New art from Daniel Mitsui: The Mass of St Gregory

The “Mass of Saint Gregory” is a common subject of art across many centuries, beginning in mid-14th c, though the subject matter dates back to the 8th c with variations.  The essentials are these: Pope Gregory I, “the Great” (+604) is saying Mass.  He has asked God for a sign to help the lack of faith of a deacon concerning the doctrine of transubstantiation.  Christ appears as the “Man of Sorrows” over the altar.  You will see very many depictions of this theme when you visit well-stocked museums and many European churches.

Daniel Mitsui, whom I feature here occasionally – really like his stuff – has his own rendering of the Mass of St. Gregory.

Please pardon me, but I left the print in its protective plastic.  You can see more HERE.

This is 8″x 10 2/3.

In the bottom corners are Sts. Peter and Paul.  In the upper corners are Proper of Aquitaine and Vincent of Lerins.

Notice that on the left, he inscribes Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi elsewise Lex Orandi Lex Credendi.  You see on the right:  Id teneamus quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.

As usual, the details are marvelous.

He connects visually the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection with the Eucharist.

It is a great Counter-Reformation image, too.  It stresses the doctrine and also papal primacy.

This would be a great gift for a priest or a convert.

Larger right click and open in a new tab.

I haven’t given up hope that Daniel will, one day, do QSO cards!

Posted in Just Too Cool, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

WDTPRS – 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time: When “values” replace “virtues”

Let’s look at the Collect for the upcoming 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time:

Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis, da populis tuis id amare quod praecipis, id desiderare quod promittis, ut, inter mundanas varietates, ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia.

A master crafted this prayer.

In the 1962 Missale Romanum we use it on the 4th Sunday after Easter. It is also in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.  Listen to those “eee”s produced by the Latin “i”. Savor those parallels.

Varietas means “difference, diversity, variety.”  It is commonly used to indicate “changeableness, fickleness, inconstancy.”  I like “vicissitude”.  The adjective mundanus is “of or belonging to the world”.


O God, who make the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Your people to love that thing which You command, to desire that which You promise, so that, amidst the vicissitudes of this world, our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are.


O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.

Let us revisit that id…quod. We can accurately say “love that which you command,” or “love what you command”, but that strikes me as vague.  Can we be more concrete and say “love the thing you command… desire the thing you promise”?

We are called to love and desire God’s will in concrete situations, in the details of life, especially when those details are little to our liking.  We must love God in this beggar, this annoying creep, not in beggars and creeps in general.  We must love Him in this act of fasting, this basket of laundry, this illness.

We must not reduce God’s will to an abstraction or a dreamy ideal. “Thy will (voluntas) be done on earth as it is in heaven”… or so it has been said.

Lest we forget why we needed new translation….


Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart.

Good riddance!  “Values”.  Very slippery.  Typical of the obsolete translation.

To my ear, “values” has a shifting, subjective starting point. In 1995 Gertude Himmelfarb wrote in The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values that “it was not until the present century that morality became so thoroughly relativized that virtues ceased to be ‘virtues’ and became ‘values.’”

In this post-Christian, post-modern world, “values” seems to indicate little more than our own self-projection.

John Paul II taught about “values”, but in contradiction to the way “values” are commonly understood today.  For example, we read in Evangelium vitae 71 (emphasis added):

“It is urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority, and no state can ever create, modify, or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect, and promote.”

In his 1985 letter to young people Dilecti amici 4, John Paul II taught:

“Only God is the ultimate basis of all values…. in Him and Him alone all values have their first source and final completion… Without Him – without the reference to God – the whole world of created values remains as it were suspended in an absolute vacuum.”

Benedict XVI taught about the threats we face from the “dictatorship of relativism”, from the reduction of the supernatural to the natural, from caving in to “the world”.

