A level stretch

From the Gospel reading today for the Feast of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian:

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
R. Glory be to Thee, O Lord.
Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus coming down from the mountain, took His stand on a level stretch, with a crowd of His disciples, and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to listen to Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd were trying to touch Him, for power went forth from Him and healed all. And He lifted up His eyes to His disciples, and said, Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men hate you, and when they shut you out, and reproach you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and exult, for behold your reward is great in heaven.
R. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
S. By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out.

UPDATE: It is interesting that one of the ministers who prayed at the Inauguration also read the Beatitudes, from Matthew 5.

Posted in Just Too Cool | 3 Comments

“As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free”

I must admit that I get a little choked up at the last verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Remembering also that Pres. Bush had the US Army Chorus sing this for ” target=”_blank”>Pope Benedict at the White House

Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 15 Comments

25 January: Brick by brick in YONKERS! 1st Solemn Mass in decades!

17_01_19_YonkersNext week Wednesday, 25 January, for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, my good friend Fr. Leonard Villa, Pastor of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Yonkers, NY, will have a Solemn Mass for the Patronal Feast of the parish.

Mass begins at 7:30 PM to give people extra time to commute up to Yonkers. (If you are commuting from Manhattan, St. Paul’s is a short ride from the final stop on the 1 Train and the 4 Train.) After Mass, there will be reception in the parish school Cafeteria.

This will probably be the first Solemn Mass celebrated at St. Paul’s since the Second Vatican Council.

The choir at this Mass will include singers who will be at the Solemn Mass at St. Mary’s in Washington DC after the March for Life next week.  They will sing Charles Gounod’s Messe breve aux Chapelles no.7, Gabriel Fauré’s Ecce Fidelis Servus, and Cesar Franck’s
Tantum Ergo.

As many of you know, those who devoutly visit a parish church on the date of its Patronal Feast may earn a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions.

Fr. Villa is a former Navy lawyer who entered the seminary after he left active duty. He is a great priest. If you are in the area do not miss your chance to support the worthy celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass at a new location.  That’s what we want, right?

Brick by brick!   Converge on Yonkers!

Posted in Brick by Brick, Events, The Campus Telephone Pole | 3 Comments

Have priests of Malta been threatened with suspension if they resist The Maltese Fiasco?

UPDATE 20 Jan:

The Catholic Herald says:

Maltese bishop denies he will suspend priests who don’t give Communion to the remarried

Bishop Mario Grech has denied that he will suspend priests who abide by traditional Church teaching on the Eucharist.

Several websites had reported rumours that the Maltese bishop had threatened to suspend priests from saying Mass unless they give Communion to the remarried.


But the bishops have denied the rumours. A statement on the Facebook page of the Diocese of Gozo said: “What is being stated by certain sections of the (international) media with reference to Bishop Mario Grech, namely that he ‘threatens priests will be suspended a divinis for refusing Communion to divorced/remarried’, is absolutely false.”

___ ORIGINAL Published on: Jan 19, 2017 ___

The Italian language site Messa in Latino has written.. mind you, this is rumor, rumor, mind you…

Ci è stato riferito da persone affidabili ed attendili, di cui conosciamo l’identità ma che per ovvi motivi non possiamo rilevare, che in questi recentissimi giorni mons. Mario Grech (vescovo di Gozo, nella foto) di ritorno da Roma ha MINACCIATO i preti della propria diocesi di Malta di “proibire loro la Messa se non supportano le direttive su Amoris Laetitia scritte con il vescovo Sciucluna”. … Quindi: minaccia di sospensione a divinis (o comunque interdetto di celebrare pubblicamente) per i preti maltesi che non daranno la comunione ai divorziati risposati

We were told by reliable and trustworthy people, whose identity we know but for obvious reasons we cannot reveal, that in these last few days, Bp. Mario Grech (Bishop of Gozo, in the photo) on his return from Rome THREATENED priest of his diocese in Malta to “prohibit them from saying Mass if they don’t support the directives about Amoris laetitia written with Bishop Scicluna.  … Hence, he threads suspension a divinis (or rather interdict to celebrate publicly) for Maltese priests who do not give Communion to the divorced and remarried.

