PODCAzT 149: Interview with Fr. Richard Heilman – Part 2

In this PODCAzT we hear the the second, shorter, of two parts of an interview I did with Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Pine Bluff, WI a few minutes to the west of Madison.  I’ve written about Fr. Heilman may times.  I help out at that parish on weekends.  I’ve seen some great things going on there.  It occurred to me that what Fr. Heilman is doing there could provide some encouragement, especially in the wake of Card. Sarah’s appeal to priests to start saying Mass ad orientem.

In the first part, Father spoke about an unusual situation he faced at the beginning of his pastorate, about moving his parish to ad orientem worship for all Masses and the influence learning the Traditional Latin Mass has had on him.  He also talks about working with groups of men.

In this part Father talks about confessions and confessionals (face to face or behind the screen), his Combat Rosaries and the Swiss Guard (I wrote on that HERE), and about his Scapular Crucifix.

Fr. Heilman’s blog is HERE.

In this PODCAzT we switch musical gears.  You might hear along the way something in honor of Pope Francis, whose favorite music is tango.


148 16-07-09 Interview with Fr. Richard Heilman – Part 1

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Posted in Mail from priests, PODCAzT, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Aspirants to Religious Life, Priesthood, DEBT, and You – ACTION ITEM!

action-item-buttonI occasionally get email from people who want to enter convents, monasteries, seminaries, but they are held up on account of debt, mostly from education loans.  They usually have some crowd-funding page by which they are trying to raise money to pay off their debt and get on with the testing of their vocation.

Please use this entry to post about this aspirants to the priesthood or religious life.


Even small amounts given by a large number of people can add up quickly.

The sort of person who would write to me asking for help for himself or herself, or on behalf of another, are more than likely the sort of people we really need entering convents and seminaries.

And also please consider subscribing to making a monthly donation to give me a hand and to keep this blog going.  If you are regularly checking this blog and you have benefited from it, please pitch in.

Posted in ACTION ITEM! | Tagged | 26 Comments

A US bishop “expects”, but doesn’t command, that Mass be said “facing the people”

If email were rain, I’d be soaked.  I was sent an image of a letter sent by Bp. Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, to priests.  In this letter, the Bishop says that he “expects” that Mass always be celebrated “facing the people”.

CCWatershed has a good summary of this sad new development and an image of the letter with the relevant text highlighted.

Here’s the problem.

Bp. Taylor cites a letter of 12 July 2016 from the head the USCCB’s liturgy committee, Bp. Serratelli, in the wake of Card. Sarah’s personal plea to priests to say Mass ad orientem. Once again, however, Serratelli cited the English MISTRANSLATION of GIRM 299, incorrectly asserting that 299 says that it is preferable that Mass be celebrated “facing the people”.  That is NOT what 299 says.

Based on this error, Bp. Taylor then states that he “expects” that the Ordinary Form will be “facing the people”.

He “expects” that.  He can’t mandate or command that.  Why?

On 10 April 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued an official response about this matter:

This dicastery wishes to state that Holy Mass may be celebrated versus populum or versus apsidem. Both positions are in accord with liturgical law; both are to be considered correct.
There is no preference expressed in the liturgical legislation for either position. As both positions enjoy the favor of law, the legislation may not be invoked to say that one position or the other accords more closely with the mind of the Church.

In a nutshell, bishops can’t overrule universal laws, including rubrics.

That last part is an overstatement, by the way: the rubrics of the Mass in Latin in the Missale Romanum clearly indicate that at times the priest turns away from the altar to face the people and then turns back to the altar.  Nevertheless, the Congregation is clear.  And Bp. Serratelli’s letter goes on to acknowledge this fact (not quoted here).

I would only add that it seems that in 2012 Bp. Taylor repressed a TLM community by placing myriad conditions for the celebration of the older form of Mass.  In 2011 the document Universae Ecclesiae from the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, would clarify.  Too late.  More on that HERE.  To be fair, right now in N. Little Rock, the FSSP have a toe hold at a parish, St. Patrick’s. It is not their own church, but they have some use of it for early daily Mass. Also, confessions are heard for 30 minutes before each Mass.  What a great service to that parish from these good FSSP priests.

Back at CCWatershed, there is a note at the end which I cordially and sincerely endorse, to wit (my emphases):

Some have already ascribed bad intentions to Bishop Taylor, but I disagree. I suspect he sent his letter without knowing the CDW had specifically said the diocesan bishop cannot outlaw “ad orientem.” I believe that once Bishop Taylor becomes aware of that statement, he will issue a retraction. Furthermore, I strongly suspect Bishop Serratelli will retract his letter when the correct translation of paragraph 299 is brought to his attention.

To help everyone involved, let’s review 299. Again.

Altare exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit.