Christ warned His Apostles about “the world”, saying said: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).  He spoke about this world’s “prince” (John 12:31; 14:30 16:11).  St Paul wrote: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

If what “the world” offers gets priority over what God offers the world through His Holy Church, we produce the situation Paul VI described on 29 June 1972, the 9th anniversary of his coronation:

“Through some crack the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God.”

Our Collect today asks God to grant that His will be the basis of our “values” in concrete terms, not in mere dreamy good intentions or this world’s snares.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 10 Comments


Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.  Really.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 32 Comments

Bp. Zubik (D. Pittburgh): “The No. 1 priority has to be, ‘We need to make our worship better.’”

Bp David ZubikI was sent an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Bp. David Zubik and his view of, plans for the Diocese entrusted to his care. Apparently the horizon is pretty dark for the Church in Pittsburgh (as it is in many places) and some changes have to be made. Here is some of the article with my usual emphases and comments.  

There is one point, the first point, about his first priority, that really struck me:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh must focus on “better homilies, better music and more people” as its six-county territory attempts to reverse a series of “sobering” trends and prepares for a major overhaul in 2018, Bishop David Zubik said Wednesday.

The No. 1 priority has to be, ‘We need to make our worship better,’” [YES! A thousand times YES!  As I have been shouting for decades now, no undertaking or project we initiate in the Church will bear lasting fruit unless we revitalize our sacred liturgical worship of God!  The first thing we owe to God, by the virtue of religion, is worship.  If we don’t have that in order in the hierarchy of priorities, nothing else will be in order.] Zubik told the Tribune-Review. “Second of all, we need to do the best job that we can to get not only more ordained leaders, but we really have to open up lots of doors for the lay leaders of the church.”  [Work on vocations to the PRIESTHOOD.  And I know a way to foster BOTH revitalized worship AND vocations: the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass!  Widespread use of the Traditional Rite will shift the way priests say the Novus Ordo, their ars celebrandi.  That will have an knock-on effect in parishes, congregations.  Also, it will draw more vocations to the priesthood. For the love of God and of the Church, train seminarians in LATIN (explicitly required by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, can. 249) and the older, traditional form of the Mass and the Office.  If they don’t know the Extraordinary Form then they don’t know their Rite! And if they don’t know their Rite, they haven’t been properly formed in seminary!  Thus, when they come to ordination, and someone attests that they were properly formed….]

The Pittsburgh diocese is closing in on the parishioner-input phase of a comprehensive planning initiative called “On Mission for the Church Alive!,” through which leaders are examining how to strengthen church participation, reorganize aging infrastructure and make the most of dwindling resources.

They’re up against dismal data.

The number of active Catholics within the Pittsburgh diocese has declined rapidly in recent decades, from 914,000 in 1980 to 632,000 in 2015, diocesan figures show.

Since 2000, weekly Mass attendance has dropped by 40 percent [whew!] — for almost 100,000 fewer regular churchgoers; K-8 Catholic school enrollment fell by 50 percent; and the number of active priests plummeted from 338 to 225.

By 2025, if trends hold, the diocese projects that just 112 active priests will remain.  [I’ll say it again: EXTRAORDINARY FORM!]


Empty pews correlate with dwindling coffers: About half of almost 200 parishes lost money in 2015, compared with one-third of parishes operating in the red in 2012, Zubik said.

Critics of a massive reorganization — such as small groups of parishioners who’ve fought recent closures of cash-strapped churches — worry that too much emphasis will be placed on consolidation breaking up longtime faith communities.  [Want to revive a church?  Try the EXTRAORDINARY FORM!]



There is a lot more to read and it is rather grim, alas.  I’m afraid that this is the situation all over.   I know a diocese in Louisiana which will lose 50% of their priests over the next 5 years.   This is GRIM people.  It’s heading straight at us like the Big Death Meteor.

And those are only the problems within the Church.  We also are going to have to contend – soon – with horrific pressure from without, especially if a certain criminally negligent un-named woman candidate is elected and starts retooling the Supreme Court in her own ghastly culture of death image.