You know that these Bishops put out what can only be judged a dreadful document, a mockery, which we call The Maltese Fiasco.  What’s worse is that it was also published in L’Osservatore Romano.

Has this been confirmed yet by other sources?  So far, I haven’t seen it.  However, if bishops are capable of putting out The Maltese Fiascothis sort of treatment of priests would follow.   It’s all about the mercy, right?

The restrictive moderation queue is ON.


Posted in Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

TRAD LIVES MATTER! US Bishop attacks “ad orientem” worship, overrides Summorum Pontificum

17_01_18_Rockford_01UPDATE: COMMENTS CLOSED.

___ Originally Published on: Jan 19, 2017 @ 14:25 ___

I received a copy of a letter sent by the Bishop of Rockford, Most Rev. David J. Malloy, to the priests of that diocese.

In this letter, a follow up to their diocesan “Presbytery Day” (where he spoke to them about “challenges”), the bishop writes:

Following that talk, I write now to ask for your cooperation on several matters that have since been referred to me in connection with my comments last September:

First, as I noted at that time, we are all aware of the on-going discussion surrounding the celebration of the Mass “ad orientem.  However, for the reasons I discussed at that time, and in order to underscore our unity in prayer and to avoid differences between and even within parishes on this point, I ask that no Masses be celebrated “ad orientem” without my permission.

It seems to me that the bishop is, in this regard making a request, but he confuses the request by adding the word “permission”.  This letter has no juridical form or force.  It doesn’t make diocesan law.

Frankly, I don’t think a bishop can forbid celebration ad orientem.  Priests can follow the rubrics of the Roman Missal.  I don’t think that they can be forbidden from following the rubrics.  Should they be prudent about how they implement it?  Sure!  However, it’s hardly a sign of confidence in the priests to forbid them to exercise a legitimate pastoral decision.

However, there’s more (my emphases):

Second, for similar reasons, in keeping with Art. 5 § 1 of Summorum Pontificum, and with due regard to Art. 2 of that same document, Masses are not to be celebrated using the Extraordinary Form without my permission.

Hmmm….  No.  His permission?  Fail.

Art. 2 of Summorum Pontificum says (my emphases):

Art. 2. In Missis sine populo celebratis, quilibet sacerdos catholicus ritus latini, sive saecularis sive religiosus, uti potest aut Missali Romano a beato Papa Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 edito, aut Missali Romano a Summo Pontifice Paulo VI anno 1970 promulgato, et quidem qualibet die, excepto Triduo Sacro. Ad talem celebrationem secundum unum alterumve Missale, sacerdos nulla eget licentia, nec Sedis Apostolicae nec Ordinarii sui.

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, any priest whosoever of the Latin Rite, whether secular of religious, can use either the Missale Romanum issued in 1962 by Bl. John XXIII, or the Missale Romanum promulgated in 1970 by the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, and indeed on anyday whatsoever except during the Sacred Triduum. For such a celebration according to one or the other Missal, a priest does not need permission, neither from the Apostolic See nor from his Ordinary.

The Bishop of Rockford wrote “with due regard to Art. 2” and then he completely ignored it and wrote something that precisely contradicted it.  According to Art. 2, priests of that diocese – or any other diocese in the world for that matter – do not need his permission.  Granted Art. 2 says “without the people”, but the Bishop did not restrict himself to that.  And there is also the next part.

Let’s look at Art. 5, § 1:

Art. 5, § 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium stabiliter exsistit, parochus eorum petitiones ad celebrandam sanctam Missam iuxta ritum Missalis Romani anno 1962 editi, libenter suscipiat. Ipse videat ut harmonice concordetur bonum horum fidelium cum ordinaria paroeciae pastorali cura, sub Episcopi regimine ad normam canonis 392, discordiam vitando et totius Ecclesiae unitatem fovendo.

Art. 5, § 1. In parishes, where there is stably present a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition, let the pastor willingly receive their petitions that Mass be celebrated according to the Rite of the Missale Romanum issued in 1962. Let him see to it that the good of these faithful be harmoniously brought into accord with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the Bishop according to canon 392, by avoiding discord and by fostering the unity of the whole Church.

QUAERUNTUR: How does it foster “the unity of the whole Church” if some people in a diocese are made by the bishop to feel like second-class Catholics?

