ACTION ITEM! The “Birettas for Seminarians Project” Continues

action-item-buttonPope Francis wants some “lío”.  “¡Hagan lío!”, right?  I’ve got some “lío” right here.

Some time ago I started a project whereby seminarians could contact the great John Hastreiter at Leaflet Missal Co. with their hat size. Meanwhile, you readers get in touch with the same John and you buy a biretta.  John then sends the biretta out.  You remain anonymous to each other.

Thus, the Biretta For Seminarians Project.

I just received a note from John:

I have 23 men on the waiting list for a biretta.

TWENTY-THREE men waiting… waiting… waiting….

YOU, dear readers, have to date supplied 170 birettas to seminarians.  Kudos.  Some thank you notes from seminarians with spiffy new birettas HERE and HERE.

Very often I met seminarians who received your birettas.  They always tell me with big smiles about receiving them.

Seminarians and potential donors…

Contact John in “church goods” at Leaflet Missal in St. Paul – 651-209-1951. 

The phone navigation system at Leaflet isn’t great.  Be patient.

If John is away, leave a voicemail with your phone number and he will call you back ASAP.

DO NOT WRITE TO ME TO ASK FOR A BIRETTA!  (If a seminarian can’t get that straight then… how are your grades?!?)

There is also a SATURNO FOR CLERICS Project.  Ask John about that, too!

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged , | 2 Comments

POTUS, SCOTUS and “Judicial Humility”: a useful tip from @Judgenap


Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.

Check out the WSJ piece about the group to which Judge Amy Coney Barrett belongs.

Originally Published on: Jun 29, 2018

I’ve been looking at the list of the SCOTUS candidates from which the POTUS will choose a nominee.   There are some great people on that list.  You can see why the Left is having a spittle-flecked nutty.

Today I heard on the news that the POTUS is consider a couple of women from that list, which seems about right.

One which got my attention is Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by the POTUS to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

During Barrett’s hearing before the Senate, she was attacked on religious grounds by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Durbin (D-IL and decidedly PRO-ABORTION catholic who has been barred from Holy Communion by Bp. Paprocki.)   The US Constitution has in Article VI a No Religious Test Clause (c. 3).

Coincidentally, in this video another name on the SCOTUS list, and someone people are talking about right now, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is asked about what Dicky and Di did to Barrett:

I wonder if they will reprise their previous bigoted performance.

Meanwhile, Judge Andrew Napolitano said something really interesting the other day about the POTUS’s vision for a SCOTUS Justice: they have to have “judicial humility“.

On FNC he said:

NAPOLITANO: I think, he’s going to narrow the list of 25 down to three. I think he will interview those three personally, and I think he will choose which one of the three he wants, and go with that person.

MACCALLUM: Who do you think those three are?

NAPOLITANO: He — I don’t know honestly, who they are. But I know their characteristics. They are all pro-life, they all believe in something called judicial humility, which is the recognition that the judiciary is the third branch of government. That the presidency and the Congress are more important. That they set public policy that it’s not the job of judges to set public policy, but just to interpret the law and to apply the Constitution to the laws that the Congress has written. A sort of deference if you will to the primacy of the other two branches.

As it turns out, judicial humility is a real thing, a term.   It also includes the issue of stare decisis. My searches on the interwebs produced some interesting reading, for example, something from Yale Law Journal, which includes:

The judicial humility10 this Essay seeks to reveal in Justice Thomas’s work has five core features: first, an insistence on reaching and pronouncing the correct interpretation of the law even when one disagrees with the result;11 second, persistence in the correct interpretation despite potential or actual backlash; third, a recognition of one’s own limitations and a resulting commitment to doctrines and practices that subordinate self to law; fourth, a willingness to admit mistakes; and finally, a foundation in faith.

Footnote 10 reads:

It may be helpful to distinguish this kind of judicial humility from judicial restraint. Judicial restraint might lead a judge to proceed incrementally toward correcting a law, lest the judge exercise too much power or appear “activist.” Judicial humility requires something a bit different: most basically, it requires a subordination of self to some higher authority. In Justice Thomas’s case, the subordination of self is to law, specifically to the original meaning of the Constitution. The judicial humility reflected in his opinions therefore is not a form of minimalism; nor does it reflect or require self-doubt or timidity. Indeed, Justice Thomas has stated that “too many show timidity today precisely when courage is demanded.” Clarence Thomas, Francis Boyer Lecture at the AEI Annual Dinner: Be Not Afraid (Feb. 13, 2001),[].