Let’s try something old/new.   The older Mass built our Church back in the day.  I think it can be a principle tool for rebuilding the Church in our day.

I know that this post will be read in chanceries across these USA.  Please, Fathers, Bishops, open your hearts to this proposal.  Let’s return to the basics and take to heart what Benedict proposed: side by side use of the two rites, extraordinary and ordinary.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 51 Comments

Pre-Order Pope Benedict’s new book – Last Testament: in his own words

I, for one, want to know what he has to say.


US Hardcover – HERE – Release 15 November 2016 $24.00
UK Hardcover – HERE – Release 15 November 2016 £16.99

US Paperback – HERE – Release 1 November 2016 – NB: by A & C Black (Childrens books – which seems odd) $12.70
UK Paperback  – not yet

I miss him.

Posted in Benedict XVI | Tagged | 6 Comments

14 Sept – Solemn Mass in the Bronx!

I had some great news yesterday about a Solemn Mass in traditional Roman Rite which will be celebrated on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, in the Bronx, NY.

Announcement: “There will be a celebration of Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016, at 7.30 PM at the Church of the Holy Rosary, 1510 Adee Avenue, Bronx, New York 10469 (rectory address), for the Feast of the Exaltation of the True Cross.

On the previous Wednesday, September 7th, 7:30 PM, the Celebrant of the Mass, Fr Jean Paul Soler, of St Clement’s, Staten Island, will present a catechetical lecture on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at 7 PM at Holy Rosary. Our parish grammar school and high school students are especially encouraged to attend. Music for the Mass will be by Byrd, Tallis, and Morales.”

I spoke with the parish priest at Holy Rosary.   This is the first time they are having Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Also, they have really young clergy carrying out the sacred rites!   This is excellent news.   It is also a fitting way to observe the 9th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum going into effect.

The New Evangelization continues!

I hope that everyone in the region will mark this on calendars, tell friends, and make plans to attend.  Strong support for Masses such as these is of great importance right now.

Posted in New Evangelization, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Wherein Fr. Z has a little fun with Jesuit mockery

council of jerusalemA few days ago Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese, who had been relieved of his post as editor of America Magazine when Card. Ratzinger was Prefect of the CDF, and who now writes for the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) came out with a piece at the same NSR in support of Phyllis Zagano’s notion about women deacons.

He also came out in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood, as do many who support ordination of women to the diaconate (even if they don’t admit it).

Thus, Reese…  HERE

If there were women deacons in the past, the arguments goes [sic], there is no reason we could not have women deacons today.

I find that argument convincing, but frankly, even if there were not women deacons in the past, I would still argue for ordaining women deacons today, just as I would argue for ordaining women priests. [linkage!] True, Jesus did not pick any women for the Twelve Apostles, but he did not pick any Gentiles either. We would really have a priest shortage today if the priesthood was limited to Jewish Christians.

See what he is doing there?  He is mocking the argument.  Ho ho ho, ain’t he funny?

Even though we know that liberals don’t have much of a sense of humor, let’s have a little fun with this ruderous Jesuit mockery for a moment, since Reese set the tone.

Follow this my own autoschediastic presentation if you can.

In AD 50 the Apostles gathered in what is universally recognized as the first Council, the Council of Jerusalem.  Read about this in Acts 15 (with Acts 10) and probably Galatians 2.  The Apostles, in their Council, deliberated about the question of admitting Gentiles to the Church, that is, to baptize them.  They decided affirmatively.   This was a Conciliar decision – nay rather – the Apostles “walked together” in a synodal process.  And though the Gentile Question was not as momentous as admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion, in a mere matter of hours they determined that Gentiles could indeed be baptized.  NB: Taking the decision didn’t require two synods over two years only to arrive at an ambivalent answer.

This decision to baptize Gentiles subsequently led to their being admitted to ordained ministry.