How do you “avoid discord” by managing these traditionally inclined faithful Catholics (with their large families) when at the same time you allow every other parish to do just about anything they want without the slightest peep, even in the face of absurd innovations or liturgical abuses?

civil rights Birmingham firehose students

Birmingham – 1963

Just go ahead and manage the, for example, Spanish-speaking groups in the same way that you treat traditional Catholic.  No no.. that wouldn’t be “pastoral” (pronounced “pastORal”, or worse, “past-OR-ee-al”).

Apparently you can treat Catholics who desire traditional expressions of our Faith and of our sacred worship any way you want.  No problem, they’re a small group and they’re weak and they tend to obey, so… GET ‘EM! 

Maybe the people of Rockford should start referring to the 1963 Missale!  The Missal of St. John XXIII!

The Church’s universal law directs priests to receive the petitions of the faithful to celebrate Holy Mass with the 1962 – 1963 Missal.  This was Pope Benedict’s wish, which is pastoral and in keeping with what St. John Paul II wrote in Ecclesia Dei adflicta. But the local bishop directs the priest to refuse the petitions of the faithful.  St. John Paul had written – nay rather had commanded by his Apostolic authority that bishops should be generous to the faithful who have these “legitimate” aspirations.

The Bishop of Rockford seems openly inimical to the pastoral concerns of Benedict XVI and St. John Paul in telling his priests to violate Summorum Pontificum and saying that priests don’t have the right to follow the rubrics even of the 2011 Missal.  Moreover, I have not found anything in the explanatory document Universae Ecclesiae that supports what the Bishop of Rockford has done.

But, “Will it play in Peoria?”

civil rights fire hoseSome of you younger readers might not know that phrase.  The idea is this: if a product or a show will have some success in the “fly over” states, in a “test market”, maybe it is good enough to bring to more “important” places.

Choose your analogy.  Trial balloon?  Canary in the coal mine?  Will it play in Rockford?

It is possible that this ultra vires move on the part of the Bishop of Rockford is a trial balloon.  A couple of other bishops sent up trial balloons against ad orientem worship not long ago.  Think also about The Maltese Fiasco. These are small dioceses, where well-organized groups of laity with priests having a will to resist is unlikely.  A raw exercise of power is tough for the average diocesan priest to handle: bishops can crucify a priest in a thousand creative ways, especially in this new age of mercy, wherein, under the surface, mercy isn’t mercy at all.  Chop down a few priests… pour encourager les autres.

What a loving gesture to a “periphery”.  What way to give due regard to their rights.

Do “Trad Lives Matter”?

civil rights Birmingham dogs sm

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Goat Rodeos, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Pò sì jiù, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle, Turn Towards The Lord, Wherein Fr. Z Rants, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , | 58 Comments

Trump appointee’s stockings

From ChurchPop:

You don’t see this very often in Washington D.C.!

Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) has been nominated by Donald J. Trump to be the new Secretary of the Interior. And at his Senate confirmation hearing, Rep. Zinke wore something unusual: socks with Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on them.

This tidbit was spotted by Melina Mara, national political staff photographer at The Washington Post, and posted on her Instagram account.


Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 14 Comments

Fathers! You are the mighty enemies of our enemy, Hell!

Artgate_Fondazione_Cariplo_-_Molteni_Giuseppe,_La_confessione 945GO TO CONFESSION!

What a victory for the demons of Hell it has been to run down the Sacrament of Penance until it is barely thought of in some parishes.

Fathers, if you are parish priests and have the obligation to hear confessions, hearing confessions can help to keep you out of Hell.  If you are parish priests and you don’t hear confessions or you won’t teach about confession, you will probably go to Hell.  Just try to deny it.  Just.  Try.

At the ever-valuable Crisis there is a piece entitled: “The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis”

Certainly we can identity many factors, both within the Church and from outside the Church. This article, however, starts with this:


Lack of Confessions
Any examination of conscience for Catholics today needs to begin literally with our lack of examination. I live next to a large, suburban parish, which has 30 minutes of Confession a weekend. How could such a short period of time suffice for thousands of people? It seems as if parishes have resigned themselves to serving the small percentage of Catholics who desire to go to Confession. [Yes, indeed.  There is a less than virile prostration before the ways of the world in this, isn’t there?  A kind of cowardice?]

