NYC EXILE – DAY 4: Of Sung Mass and Sunshine

It was another picture perfect day.

Before heading to Mass today I made sure to have a brief stroll in the park.

After Mass, eggs… Benedict, of course.

After Sung Vespers, several of us went to China Town (which is taking over Little Italy).  Our trek included a visit to Precious Blood, the National Shrine of San Genaro.

San Rocco.

There is a great presepio in the church.


It’s not often you see statues of Sts. Cosmos and Damian.

They are marvelously… what’s the word… kitschy?

We had a nice walk in the park.  The men were on one side, playing Chinese Chess, the woman on the other, playing cards.  There were a couple live combos playing folk music.  The trees are blooming.

Hand pulled noodles sounded like a good idea.

Afterwards, toast with condensed milk and tea.


A sweet end to a sweet day.  Several of us went and had a glass of Chartreuse afterwards, which is a celebratory stable among the Holy Innocents crowd.

Meanwhile, on Monday there will be at Holy Innocents at least a Missa Cantata if not a full Solemn Mass for the Feast of St. Mark.

Monday, April 25at 6:00 PM for Feast of St. Mark



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Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 11 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

Let us know.

At this point I plan on talking about sins against Hope.  Will I moved to speak on something else?  Who knows?

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 29 Comments

“To label a priest “non-judgmental” is damning.” He is incapable of thinking clearly, affirms people in moral errors

At The Catholic Thing Fr. Jerry Pokorsky has a good piece about being non-judgmental, particularly about non-judgmental priests.  I think we have all met that sort, right?  These pathetic, flexi-spined cowards who would be, were Dante in charge, consigned to chase the pointless ever-whirling banner on the empty plain, pursued by stinging flies, treading upon hideous worms.

Two snips:

Non-Judgmental Shepherds


Someone recently told me about a Catholic religion teacher who was called by a concerned parent. The teacher was presenting the Catholic faith in a methodical fashion. An upcoming topic was to be love and marriage. The parent wanted assurances that his young daughter would not be taught that the lesbian lifestyle of her older sister is immoral.

If the younger sister came home with a crisp understanding of Christian marriage, she would become hopelessly “judgmental” – a truly horrible person – at least in Dad’s judgment. And she might even find herself denied entry to one or more colleges on the basis of her “intolerance.” You see, believing and living the Catholic faith is “judgmental” and it ruins education – and careers.


Increasingly the non-judgmental “ideal” is used to silence the proclamation of the Gospel, betraying the diabolical root of the term. When a person is described as “non-judgmental” the term may evoke an attribute of kindness in general. Such a person “affirms people where they are at” regardless of behavior.

But below the surface of a so-called “non-judgmental” person are indulgence and apathy, an inability to see evil, personal narcissism, the pathological desire to be liked, going along to get along, as long as everyone is comfortable. This is why there are so many “non-judgmental” priests, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the People of God on each of them during their seminary education, an education that should have included solid courses on logic and Catholic moral theology. To describe Jesus Himself as “non-judgmental” is not only inaccurate, it is exceedingly shallow and insulting.

Similarly, to label a priest “non-judgmental” is damning. It means he is incapable of thinking clearly, affirms his people in their moral errors, and doesn’t take stands opposing the new morality of polite secular opinion. It means he doesn’t have the courage to warn his people against the danger of mortal sin and the fires of Hell.


Making judgments doesn’t mean being a jerk.

Posted in Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged | 13 Comments

The Hermeneutic of Ambiguity

From a comment under an entry here…

When enumerating the various hermeneutics for reading documents: the hermeneutic of continuity or the hermeneutic of rupture, they, apparently, forgot to include the hermeneutics of ambiguity.

A priest friend sent this.



Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 20.50.47UPDATE:

Meanwhile, the UK’s liberal and not best Catholic weekly The Bitter Pill (aka RU-486 aka The Tablet) has what is, frankly, a critique by Clifford Longley of how sources are used and citied in the problematic Ch. 8 of Amoris laetitia.

I, for one, was pretty concerned about how GS 51 was used.

Longley is disappointed in Francis’ Letter and thinks that he didn’t go far enough.  To wit, a smattering:

Conservatives say Pope Francis cannot have meant that “divorced and remarried Catholics could be admitted to Holy Communion in certain circumstances”, as many have interpreted the document, because that would be plain contrary to long-standing Catholic practice sanctioned by the magisterium.

[NB] But that would have meant that he too is a conservative, and we know he is a liberal. We are free to interpret his words in the light of that. But why the uncertainty? Why couldn’t he have spelt it out with a simple statement such as the one above? Was he under pressure, for instance facing threats of resignation from senior cardinals in the Vatican, so he had to create a smoke screen so everyone could claim a victory? How does that help the rest of us, or at least those of us who aren’t conservative curial cardinals? He has created confusion precisely where there needs to be clarity.