Since the Apostles consciously reflected on the baptism of Gentiles, they opened the possibility of Gentiles being admitted to the priesthood.

Here’s the next move.

The decision that male Gentiles could be ordained was, in effect, made by the Apostles. There is no indication that either the Apostles or their successors entertained the idea of admitting women, Jew or Gentile, to ordained ministry.

In other words, we know from Scripture that the Apostles decided that they were authorized by the Lord to admit Gentiles to the Church. This would eventually mean that priesthood would not be limited to Jewish Christians. However, there is no evidence inside of or outside of Scripture that either the Apostles or their successors considered themselves authorized to ordain women. In fact, there is evidence that they did not.

Posted in Liberals, The Drill, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Italian Islamic leader wants legal recognition of polygamy

Now that “gay” (I hate that word now)  rights are secured, thanks to a feckless few unelected justices on the SCOTUS, the next barriers to be broken down are, first, polygamy, and then pedophilia.

I saw at Crux

Italian Islamic leader wants legal recognition of polygamy

The founder of Italy’s main Islamic organization says that since the country now recognizes civil unions for same-sex couples, there’s no reason that polygamous relationships shouldn’t also be afforded legal protection.  [How will the Holy See and Italy’s bishops react to this?]

Only months after Italy approved civil unions for lesbians and gays, a leader of the country’s Islamic community is using the move to argue for the civil recognition of polygamy. He also claimed that Pope Francis’ silence regarding his suggestion means that the pontiff has perhaps understood that it’s a “simple civil right” and a matter of equality.  [Will there be a clarification?]
Hamza Piccardo is founder of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, an umbrella organization which represents most of Italy’s Muslim communities. Recently, Piccardo shared a picture of the mayor of Milan with a gay couple after celebrating their union on Facebook.
Piccardo accompanied the picture with the following message:

“If it’s only a matter of civil rights, then polygamy is a civil right.”


We’ll probably see that last sentence in a SCOTUS decision in about 5 years or so.

If they don’t get their way, will they start burning cars and rioting in the suburbs of Italian cities?

The moderation queue is ON.


How important the upcoming presidential election is in regard to justices and the SCOTUS.

Posted in Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

In the depths of August, Pope Francis makes surprising appointments for Laity and Family

There were a few interesting appointments made today.  Check

The first interesting thing is that this is just after Ferragosto.

Today, Pope Francis appointed Bp. Kevin Farrell of Dallas to be the Prefect of the new dicastery for the Laity.  Farrell had once been in the Legionaries and then Auxiliary in Washington DC.   I had heard rumors that the Holy Father was considering Archbp. Cupich for the post.  I think that Bp. Farrell will now be the only prelate from these USA (NB: he was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland) in a major position in the Curia. His brother Bp. Brian Farrell is the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

He also named Ap. Vincenzo Paglia (outgoing President of the Pontifical Council for the Family) to be the new President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and also as Grand Chancellor of the “Giovanni Paolo II” Institute for the Family.   The new President of the same Institute for the Family will be a Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, who is now the President of the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy of Milan.

The new Dicastery for the Laity will fire up in September and will take over the briefs of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family, which will cease to exist.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 16 Comments

Swetland v. Spencer: Is Islam a “Religion of Peace” – a hot debate


As a follow up, John Zmirak at Stream weighs in on Swetland’s position that you, dear readers, as Catholics must accept that Islam really is “Religion of Peace” because, he says, Vatican II and other documents, says so.  If you don’t accept that Islam is a “Religion of Peace”, you are, essentially, according to Msgr. Swetland, bad Catholics, dissenting from the magisterium as if you were Fishwrap fans.  Zmirak says that Swetland is, well, being “creative”.  Zmirak uses the amusing analogy of “the Vatican’s ‘sacred monkeys,’ which Cordelia Flyte invented in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited to tease her sister’s Protestant fiancé”.