When we speak of mercy, it has to begin in the Confession, with the sacrament that Christ gave us to bestow his mercy on us. When we look at the numbers, it appears that Catholics are rejecting or are simply unconcerned about receiving God’s mercy. [And these numbers don’t seem to have changed a lot over the last few years.] A report from CARA, Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, conducted almost a decade ago shows that “three-quarters of Catholics report that they never participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation or that they do so less than once a year.” Frankly, this statistic alone demonstrates the heart of the spiritual crisis facing the Church. The Church has been given the enormous grace by Christ to forgive sins, but people just aren’t very interested.


He also points to…

  • Irreverence toward the Eucharist
  • Minimal Penance
  • Bad Catechesis Leads to Dissent and Disbelief

Toward the end we find…


In the 1980s a book pushed a cardinal to international prominence as he put his finger on the controversy of faith in the Church following the Second Vatican Council: The Ratzinger Report. I found another interview book with a cardinal helpful in refocusing us on the true task at hand: Cardinal Sarah’s God or Nothing.


If you haven’t read it yet… or if you haven’t given it to your parish priests yet…


And Card. Sarah’s most recent book is now available to PRE-ORDER in ENGLISH. It will be released on 15 April (Holy Saturday).  A great Eastertide reading gift to yourselves or friends.



Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

BOOKS Recently Received: Beautiful manuals for devotions

I have recently received some books from TAN.

First, let me mention a couple of “manuals”.

There is the Manual for Marian Devotion (US HERE – UK HERE) and the Manual for Eucharistic Devotion.  (US HERE – UK HERE)

They are available on Kindle and bound in leather.    They are similarly bound.  They are a the size of a small paperback, flexible.  They can easily fit in a purse or coat pocket.  The binding feels strong and tight.

There is a single ribbon in each one.  The Marian volume is dark blue with silver edged pages and the Eucharistic volume is dark red with gold.  They are comfortable to the hand.

They each have an imprimatur.  There is a dedication page, which means that it would make a splendid and lasting gift.

The volumes were prepared by different religious families.

Each has an introductory section.

When you get these books, I hope you will use this part often.

These are lovely little books which would make great gifts.

Those of you who are now engaged in Eucharistic adoration, or who would like to begin a pious daily devotion – and we really need more people doing that – will find these useful starting points for prayer warfare and petition.

I could envisage a group forming at a parish, all having these manuals, and then praying before or after Masses or at other times of the day.  Coordinated prayer and maybe even discussion of the many quotes from the writings of saints, prayers and documents within over coffee somewhere afterwards.   We need to form these small devout “base communities” to sustain especially the clergy who will strive to be faithful in the coming storm.


Posted in REVIEWS, The Coming Storm | Tagged | 9 Comments

The Maltese Fiasco – The Movie?


I haven’t yet heard who will star in this new film noir boxoffice buster.

Meanwhile, my friend Fr. Murray has a comment at The Catholic Thing.

Meltdown in Malta [They should start using The Maltese Fiasco, btw]


The bishops of Malta have regrettably embraced the get-out-of-jail-free mentality. They recently chose to instruct their faithful as follows:

If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

Thus Maltese Catholics who are living in an adulterous second marriage are now being told by their bishops that they can engage in gravely sinful behavior that is publicly known and not be denied Holy Communion when they “acknowledge and believe” that they are “at peace with God.

What did Our Lord ever say that gave the bishops the impression that being at peace with God includes committing acts that are explicitly and strictly forbidden by God? Did Our Lord tell the woman caught in adultery “Go and sin no more, unless you have convinced yourself that you are exempt from obeying the Sixth Commandment, and that adulterous behavior in your case is pleasing, not displeasing, to God and should therefore be embraced as good for you by the rest of the Church community, including any spouse aggrieved by this behavior.” No. He simply said: “Go and sin no more.” (Jn 8:11)

How should Maltese priests who hear confessions respond from this point on to divorced and remarried Catholics who seek absolution without a firm purpose of amendment? Are they to cooperate in what is plainly an act of non-repentance of adulterous behavior, as in the case of a man who tells the priest in confession that he plans to continue committing acts that he was taught were mortally sinful but now, thanks to this new document, he believes he is at peace with God?