… And now for the correct translation…

The altar should be built separated from the wall, which [namely, the separation of the altar from the wall] is useful wherever it is possible, so that it can be walked around and (so that) celebration towards the people can be carried out at it. 

For those who make the rookie mistake of plodding along in Latin word for word, as if that’s how Latin works, let’s rearrange 299 to make it easier:

Altare exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit.

Let’s make it more visual yet.  To what does that quod refer?


The relative pronoun quod refers back to the whole first part.    The ut clause in the middle (which creates a messy, but still readable sentence if you don’t fall into the rookie trap of reading Latin word for word in order) adds some additional information about how far away from the wall the altar should be built. It is a vast stretch to imagine that that quod refers to the infinitives in the ut clause (circumiri… peragi).  It is also a vast stretch to force quod to be a conjunction (therefore without gender or number).  No, the quod, in its role as a relative pronoun, refers most naturally and logically to the main clause.

BTW, Fr. Reginald Foster, the long-time Latinist to Popes, agrees with me.

Fr. John Hunwicke, now of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, taught Classical Languages for decades. HE wrote in a Guest Editorial in 2001 in Sacred Music:

Paragraph 299 says:

The High Altar [not, be it observed, every altar] should be constructed away from the wall, so that the option is open [possit] of walking easily around it and using it for Mass facing the people. This [i.e., having the altar free-standing so that the options are open] is desirable wherever possible.

GIRM continues – see paragraph 277 – to accept that there will be churches where keeping the options open in this way is not “possible.” And notice that according to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, ubicumque means only wherever. [not “everywhere”]
You rightly point out that the new GIRM repeats the instruction that, at certain points, the priest (or deacon) must be “turned to the people” (versus ad populum), clearly implying that he may lawfully be turned away from them at other times. You could have mentioned that these are not merely careless repetitions from earlier versions of the GIRM; I have noticed three places (Paragraphs 154, 181, 195) where the phrase is now added to
the text of the Editio typica prima, and these paragraphs occur in the description of a normal Sunday community Mass, celebrated perhaps with a deacon.
Incidentally, [NB] I suspect that a redaction critic, asked why the quod … clause has been added, might surmise that the addition was intended to emphasize the need for flexibility in the placing of the altar (it’s a good idea [expedit] to have a free-standing altar where this doesn’t cause too much trouble), rather than to discourage ad orientem.

Which is surely why this paragraph is mistranslated so often!

Elsewhere, Fr. Richard Cipolla, whom is no Latin slouch himself – an understatement – wrote:

That famous “quod” that introduces the relative clause cannot possibly refer to the celebration of Mass versus populum.  The English translation has been faulty from the beginning, or rather, from when that clause was added.  In addition the Congregation for Divine Worship in September 2000 rejected the interpretation that 299 made a free -standing altar obligatory and therefore versum populum obligatory.

It is clear from the Latin of the GIRM and the rubrics in the Ordo Missae that ad orientem worship is NOT to be, indeed cannot be, excluded.  It’s RIGHT THERE in the book.

It is clear that, according to the Latin of the GIRM and the rubrics in the Ordo Missae that versus populum is also NOT to be, indeed cannot be, excluded.  Again, check the book.

Bishops cannot forbid ad orientem worship.  They can torture priests who say Mass ad orientem in a thousand ways.  But that would be abuse of power.

The linguistic situation is pretty clear.  The history of ad orientem worship is not to be denied.  The legal/juridical/rubrical dimension is not really that complicated (if you are honest about it and have the correct information).

That said, what we have to do now is go deeper into the theology of the two manners of “orienting” Mass.

If we say that, theologically Holy Mass is to be “towards the Lord”, which of those positions (ad orientem versus or versus ad populum) will more fully manifest and also more fully facilitate an experience of Mass as being truly offered “towards the Lord“?

Friends, Card. Sarah’s personal invitation, the Sarah Appeal™, to priests was a turning point. His ad orientem appeal is a catalyst to set in motion significant change.  Each priest who takes up Card. Sarah’s catalytic call will in turn become a catalyst wherever he serves.  The way a priest says Mass produces knock-on effects in congregations.  Hence, those who support the Cardinal Sarah’s proposal are going to be persecuted.  Pray for your priests and bishops.  Pray that their minds and hearts be opened and that their actions reflect a loving balance of prudence and courage.

And, please, tell the TRUTH about 299.

Qui habet aures audiendi audiat!

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, The Coming Storm, The Drill | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two from the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass of Obligation?

For my part, I spoke about the Roman ‘genius’ (mindset, worldview, identity rolled into one) and threefold component in the absolution form after the Confiteor in the prayers at the foot of the altar and before Communion.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 16 Comments

The Church in Germany is crashing and burning

Via EWTN.  This is nothing but grim:

German bishops release new figures: fewer churchgoers, parishes, and priests

Figures released Friday by the German bishops’ conference draw a bleak picture of the ongoing decline of Catholicism in Germany.

