VIDEO: Conversion of an NFL player and the Traditional Latin Mass

Several kind souls have sent this video and I have heard about this young man from friends in Kansas City for some time now. You can see also my friends Fr. Matthew Bartulica and Fr. Shawn Tunink (who has a blog).

I hope the interviewer learned something in this process.

A lesson to be learned from this is that we must always be prepared to give reasons for the hope that is in us!

Another is, never never never underestimate the power of an invitation.


Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Maybe “Pray Brethren that my sacrifice and yours …” doesn’t mean what people assume.

From Fr. Hunwicke, something provocative… with my emphases and comments:


“Pray Brethren that my sacrifice and yours …”

We find the roots of this formula, which precedes the Prayer Over The Offerings, in Carolingian Gaul, in a rubric which goes: “Then indeed the Priest to [or with?] right hand and left asks of the other priests that they pray for him”.  [In case someone from Columbia Heights missed that… “the other priests” and not the congregation!]

I am suggesting that originally the Orate Fratres was a formula addressed to concelebrants; although, of course, through being used by celebrants who had no concelebrants around them, it soon came to be thought of as addressed to the assistant clergy in the sanctuary and to the congregation.

The strength of my suggestion is that it makes sense of the concept of “my sacrifice and yours”. I have long been puzzled by the assumption we have all made that a formula which entered the Mass as late as the Carolingian period should seem to want so explicitly to refer to the People as offerers of the Sacrifice. Yes, I know that in a sense they most certainly are, [By baptism they have a priestly character at Mass, but not in the same way the priest is priestly.] but that was a period in which emphasis was laid more and more strongly on the idea that the Priest sacrifices for the people (so that the phrase “for whom we offer unto thee” entered the Memento).


Surely the eventually diminishing of concelebrants and priests in choir for most Masses permitted a shift in meaning.   However, in recent years there have also been relentless efforts to pull the priest down and to diminish him.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged | 5 Comments

Francis and the Deaconess Study Commission

At Crux Charles Collins (quondam Vatican Radio speaker) has some cleared-eye comments on recent remarks made on an airplane trip by Francis about the possibility of the ordination of women to the diaconate.

In his view, and I agree, Francis established the commission to study the problem in order to give him cover for not doing anything about women’s ordination.

Francis will address a big group of women religious soon, and the topic could come up, as it did the last time he addressed them.  He can now point to that commission – which, predictably, failed to come to any solid conclusions – and exclaim, “The experts just don’t know!”   It must be observed that the commission was comprised of people with diametrically opposed positions.  Of course they weren’t going to come to any firm agreement.

But the fact of the commission remains and Francis isn’t going to do anything.

Let’s see the last part of Collins’ piece:


Despite the pontiff’s claim that the work of his commission “can be an impetus to go ahead and study and give a definitive answer, yes or no,” his response on the papal flight can’t do anything but deflate the hopes of those wanting to see women ordained to the diaconate[Right.  It isn’t going to happen.  Ever.]

Of course, this raises the question: Why establish the commission in the first place?

Francis actually answered the question himself three years ago, even joking about it: “There was a President of Argentina who said – and advised other presidents of other countries – When you don’t want something to be resolved, create a commission!

The pontiff had been asked on the papal flight from Armenia in July 2016 about the promise to create the commission he made while meeting members of the International Union of Superiors General a few weeks earlier.

Francis told the reporters he was “surprised” the promise had been publicized in the manner it was, and “a little bit angry” with how the media had reported the issue.

But a commission was made, and much was made of how voices in favor of women’s diaconal ordination were given a seat. [Because the lefty catholic media missed the punchline.] Less attention was given to the fact that several scholars opposed to the idea were also placed on the commission.

Anyone who had reported on this issue in the past would know that such a commission would never reach a consensus – in fact, if that were the aim, scholars who had not been vocal advocates for either side would have been better picks.

But now, to paraphrase the unnamed Argentine president, nothing is resolved, and the pope can only shrug and speak about how the commission could go no further.

This will be good to keep in mind this October, when the Vatican hosts a Synod on the Amazon region, where participants have already said they will discuss the possibility of married priests.

It’s just the sort of idea a pope might want a panel of experts to explore.

Now I wonder if those people who, in other matters, channel their inner Mottram and claim that every word that flows from Francis’ lips is part of his magisterium will now obediently accept that women are not going to be admitted to the diaconate.

Posted in Liberals, Pope Francis, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Day 6-7 – NS Guantanamo Bay: Of mates and doors and details

My time here at GITMO is paying some dividends.  First, the heat seems to be helping my shoulder and foot, which were injured during the winter.   Also, today I got some writing done for the paper ahead of time.

Some of my time, however, was sucked up by a nasty-ram from amazon, saying that I used their logo somewhere I shouldn’t have.   They threatened my affiliate program.   So, I dealt with that.

Friends… your use of my links provides important income, with which I pay for health insurance and which I put away because I don’t have a diocesan pension.  You know, frivolous stuff.  When I ask you to use my links when you shop on amazon, I ask in earnest.  It makes a big difference at the end of the month when you remember.

Speaking of improving health, I had the opportunity to make a hospital visit.  During the visit I blessed the patient and invoked our angels to help: the person was facing surgical interventions in the morning.   The next day I called for a status report and learned that the patient had been discharged!  Following up with a couple of calls, I found that, during the night, there was a change of condition and the interventions were not thought necessary.  Very cool.  Yay God!

Blessings.   Ask for blessings, friends.   Talk to your angels.

And speaking of very cool, here’s something scacchic.

Alekhine v. Popvich
From a simultaneous clock exhibition at Osijek, Yugoslavia on December 23, 1931.

The last move was Black Bishop to G6… check.

White to move.

This doesn’t happen too often.  Can you get it?   Are you scacchically inclined?