Justice Thomas’s humility contrasts with the kind of judicial “humility” that Chief Justice Roberts praised as a justification for stare decisis during his confirmation hearings. See Confirmation Hearing on the Nomination of John G. Roberts, Jr. To Be Chief Justice of the United States Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 55 (2005) (statement of John G. Roberts). Justice Thomas rejects constitutional stare decisis.  He has described the Court’s leading formulation of the doctrine as “a product of its authors’ own philosophical views . . . , and it should go without saying that it has no origins in or relationship to the Constitution and is, consequently, . . . illegitimate.” Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 982 (2000) (Thomas, J., dissenting) (referring to the stare decisis doctrine articulated in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)). For Justice Thomas, subordination of his “own philosophical views” to the law means returning to the original Constitution, not to the views of earlier Supreme Court peers. Thus, his judicial humility differs from judicial restraint or minimalism, and is compatible with the claim that he behaves as an “activist” judge regarding precedent. It is not compatible, however, with the claim that he is deliberately cruel.

The idea is this: It is by humility that Justice Thomas seeks to read the original intention of the Constitution.  Humility lead Thomas to be an originalist.

Ave Maria Law Review also has an interesting piece about judicial humility.    Be sure to read the conclusion.

Do a search on Amy Coney Barrett and stare decisis and you get some really interesting reading material.  For example, “Originalism and stare decisis” in Notre Dame Law Review.    See a page of selected works: HERE

There is going to be a huge fight over this appointment.   I suspect that she could be on the short list of candidates.

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Posted in The Coming Storm, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

German Bishop condones sacrilegious Communions

Libs do whatever they want, seemingly with impunity.

The UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, reports that the recently appointed Bishop of Würzburg has allowed all Protestants married to Catholics to receive Holy Communion at jubilee Masses for married couples in his cathedral.

What difference does it make that it is a marriage anniversary if the Protestant doesn’t believe what Catholics believe? It is still an openly condoned desecration of the Eucharist and an insult to believing Catholics.

So it is an anniversary. So what? Again, I think that many priests and even bishops do not believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. Instead, Communion is the moment when someone puts a white thing in your hand while you sing a song and you feel good about yourself.

Last week the Archbishop of Paderborn approved Communion for Protestant spouses “in individual cases” after a period of discernment.


Please consider, dear readers, acts of reparation for this open disrespect.

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Posted in Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Jesuit-run Amerika props up new Socialist Dem candidate from NY. The Red Sun still rises in the East.

You’ve probably heard that recently a twenty-something Socialist (well… Communist) trounced a congressional veteran of some twenty years in a Dem primary.   He ignored his campaign until too late. She’s a Communist and pro-deviation who got out the young (aka sorta thick and mostly uneducated) vote.

Now Jesuit-run Ameriʞa – ever the pipe of the Left and deviancy – has slobbered over her and provided space for her op-ed about her Catholic faith, etc.

What could possibly go wrong?

It is not the first time this Jesuit-run publication has sported a Socialist.

Here is a good exercise for you.  Read the Ameriʞa piece and then read the examination of the Ameriʞa piece over at blog of Acton Institute by Rev. Ben Johnson.  He identifies the self-contradictions in the young ladies Catholic self-proclamations.

Of course the first one that will occur to even the slightly well-informed Catholic is the quote from Pius XI (so long on the masthead of The Wanderer):

“No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”

So, she is either one or the other. Which is it?

We may have good reason to question Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s understanding of Catholic teaching in a way that Jesuit-run Ameriʞa is unwilling to do.

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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 15 Comments

“Rome, we have a problem.” Ed Peters on … surprises?… in new document on Consecrated Virginity.

TIMING is everything.

Right now the US Association of Consecrated Virgins is in their annual meeting.

THAT’s when this happens?

Some time ago, Holy Church decided to revive a state in life, a vocation, that was once identified and lived in the early Church: the Order of Virgins… a life of consecrated virginity for women.  However, over time, it became apparent that the criteria and purpose of this vocation needed some clarification. Hence the Holy See finally issued a document.

What could go wrong with the identifying the criteria for virginity?  Right?

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters has taken a look at the new document from the Holy See about consecrated virginity.   I’ve only briefly perused it and not yet commented.  However, in a nutshell he states a problem with it that I noticed.  It’s sort of a big one.

Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago punts on one problem, fixes a second, but greatly worsens a third

With papal approval the Roman dicastery in charge of consecrated life has just published an important document on consecrated virginity, Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago. Now, according to the plain terms of ESI, the Blessed Virgin Mary, archetype of virginity consecrated to God, would not be eligible for admission to the order of virgins, but Mary Magdalene, model for women who, Deo gratias, set aside a promiscuous life, would be eligible.

Something, I suggest, is seriously wrong with such norms.

Did you get that?

Peters has more to say.  HERE

I think I’ll let him say it.

He does bring up something that I have long advocated: an Order of Widows.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Benedictine Brick by Benedictine Brick


First, there is a great photo of the building going on near Norcia, Italy, where the mighty Beer Monks are constructing their new lives after the horrible earthquakes.  I like this photo:

What is really exciting is that the Monastery has been made by the Holy See an independent priory, sui iuris, and the first official conventual prior is Fr. Benedict Nivakoff.  From the monks HERE.

There are also the wondrous Benedictine nuns in Missouri, who are building their church.

Please consider donating in honor of a priest’s vocation.  HERE!

They are in the last phase of building, and you can still get in on sponsoring even objects for worship.


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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 3 Comments

“Do you remember a time when…”

At The Catholic Thing, Anthony Esolen has again posted a clear-eyed piece about effeminacy in the Church.  Here’s a foray into his piece:

Vesting in Lavender

Do you remember a time, readers, when you could spend a whole day, actually a whole month, occasionally even a year, and not give one passing thought to the issue of sexual perversions?

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought it a good idea to have drag queens do story-hour for children in a public library? […]

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought that a man who said he was a woman or a woman who said she was a man was in touch with reality and not prey to a destructive fantasy or delusion?  [Tell that to Fishwrap.]

Do you remember a time when liberals, precisely because they were liberals, held men and women up to high standards of sexual decency, and (wrongly) believed that they were capable of maintaining those standards without the ministrations of the Church?

Do you remember a time when it would not have occurred to you in a hundred years that your priest was anything other than an ordinary man, a real man, following the special call of the Lord? A man who in another life, with a different call, would have been married with a passel of children, a pillar of his community?

Do you remember a time when a priest could march alongside miners and auto workers and look like one of them, not like a breathless female reporter in the locker room of a football team? Do you remember when nobody, absolutely nobody, would have considered that a female reporter should even be in that locker room?  [Tell that to Amerika.]

Do you remember a time when divorce was a scandal?


Heu, tempus fugit. There are a lot of you reading this who don’t, in fact, remember those times. Let’s continue. Esolen goes on with the ghastly topic of Card. McCarrick. He’s but an example, alas. And then, moving towards his peroration…

The Mass itself is made soft and effeminate – neither masculine nor feminine. I have often noted that every single hymn in vast repertory of Christian hymnody that has anything to do with fighting for Christ, hymns going back all the way to Prudentius and Venantius Fortunatus, has been banished from the hymnals, except for For All the Saints.

That one exception we may attribute to the need to have something or other for All Saints’ Day, and even then, in many hymnals I have seen, the lyrics are made squishy, or the stanzas with the most fight in them are simply dropped.? These leaders are simply not interested in taking on the world.

But that is the raison d’être of the brotherhood. Men who are friends, soldiers in the field, do not gaze into each other’s eyes, melting. Your drill sergeant does not call himself Uncle Ted. He does not write lovey letters to you, after he has snuggled you into a compromise. He does not engage in spiritual bribery and blackmail.

Men who stand shoulder to shoulder – you can picture them in your mind’s eye, leaning against a fence or a car or a tank – look out in the same direction, towards the world to conquer. That has been the orientation, the direction to take, of every true leader of men the Church has known, from Peter and Paul to Benedict, from Francis and Dominic to Ignatius, from John Bosco to Jose Maria Escriva.

We have the Lord’s own choice to follow, ordaining men to form that band of brothers. Men, not just anatomical males. They might get something done.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

Interesting point about being side by side, facing the same direction….

It often happens that when men talk to each other about important things, they sit side by side to do so.  Women tend to face each other.   Men and women relate differently.   While equal in dignity, they have different roles.


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Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord | Tagged , | 21 Comments

D. Madison – 29 July – Missa Cantata in the DOMINICAN Rite

I am pleased to inform the readership that in Madison, WI, at the parish staffed by the Order of Preachers, there will be a Sung Mass in the Dominican Rite.

On Sunday 29 July at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Fr. James Dominic Rooney, OP, will hold a Q&A session at 2PM followed by the Mass at 3PM followed by a reception.