However, the head of the conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, described the Church July 15 as a continuing “strong force, whose message is heard and accepted”. [Meanwhile… Archdiocese of Munich has 6 billion in assets, Paderborn 4 billion Cologne 3.4 billion – HERE and HERE In 2013 the German Church took in from the “Church Tax”.  HERE  In effect, the German could pretty much buy the Vatican.]

With more than 23.7 million members in Germany, Catholicism is the largest single religious group in country, comprising 29 percent of the population. Yet people are leaving the Church in droves: in 2015, a total of 181,925 people departed.

By comparison, 2,685 people became Catholic, and 6,474 reverted to Catholicism.  [181,925 v. 9159]

Whilst the German bishops’ conference emphasized that baptisms and marriages showed a slight increase as compared to the year before, the actual long-term figures describe a steep downward trend.

When compared to the official statistics of twenty years ago, the number of baptisms has declined by more than a third, from almost 260,000 babies baptized in 1995 to just over 167,000 in 2015. The situation is even worse for marriages. Twenty-one years ago, 86,456 couples tied the knot in Church. Last year, the number was down by almost half: In a nation of 80 million people, only 44,298 couples were married in the Church last year.

Further official numbers confirm this precipitous decline: average church attendance is down from 18.6 percent in 1995 to 10.4 percent in 2015.

The number of people departing the Church has increased within the same timeframe, having peaked in recent years at more than 200,000 annually.

No numbers are provided by the German episcopate about how many Catholics went to confession last year. However, a recent academic study of the priesthood in Germany showed that even amongst the clergy, more than half – 54 percent – go to confession only “once a year or less”. [That’s damning.] Amongst pastoral assistants, a staggering 91 percent responded that they receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation once a year or less. [!]

Despite these alarming numbers, the head of the bishops’ conference issued an upbeat appraisal of the situation: “The statistics show that the Church in Germany continues to be a strong force, whose message is heard and accepted. There obviously not only is an interest in, but also an active desire for the sacraments of the Church, as the slight increase of baptisms and marriages proves”, Cardinal Marx said in a statement issued by the German bishops’ conference.

Acknowledging the high numbers of people leaving the Church, the head of the German bishops’ conference said: “We need a ‘sophisticated pastoral practice‘ that does justice to the diverse lifeworlds of people and convincingly passes on the hope of the Faith. The conclusion of last year’s synod of bishops and the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis are important signposts.” [What they need is a return to the basics: say Mass correctly and preach rudimentary catechism, revive devotions and put clerical clothing on, schedule confessions and get into the box.  How is this hard?]

“Pope Francis gives us courage”, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising continued, “when he tells us that the way of the future Church is the way of a ‘synodal church’. That means: All faithful are called upon, laypeople and priests! Together we will continue to give convincingly witness to our Faith and the Gospel.” [“walking together”!]

In fact, Pope Francis issued a scathing analysis of the decline of the Catholic faith in Germany since the 1960s on the occasion of the German bishops’ ad limina visit in 2015, calling on the bishops to re-introduce people to the Eucharist and Confession during the Year of Mercy, to take on the new evangelization, to strengthen the role of priests, and to protect unborn life.

Pope Francis is unimpressed with Germany, too.

I think I have a bead now on why the German bishops are so concerned about the numbers.

And yet… I am struck by an irony.

Read this

Apart from the legal difficulties of de-registering from the Church, defectors also face significant religious consequences. In 2012, the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference decreed that those who opt out of the church tax are not eligible to receive any of the sacraments, to serve as a godparent or communion sponsor, or to hold any office in the Church. Those de-registrants who did not show significant remorse about their decision can also be denied a religious burial.

The Teutonic world is leaping about with its hair on fire defending the right of just about anyone to receive just about any sacrament you can imagine!

And yet… if you don’t pay your Church Tax… you are shut out in the cold and the dark where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Posted in Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged | 91 Comments

ASK FATHER: Last prayer at the point of death

strigils smFrom a reader…


Forgive the morbid nature of my query, but with the nature of the world today (and the mindset of an undertaker) a question has been on my mind. If one were to know death was imminent, what would be the very best prayer to recite with one’s final breath? Thank you for the daily edification you provide!

That is a good question.

I think that whatever prayer was uttered with sincerity and hope would be treated well.

However, for my part, I – a poor sinner – would beg for God’s mercy.  Especially, invoke the Holy Name.

plenary indulgence is granted to those at the hour of death who devoutly invoke the holy Name of Jesus.

My Jesus, mercy!

Save me, O Lord!

Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

Holy Mary, pray for me.

Saint Joseph, pray for me.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, help me.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

That said, I think many of us die the way we live.  Just as soldiers and athletes drill and drill and drill so that actions and reactions are nearly automatic in times of extreme stress, we all have to have habits of prayer which will kick in even in that solemn moment, when we may be in pain, afraid, in duress.