ORIGINAL POSTED 16 August 2016

The other day Catholic radio show host Drew Mariani had a (too short) debate about the claim that Islam is a “Religion of Peace” between Robert Spencer (an Eastern Catholic Deacon of the Melkite Church who has written extensively on Islam and who directs Jihad Watch) and Msgr. Stuart Swetland.  You can hear this archived HERE.  Listen and take note their different tones as they make their points.

Swetland argues that Catholics must accept that the magisterium requires Catholics to accept that Islam is a “Religion of Peace”.  Spencer argues that the sacred texts of Islam state that Islam is not a Religion of Peace.

After the radio discussion, Swetland then wrote to Robert Spencer (he says that Spencer is a dissenter from the magisterium).  Spencer responded with his own statement.  (Links also below).  [NB: Excerpts of Msgr. Swetland’s response to Spencer are in Spencer’s response.]

Then, over at Crisis (which I admire each day as a great resource) we see a response to Msgr. Swetland by William Kilpatrick.

Must Catholics Believe that Islam Is Peaceful?

The Apostles’ Creed (updated version):

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the peaceful nature of Islam. Amen.

Or, anyway, that’s how it ought to read according to Monsignor Stuart Swetland, President of Donnelly College in Kansas City. No, Msgr. Swetland didn’t actually propose a revision to the Apostles’ Creed, but he does seem to be saying that Catholics have a religious obligation to affirm that Islam is a religion of peace.

In a long statement following up on a radio debate with Robert Spencer on Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani Show, Swetland, according to Spencer, “contends that the statements of recent Popes to the effect that Islam is a religion of peace fall into the category of teachings to which Catholics must give ‘religious assent.’[Is that so?]

Swetland writes: “My main purpose in having a discussion with Robert Spencer, a Catholic, on a Catholic radio network was to show clearly that his positions on Islam were at odds with Catholic teaching.” He goes on to give a sample of magisterial teachings on Islam, starting with Nostra Aetate and including statements and exhortations from Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. He then observes:

Robert Spencer’s positions seem to be at odds with the magisterial teachings on what authentic Islam is and what Catholics are called to do about it (accept immigrants, avoid hateful generalizations, show esteem and respect, etc.). At least in the area of morals, Robert seems to be a dissenter from the papal magisterium.  [This is, at least, a very difficult conclusion to reach.]

And Fr. Swetland is a dissenter from common sense. The pages of history, the daily news, and Islam’s sacred texts all attest to the fact that Islam is not a religion of peace. Or, to quote the Ayatollah Khomeini, “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless.” Khomeini was an Ayatollah Usma, a “Grand Sign of God”—an honor bestowed only on the most learned religious leaders. My guess is that the Ayatollah knew a lot more about Islam than Msgr. Swetland does.

I’m not saying that Swetland is “witless.” In fact, he seems to be an intelligent man. He has an undergraduate degree in physics, was a Rhodes Scholar, and studied philosophy and economics at Oxford. Still, high IQ and common sense don’t always go together. As George Orwell noted, “some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

In the radio debate and in an article responding to his statement, Robert Spencer does a fine job of dismantling Swetland’s arguments. [I value highly the back and forth on this issue.] For one thing, says Spencer, [NB] affirmations about the nature of Islam should not be a matter of Catholic faith and morals. In other words, it’s a serious overreach to contend that the “wrong” opinion on the nature of Islam or on the advisability of mass Muslim immigration may constitute dissent from Church teaching. In saying that it does, Swetland has just created a whole new class of Catholic dissenters—one that probably numbers in the tens of millions. Spencer also observes that what previous popes had to say about Islam contradicts what current popes have said. Which Roman Pontiff must Catholics agree with: “Pope Francis, who declared that ‘authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,’ or Pope Callixtus III, who in 1455 vowed to ‘exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East’?”  [We shouldn’t pit Popes against Popes.]