And speaking of set ups, I was queried by a reader about how my Mass vestments were set up on a vestment press the other day.


Is there a prescribed way that vestments have to be laid out?

No, there isn’t.  Each sacristan and/or priests will have his own thoughts about it.  You have I am sure seen the wonderful things that the Sisters in Santa Rosa do with amice ties.

In any event, I lay out my vestments usually in the reverse order that I handle things before Mass.   Do I vary a little?  Sure.  But not much.

Applying common sense, since the chasuble is last to go on, it is the first to lie down, facing down, with the back drawn up  Then on top of that the stole, and, on top of the stole, the maniple.  Before that the cincture.  I put them down so that they can simply be picked up and put on, so the part of the maniple that goes on the wrist is closest and the part of the stole that goes over the neck is closest.  The stole is lain down almost like an M to conserve space.

Note that this maniple has a pin.  Since this maniple has a perfectly shipshape tie, I assume that the pin is intended for fishing spiders and flying critters out of the chalice.   I have a whole post on that point… if you get it.  Otherwise, some maniples are held onto the sleeve of the alb with a pin.

Speaking of albs, it goes down, face down, next with the amice on top of it, the stings coiled up so that they fall free.

Next, since before I put on vestments I dress the chalice, here is the burse and corporal, since they go on top of the chalice after it is charged with purificator, and paten with Host, pall, and the veil is draped.

The veil goes on after the purificator and the pall on the paten.

Obvious, it is a good idea to check the book before anything else so that it can be carried out or it can be placed on the altar before Mass.

I put the biretta on there even though it is the very last thing to you put on because it looks cool, as Semper Gumby admitted.

The other day I showed a photo of the tabernacle.  Today, during Mass, I noticed a curiosity.  Can you spot it before I give a close up?

That little figure, facing out from the corners, is definitely canine.

Significance?   I am not sure.  Except for the idea that sheep dogs guard the lambs, and that this is a tabernacle.  And dogs are sometimes found in religious art to denote fidelity (and cats, the opposite).

Meanwhile, the other day I lamented that the flowers which had been presented to Mary had seen better days.  I mentioned this to one of the ladies here and look what happened!

There is depth in the details, friends.   Details help.

Moving on, today a priest friend texted and mentioned that a young man in Colorado, at the school where the coward gunmen attacked, had charged the attackers to stop them and was killed.  This young man was a Catholic Knight of Columbus and a USMC recruit.

My priest friend wondered if manliness is starting to return.   I think manliness has been horrifically twisted – as it has been from the beginning – by the enemy of the soul.

I have learned of C.S. Lewis Doodles. Speaking of knights and details and laying everything out, here’s the one on chivalry.  Perhaps he can shed some light upon the question.

Lastly, today has been a good day for ZedNet, which some fellow hams using DMR or WiresX have used to chime it.  I have my hotspot tethered to my android phone, using its data stream, and it works just fine! Raspberry pi by rasberry pi, folks.  Today I’ve heard 5 different call signs.  And, with my remote station activated, last night on 20m we had a great open band.  I made contacts in New Zealand and Asiatic Russia.  Very cool.

One of the hams on ZedNet asked for prayers for the young man in Colorado who died trying to save lives.

Surely, that’s an honor.



Posted in Ham Radio, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

The Present Crisis and the crisis of liturgy and catechesis

Rev. Msgr. Richard C. Antall is pastor of Holy Name Parish in the Diocese of Cleveland.  He has, today, a piece at Crisis which is worthy of close attention.

Please don’t jump to the false conclusion that I am in strong disagreement with Msgr. Antall just because you see a lot of red below!  He is definitely over the target.

I want to “dialogue” with this, so you will find my by-now-characteristic emphases and comments:

A Crisis of Faith Cannot Be Met by Liturgical Protocols
[“Uh oh!” was my initial reaction to the title.  But that “protocols” got my attention: he didn’t say “rubrics”.]

The unprecedented message of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI regarding the crisis of the clergy contained a surprising illumination that is so incisive it will probably be ignored for years: All problems connected to Holy Orders are related in some way to the Eucharist. Benedict wrote: [It wasn’t lost on me!  But I like his subtle stiletto into the the ribs of chancery and parish personnel.]

Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern… What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. [“Still know” implies an erosion.   Yes.  This is exactly right.  There are vestiges of “appreciation” in most mainstream parishes and, dare I say, chanceries and seminaries.  However, the erosion is still underway.  This is why Summorum Pontificum is so important and, with it, documents like Sacramentum caritatis and Redemptionis Sacramentum.]

The pontiff [Benedict] sees a relationship between the lack of spiritual discipline of the clergy with a lack of respect for the sacrament. The former professor thinks that a lack of clarity about sacramentality has repercussions in the holiness and morality of those called to officiate the sacraments.  [And vice versa.   However, the one has logical priority.] Understanding worship in terms of merely human dynamics removes a sense of awe that protects a sacramental encounter with Christ from being “a purely ceremonial gesture.” There is a danger that priests can become “masters of faith,” meaning that they work with faith as “experts” and only intellectually or in terms of human dynamics instead of being “mastered by the Faith.”  [Good stuff here. Let’s remember that our Catholic thing is both intellectual and affective.  It is both kataphatic and apophatic.  It is simultaneously immanent and transcendent.  When we move in the sphere of Faith, we must embrace the fides quae in light of the fides qua.  What comes to mind is Augustines: Nisi credideritis non intelligetis, as well as Ratzinger’s admonition of Rahner that one cannot pray to an “Existenzmodus“.   The deep content of our Faith is a Person with whom we can have a relationship that goes beyond study and deconstruction and liturgical positivism.]