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 14 Comments

BOOKS received and read: Sacramental vision and Dystopian hell

I am thrilled that Angelico Press sent me copies of books by true heroes in our struggle to revitalize our Catholic identity through the reclamation of sacred liturgical worship.

First, Martin Mosebach has updated his great The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy (Revised and Expanded Edition) and it has been republished by Angelico.


This is an extremely important book.   Make sure your priests and seminarians have it.

Next, from the man who gave us the famous BUX PROTOCOL™, Msgr. Nicola Bux, No Trifling Matter: Taking the Sacraments Seriously Again:


A cursory examination is really promising.   This would be a superb book for a catechumen, or a revert or fallen/falling away Catholic.   A priest could find it a good source for preaching and catechesis in a project to bring congregations back to a proper Catholic view of things.

Bux addresses what the sacred is and what its implications are for worship, and the consequences of the loss of the sense of the sacred, the loss of the transcendent and slid into immanentism.

Also, a reader here (and sometime contributor of great tales of Tracer Bullet), recommended a book, which, it being 4 July, I decided to read.


UPDATE 5 July:

I’ve now read the last in the list.  It is humorous… but not.   He describes a situation which could result from the trajectory we are on now.    If you want confirmation, just read the American bashing and gender-bender crap at Fishwrap in the days surrounding Independence Day.  Such as HERE and just about anything by Madame Lafarge or Jamie.

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Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, REVIEWS | Tagged | Leave a comment

Races to and away from the bottom: 20% of priesthood ordination in France are traditional

This morning I saw some tweets about new priests:




In contrast….

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

Traditionalist priests now account for 20 per cent of ordinations in France

The number of new ordinations in France has fallen this year, from 133 in 2017 to 114.

According to figures from La Croix, 82 of these new priests are diocesan, while the rest are members of various orders and societies of apostolic life.

Paris and Bordeaux are the dioceses with most ordinations – six each – however, this still marks a considerable decline for Paris, which had 10 in 2017 and 11 in 2016.

Lyon, Versailles and Fréjus-Toulon follow with five each, then Evry with four.

However, a total of 58 dioceses had no ordinations at all.

In contrast, the “traditionalist” communities, where priests primarily celebrate Mass in the Old Rite, are continuing to grow. La Croix calculates that 20 per cent of new priests this year come from communities classed as “traditional” or “classical”.

These include three ordinations for the Institute of the Good Shepherd, two for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and two for the Institute of Christ the King. Younger priests are particularly well-represented among these groups.

La Croix also reports that France has witnessed a rise in late vocations in recent years as the number of older people studying for the priesthood steadily rises. These include the new Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, who entered seminary at the age of 39.

A survey by the French bishops’ conference of first and second-year seminarians in 2016 found that four per cent were aged 36-40, while a further two per cent were 41-45. This means that by the time they are ordained, around a dozen will be 42 or older.

It is a race to the end, I think.   We will see a huge drop in congregations as millennials entirely tune out and the number of priests drops… that is, the number of non-traditional or tradition-resistant priests drops.

However, 20% of ordinations in France came from traditionalist communities.

Another interesting thing to look at is where new priests come from in US dioceses.  Are they American born and raised?  Are they native to the diocese or to the region?  In other words, are some dioceses producing local vocations and others not so much?

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Posted in SSPX, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Tricoteuse of the New catholic Red Guard: @MichaelSWinters (aka Madame Defarge)

Look at this piece from from Politico:

Hey Democrats, Fighting Fair Is for Suckers


The list of those changes is dizzying. Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate. Expand the Supreme Court and the federal courts, packing them with liberal judges. Move to multi-member House districts to roll back the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Pass a new Voting Rights Act, including nationwide automatic voter registration, felon enfranchisement and an end to voter ID laws. Grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a host of new Democratic-leaning voters: “Republicans have always feared that immigration would change the character of American society. Democrats should reward them with their very worst nightmare.

The other day I posted on a book I just read.  Talk about “Black Swans”!


____ Originally Published on: Jul 3, 2018 @ 15:24

Occasionally libs slip and reveal more of what they really think than they usually intend.  Remember, scratch a lib and find, beneath, a well of venom.

Over at the National Schismatic Reporter, usual suspect Michael Sean Winters has let the cover slip from the cauda.

Here is a bit of thinking which fully justifies a new nickname as a member of the New catholic Red Guards.  Remember who they were?  The Red Guards?   After Mao sparked the youth in the Cultural Revolution, they rampaged through the byways, targeting political enemies for public humiliation and execution.