The linchpin of Swetland’s case is Nostra Aetate’s brief statement about the “Moslems.[NB] But as Spencer, and I, and others have pointed out, there are numerous problems with Nostra Aetate. One question that arises is whether Nostra Aetate was ever intended to be a dogmatic statement. [The other day I posted something about Nostra aetate in reference to the reconciliation of the SSPX.  Archbp. Pozzo recently informed us about the intention of the Council Fathers about Nostra aetate itself.  Pozzo said: “The Secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra aetate ‘As to the character of the declaration, [PAY ATTENTION] the Secretariate does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms’. [We are free to disagree with “pastoral norms”.] Nostra aetate does not have any dogmatic authority and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognise this declaration as dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium.] …

[… I don’t want to reproduce the whole thing here… do go to read at Crisis…]

The main problem with Msgr. Swetland’s statement, however, is its recklessness. Last week in Crisis I wrote that the Church’s handling of the Islamic challenge may prove to be far more scandalous than its handling of the sex abuse crisis. Church authorities are engaged in what amounts to a cover-up of Islam’s aggressive nature, and Msgr. Swetland is a prime example of this ecclesiastical determination to put a positive spin on everything Islamic. But the stakes involved in doing so are extremely high. As I wrote last week, “as the gap widens between what Church officials say about Islam and what ordinary Catholics can see with their own eyes, the credibility of the Church may once again come into question as it did during the sex abuse scandals.”



Provocative.   I suggest that all of you get up to speed on this debate by listening to the audio link, and then following up with the statements of Swetland and Spencer.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.
Lord, have mercy on the soul of Fr. Jacques Hamel.
Lord, save and protect persecuted Christians.
Mary, Destroyer of All Heresies, pray for us.


Posted in Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 67 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can Lectors still bless bread and fruit?

13_01_06_minor_ordersFrom a reader…


Recently I have just read regarding the minor order of Lector (I know it has been abolished). It is said that the lector can bless bread and fruit. My questions are:

  1. Is the blessings reserved only to bread and fruit or can it be extended to food in general?
  2. In traditional orders where they still confer minor orders, can their lector still perform these blessings?

My apologies for any gramatical error as English is not my first language.

Sadly, those provisions formerly given to men ordained to the minor orders of acolyte and lector (done away with by Paul VI with Ministeria quaedam) do not seem to apply to those currently installed in the ministries of acolyte and lector.

Of course, installed acolytes and lectors, like just about anybody else, can probably use the “blessings” contained in the dreadful Book of Blessings, over bread, fruits, etc., but since those blessings don’t actually bless anything…. That’s another bento box and I’m being snarky.

Regarding those who are in traditional groups who receive the lectorate and blessings, I’m afraid the jury is out, that is, I don’t think it is easy to make a decision about them.

Keep in mind that Ministeria quaedam was superseded by the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  It is helpful, but in a limited way.

There was a wonderful spirituality connected to the minor orders.  It was a mistake to sweep them aside in the way they were.

Before, I said that it is hard to make a decision about traditional Lectors.  While we know that they are not clerics now, as they were before, we also have to admit that when bishops bestow this office on men they aren’t just pretending.  I have to conclude that they are being ordained to the lectorate and the Rite of ordination describes what they do.   The things that are described are not out of keeping with the needs of the Church today.

Here is the the Rite for the bestowing of the minor order of Lector and its office:

The Call. The bishop, with his miter on, sits on the faldstool before the middle of the altar. The archdeacon bids the candidates come forward; the notary reads their names:

Let those come forward who are to be ordained to the office of reader: N.N., etc.

Each one answers, adsum, goes before the altar and kneels, holding the burning candle in his right hand.

The Instruction. When all are assembled, the bishop address them as follows:

Dearly beloved sons, chose to be readers in the house of our God, know your office and fulfill it; for God is powerful to give you in increasing measure the grace of everlasting perfection.

