions….


Meanwhile, mushroom prep.  Always them off.  You really don’t want to ingest what they grow in.  Believe me.  You just don’t.  You don’t even want to know what they grow in.  I have a couple 1″ paint brushes for cleaning mushrooms, coffee grinders, etc.

Some were sliced, some halved, some whole.

Lardons for the chicken.  Side pork or thick bacon cut in pieces about 1/4″ x 1″.

Simmer them in water for a few minutes to get some of the fat out.

Brown in butter in the casserole or, in my case, french oven you’ll use for the chicken.  Then extract them to a bowl leaving the butter and fat in the bottom for browning the chicken.

At the grocer I hunted up a large fryer.  A whole fryer was over $14. However, right next to it, and from the same farm, were four quarters, thighs and legs, for $6.  “Hmmm,” quoth I.  Since this recipe really calls for an old rooster (thus the name – “Rooster in wine”) I opted for the cheaper dark meat (which I like better anyway).

Skin off.

Brown in the fat, and season.

Put the lardons back in.

Splash in some cognac, light it on fire, shake it around a bit as the alcohol burns off.  I tried for a photo of that, but the flames weren’t highly visible with the lights on.

Add your garlic cloves, mashed and chopped, thyme, some tomato paste.

A bottle of wine… you can do with with a white wine if you wish, but the classic calls for red.  In this case I used a Pinot Noir… which as everybody knows means “peanut of the night”*.  Add stock, chicken, or brown, or even beef, to cover the chicken.  And a bay leaf.

Raise the heat to get it moving and then simmer for about 30 minutes.  After which time, extract your chicken to a side bowl and start reducing the cooking liquid.

As the liquid is reducing, prepare some beurre manié.  This is a mixture of equal parts of flour and butter, mashed and worked together into a thick paste.  You can do this with your hands or, as I did it here, with the back of a wooden spoon against the side of the bowl.  You can make a lot of this stuff at once, form it into little balls and then freeze it.  Use it in a pinch to thicken soups and sauces.  Its a good alternative to making a roux.

Whisk it into your reduced liquid a bit at a time.

The sauce should coat and cling

Time to reassemble.  Back in goes your chicken, with the mushrooms and the onions.  Back it goes on the heat to warm up for the clerical arrival.  You can make this way in advance.

I usually like to serve peas with this, but asparagus was on sale at an irresistible price.  So, a whole bunch of asparagus, microwaved for 2.5 minutes and dressed with lemon juice.

Served with a sturdy Côte du Rhone and a baguette, this was the best Coq au vin I have ever made.  As a matter of fact, it was the best I’ve ever had, either in these USA or in France.  And I made it on a single hot plate with one frying pan and a large french oven.  The total cooking and prep time was, added up, about 2 hours and I held it in suspense for about 2 hours.

For dessert, strong coffee and ginger cookies with a lemon creme, sort of like an Oreo but not, and Armagnac.

We had a lot of clerical talk, of course.  Most of it revolved around the state of the Church and Pope Francis.

It is good to prepare a special meal on Sunday and share it with family and friends.

*For those of you in Columbia Heights, Pinot Noir does not mean “peanut of the night”. There is at present a funny TV commercial which uses that line.  

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