Or maybe a better image is the Terror of the French Revolution.

Some of you young’uns might not know who the Tricoteues were.

As the French Revolution descended into the Reign of Terror, the women of the streets and markets who had been active were sidelined from politics.   In sullen protest, they parked themselves near the guillotine and did their knitting.  Thus, Tricoteuses … knitter women.   In literature, you might remember the ghastly figure of Madame Defarge in Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities.

In his melt-down about recent Supreme Court decisions, MSW concluded:

I had been prepared for the Janus decision to go the way it did. I was, therefore, surprised by how angry I got when the decision was released and how my anger did not dissipate. I left my computer to go work in the garden, something that almost always restores equanimity, but not this time. The Supreme Court had a chance to defend the decency of the nation and it failed to do so.

Normally, when I get into a debate with a conservative friend and we are at an impasse, with no hope for resolution, I try to ease the tension with levity, and say, “Well, when the revolution comes, I will put in a good word for you and your family.” To my friends in the Republican political and legal establishment who have not stood up to Trump: When the revolution comes, you are on your own, and I will be clamoring not for mercy but for a seat next to the guillotine, where I can do my knitting.

In a more jocular mood, I prefer the less horrifying image of MSW as the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic web.

Now he is Madame Defarge, Tricoteuse of the catholic Left.   He has risen from his fainting couch and moved to the guillotine with his needles.

His is a particularly venomous mind but this vision of the future is what the Left really wants.


I remind the readership of the sort of tolerance that Madame Defarge displays towards people who challenge him.  For example, he wants Prof. Chad Pecknold to lose his livelihood because of an opinion he doesn’t agree with.  HERE  And HERE Defarge thinks that converts shouldn’t be allowed to voice an opinion… because they are conservative.

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Posted in Green Inkers, Liberals | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

BRICK BY BRICK in Archd. Los Angeles

Here is some great Brick By Brick news from the City of Angels.

Archbp. Gomez official set up a traditional parish, staffed by the FSSP, exclusively for the traditional Roman Rite.  Fr. James Fryar, a fine priest whom I met in NYC, is the pastor.

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter — Archdiocese of Los Angeles
607 4th Street
San Fernando 91340

Sunday 8:00am (Low Mass)
Sunday 10:30am (High Mass)
Sunday 4:00pm (Vespers) …starting in August
Sunday 5:00pm (with Spanish and English Sermon)
Daily Mass schedule forthcoming.

An interesting note: A parishioner made the vestments.

New Evangelization!


Great photos of their building project.  Really interesting.



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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Energetic pro-family talk in London

My old friend Michael Matt of The Remnant gave a rousing pro-family talk in London recently.  You might want to tune in.

And, take note of the spiffy title!

Along the way Michael reminds the listeners that Card. Caffara (one of the Five Dubia Cardinals) had received a note from Sr. Lucia saying:

“A time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.”

Matt used a title which rings familiar around these electronic pages.   A long-time assertion here is “Save The Liturgy, Save The World”.   Matt’s title and my slogan do not contradict each other.  They compliment each other.

The family is the basic natural unit created by God as the foundation of all human society.  Composed of images of God in relation to each other, the family reflects the love of the Persons of the Trinity.   When sanctified by the sacraments, Holy Church calls the family the “domestic Church”.   The greatest of all the sacraments, about which all the others revolve, is the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is known as the “source and summit” of our identity.  Both the Blessed Sacrament Itself and Its celebration which is Holy Mass, and the liturgies which flow logically from this source and summit, must be our starting point and our goal in all our endeavors.   Our liturgical choices shape our families.   Ergo…

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, One Man & One Woman, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“How unspeakably cold is the idea of a Temple without that Divine Presence!”


The UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald print edition (not online), had a great piece by the renowned Newman scholar, Fr. Ian Ker about Newman’s conversion and the Real Presence in Catholic churches.

Here it is in toto:

‘Awful and real’

Before Newman’s conversion, he avoided Catholic churches.
Then he discovered what made them unique

The story of Newman’s conversion to Catholicism is not quite the same as his subsequent discovery of Catholicism. There were then very few Catholic places of worship, and, in any case, to avoid the charge that the Oxford or Tractarian Movement was really just a preparation for conversion to the Church of Rome, Newman had carefully avoided Catholics and Catholic services, even when he was on his Mediterranean tour of 1832-3 and when he could hardly avoid being exposed to both.