The reader’s duty is to read what he preaches (or: to read the Scripture text for the preacher), to sing the lessons, to bless bread and all new fruits. Endeavor, therefore, to read the word of God, that is, the sacred lessons, distinctly and intelligibly, without any mistake or falsification, so that the faithful may understand and be edified, and that the truth of the divine lessons be not through your carelessness lost for the instruction of the hearers.

But what you read with your lips, you must believe in your hearts and practice in your works; so that you may be able to teach your hearers by word and example.

Therefore, when you read, stand in a high place of the church, so that you may be heard and seen by all. This your bodily position is to signify that your life ought to move on a high plane of virtue, so that you may give the example of a heavenly life to all those by whom you are heard and seen. May God by His grace accomplish this in you.

Here the candles are laid aside.

The Bestowal of the Office. The bishop now presents to the candidates the book containing the lessons, that is, a missal, breviary, or bible. The ordinands touch it with the right hand, while he says:

Receive, and be readers of the word of God. If you fulfill your office faithfully and profitably, yours will be the reward of those who have duly administered the word of God from the beginning.

Prayer. The bishop rises and prays:

Let us beseech, beloved brethren, God, the Father Almighty, graciously to bless these servants whom He deigns to assume into the order of reader. May they intelligibly read what is to be read in the Church of God, and carry it out in works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, who lives and reigns with Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. R. Amen.

The bishop, with miter off, turns to the altar and says:

Let Us Pray
Let us bend our knees. R. Amen.

Turning again to the candidates kneeling before him, the bishop prays:

Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, vouchsafe to + bless these Thy servants for the office of reader. May they by constant application to reading acquire knowledge and proficiency, read aloud what must be done and practice what thy have read, so that by the example of their virtue in both respects they may give support to holy Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. R. Amen.

I would add that, more important that blessing bread and fruit, the Lector or aspiring Lector should pay more attention to the ritual words:

…your life ought to move on a high plane of virtue, so that you may give the example of a heavenly life to all those by whom you are heard and seen…

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PHOTOS: 15 August – Assumption Solemn Mass of Reparation for Sacrilege and Blasphemy

Tonight at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff, minutes to the west of downtown Madison, we had a Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Assumption (the parish’s patronal feast), which I offered in reparation for sacrilege and blasphemy, especially that which was perpetrated in Oklahoma City.

After Mass, we had Solemn Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Some seminarians were in choro. The deacon for the Mass is the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Madison, where His Excellency The Extraordinary Ordinary, Robert C. Morlino, is Bishop.   Talk about setting an example!

Here are some photos of the Mass. We used Mass IX and had some Gregorian chant antiphons and hymns. At the end there was a rousing Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.



Imposing incense.


This censer, thurible, is from Agnus Dei.  This is a wonderful family company… BIG family, making their way.  Do me a favor and check their site.  Censors HERE.

I didn’t know I was now so gray!  At least I get the chance to have some gray hair before I lose even more.






For my sermon, which I broke in two parts, I spoke for a bit about what sacrilege is, and blasphemy, as sins against religion.  I asked everyone to pray for conversion of sinners.  Then I spoke of Mary as Virgo Prudentissima.  Imagine how eager she was at the end of her life, when her days were over.  Soon her soul and body would separate and she would die, sleep, though she would not have the effects of death that we will.  During her life she prepared for that moment and never lost a single opportunity to gain graces and merits, to do good and serve the Lord as daughter of her Son in love of God and neighbor.  We who are sinners will probably experience some anxiety at death.  Let us not waste time.  We must be prudent about our inevitable death and prepare during these days which we have been given.  Use well our days so that your death will be a happy death, and not shot through with fear.  Keep the Most Prudent Virgin before your eyes as you reflect on the Four Last Things each day in your examination of conscience.


Exposition.  I read, thrice, the Act of Reparation given to the children at Fatima by the Angel of Peace just about 100 years ago, shy a few days.

This is how we should be before the lord: folded in half, supplices, prostrate on both knees.