Are priests now to accept without question the “at peace with God” claim of divorced and remarried Catholics who come forward for Holy Communion in their parishes? Is there no harm and scandal given when publicly known behavior reprobated by God is treated as a matter of indifference by the Church – so long as the person engaging is such behavior has decided, against the plain words of Our Lord, that he is just fine with God. Or thanks to his bishops, he is now sure that God has no problem with his behavior, which he has judged to be good for himself in his concrete circumstances? Clearly, this is scandalous and destructive of faith and morals.


Posted in Lighter fare, Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman | Tagged | 14 Comments

Poste Vaticane – Commemorative stamping to honor Martin Luther

Yesterday I heard that the Vatican Post was to issue a commemorative stamp honoring Martin Luther.  HERE

To honor someone who so publicly ripped asunder the fabric of Christendom is appalling.  Who’s next?  Judas Iscariot?

This is like:

  • Augustus Caesar minting coins honoring Marcus Iunius Brutus
  • Sparta founding a momument for Ephialtes
  • West Point renaming a building for Benedict Arnold
  • Norway designating a national holiday for Vikdun Quisling
  • The FBI creating a plaque for the Rosenburgs

I want a special commemorative stamp of Leo X, who excommunicated Luther.  His tomb is in Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  The next time I’m in Rome, I’ll bring flowers for his grave.

Posted in Pò sì jiù, You must be joking! | Tagged | 48 Comments

REACTION: HBO’s The Young Pope

young-popeI have now seen two episodes of the new HBO (etc.) series The Young Pope. It has already run across the Pond.

It is visually rich, cynical, creepy, weird, unpredictable, sacrilegious and clever.

Try to get your head around Fellini’s Roma morphed by Quentin Tarantino (who belongs in jail) with House of Cards.

The production values are high. There is some gratuitous nudity and a bit of sex.  Flashbacks are important.  I think there are lots of little symbols and cues.  For example, during a flashback you see the main character as a boy, who has as a label on his jeans an American flag superimposed by the letters UFO: he’s an known object from America, flying by the seat of his pants, as it were.

I suspect that part of the underlying motives for making the show is to mock the Church.  The major motive, however, was probably the desire to make a surreal show with intrigue against a truly gorgeous backdrop.

I wonder also if this is a bit of a reaction to Pope Francis. It is both a “thank God for Pope Francis” and a “we need less of Pope Francis” show.  There is tension of modern and traditional.  The episodes seem to say, “Thank God we don’t have anything like this guy” and, at the same time, “Maybe we could use a little more of this guy”.

The filming locations were well chosen and they have enough elements to recall the real thing. Although for someone who lived in Rome as long as I did and worked in the Vatican, it is a little distracting to see people occasionally going the wrong way or to see impossible things. Also, there are moments when locations are nearly perfectly reproduced. Amazing.

Frankly, I share some of the goals of this weird fictional Pope. On this blog I have often mentioned that once We are elected Pope we will disappear into the Apostolic Palace for lengths of time so long that people shall wonder if We are still alive. The idea is that the Church has given in to the world too much. It is time to recover, Church-wide, a sense of mystery and that “the world” is still one of the three perpetual enemies which we all battle. I cheered the creepy fictional Pope’s decision to recover the tiara that Paul VI sold and which is now in Washington DC. I also very much like the fact that he sacked the Prefect for Clergy for being homosexual and said that he it is unacceptable that a homosexual be in charge of training priests. Hurray! And he sacked the Secretary of State with real style.

There are some great one liners. It helps to be well-read to follow it. Also, since it was made by Italians, they capture well the ecclesio-babble that only Italians can accomplish.

There are memorable speeches, such as when he met the cook for the first time, changed the Vatican’s marketing policy and, of course his first speech to the world from the balcony of San Pietro. That speech, which the first two episodes built up to, was marvelously monstrous, gloriously brutal, falsely true and, truly, false.  It is on YouTube.   Don’t watch it if you don’t want spoilers.  I don’t like spoilers so I won’t post it or the link.

The next episode will be the moment when I decide whether I will continue to watch it or not.