The soldier’s lot and the athlete’s striving are images of the Christian life.  We strive for the crown of glory at the of the struggle, Greek agon, the final “agony” we must all face.  Praying often short intense prayers during the day, every day, in little nooks and corners of our day or in the midst of even boring or of strenuous activities will help us to pray in the same way in the moments before we take our last breath, our hearts stop, our souls separate from our bodies, and we go to God, Christ the Just Judge, King of Fearful Majesty.

last rites extreme unction anointing viaticum 02Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis:
gere curam mei finis.

I meekly and humbly pray,
[my] heart is as crushed as the ashes:
perform the healing of mine end.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla,
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:

Tearful will be that day,
on which from the ash arises
the guilty man who is to be judged.
Spare him therefore, God.

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Merciful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen.

Dona mihi requiem!

If we develop these habits of prayer, it could be that, when the time comes, we won’t be so afraid and passing into the next life will bring longing and relief.

Dear readers… GO TO CONFESSION.

My Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Odd Brit Sandwich, Priest Killer Pasta, Beautiful Youth Missal

So there I am, minding my own business, watching an episode of Endeavour (UK HERE prequel to Inspector Morse UK HERE), and there’s Thursday eating a “cheese and pickle” sandwich.

“?!?”, quoth I. “That can’t mean what it seems to mean. Brits don’t ever mean what they mean when they use common words. Hence, pickle must be something like Indian pickle, like a chutney.” I was, of course, correct. A quick online search revealed that not only does “cheese and pickle” involve something other than pickled cukes or other, it generally involves Branston’s Pickle (UK… well, it’s probably on every corner).

Another online search revealed that a nearby grocer had it in stock.

“!!!”, quoth I.  “I must try this.”

Additional research suggested a hearty bread (check), sharp cheddar (check), a bit of butter (check – this is Wisconsin)

As far as the mechanics are concerned, I think you know the rest of the sandwich process.  I would only add that, when you make a sandwich and need to spread something on the bread, always go to the edges.  Yes, it makes a difference.

“But Father!  But Father!” some of you are saying, what is that … glimpse of ‘CATH’ in the background.  Does that stand for “Cathars”?!?  We all know you HATE VATICAN II and therefore you must hate Cathars too!  They were so mistreated and misunderstood by mean people like you.  Who are we too judge?  We should celebrate the Cathar centenary!”

You can read the UK’s best Catholic weekly online for a relatively small cost.  You get far more than is in the online edition.  I think it is a a good idea to keep current with what is going on the Anglophone Church.  I guess that also means England.  But I digress.

But wait, there’s more.

As you read on, perhaps listen to the theme from the show Endeavour, which reprises the haunting theme of Inspector Morse.   Since the next bit involves “priest killing pasta”, this might be just the tune to use.  Note the clever use of Morse Code.  — — .-. … .

I am starting to experiment with menus for another Supper For The Promotion of Clericalism.

The next time, I think I might make strozzapreti alla puttanesca (some of you will get that, and some won’t).

Begin with anchovies.  Give them a rinse.

The mise en place, or I suppose, “predisposizione” includes a couple kinds of pitted olives, minced garlic, rinsed anchovy fillets, the pasta (strozzapreti), capers, San Marzano tomatoes (thank you, readers!).

A splash of olio nuovo in the pan and start mashing the fishies.  The next time I do this, I’ll dice them up first.

I might try with paste the next time.

Add garlic.  I never let garlic get too brown.  It becomes bitter.  Give it some color, but never really dark.

In go the capers.

In go the olives.


I added cayenne, because I didn’t have any peperoncini.

In goes the mostly cooked pasta.  Salt the water sparingly if at all, since the anchovies and capers have salt content.

Give it some time, to finish in the sauce with the addition of a splash of the hot starchy water from the pasta pot.  It’s a chemistry thing.

At this point you could add a bit of parsley, but I forgot.

With some ground pepper.

This was outstanding.  Will other clerics think so?  Good question.

The recipe goes quickly enough that I could make a second version substituting tuna or… not, in a third version.

So, I’m exploring options.   My deep gratitude to the reader who sent the strozzapreti from my wish list.  Come to think of it, it might have been from a liberal, if you get my drift.  Nomen omen, right?

Back to the cheese and pickle sandwich.   Would I do this again?

Yes.  I am wondering how best to pair it.  Tea?  Beer?  Either?  Both?

Finally, some food for the soul, specifically the souls of young people who are being introduced to the traditional Mass.  Or even if they know it already!

A reader from across the Pond (who sent the spiffing tea pot which I now use often – thanks), wrote the following:

I visited the Benedictine abbey of St Michael in Farnborough. The monks here are from St Peters Solesmes branch of the family.