I don’t wear lots of lace very often, but, today, yes.  For Our Lady on her feast, in the Church dedicated to Mary Assumed into Heaven.  Thanks to the “Albwright”, who worked on them! And the subdeacon also had an alb which she worked on, antique handmade lace which I got in Rome many years ago.


Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.


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The Act of Reparation taught by the Angel of Fatima

angel of fatimaIn the late September or early October of 1916, 100 years ago as I write just shy a couple months, an angel appeared to the three children of Fatima to whom Our Blessed Mother would later appear during 1917.  The angel taught them a prayer, an act of reparation.

The angel calling himself the Angel of Peace held a chalice over which was suspended a Host. Drops of the Precious Blood fell from the Host into the chalice.  The angel prostrated himself on the ground before the Host and Chalice, and repeated the act of reparation three times.  He then administered Holy Communion to the children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console Our Lord.”

An Act of Reparation From the Angel of of Peace at Fatima

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.


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ASK FATHER: Why no confessions on a feast day?

12_04_06_confessionalFrom a reader…


At the end of today’s mass (Feast of the Assumption), the priest announced no confessions would be heard because “Sundays and solemnities are joyous occasions, so we don’t hear confessions.”

I was dismayed. I find reconciliation to be so very joyous, and I am sure God does too! God’s mercy poured onto me—my soul reconciled to His!

I’d like to say something to the priest, but I’d like to make sure I’m not incorrect before I do.

Is it normal to not hear confession on Solemnities? Is there a reason?

Is there any prohibition against Sunday confession?

What immediately came to mind was what Our Lord said:

Dico vobis quod ita gaudium erit in caelo super uno peccatore paenitentiam habente quam super nonaginta novem iustis qui non indigent paenitentia … Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  (Luke 15:7 RSV)

Had the priest said, “Folks, no confessions today because I have a dentist appointment”, I’d get.  But… no confessions because we are happy? Who says that joy precludes confession of sins?

When a Catholic comes to understand her sins and experience the grace that urges us all to confession and absolution, she will know how merciful God is, which is a cause for ineffable joy even as she still feels compunction.

Even when you are sorry for your sins, aren’t you also happy that Christ gave us the Sacrament of Penance?  This is the ordinary means by which Christ wants the sinner to be reconciled.  What’s more joyous than that?

What might we call this?  Grave joy?  Happy sorrow?  This is similar in a sense to the seeming contradiction which informs the famous felix culpa of the Exsultet (and Augustine and Ambrose).

There is no prohibition of confession on Sundays or Holy Days, Feasts, Solemnities, etc.  As a matter of fact, I know quite a few priests who hear confessions for a while before Masses, yes, on Sundays and feasts.

Furthermore, it is entirely appropriate for a priest to hear confessions during Masses on Sundays and feasts! In Redemptionis Sacramentum 76 we read (my emphases and comments):

Furthermore, according to a most ancient tradition of the Roman Church, it is not permissible to unite the Sacrament of Penance to the Mass in such a way that they become a single liturgical celebration.  This does not exclude, however, that Priests other than those celebrating or concelebrating the Mass might hear the confessions of the faithful who so desire, even in the same place where Mass is being celebrated, in order to meet the needs of those faithful. This should nevertheless be done in an appropriate manner.

Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio), Misericordia Dei, 7 April 2002, n. 2: AAS 94 (2002) p. 455; Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Response to Dubium: Notitiae 37 (2001) pp. 259-260.

There is nothing to prevent the reception of sacramental confessions during Mass on any day of the week, or during any liturgical service, that is, during Mass or recitation of the Office.


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Videos of Pius XII declaring the Dogma of the Assumption

The fabled pastor of my home parish, the late Msgr. Richard Schuler told stories about being in Rome when Ven. Pius XII infallibly declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to be a dogma of the Faith.  He was present for the procession with the icon of Salus Populi Romani and for the proclamation.

Here is a video about the event in 1950.

And there is this… just after 26:00 you hear Pius reading the actual Proclamation of the Dogma.

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