What is true of the clergy is true of the whole Church. [This is the “knock on effect” that I am forever banging on about, especially in regard to the priest’s ars celebrandi.  This is, hence, why the aforementioned SP and SC are so important for the priest and the congregation in turn.] The weakening of a faith in the sacraments results in a religion that is individualistic or merely social and emotional. The discounting of sacramental realism would make our worship more centered on relationships with other people instead of touching the Holy and Divine. [One of the truly stupid and wicked things, one of the seriously corrosive things we heard in seminary from those heresiarch’s placed over us like pharaoh’s foremen was that – I am not making this up – “the sacrament really occurs when you look into the eyes of the other person”.  For dumb!] The lack of a sense of transcendence can lead to a flattening of the sacraments into human signs. This has a bad effect on the priest who can think that his actions are more crucial than Christ’s. It also explains why some Catholics lose respect for the sacraments because of a lack of sympathy for the officiant. They shop around for a priest whose style is more moving or simpatico, as if the Real Presence were not enough. Protestant churches with no sacramental theology tend to need preachers who bring with them special effects, music and light shows, and some theatrical styles.  [To be fair to people who shop around when it comes to priests and worship, some are sincerely looking precisely for reverence and transcendence and a conscious “sacramentality” of liturgy.]

The weakness of sacramental theology debilitates faith. Polls tell us that some Catholics do not know how to talk about the truths of the faith. The word transubstantiation apparently stumps them. [Can we all stipulate that for the last few decades catechesis at every level has been utter disaster?  And it was engineered.  But our liturgy itself, though not primarily catechetical is fundamentally catechetical.  Lex orandi…!  ] One study concluded that about two thirds of Catholics had an idea of the Real Presence, some of them “knowing believers” who could explain the doctrine and some “unknowing believers” who could not articulate the truth about the Sacrament but believed it. The study concluded that the “crisis” about the Real Presence among Catholics in America was a question of religious education and not of belief because only one-third of the people polled seemed to deny the doctrine!  [One of the talks I give is about Modernism 2.0.   I get into this problem.  Perhaps your parish needs this talk.]

[And now comes a HUGE problem…] But what have the bishops done about this problem of religious education[With rare exception DAMN LITTLE TO NOTHING.  They’ve made the situation WORSE.  The next time you read something from a bishop about what we have to do to improve “FILL IN THE BLANK”, look for any mention of liturgical worship.] “Liturgical” education, especially regarding the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the use of the new official translation of the Mass, has had to do with externals, not with doctrinal issues. There is a substantial number of Catholics who seem to doubt a crucial belief in sacramentality and yet all they hear from the pulpit and in workshops are protocols for posture and proper responses. Sacramental theology has been lost in a multitude of externals.  [It like a medic focusing a broken leg when the patient has a sucking chest wound.]

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who left the ministry of his Unitarian Church because of his refusal to celebrate the Eucharist, said that “In the history of the Church no subject has been more fruitful of controversy than the Lord’s Supper.” He called “the posture in which men should partake of it” a “frivolous” question and concentrated on his doubts about the Real Presence and the utility of considering a “perpetual ordinance” what was a vestige of the Jewish religious tradition. He also said St. Paul’s insistence on the Eucharist was connected with the apostle’s incorrect idea of the proximate character of the Parousia. Emerson saw no more need to celebrate regular Eucharists than to have ritual foot washings.

What Emerson called a frivolous question has somehow taken center stage in some places. In my own diocese there has been much attention to issues of posture and protocols [there’s that word from the title] of purification and presentation. At one point some years ago I said that more attention was given to posture than to receiving sacraments worthily and with preparation. Recently, the Liturgy Office has been involved in a Lenten Blitzkrieg of statements and bulletin announcements about the necessity of remaining standing until the last person has received communion. [For dumb!  This liturgical positivism is, by the way, a product of the fever-swamp brains of liberals.   Libs accuse traditionalists of being “rigid”.  HA!  To find liturgical rigor mortis find a lib.  They have this need to force everyone to do exactly the same thing at the same time.  The Roman thing, however, is far more flexible.  You can see it in the way that the traditional liturgies are celebrated by people who have finally become comfortable in them: several things can go on at the same time instead of everything proceding in blocks with pauses in between.  People can kneel, stand, move about it necessary.] This is a rubrical extremism that goes beyond the toleration expressed by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. [cf. the aforementioned Redemptionis Sacramentum.]

There has been some reaction to the full court press of the Liturgy Office of the Diocese, but to no avail. The question of standing and watching while everyone receives in the Communion Rite has alienated some Catholics who are worried about respect both for the sacrament and the individual spiritual moment of the communicant. They do not feel that standing and staring is a reverent response to communicating. A man in my parish said he would stop coming to church if I made him stand after receiving communion instead of kneeling immediately as he has all his life. I told him that I was not a “liturgical martinet” to enforce postures at such a juncture.  [Good man.]

One priest told me he disliked the new efforts at enforcement of the rubric because it seemed to emphasize a “horizontal” approach to communion as opposed to a “vertical” one. In other words we were to be attentive to who has received so as to be in some kind of fellowship (of the standing posture) with others at Mass. (And what about those who don’t receive?) Thus our personal encounter with the Real Presence we had received was somehow conditioned (or wasn’t complete) on our communion with others. [Remember what I wrote above.]

This reminded me of a conversation I had some years ago with a priest slightly older than I am who said, “We were told that the Real Presence was in the community, I don’t get all this attention to tabernacles.” [Another victim of the modernists.  They will surely burn.] Of course the fellowship with others is a very important thing. But does that mean we discount the Real Presence in the tabernacle or in our own bodies, as we say, “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”?  There is an old prayer in the Raccolta that reads, “Lord, I adore you within me.” [I remind the reverend writer that the rubrics of the Novus Ordo want us to ignore the tabernacle during Mass. Sapienti pauca.]