In every other respect Amoris Laetitia is a pastoral triumph. But not this one. It is a mess. In those circumstances the only possible advice is to follow the instincts and intuitions of one’s conscience as honestly as possible, consulting whomever one likes in the process. Let liberals interpret the document liberally and conservatives conservatively. But don’t let anybody tell them they are wrong, because nobody knows that for sure.


Longley’s view is really interesting, coming as it does from the Left.

You would do well to read it carefully.

Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Pope Francis, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

NYC EXILE – DAY 3: Of Solemn Mass and Spanish Rice

A ghost was lain in Newark today.  In the magnificent Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, which once Episcopalians were permitted to use to celebrate and raise John Shelby Spong, there was a Solemn Mass in the Roman Rite after a pilgrimage to the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy.

We trekked to Newark to participate.   I am kidding about a bit when I bring up Spong, of course, for he is relevant to … almost nothing, I suppose, except for an occasional verse in Fr. Ferguson’s parody songs.  The important thing is that, after decades, the Roman Rite returned to Sacred Cathedral… the Mass around which, for which, by which the Cathedral was designed. What a church!

It was a pilgrimage, for the Holy Year, so there was a solemn entrance through the designated Holy Door.  The Gloria, Laus et Honor was sung, the door was knocked with the processional Cross and opened.  In went the procession.

I’d say about 400 people were present.  No doubt there will be photos from different sources.

After Mass it was off to lunch.

We went to Spanish place.  The proprietor is from Galicia, which is where the Society of Jesus the Priest which serves in Madison is founded.


On the way back to the City… for a nap!

Posted in Events, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 9 Comments

Pope Francis heard confessions in St. Peter’s Square

Pope Francis does things that annoy me, that puzzle me, that surprise me and that please me.

Today was one of the later.  He could stick to this sort of thing, in my book!



From The Daily Mail:

The Catholic act of penance is normally conducted in the privacy of a confessional box.
But 16 teenagers carried out the traditional rite in front of thousands of young Catholic faithfuls as they confessed their sins to Pope Francis on chairs in the middle of St Peter’s Square.
The youths were given the unexpected opportunity as the Pontiff made a surprise appearance for a special Holy Year youth day at the Vatican in Italy late on Saturday morning.

Francis and each of the 16 teenagers sat face-to-face in simple chairs set up in pairs for him and many others hearing confessions near the famed Colonnade of Bernini.
The teenagers seemed at ease, with Francis shaking hands warmly with the youths. In all, the pope spent over an hour in the square.



It is great that Francis wants to hear confessions (what he was ordained to do).  And it is great that he underscores the importance of confessions (what he is obliged to do now).

Fathers, please hear confessions.

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Pope Francis | Tagged , | 14 Comments

A canonist looks at Amoris laetitia

If you are not yet weary of Chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia – or indeed the mere mention of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation by incipit or innuendo, my friend Fr. Gerald Murray has some observations at The Catholic Thing.

Fr. Murray begins by quoting the pivotal Familiaris consortio 84:

“[T]he Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

He goes on to look at how Amoris laetitia concerns itself with “scare quote” couples, that is, “irregular” couples.

For example:

The publication of Amoris Laetitia brought an end to this discipline. Now, the Church’s help and accompaniment of people publicly known to be living in “an objective state of sin” [305] has changed, as set forth in footnote 351 (and somewhat obscurely in footnote 336): “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote refers to two statements Pope Francis made previously encouraging pastors to act with mildness and wide latitude when administering the sacraments of penance and the Holy Eucharist.

It’s strange that such a momentous change is effected in two footnotes, but much stranger is the change itself, which is manifestly a contradiction of the previous discipline. It makes no real difference that Holy Communion will now be given in “only certain cases” of adulterous second unions. Once some people living in adultery are allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist, while continuing to commit acts of adultery, the principles that upheld the previous discipline have been undermined. We are about to see creative ways in which the gravity of adultery and the obligation of Christians to conform their lives to the demands of the Gospel [102] will be minimized, if not largely denied, in matters related to the 6th Commandment.

And also…

Here we arrive at a signal difficulty in AL Chapter 8: “Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace. Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”[308 emphasis added]

The primary duty of Christian conscience is to come to know what God asks of us, and then conform our thoughts and behavior to that. A “given situation” is not in question when analyzing one’s moral responsibility, but one’s freely chosen acts in that given situation.

It’s impossible that someone even minimally instructed in the “overall demands of the Gospel” by his pastor – and thus understands that the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” applies to everyone without exception – could then decide that to continue committing acts of adultery “is the most generous response” to God that he can make “for now” as a Christian.