They have a good printing press and bee hives. But I found this lovely missal printed in the good old US of A. I bought it for my nephews who serve the UA [TLM] regularly. The boys will love it. Perhaps your readers should be alerted to it.

It starts by saying.

This is the Mass. This is not a “religious service” or a scripture class. This is Heaven on earth: it is where our God comes to us.

As you can see its fabulously laid out. With an index at the back and so easy to appreciate the Mass for anyone trying to understand the Tridentine rite.

Yes, indeed, sir, I know this book well.  I have written of it in the past. I know the author. I advertise St. Augustine Academy Press on my left side bar!  It is indeed a beautiful book.  I warmly recommend it.

Here are some snaps which my correspondent sent.  TREASURE AND TRADITION!







Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z's Kitchen, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

WDTPRS 16th Ordinary Sunday: The Enemy is hunting YOU!

lion bloodThe Collect for the 16th Ordinary Sunday, not in any pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum, has its antecedent in a 9th century manuscript.  Enjoy the fine clausula (rhythmic ending).

Propitiare, Domine, famulis tuis, et clementer gratiae tuae super eos dona multiplica, ut, spe, fide et caritate ferventes, semper in mandatis tuis vigili custodia perseverent.

We have been cheated of the beauty of our Catholic worship in Latin, which is our common patrimony. After many centuries they still communicate the profound intellectual formation and the faith of their composers, our Christian family ancestors.

These prayers, from our forebears, are our inheritance.  They lay quiet in manuscripts, but, even after a vast gap of time in human reckoning, they glitter even today.  However, now that we have, for the most part, abandoned our past, slammed the door on our common treasury, switched off the light of learning, it will be more and more difficult for future generations to grasp these tightly woven ancient Latin Collects with their lovely rhythms, their clarity of thought, their force.  Translation doesn’t do them justice.

I am reminded of the present controversy surrounding the infamous paragraph 299 in the 2002 GIRM: if you don’t know Latin, if you don’t use Latin as a priest in the Latin Church, in the Roman Rite, you are effectively cut off from the wisdom of our forebears.

Famulus and feminine famula appear frequently in our Latin prayers.  Famulus is probably from Latin’s ancient cousin, the Oscan *faama, “house.”   A Latin famulus or famula was a household servant or hand-maid, slave or free. They were considered members of the larger family.

Custodia is “a watching, guard, care, protection” and has the military overtone of “guard, sentinel”.  Vigil is “wakeful, watchful”, and, like custodia, can also be “a watchman, sentinel”.

Liturgically, a “vigil” is the evening and night before a great feast day.  In ancient times vigils were times of fasting and penance.  Men who were to be knighted kept a night’s vigil. They were watchful against the attacks of the world, the flesh and the Devil.  They fasted, prayed, and examined their consciences in order to be pure for the rites to follow.


Look propitiously on Your servants, O Lord, and indulgently multiply upon them the gifts of Your grace so that, burning with faith, hope and charity, they may persevere always in your commands with vigilant watchfulness.


Lord, be merciful to your people. Fill us with your gifts and make us always eager to serve you in faith, hope, and love.

Can you believe that?   THAT is how our Latin original was rendered!  THAT is what people heard in their churches for Mass for decades!


Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.

Scripture often gives us images of watches during the night.

At the birth of the Lord shepherds “were keeping watch over their flock by night (vigilantes et custodientes vigilias noctis)” (Luke 2:8).  Jesus said, “Watch (vigilate) therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched (vigilaret) and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44).   Our Lord explains that servants should keep watch in order to open the door for the master of the house even if he returns in the dead of the night (cf Luke 12:37-39).  St Paul constantly urges Christians to be “watchful”.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we read sobering, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”.

The Enemy is seeking you!  (1 Peter 5:8)  You, dear friends, are described as prey whom the Enemy might devour.

In the ancient Roman countryside there were great estates (cflatifundium) having many buildings for family, household servants, the various workers, storage, etc.  These dwellings were often self-sufficient, and were surrounded with walls against attacks by brigands.  Even into Renaissance times, a great house in a city (domus) might be fortified with watch towers.  The householder or the lord of the estate was the head or father of the larger “family”.  Kind or cruel, the paterfamilias was judge, protector and provider to everyone under his care.

Simple ancient famuli had to work to produce good fruits in order to survive with a good quality of life and a safe place to belong.  Sophisticated modern famuli, marked with the family name “Christian”, marked permanently with the family seal through baptism and confirmation, must produce fruits according to our vocations.

When life’s reckoning comes, will we be like the foolish virgins?

The foolish virgins, too, watched all night for the arrival of the Bridegroom, but they didn’t take care to have enough oil for their lamps.  They were locked out of the house, outside in the dangerous night with no place to go, no work to do, no purpose to fulfill. They no longer belonged.  When the Bridegroom came, they were not ready.  When they returned from obtaining their tardy oil, the door was closed in their faces.  They pounded.  They plead.  From the other side of the door they heard the Bridegroom say those terrifying words: I do not know you.