The flurry of activity about forbidding kneeling or sitting immediately after receiving the Eucharist in favor of waiting until everybody sits or kneels seem to be a misplaced emphasis. However, another priest said that since one rubric had caused so much agitation, he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. “The bishop will have to get after the parishes without kneelers, because the rubrics say we should kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, and the churches with hidden tabernacles will have to obey Canon Law and make them visible to the entire congregation.”  [Double-standard, much?  But we get it, don’t we.]

From his lips to God’s ears! Given the catechetical crisis implied by Catholics who either don’t believe in the Real Presence or cannot articulate what the Church teaches, I would think it would be a priority to emphasize a proper reverence for the Sacrament by kneeling at least during the Consecration. The absence of the tabernacle in the main body of the church does not fulfill what is required by law and does not teach the proper respect for the Body of Christ and what Pope Benedict calls, “the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence.” Genuflection in the direction of the tabernacle is an act of worship that would be a remote preparation for personal sacramental communion. In some churches the ambry where the Holy Oils are displayed is more prominent than the tabernacle.  [Isn’t that the truth.]

Pope Benedict’s words are a tremendous prophecy for us. “Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern.” He is right when he says that there has not been a development of more reverence but rather a decline of appreciation. Are we then surprised that some Catholics feel they don’t need Sunday worship or don’t hold the Eucharist in esteem, sometimes saying that they don’t care if their children go to other kinds of congregations because prayer is all the same? If the sacrament is about the congregation at worship and one’s feelings of connection with others and not about what it is in itself, why wouldn’t you worship in any other denomination? The greatest tragedy of a Catholic who leaves for other denominations is his loss of the Eucharist. But if he doesn’t know what’s being lost? And who didn’t make that clear to parishioners[“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord.]

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 19 Comments

A good article that explores what REAL clericalism is. UPDATED

UPDATE 10 May 2019:

Fr. Longenecker has a post about different layers of clericalism.  It is well written and has a good insight that builds on what I wrote, below.   Go over there to get the full line of his argument, but here is a sample.   And he nailed something important.


[I’d] like to add to Fr Z’s rant by pointing out another form of clericalism which is strangling the church today.

Remember “clericalism” comes from the word “cleric” or “clerk”. A priest was once called “a clerk in Holy Orders”. This is because when only the priests and monks were literate they held most of the office jobs.

So the form of clericalism strangling the church today is the clericalism of bureaucracy. Rather than serving the people of God the diocesan officials are the clerks (but not in Holy Orders) who quash spiritual initiatives with paperwork, forms, codes of conduct, assessment plans, annual reports, financial compliance reports, regulations, regulations, regulations.

Try starting up a local faith initiative that needs diocesan approval. You will have the clericalism of the diocese all over you pointing out a hundred and one reasons why this won’t work, your vision will fail and you will not get approval. You will have to go through insurance company procedures, financial projections, feasibility studies and more.

They will say, “This is to protect our children” or “this is to protect you.”

Huh uh.


_____ Originally Published on: May 8, 2019

I’m catching up on some reading.  I found one thing at American Conservative to pass along which, as I have said of other pieces in the past, you ought to read every word.

As I read it, it resonated with my ideas are about what real clericalism is. These days there is a kind of “clericalism” cobbled up into a strawman by libs and homosexualists as a smokescreen for their agendas.

There is a terrible clericalism in the Church, but its main exponents are NOT traditionalists or conservatives. Libs are the worst of all. For an example of the worst sort of clericalism, take the dreadful propensity of lib priests who condescendingly bring all sorts of lay people up into the sanctuary (to “clericalize” them) so that they can do things that the priest is supposed to do. Thats a way of saying, “Your dignity as a baptized Catholic isn’t enough. But I shall confer more upon you by my fiat.”

In the piece at AC, we find another kind of clericalism, that flows through and from the Second Vatican Council.

Evelyn Waugh Predicted the Collapse of Catholic England
He saw Vatican II as an attempt by elites to foist changes on a laity that didn’t want them.

Read the whole thing, there.


One of Waugh’s most persistent criticisms of the liturgical changes is that progressive, elitist-driven experimentation hurts ordinary people the most, undermining their confidence in important institutions. Vatican II represented, in Waugh’s mind, a rejection of the needs and opinions of local people. “A vociferous minority has imposed itself on the hierarchy and made them believe that a popular demand existed where there was in fact not even a preference,” he warned.

Nor were parish priests, the local leaders who best understand the common man, sufficiently consulted. Waugh wrote: “I know of none whose judgment I would prefer to that of the simplest parish priest. Sharp minds may explore the subtlest verbal problems, but in the long routine of the seminary and the life spent with the Offices of the Church the truth is most likely to emerge.”

Posted in The Drill, Vatican II | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

QUIS UT DEUS? Who is like God? 8 May: Feast of the Apparition of Michael the Archangel

Today is the Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel, in the Traditional Calendar.

You might remember that St. Michael appeared on the top of a mountain in S. Italy, along the back of the “ankle” of the “boot”, called Gargano.   He appeared with a flaming sword on the eve of a battle in 663.   That was one of several apparitions.  I was at the shrine of the apparition just about one year ago.

Michael has another feast in the traditional calendar, 29 September.  In the Novus Ordo all three archangels named in Scripture are celebrated that day.  In the Traditional calendar, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel have their own days: respectively 24 October and 24 March.   Of course all the Holy Guardian angels are celebrated on 2 October.

Today in the readings for the Feast, we hear of the first part of the Book of Revelation, which tells us that God has assigned angels to mind cities.   In the Gospel we hear Christ say that the children have angels who see the face of God.  Great writers of the Church have proposed that everything in the cosmos that moves has an angel assigned to it.  There are myriads upon countless myriads of unfallen angels who serve God, each angel being his own substance, as different from every other angel as aardvarks are from zebras.

Pray to your Guardian Angels!

Pray to the Archangels!