And so it was that the feature of his new religious life as a Catholic that most struck him came as a complete surprise – namely, the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches. He wrote in a letter to a close friend, herself about to become a Catholic a few months later:

We went over not realising those privileges which we have found by going. I never allowed my mind to dwell on what I might gain of blessedness – but certainly, if I had thought much upon it, I could not have fancied the extreme, ineffable comfort of being in the same house with Him who cured the sick and taught His disciples … When I have been in Churches abroad, I have  religiously abstained from acts of worship, though it was a most soothing comfort to go into them – nor did I know what was going on; I neither understood nor tried to understand the Mass service – and I did not know, or did not observe, the tabernacle Lamp – but now after tasting of the awful delight of worshipping God in His Temple, how unspeakably cold is the idea of a Temple without that Divine Presence! One is tempted to say what is the meaning,  what is the use of it?

It is remarkable how it was the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches that more than anything else impressed and moved Newman, even more than the Mass itself. And it tells us something very important not only about Newman but also about a central aspect of the impact of Catholicism on the imagination of the 19th-century English Protestant convert. Thus Newman is not only making a devotional and spiritual point when he writes to an Anglican friend:

I am writing next room to the Chapel – It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ in bodily presence in one’s house, within one’s walls, as swallows up all other privileges … To know that He is close by – to be able again and again through the day to go in to Him …

Newman is saying something very  significant about objectivity and reality.

For it was that concrete presence of Jesus in a material tabernacle which, for Newman, above all produced that “deep impression  of religion as an objective fact” and which so impressed him about Catholicism. He admired “every where the signs of an awful and real system”.

When Newman arrived in Italy a year later to prepare for the priesthood, he was immediately and vividly aware of a reality that powerfully impinged on his imagination, but of which he had been oblivious on his previous visit. Arriving in Milan, he immediately noticed that he had now an added reason for preferring classical to Gothic architecture, since its simplicity meant that the high altar stood out as the focal point of the church, with the result  that the reserved Sacrament had particular prominence – for “nothing moves there  but the distant glimmering Lamp which betokens the Presence of our undying Life, hidden but ever working”.

His almost obsessive preoccupation with this “Real Presence” was more than simply devotional: “It is really most wonderful to see this Divine Presence looking out almost into the open streets from the various Churches … I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church.”


For what Newman had discovered  was that the objectivity of the worship  which so impressed him only reflected the objectivity of Catholicism, which he came to believe was a quite different religion from Anglicanism or Protestantism. Now he was delighted to find, as he thought, “a real  religion – not a mere opinion such that you have no confidence your next door neighbour holds it too, but an external objective substantive creed and worship”.

Newman’s fascination with the  reservation of the Sacrament reflects  his celebrated philosophical distinction between the notional and real, notions  being intellectual abstractions and the real what we personally and concretely experience. Catholics, he insisted, worshipped not dogmatic definitions but “Christ Himself”, believing in the “[Real] Presence in the sacred Tabernacle not as a form of words”, or “as a notion, but as an Object as real as we are real”.

Fr Ker’s Newman on Vatican II (2014) was reissued this year in paperback by OUP


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Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments


We Catholics love our books.

For years a particular Catholic used book dealer in the midwest has been providing great titles of all kinds.

Loome Theological Bookseller is famous.

They need help.

On a personal note, back in the darkest days of liturgical and theological chaos of the ’80s, we prospective seminarians and seminarians and young priests would trek from the Twin Cities and other far flung places to drive over to Stillwater for some hours of browsing at Loome’s.  It was there that I spent more money than I should have for liturgical books and volumes of history of the Church and sets of philosophical texts such as the St. Thomas Aquinas that I still treasure and old manuals that I still consult.   Those books gave me a ladder into higher Catholic things which stood me in good stead through seminary (sniffing out their lies and heresies) and readying me for the wars that were to come my way.  They provided weapons and armor and helped to forge my hard-won Catholic identity.

They were a kind of redoubt against the insanity that swept through the Church.

Loome Theological Bookseller has changed hands and location, but they still have a mission: provide precious and hard to find books to people all over the world.

Loome Theological Bookseller needs help right now to keep their brick and mortal store open and to avoid going to mail order only.

They have a GoFundMe campaign on.

I ask you, please, to help.

I’ll be that 10,000 of you could afford, say, $5.

Please help this store, which has helped us in the identity wars.

Please share!
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