Vigilate… Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

When you hear the priest pronounce this Collect, beg our Lord – so gracious and patient with us even when we are lazy and sinful – to continue giving us gifts of faith, hope and charity we need for the very survival of our souls.

If you prepare for bad times and disasters that can occur in respect to worldly things, how much more important is it to prepare for hardship or attacks, and that final moment of reckoning, in the spiritual plane?

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Crowd-funding project to restore a Roman painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

On this Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an interesting project has crossed my radar which you might like to participate in, to the honor of the Mother of God.

There is a crowd-funding project to restore a painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in one of the Roman Basilicas, San Pancrazio, which happens to be the last of the Roman Stations to end the Easter Octave. The church is under the care of the Discalced Carmelites.


The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa of Avila by Palma the Younger

There is a good description of the painting and its history, what needs to be done with it and how the costs break down.

Even a small amount will help. That’s how crowd-funding works!

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Events, Our Solitary Boast, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged | 2 Comments

CQ CQ CQ #HamRadio Saturday: UPGRADE and the aftermath of Zuhlsdorf’s Law

phantom ham radio operatorLast week I posted about the long delay for my Amateur Extra license upgrade to be posted on the FCC site.  It FINALLY came through.  So, that’s take care of.

Last week I also posted on my struggles under the influence of Zuhlsdorf’s Law.  That struggle continued into this week.  I had my car in to the shop.  My phone developed problems which resulted in huge frustration and scrambling for solutions.  Etc. I write on that here because, after all, the mobile phone is a hand held radio that hits local repeaters.

What happened with the iPhone is that, on my way to Milwaukee to get my new radio (because the old one died), it got very warm and the power, the charge, simply dropped.  For the days that followed, it charged slowly, and you could practically see the battery percentage drop as you gazed at it.  I tried everything I could find on these interwebs to deal with this.  I was on the phone with Apple.  No joy.  I eventually stopped in at my provider store to explore my options and I chose to invoke my insurance to replace the phone.  I must say that the replacement came swiftly. Then I had to go through the set up and restoration from my backup which was a slow process.   In any event, that’s over… for now.

Interesting note: my old phone developed its problems a month before it was eligible for upgrade.  Coincidence?

Hopefully Zuhlsdorf’s Law is done with me for the time being. Remember… Murphy was an optimist.

Also, I posted the bad news that the ham radio shop in Milwaukee was closing down.  The good news is that Ham Radio Outlet is going to take it over.

Meanwhile, I am again working on my Morse Code.  Each day I do something with it.

My practice key, which I bought at Rocket Radio in Tokyo, Akihibara.

If you want to learn a language, the key – ehem – is to do something each and every day without fail.

Also, I am assembling some parts for a little “home brew” project.

I created a page for the List of YOUR callsigns.  HERE  Chime in or drop me a note if your call doesn’t appear in the list.


Posted in Ham Radio | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Canon 212 in the 1983 Code and the Internet: edgy new Catholic news aggregator page

There is an edgy new Catholic news aggregator page available.  Canon 212.com

Canon 212 in the 1983 CIC for the Latin Church is an important canon in the section on the obligations and the rights of the faithful

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige [scientia, competentia et praestantia] which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

That last part is important.

First, not everyone has knowledge, competence or prestige (excellence, preeminence).  There are a lot of people out there in the interwebs who don’t know that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Second, there is a way to “manifest to the sacred pastors” concerns, needs, etc.  When it comes to disagreement with doctrine, there are channels, so as not to create scandal.  When it comes to disagreement with personal opinions or tastes or, simply put, errors, this canon does not exonerate anyone from being charitable and prudent.

So, we have another quick glance source for news.  Let’s hope that it bears good fruit.

Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged | 19 Comments

The Polish translation of GIRM 299 on the position of the altar

16_07_01_PontMass_31The personal appeal made by His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah to priests to begin reading Holy Mass ad orientem has once again stirred debate about the correct translation of GIRM 299, about the position of the altar and about the position of the priest at the altar.  The Latin has been explained in a response by the CDW to a dubium.

The official English translation is WRONG.  Some continue to deny that, despite the fact that they are WRONG.

Some have responded, “But Father! But Father!”, they squeak, “the Italian translation of 299 also says that Mass must be ‘facing the people’!  We don’t have to know Latin to know what the Spirit of Vatican II wants us to do.  But you HATE VATICAN II!”

So much for the quality of their arguments.

In any event, under another entry on this matter one of the commentators here said that the Polish translation of 299 gets it right.  I asked for the Polish version and the commentator sent this by email:


You can find the Polish text on: kkbids episkopat pl/?id=201#id=225 (two dots removed to get past spam filter) – the official site of Polish “commission for divine worship and discipline of the sacraments”.