Think of how many times the angels are invoked during the Traditional Form of Mass. And at the end of Low Mass, we should say the Prayer to St. Michael.

Some years ago I posted some marvelous “inculturation” art by Catholic artist Daniel Mitsui:  St. Michael the Archangel as a samurai kicking the devil’s back side. Very cool. It is striking, in it’s woodblock style and colors.

He has now reprinted it. The original drawing of St. Michael is on Japanese washi. The giclee print (below) is on Hahnemuhle cotton rag paper


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 8 Comments

8 May Indulgence: Supplication to O.L. of Pompeii

There is a beautiful tradition for 8 May, this day (often right at 1200 noon).

Once upon a time one could obtain this day a plenary indulgence by reciting the Supplication to the Madonna of Pompeii.  The other day for this is the first Sunday of October.

With the changes to the concessions for indulgences, according to the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, there is no longer any plenary indulgence for this prayer, notwithstanding anything you might see in some old book or on a website.  For example, if you see something about Pope Leo XIII granting an indulgence, etc., that is null and void now.

However, the new Enchiridion says with concession #17, §3 that Marian prayers obtain a partial indulgence under the condition that the prayer is approved by competent authority and that it is recited with fervor in the state of grace (you don’t need confession and Communion within 8 days, nor must you recite the prayers for the Roman Pontiffs intentions for a partial indulgence)You can receive a partial indulgence, by maintaining this beautiful custom of the Supplication today. 

For more about this, including the prayers, click HERE.  I included background on Bl. Bartolo Longo, a converted Satanic priest! John Paul II beatified Bartolo Longo in 1980.  Some of his writings form the basis of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

Posted in Our Solitary Boast | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Deaconettes? Not gonna happen

Here is some of the Q&A with Francis on the airplane for the Bulgaria visit.

Josh McElwee, [for pro-women’s ordination] National [c]atholic Reporter:Thank you so much, Holy Father. In Bulgaria you visited an Orthodox community that has continued a long tradition of ordaining women deacons. In a few days you will meet with the International Union of Superiors General*, that three years ago requested a commision for women deacons. Can you tell us something you have learned from the report of the commission on the ministry of women in the early years of the Church? Have you made some decision?

Pope Francis: I did not hear the first part of your question. McElwee: [repeats a part of the question.]

Pope Francis: The commission was made, it worked for almost two years. They were all different, all toads from different wells, [that must be an Argentinian idiom] all thinking differently, but they worked together and were in agreement until a certain point. But each of them then has her own view [HER own view… wonder who that might be…] that does not agree with that of the others. And there they stopped as a commission and each is studying [how] to go forward.For the female diaconate, there is a way to imagine it with a different view from the male diaconate. For example, the formulas of female deacon ordination found until now, according to the commission, are not the same for the ordination of a male deacon and are more similar to what today would be the abbatial blessing of an abbess. This is the answer of some of them. I’m speaking a little from the ear, from memory.Others say that it is a female deacon formula, but they argue that it is not clear. There were female deacons, but was it a sacramental ordination or not? And that is discussed, it is not clear. That they helped in liturgy, in Baptisms by immersion, when the woman was baptized the deaconesses helped, also for [unclear] the woman’s body. Then a document came out where diaconesses were called by the bishop when there was a matrimonial argument for the dissolution of the marriage or divorce or separation. When the woman accused her husband of beating her and the bishop called the deaconesses to look at the woman’s body for the bruises and so they testified in the judgment. These are the things I remember.But fundamentally, there is no certainty that it was an ordination with the same form, in the same purpose as male ordination. Some say there is doubt, let’s go ahead and study. I am not afraid of studying, but up to this moment it does not proceed.Then it is curious that where there were deaconesses it was almost always a geographic zone, especially in Syria. And then in another part, it does not touch or nothing. All these things I received from the commission. Each one continues to study, and [they have] done a good job, because up to a certain point [they were] in agreement. And this can be an impetus to go ahead and study and give a definitive answer, yes or no, according to the characteristics of that time.An interesting thing. Some theologians of a few years ago, 30 years ago for example, said that there were no deaconesses because women were in the background in the Church, not only in the Church. Always women… But it is a curious thing: in that period there were so many pagan priestesses, the female priesthood in pagan cults was ordinary in that day. As it is understood as a female priesthood, a pagan priesthood in women, it was not done in Christianity. This is being studied also. They have arrived at a point, now each of the members is studying according to her theory. This is good. Varietas delectat.

Posted in Deaconettes | 11 Comments

Day 5 – NS Guantanamo Bay: Of Chesty Puller, tabernacle doors, and more iguanas

Since I prodded the curious with iguanas, here are more iguanas.  They were hanging out near the chapel this morning after Holy Mass.

Within the chapel at GITMO, there is a small, daily Mass chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and an air conditional is running.  It has a lovely tabernacle door which strikes me is being 19th century.

I suspect that it has been on the base for quite a while.  Fr. Johnson has spruced up the room and catholicized it.   He is doing his best with what he has to work with.  But wait!  What’s that I see?

Our Lord has been repaired with a little transparent tape and He has lost a thumb.

It could be that, if the fundraiser keeps going, we might be able to improve this situation, depending on what Fr. Johnson determines for the place.

Here is the Missal at the chapel.   It has seen better days, my friends.

Definitely needs an upgrade (except for that pesky Holy Week part).

I promised Semper Gumby a clearer photo.

The iguana is not impressed by birettas or signs.

Ladies and gents, being on the base has driven home all the different levels of war we are truly engaged in, whether those levels are obvious or not.

Some years ago in Rome I read a transcript of a Friday sermon given at the mosque in Rome.   BTW.. the Italian bishops allowed muslims to take up collections at churches to build that mosque, just so that you know what’s going on over there.   In that Friday sermon the imam or whatever said, “Take their women! Breed with them!  If we did not before win with the long sword, we will win with the short sword!”