Posted in REVIEWS | Tagged , | 38 Comments

Kelly Ann Conway, The March For Life, SCOTUS, Roe v Wade

This is interesting.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 31 Comments

Solemn Mass Green Eye Candy

As Prez of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison, I want to leave it all on the field.  We are doing our best to SAVE THE WORLD, one Mass at a time.  We want Holy Mass to be Beautiful.  Beauty, the transcendent, reflects and leads to God.  With the force multiplier of Holy Church sacred liturgical worship…. ?  Are you kidding?  We move hearts and minds.

We have now a beautiful set of green vestments for Pontifical Mass which we can use for Solemn Mass (at least until we get a dedicated Solemn set or … two).

Here is some eye candy from Sunday.  I decided, channeling my inner Spanky, I alerted the Gand, “Hey! Let’s have a Solemn Mass!”.  The scheduled celebrant had not done one before, but 2017 is going to be about MORE MORE MORE!  We are pushing forward.

I received some new photos.  Here they are.



DSC_0118 DSC_0119



Ahhh.  Incense.

012_SolemnMass_2Epiphany_2017_SMPB (1)

DSC_0126a DSC_0127a  DSC_0131a  DSC_0140a

So… that’s a little bit of how our people heard Holy Mass on the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany.



Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 13 Comments

Is ‘Amoris laetitia’ compromised because of ghostwriter plagiarism?

victor-manuel-fernandez_medThere is a bit of hard reporting and analysis at Crux today which merits close attention.

Also, at the end, I have a face-saving solution for everyone regarding the Five Dubia and controversy about Amoris laetitia Chapter 8.

Here is some helpful text criticism.  My emphases and comments:

Ethicist says ghostwriter’s role in ‘Amoris’ is troubling

It turns out that the most important footnote in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ may be one that’s not there, because a key passage of the document is lifted almost verbatim from a 1995 essay in theology by Archbishop Victor Fernandez — raising troubling questions about Fernandez’s role as ghostwriter, and the magisterial force of his ideas.  [Did you get that?]


[Editor’s note: In this essay, Professor Michael Pakaluk of the Catholic University of America examines the role of Argentine Archbishop Victor Fernandez, a theological adviser to Pope Francis, in Amoris Laetitia, the pontiff’s document on the family. [NB] Crux invited Fernandez to respond, and his comments appear at the bottom of the article.]

The most important footnote in Amoris Laetitia may not be, as many suppose, one dealing with access to the sacraments for Catholics in “irregular” situations. Instead, it may be a footnote that’s not actually in the document but which should be, since one of the sentences in Amoris is lifted nearly verbatim from an essay published in 1995 in a Buenos Aires theological journal.

The sentence, from the notorious chapter 8, is this: “Saint Thomas Aquinas himself recognized that someone may possess grace and charity, yet not be able to exercise any one of the virtues well; in other words, although someone may possess all the infused moral virtues, he does not clearly manifest the existence of one of them, because the outward practice of that virtue is rendered difficult: ‘Certain saints are said not to possess certain virtues, in so far as they experience difficulty in the acts of those virtues, even though they have the habits of all the virtues.’” [Cf. Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 65, art. 3 ad 2 and ad 3].

One must see the Spanish to see the plagiarism clearly.  In Spanish, the Amoris sentence is this:

“Ya santo Tomás de Aquino reconocía que alguien puede tener la gracia y la caridad, pero no poder ejercitar bien alguna de las virtudes, de manera que aunque posea todas las virtudes morales infusas, no manifiesta con claridad la existencia de alguna de ellas, porque el obrar exterior de esa virtud está dificultado: ‘Se dice que algunos santos no tienen algunas virtudes, en cuanto experimentan dificultad en sus actos, aunque tengan los hábitos de todas las virtudes.’”

And the corresponding sentence from that 1995 theological journal is this:

“De hecho santo Tomas reconocia que alguien puede tener la gracia y la caridad pero no ejercitar bien alguna de las  virtudes “propter  aliquas dispositiones contrarias” (Summa Th., I-IIae., 65, 3, ad 2), de manera que alguien puede tener todas las virtudes pero no manifestar claramente la posesion de alguna de ellas porque el obrar exterior de esa virtud esta dificultado por disposiciones contrarias: “Se dice que algunos santos no tienen algunas virtudes en cuanto tienen dificultades en los actos de esas virtudes, aunque tengan los habitos de todas” (Ibid, ad 3).”