And here’s my try on overly literal translation of the first part of #299 into English:

The altar should be built in a distance from the wall, so it would be easy to walk around it and celebrate at it towards the people. It is proper to emplace it in such manner everywhere, where it is possible.

Or with wording similar to the actual English text:

The altar should be built apart from the wall, in a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and celebrate at it facing the people. It is desirable to put it in such a way wherever possible.


Note that one sentence of the original Latin has been split into two, [I never thought I would appreciate parataxis.] and the second sentence explicitly refers to the placement. No “quod” that may work differently depending on the language, and no way to misinterpret it.

Oh, by the way, one priest in my city has already said he’ll remove the table altar from his parish church, leaving only the high altar in the sanctuary.

Kudos to that priest and thanks for your effort!

The Poles got it right.

Meanwhile, on the topics of Cardinal Sarah and 299 see these.

Fr. Hunwicke HERE

We have reached a turning point at which every priest knows that if he heeds Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation, he makes it easier for his brother priests also to do the same; and that that if he opts for a quiet life, it will be that bit easier for the Tablet and ACTA to pick off his bolder brother clergy by clamouring for their episcopal persecution. There is no reason why a start cannot be made, after catechesis, by introducing versus Orientem ‘provisionally’ on alternate Sundays, or even just on the first Sunday of each month. Advent, when priest and people go forward together to meet the Lord who Comes to us, is indeed a highly suitable occasion.

In the Veni Sancte Spiritus we ask God the Holy Spirit to water what is parched, to heal what is wounded, to bend what is rigid, to warm what is cold, to govern that which strays from the way.

Prof. DeVille HERE

Many Orthodox have been appalled, as many Eastern Catholics have also been, less by the well-known if rather rare liturgical shenanigans one forever hears about (clown Masses, prancing ladies wafting incense from flea-market crockery, etc.) and more by the profound estrangement of Latin Catholics from their own tradition—indeed, appalled at their open disdain for their own tradition, and that of the universal and undivided Church.

True to form, critics of Sarah’s proposal give every evidence of this, insouciantly defending a disoriented priest celebrating Mass backwards and refusing with indecent haste (as in Westminster) to tolerate any other “tradition” than this one. That is a sign of deep internal pathology bordering on self-hatred, and does not bode well for East-West unity.

At a stroke, Cardinal Sarah’s wise proposal would accomplish two things. First, it would contribute to the slow but on-going process of the Latin Church’s healing and recovery of parts of her tradition that were perversely junked after Vatican II by shady operatives (see Louis Bouyer’s memoirs for evidence of this) playing duplicitous games with a credulous Pope Paul VI. Second, it would contribute to the slow but on-going process of the East and West drawing closer to one another by both drawing closer to Christ, the rising Son of God whom we worship by the first light of dawn in the East.

Prof. Huizenga HERE

I’d also like to remind readers that the issue of ad orientem posture isn’t merely a minor matter of moment for fastidious liturgical nerds, as if the Mass were a mere matter of aesthetics cordoned off safely on Sundays. Rather, liturgy breaks the bounds of the sanctuary and affects all that we do and indeed the wider culture as it brings God’s people to God. The cultivation of culture—first, among Catholics themselves, and then outwards from there—depends on a proper cultus, a liturgy in which God is sought and found. As Pope Benedict XVI made clear in his 2008 address at the Collège des Bernardins, Benedictine monasticism (for example) generated many of the glories of later western Christian civilization as a secondary result because its primary aim was quaerere Deum, seeking God. Restoring ad orientem posture to the ordinary form of the Mass would go a long way to putting God back at the center, and help shape Catholic culture and Catholic witness and service thereby.

Posted in Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Excommunicated women’s ordination advocates meet with official of Secretariat of State

It is possible that some wywympryst wannabes, representatives of the militant women’s association Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW), are supposed to meet with someone in the Vatican. Via Eponymous Flower and Katholisches.info.

I think most of these wymyn and those who aid them are excommunicated.  Rightly so.

This news should make everyone scratch their heads.  What is there to talk about other than “publicly renounce your theological errors and repent!”?

Moreover, I hope this reporting is accurate.  If it isn’t, these excommunicates will crow that the reporting got something wrong in order to discredit anyone who resists women’s ordination.

Come to think of it, that’s the same thing we have going with terrorists, right?  Think about it.   We have to get everything right all the time in order to keep the terrorists from fulfilling their nefarious aims.  Terrorists only have to get it right once.

“But Father! But Father!”, Fishwrap types will sputter in a rage, “How DARE you draw a moral equivalency between the promoters of women’s ordination and terrorists!   WE are the only ones who are permitted to make wild and unfounded accusations for the sake of smearing our opponents.  Besides… you hate VATICAN II!”