This approach in Islam is dawa.   Dawa, the precursor to jihad, uses non-violent subversion from within. Think of the ‘long march through the institutions’ for Marxists of the last century such as Antonio Gramsci, who advised the Communists of his day to let the Christian Democrats take parliament.  They would take the schools.  After a few decades of controlling education, they’d take everything else too.

The other day at lunch one of the guys quoted the late and great Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, the most-decorated Marine in USMC history.  Chesty was a veritable quote machine.   One thing he said later in his life, and I read in a book about him is more and more poignant:

“Our Country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any America because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!”

Davis, Burke (1988). Marine!: The Life Of Chesty Puller. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books. p. 273. US HERE – UK HERE

Meanwhile, on a cheery note, I had an evening out with cigars and lots of talk about a wide variety of topics.   The topics ranged from CS Lewis, Aquinas on Law, to music settings of the poetry of AE Housman.  Then a storm rolled in and the heavens opened.  I think an ark went by.

There was a great young family with five little kids nearby under the awning.   Very cute.  They ran and stomped and splashed with complete abandon.  There was a little girl, maybe three, all blonde curls and total laughter.  The kids ran in the rain and had a ball.   But when the evening bugle sounded colors, the kids stopped and stood still from their running and waited quietly.

Quite. Simply. Beautiful.

There she is… in the background.  Standing still for evening colors.

Dear readers… our children are LITURGICAL beings. It is wired into us and we have to be forced to forget it.

Lastly, my favorite recording of Vaughn William’s “Shropshire Lad” settings happens to be available on youtube, sung by Ian Partridge.   Let me leave you with this…

In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.

Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.
The bells would ring to call her
In valleys miles away;
“Come all to church, good people;
Good people come and pray.”
But here my love would stay.

And I would turn and answer
Among the springing thyme,
“Oh, peal upon our wedding,
And we will hear the chime,
And come to church in time.”

But when the snows at Christmas
On Bredon top were strown,
My love rose up so early
And stole out unbeknown
And went to church alone.
They tolled the one bell only,
Groom there was none to see,
The mourners followed after,
And so to church went she,
And would not wait for me.

The bells they sound on Bredon,
And still the steeples hum,
“Come all to church, good people,” —
Oh, noisy bells, be dumb;
I hear you, I will come.

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Day 4 – NS Guantanamo Bay: Of a Sunday Mass hymn, tohu wa-bohu, and chess

Getting off this island is turning out to be harder than getting on, and that isn’t easy either. I hope to be here for another set of Sunday Masses, but transportation issues are … fluid.  I think I need to ask you readers to pray for a solution.

Speaking of Sunday Masses, at Communion time of both Masses last Sunday, the little choir led Eternal Father, Strong To Save, which is one of the best of the best.

This hymn is based on Ps 107 (106), a thanksgiving psalm, Confitemini Domino, which recounts in one section God’s might in calming the storm

[21] Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him: and his wonderful works to the children of men. [22] And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of praise: and declare his works with joy. [23] They that go down to the sea in ships, doing business in the great waters: [24] These have seen the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. [25] He said the word, and there arose a storm of wind: and the waves thereof were lifted up. [26] They mount up to the heavens, and they go down to the depths: their soul pined away with evils. [27] They were troubled, and reeled like a drunken man; and all their wisdom was swallowed up. [28] And they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he brought them out of their distresses. [29] And he turned the storm into a breeze: and its waves were still. [30] And they rejoiced because they were still: and he brought them to the haven which they wished for.

Read this in light of Mark 4, which recounts to

[36] And sending away the multitude, they take him even as he was in the ship: and there were other ships with him. [37] And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. [38] And he was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake him, and say to him: Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish? [39] And rising up, he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased: and there was made a great calm. [40] And he said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him?

Firstly, we see in this miracle of the Lord that He is bringing in a New Creation.  The chaos of the waters echo the primordial tohu wa-bohu of Genesis 1 when the Spirit hovered over the waters and calmed them.  Also, the account in Mark follows the pattern that section of the Psalm 107 (106).

Anyway, I really like that hymn, no matter what it’s based on.

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about my time on various bases and camps is good, stimulating conversation.   I invariably run into well-educated and bright people with wide-ranging interests and, often, advanced degrees.

For example, while leaving the chapel after the weekday, midday Mass (Extraordinary Form) the CDR (and a reader here) with whom I exited the sacristy quoted Tennyson’s The Lotos-Eaters referring, of course, to the heat:

In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.

He also alerted me to a webpage with the rules of chess, which I used to play with …ferocity.  I don’t need the rules of chess, of course, but these are the rules in Latin, which is a hoot.

Because of the visit to the landing place of Christopher Columbus, he passed this along as well.  I have to share it:

I mentioned the chess game with the connection to Christopher Columbus and the financing of his voyages of discovery. Here is the link to the game Francesco di Castellvi vs. Narcisco Vinyoes:  HERE

Here is the description from the website of the players which gives the connection to King Ferdinand and the voyages:

“Francesc (Franci) di Castellvi was a lord of several towns in the area of Jativa and Valencia, Spain. He was an advisor in the Aragonese court of King Ferdinand. He died in Valencia in 1506. He was one of the co-authors of the ‘scachs d’amor’ (Chess of Love), a Catalan poem that describes the first modern game of chess.”

“Narcis Vinyoles was born between 1442 and 1447. He died in Valencia in 1517. He was a politician and writer and belonged to a family of lawyers. In 1495, King Ferdinand recommended him for the position of ‘Justica Criminal.’ He spoke Catalan, Castillian, Latin, and Italian. He was married to Brianda de Santangel, niece of the banker who backed financially the first expedition of Christoper Columbus. He was a co-author of the Catalan poem ‘Scachs d’amor’ written around 1475.”