And here is the footnote that should be there, but isn’t: “Victor M. Fernandez, Romanos 9-11 : gracia y predestinación, Teologia, vol 32, issue 65, 1995, pp. 5-49, at 24.  Cf. Victor M. Fernandez, La dimensión trinitaria de la moral II: profundización del aspecto ético a la luz de “Deus caritas est”, Teologia, vol 43, issue 89, 133-163 at 157. Evangelii Gaudium 171.”

One must add the bit about Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the joy of the Gospel, because the same sentence was used there too without attribution, and one must also refer to another article by Fernandez, with yet another version of the sentence.

Naturally, I use the term “plagiarism” in its material, not formal sense.

You and I will suspect that Fernandez, now an archbishop and close friend of the pope and said to be the ghostwriter of Laudato Si, was also the ghostwriter of Amoris chapter 8 and parts at least of Evangelii Gaudium. In the sentence cited above, he was simply helping himself to his own, earlier writings.


Smoking gun.

A little farther along, there is a table showing texts side by side so that you can see the concurrence/dependence.  I did this recently with another deceptive work.  HERE

The writer has some conclusions.  Here is one of them:

The first is that Amoris needs to be “taken back to the shop,” to have various flaws removed or corrected.  I have already pointed out how footnote 329 misquotes Gaudium et Spes, and that it must deliberately misquote that document to advance its implicit argument.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

Think about this for a moment.   When documents are released, there is usually a press conference during which the document and its context and intent are described by the head of the dicastery that most concerns it, along with some experts.  However, the text that is initially released is a provisional text.  The text is harden and set in stone when it is eventually published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which publication is the official instrument of promulgation for the Holy See.  It is an interesting exercise to do “text criticism” with these documents, to compare the version from the time of its release and press conference to the version that appears later, sometimes months later, in the AAS.  You can find many changes to the text.  The changes are often stylistic.  Sometimes they are substantive, as in the case of St. John Paul II’s Ecclesia de Eucharistia.  There was a major (fishy) screw up in the initial version, corrected in the AAS, concerning the words “pro multis” in the form of consecration.  HERE  The mistake was corrected.

However, think about what this post-release correction means for students and scholars and pastors of souls!  There are people who quote only from the translations that were issued at the time of the initial release.   They don’t check the AAS version – the official version – which might be different.

As I write this, the AAS has been completed and posted online for 2015.  HERE  They have not released any of 2016 yet, at least online.  Amoris was dated 19 March 2016 and it was released on 8 April 2016.

And so, if anyone in Rome wants to “save face”, as it were, correct Amoris laetitia Chapter 8 in the official version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and let everyone know that the official version has been corrected.   

There’s still time!


Posted in CRUX WATCH, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can absolution be granted when no purpose of amendment exists?

penance_confession_stepsUnder another entry here a commentator asked:

Can absolution be granted where no purpose of amendment exists? If granted, with no purpose of amendment, does it even ‘take’?

No. And No.

In normal circumstances, when there isn’t danger or some other odd condition, in order to absolve a penitent who is sui compos (conscious, able to make a confession, etc.) the priest must be reasonably certain that the penitent 1) has actually confessed a sin (even a previously confessed and absolved sin is enough), 2) has, in that moment, at least imperfect sorrow for sin (attrition – fear of punishment), and 3) has a purpose of amendment at that time. If any of these three conditions are lacking, the priest MUST withhold absolution.

Since the Council of Trent, Holy Church has taught that the essence of the Sacrament of Penance includes acts of the penitent, that is, the confession of sins, the expression of sorrow, desire for amendment and atonement.  On the other hand, we have also the action of the priest, that is, the granting of absolution.  The actions of the penitent and of the priest relate to each other as the matter of a sacrament relates to its form.

Most priests do not have psychic powers to read minds and few have the gift from God to read souls. We have to listen to what the penitent says and then discern the truth. A confessor will try prudently and carefully to “tease out”, so to speak, any of the necessary elements that are lacking.  “Do you know an Act of Contrition?  No?  Okay, are you truly sorry for your sins and do you intend not ever to commit them again?  Very good. Now I’ll give you absolution….”