What I hate is obdurate denial of the truth of Ordinatio sacerdotalis.  What I hate is the scandal of persistent public dissent.

I also hate calumny and defamation.  But I digress.

I remind the readership that during his presser on the way back from Armenia (HERE) Pope Francis has slapped down hard the question about studying the issue of deaconettes (easier to say than “deaconesses”).

Cecile Chambraud (Le Monde): Asks a question about deaconesses.

Pope Francis: There is a president in Argentina who advised presidents of other countries: “When you want something not to be resolved, make a commission.” But, the first to be surprised by this news was me… The dialogue with religious was recorded and published on L’Osservatore Romano and something else… And we had heard that in the first centuries there were deaconesses. One could study this and one could make a commission. Nothing more has been requested. They were educated, not just educated, beloved of the Church. And I recounted that I knew a Syrian, a Syrian theologian who had died, the one who wrote a critical edition of Saint Ephrem, in Italian, and once speaking of deaconesses, when I came and was staying at Via della Scrofa, he lived there, at breakfast speaking…  but he did not know well if they had ordination. [On a personal note, I lived in that residence for years and I regularly ate lunch with this Syrian scholar.  We were on the same time table.  His name was Georges Gharib, an Archimandrite of the Greek-Melchite Church.  He was, above all, a Marian scholar as well as an expert on images of Christ.  He was the editor of the Byzantine version of the breviary.  The topic of “deaconesses” came up with the same Syrian scholar occasionally.  As it would. He said that, while he didn’t know for sure, he thought that they weren’t ordained, in the sense men were.  But this was not his major field of interest. By the way, I also had numerous meals with His Holiness at that same table when he, as a Cardinal, came from Buenos Aires.] Certainly there were these women who helped the bishop, and helped in three things: In the baptism of women, because there was the baptism of immersion; second, in the pre-baptismal unction for women, third – this makes me laugh –  when there was a woman who went to complain to the bishop because her husband beat her, the bishop called one of these deaconesses, who looked at the woman’s body to find bruises… this is why it was done for this. [Nothing about domestic abuse of women makes me laugh.  None of those functions requires ordination in the sacramental sense.  Furthermore, some of these women had the task of standing at the doors of churches, I suppose rather like porters or bouncers, in case there were those who demonstrated unlady-like behavior.]

But, one can study, if it is the doctrine of the Church and if one might create this commission. They said: “The Church opens the door to deaconesses.” Really? I am a bit angry because this is not telling the truth of things. I spoke with the prefect of the [Congregation for the] Doctrine of the Faith, and he told me, “look, there is a study which the international theological commission had made in 1980.” And I asked the president to please make a list.  [And there is the International Theological Commission’s study on Diaconate in 2002. More below.]

Give me a list of who I can take to create this commission. He sent me the list to create this commission, but I believe that the theme has been studied a lot, and I don’t think it will be difficult to shed light on this argument. …

The 2002 study of the ITC has quite a bit of text about women and the diaconate.  The ITC does not come right out and say definitely (as if they could) that women were or were not ordained in the same sense that men were, it strongly implies that they were not.  And there are some questions that remain which could be studied.  I don’t think any answers will be reached easily about them, but they could be studied, for a loooong time.  For example, what was meant by “ordain” in the context of the ancient church when it came to women in some sort of diaconal service? Did the verb mean “ordain” (as we know it now) or “bless” (as we know it now).  I think it meant “bless”.  Connected to this is question of whether the verb “ordain” meant the same thing for men as it did for women.  Also, when and where were these “blessings/ordinations” carried out?  It’s complicated.  Does it need more study?  Maybe, but I don’t think it’ll get very far.

If such a commission is ever assembled, serious scholars will be needed and not ideological hacks.

If you want to know more, read Deaconesses: An Historical Study by Aime G Martimort. UK HERE  It is the best thing available right now.


Posted in Liberals, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Annibale Gammarelli – RIP

The Pope’s Tailor, Annibale Gammarelli, has passed away.  He was   There was an announcement of his death in L’Osservatore Romano.  More HERE.

Signor Annibale was “un signore” in the full sense of that Italian concept.

Please stop and say a prayer for him.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Pink Sisters

From KIII TV in Texas. These sisters are a sister order to that of a holy sister with whom I worked in Rome.

In a time when our world is thirsty for hope and peace, one group of local women have agreed to give up their traditional ways of living as an action of love and faith. This sisterhood gave up family ties, material items and many freedoms just to pray specifically for total strangers.

Find out why they have decided to talk to the media for the very first time in a 3News Special Report: Pink Life.

Note the element of Adoration.

KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

These sisters spend time in adoration and interceding for us. Who knows how many things have been averted through their prayers.

We need much more of this.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Women Religious | Tagged , | 10 Comments