Meanwhile, I saw a spiffing naval movie last night… this time about the British Navy in WWII.

In Which We Serve


The Wikipedia entry says of it:

In Which We Serve is a 1942 British patriotic war film directed by Noël Coward and David Lean. It was made during the Second World War with the assistance of the Ministry of Information.

The screenplay by Coward was inspired by the exploits of Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was in command of the destroyer HMS Kelly when it was sunk during the Battle of Crete.

Coward composed the film’s music as well as starring in the film as the ship’s captain. The film also starred John Mills, Bernard Miles, Celia Johnson and Richard Attenborough in his first screen role.


The dialogue is terrific. And… David Lean!  Narrated by Leslie Howard.

I shall have to try that “Bovril with lashings of sherry”.

I would love to see a video on YouTube of the Captain’s prayer at Christmas.

But in its absence, there is this terrific moment…

It’s a melancholy but inspiring movie with a few truly great moments.  It’s quite human and, in 1942, it doesn’t candy coat what the British faced at sea.  Talk about tohu wa-bohu.

The crew sings Eternal Father, Strong To Save.


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

A “Say the Black” moment from a … Jesuit!

At Jesuit-run Amerika there is an unexpected article.   It – I’m not making this up – is a call for priests to stop making up prayers and doing their own thing during Mass.  No, really.  At a Jesuit publication.   Jesuits have been legendarily airy about liturgy.  The old adage, is “As lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week.”

Let’s have a look.

As you read, think “Say the Black, Do the Red”.

Dear priests who improvise at Mass: Please don’t.


Even if parts of the liturgical script have been changed (some of it quite tragically—when you lose good poetry you lose good theology), even if it is not as lovely anymore, even then: Adding more words will not make Mass “better.” If you cleanly speak the words as they

are, if you let them flow through you, the people in the pews may hear the Mass as they have never heard it before. The Mass will, in fact, become interesting and personal and new. You do not need to do more. It’s not about you.

I can get away with saying these things because I am a brother, not a priest. I am not a student of the exigencies, stringencies, flexibilities, the negotiables and non-negotiables of Mass-saying. I have no canonical agenda. I am an actor, a playwright and someone who sits in the pews watching priests who feel that to follow the script is to essentially slice their brains out of their body and hand it over to Holy Mother Church.

The point of the formula of the liturgy is not the formula of the liturgy. The po

int is to help you pray. The purpose of an actor’s text is not simply to speak the text. It is to give the audience an experience—an experience of a person on stage having a spontaneous reaction to fixed circumstances. Knowing the fixed blocking and the fixed words of the script can free an actor to be spontaneous; knowing the fixed formulas of the liturgy can liberate a priest to have an in-the-moment experience.


I recently watched a priest celebrate such a liturgy. He didn’t give opening remarks that showed how young at heart he was; that demonstrated he can speak to the children’s level. He reserved his personalism for the homily. For the prayers of the Mass, he just did the words. Routine, s

tructure, the same thing that is always said. This is what children want. And they were with him. The kids were engaged the whole way. You could tell. Children feel safe with structure. They like knowing what is coming next. Most of us do.

Structure does not shackle anyone, it frees them. In fact, freedom cannot even exist where there are there no boundaries. Free yoursel

ves, o priests, from thinking you have to re-create what does not need re-creating. Let the words do the work. Let the liturgy do the work. Trust your mere presence to do the work. You are enough.

Posted in Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 21 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Navy chaplain’s vestments lost in the airplane crash – UPDATED


Since in 24 hours we completed our objectives and exceeded expectations, it’s time to close this down. However… go to the bottom and read my 7 May update for more.


I’ll add updates at the bottom, but this needs to be at the top. Here is a note from Fr. Johnson, with whom I spoke tonight after we hit the initial goal.

I don’t have the words to express the gratitude I feel for the deeply touching generosity of your readers who have donated so promptly and unselfishly to this undeserving priest. Naturally, I was feeling a bit less than one hundred percent after the shock and disruption of crash-landing into the river on that ill-fated plane trip. The frightening sensation of hurtling down the runway, only to feel the plane start to jolt and bounce, then nothing but water (illuminated menacingly by the lights on the wing) outside the little window before we came to a violent halt, all that was one thing. Then the hours of waiting and uncertainty, everyone cold and damp and still trying to take it all in, added to the shock. But then this fantastically kind and generous offer on your part and the beyond-amazing response of your good readers have lifted my spirits so much that I think I’ll have trouble falling asleep tonight! Thank you to everyone again and again! I will certainly remember you and your intentions in the Masses to follow. May God bless you all!

That was from Fr. Johnson.

This is from me.

God bless you good, good people.

Fr Z

You have heard about the airplane that miraculously, they are saying, managed to skid to relative safety in the shallow river at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station.   I had been on that same airplane – which I had blessed – just hours before from NAS JAX to NS Gitmo.

My friend, Fr. Charles Johnson, the Catholic chaplain was on this return flight that went into the drink.   He hit his head, but is otherwise fine.  I’ve written about him several times [HERE].

However, his bags with his travel vestments, were in the hold, which flooded with river water.  They are sure to be a total loss, especially after several days.   Blech.

And the plane – with the bags – is still in the water.

This is where you come in.

After I get back to the mainland from GITMO, I’ll be heading to Rome for business and pleasure.    I propose that we have reversible travel vestments made for Father to replace what he has lost.    I’ll get things worked out with Gammarelli for vestments like those which three of you readers bought for my own travel kit.


To participate in this good cause click


Last night I spoke with Fr. Johnson by phone to ask his permission to do this.  He was touched and excited by the offer.   Let’s do him proud!


Here is story with video about the airplane that Fr. Johnson was in – and I was in just before.



You people are amazing! It would be great if we could hit our goal before we have to hit the rack tonight. I’ll give Fr. Johnson a call!