However, if finally a person evinces no purpose of amendment – that is, she clearly doesn’t intend to avoid sin(s) again – then the priest cannot, must not, give absolution. His absolution would be, in effect, improperly given and would therefore be sacrilegious. He would abuse the Sacrament, to the offense of Christ, the detriment of the whole Church and his own soul as well as the soul of the poor person on the other side of the grate. He would be, in effect, faking it.

How is that compassion?  How is that “accompaniment”?

How wicked would that be?  To lie to people like that under the guise of compassion.

This is pertinent to the whole discussion of the objectively ambiguous content of Amoris laetitia, Ch. 8.  Any suggestion that a penitent can be absolved if she isn’t sorry for sins and doesn’t say she’ll change is contrary to what we have always held about the Sacrament of Penance.

Keep in mind that, after confession of at least all mortal sins in kind and number, the saying the classic “Act of Contrition” expresses clearly both sorrow for sin (attrition and contrition) and purpose of amendment.  Contrition consists of three acts of the will which form a unity: grief or sorrow, detestation, intention.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, [grief] and I detest all my sins [detestation] because of Thy just punishments, [attrition, imperfect, based on fear] but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. [contrition, more perfect, based on love] I firmly resolve, [intention] with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.  VARIATIONS INCLUDE … to sin no more, to do penance, and to amend my life.

Sorrow, detestation, intention.  If one is lacking, then the matter of the Sacrament is lacking.  If the priest knows the matter is lacking, he may not proceed with absolution because he would simulate a sacrament.  If the person is unconscious or there is true reason for “general absolution (that is, without auricular confession), the priest can proceed.  That’s a whole different growler of beer.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you lib screwballs and progressivist sapheads now jibber, “She came, didn’t she, to your retrograde torture booth of uptight patriarchal oppression! Didn’t she?  HUH?  That must mean that she’s really sorry even if she doesn’t say she is.  She… right, or whatever non-judgmental gender… ummm….  YOU ARE MEAN! Why does she have to affirm that she’ll stop committing the sinful acts?  What are ‘sins’, anyway!??! What does she… he… umm… have to be ‘sorry’ for anyway? Sin.  HAH! That’s an outdated category and the Council says that’s all gone now.  This is the time of mercy and caring… and… and, oh yes… ACCOMPANIMENT!  The age of hate is OVVVVERRRRRR!  Show some COMPASSION, DAMMIT or … or… ooooh yes yes yes we’re gonna GET you!  Yessiree.  We’ll fix you, you … functionary! You… funeral-faced museum mummy!  Sourpuss! Authoritarian fundamentalist! You gloomy moralistic quibbler!  We’ll write letters, yes, we will, precious.  YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

padre_pio_confessionalI respond, with Lumen gentium, saying:

11. Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from the mercy of God for the offence committed against Him and are at the same time reconciled with the Church, which they have wounded by their sins, and which by charity, example, and prayer seeks their conversion.

Just showing up is enough, eh?  NO.  That’s sentimental twaddle.

The priest cannot simply assume that the person has the necessary sorrow, detestation and intention by the simple fact that she showed up in the confessional!

I am seeking your conversion and your salvation.  And I am going to apply this bitter but effective medicine until it takes effect.  If you listen or you don’t listen, I’m going to persevere anyway and thus save my own soul.  However, like Augustine, “Nolo salvus esse sine vobis! (s. 17.2).

The confessional is a tribunal of mercy, but it is a tribunal.  The confessional is not a “safe space” where tender snowflakes are given hugs and puppies and crayons and affirming coos.  There is a juridical character to the confession.  The facts of each case must be brought to the Judge, who binds and looses with the power of the keys received in priestly ordination and wielded with the permission of the Church via the faculty granted by proper authority.  The penitent is her own Accusatrix and Prosecutrix.  The fact that the person has come is a sign that grace is at work.  Coming to the confessional is a really good start.  But coming is not, in itself, enough.

So, everyone, especially you libs, think about the effect of your heinous black sins on yourselves and on the whole world.  When you sin, you hurt everyone.  Examine your consciences with one eye on the depths of Hell and the other on the gates of Heaven.  Choose.  Be truly sorry for your sins and …


Posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Vatican II | Tagged , , , , , , | 40 Comments