I am unspeakably proud of you who made donations. I called the Rev. Commander Johnson and he is over the moon.

Surely we can keep going?

I’ll make sure that Father gets the names of all the folks who donated, though many have made anonymous donations. Earlier today, Father said that he’d be saying Masses for donors for a long time.

How far over the initial goal can we go?   I’m already thinking of a few things that need to be replaced at the GITMO chapel… very very worn.



Meanwhile, I have been in touch with Gammarelli in Rome about the travel vestments.   Because they also want to help Fr. Johnson, they have offered a 10% discount.

If I am able to buy the silk myself, and take it to Gammarelli, I could save about half the cost of each new chasuble and its attendant pieces.   That way I could get either more stuff or I can upgrade.   I’ll make the call once I get to Rome and shop around a little.

UPDATE 7 May 2019:

I received a snarky note from GoFundMe asking me to post how I know the person for whom I was raising the funds and what they were going to be used for… which I had explained clearly in my original post! Hence, I think I won’t work with GoFundMe any longer on this campaign, since we have hit and exceeded the original goal in roughly 24 hours. I will suspend this campaign.

It may be that some of you will be disappointed that you will not be able to participate. However, your goodness to Fr. Johnson is deeply appreciated. You can send additional donations through the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (TMSM) which is a 501(c)(3) organization. You can also avoid GoFundMe service fees by mailing a check to:

Tridentine Mass Society of Madison
733 Struck St.
P.O. Box 44603
Madison, WI 53744-4603

NB: Be sure to include a note that this is for replacing the things that Fr. Charles Johnson lost in the plane crash.

At the TMSM site there is also a PayPal button for convenience.

The funds raised from this campaign will be deposited with the TMSM, since we have had campaigns in the past. I’ll take care of everything either directly with Fr. Johnson and/or with Gammarelli, since I have a good working relationship with them. Fr. Johnson will be stuck at GITMO (where I am now, subbing for him) and I will be in Rome where the vestment action is.

Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Days 1-3 – NS Guantanamo Bay: Small dinosaurs and blue waters

I am working on a new/different phone right now, and it is mystifying me a bit – Android (don’t like it much) – but I’ve been taking some photos of the sights and sites at the base here in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There are certain things and certain directions I’ve been told should not be photographed, of course.

The air terminal is on the other side of the bay, so you have to take a ferry back and forth from windward to leeward.

The main chapel.

It is dedicated to Our Lady of Cobre.

Our Lady is venerated under this title here in Cuba.  You can look up the story online, which is quite interesting.   You can see in this statue, the “three Juans” who found the statue floating in the sea.   How she got to Cobre is a different tale!

I tried to buy some fresh flowers at the NEX (Navy Exchange) but they didn’t have any.  We’ll figure something out.

Sunset on my first evening.

After Sunday Mass one of the parishioners, a officer with greatly eclectic interests and a fine conversationalist, was kind enough to shuttle me to see some of the sights.

This is the landing place of Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1494.


It seems that Lion Fish are invading the bay.   Everyone is told that they can and should be killed – without limits.   I like the part that says: “they can be consumed in a variety of delicious ways”.   Intriguing.

Here is a little lighthouse with a small museum.

View up the bay from the lighthouse.

My quarters are decent but spartan.  I got some food stuffs from the NEX and discovered that there was no can opener and I had chosen a can of tuna without one of those pop tops.  So, back to the old ways.   My handy Swiss Guard – Swiss Army knife supplied the correct gizmo.   When you travel it is wise to bring something like this along.   You never know.    And the mug will stay behind, a gift for the chaplain.

The daily Mass chapel.  Both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms are in use here!

Sacristy with my stuff laid out for tomorrow.

Gitmo is loaded with iguanas.   They are pretty much everywhere.  On the way to one of the beaches yesterday we spotted a few white tailed deer which, though fully grown, we very small compared to the bigger critters up north.

A pano from my balcony.  I hope we get some clear weather.  I’d like to see, especially, the stars.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

What was it?

For my part…

… I said Mass at the chapel at NS Guantanamo Bay.    I spoke to the congregation about the airplane that went into the river at Jacksonville and about blessings.   I took a little time to explain the different kind of blessings that priests confer, namely constitutive (including consecrations) and invocative.   Furthermore, I said that we should ask God to send down his blessings.  When we ask, we receive.  With great things we must ask, such as for miracles.

I stressed the need to GO TO CONFESSION!  We don’t know when it is our time.  It’s always someone else, until its you.

Then I spoke a bit about the long Gospel reading from John… this was Novus Ordo… the first Novus Ordo I’ve said in a loooong time, as it turns out.    I described the arc of Peter’s life from the first miraculous to the second, the two charcoal fires, one at the Sanhedrin and one at the shore, the two sets of three denials.   But also the fact that the Lord used a strong verb, poimaino, during his three-fold undoing of Peter’s denials, and even asked if Peter loved him more than the other apostles standing there.  Remember that Christ had said that there was one Shepherd and one flock and that the Good Shepherd (which in the NO they hear next week) gives up his life for them.  Then Christ predicts Peter’s death.  The Shepherd will give His Body and Blood for his sheep, his very life.  So, too, must Peter now do.   He must give up his life.  Remember that after the first miraculous catch of fish, when Peter first met Jesus, Jesus told him to leave off fishing for fish and that he now would fish for men.   However, in John 21 Peters says, “I’m going fishing.”   He’s not fishing for men, but for fish.   Here is a kind of tabula rasa.    But, more importantly, the Lord in this moment underscores that PETER is now to the one shepherd of the one flock.  And, in so doing, and using the shepherding imagery, underscores an important element for Christian leaders.   Leadership involves self-sacrifice, placing oneself in danger, seeking always the best of the other.   That’s the work of the shepherd.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 14 Comments