Some have suggested that it is a mistake to say that Pope Francis has changed the discipline of the Church, and that the discipline in effect on April 7th was still in force on April 8th. But the Synod Father invited by the Holy See to officially present the document, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, said on that occasion: “the pope affirms in a note [351] that the help of the sacraments may also be given ‘in certain cases.’” Did he misunderstand the pope? Did the Synod office fail to vet his remarks? Hardly. It published the remarks in written form. The media essentially reported this story in the exact same sense.

These mere snips should send you over there to read the whole thing.

Posted in Mail from priests, Pope Francis, The Drill | Tagged , | 37 Comments

NYC EXILE – DAY 2: Of Octopus and Opera

Day two allowed me to lunch outside.  Winter has lingered a bit back at The Cupboard Under The Stairs (where there is no electricity at the moment… I remotely shut down the network of the Mother Ship in the morning).

A couple friends joined me for lunch and great conversation.

Just a few sights of the city.

Some might not quite get the connection between “Astoria” and a relief of a beaver in the subway stop.

Ummm… I doubt it.

Some propaganda on the side of a Village Voice paper dispenser.

Who remembers what famous event took place in the Cooper Union building?

Here’s a great establishment.


In the not to distant past I have seen this place depicted in paintings by George Bellows, one in Detroit and one at the Huntington in Pasadena.

Across the street, however, is a fine church, St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church.  It was locked, but we went to the rectory and asked if we could see it.

As it turned out, they are Basilians.  I lived with them on the Aventine Hill in Rome for a couple summers and a deacon at the parish, too, had stayed there for his studies.

Our calendars are off for about as long as they can be this year because of the vagaries of your planet’s Moon.   They are getting ready for Palm Sunday.   They use pussy willows rather than palms.


In the evening, off to the Metropolitan Opera with a bunch of seminarians.   Something had to be eaten, of course.

Which drink is mine?

A day without octopus is a day without octopus.

The great James Levine conducted!   It was Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seminary”.

Today I ran into Fr. Paul Check, head of the great organization Courage.   Also, I am heading to Newark.  At the Cathedral (one of the great churches in these USA) there will be the first Solemn Mass in decades, as I understand it.


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 25 Comments

Fr. Z’s thoughts on Michael Voris’ public statement

Michael Voris recently released a public statement about his past and about his conversion.

I don’t entirely understand the circumstances or timing of this statement.

My thoughts.

We constantly pray for sinners to convert and we say we are happy when they do!

I am impressed with Michael’s courage in making a public statement.   I hope that others who carry the terrible burden of certain attractions will take his example to heart and make changes in their lives whatever the sacrifice that might entail.

Michael clearly loves the Church and is laying it all on the line.  Even when I disagree with either a position he takes (he’s wrong about fulfilling your Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel) or the style of its expression (his public tone about some figures such as Card. Dolan has been too ascerbic whatever the issue he might raise), he deserves continued attention and support both in prayer and for his work.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill | Tagged | 51 Comments

WDTPRS – 4th Sunday after Easter (1962MR): The smoke of Satan

This is the 4th Sunday after Easter according to the older, traditional Roman calendar.

Today’s Collect survived the slash and hack editors of the Novus Ordo.  You can find it in the Novus Ordo for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time as well as Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter.  That is… of Easter.  In the post-Conciliar calendar Sundays are reckoned “of Easter”. In the pre-Conciliar calendar they are “after Easter”.  In the newer calendar Easter Sunday itself is included in the reckoning of Sundays of the Easter season.  In the older calendar Sundays are counted from the first Sunday after Easter.  So, in the new calendar today is the Fifth Sunday of Easter and in the older it is the Fourth Sunday after Easter.

However, today’s Collect is in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary for the Third Sunday after the close of Easter!  Our more distant ancestors counted Easter Sunday, the days of the Octave, and “Low” Sunday in albis as being one single liturgical idea, one day, as if the clock stopped for that whole Octave.  Thus, what is the Fifth Sunday of  Easter (2002MR) and the Fourth Sunday after Easter (1962MR) is also the Third Sunday after the close of Easter (GelSacr).

Is it clear now?

– (1962MR):
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.

The Novus Ordo version adds commas “ …ut, inter mundanas varietates,…”  All those long eeee sounds produced by the Latin letter “i” are marvelous to hear and to sing. Note the nice parallels in the construction: id amare quod praecipis, id desiderare quod promittis as well as ibi…sint corda with ubi…sunt gaudia.  In the first line the genitives unius…voluntatis are elegantly split by the verb efficis.  A genius wrote this prayer.  Let’s find out what it really says.

The densely packed leaves of your own copy of the thick Lewis & Short Dictionary show that varietas means “difference, diversity, variety.”  It is commonly used to indicate “changeableness, fickleness, inconstancy”; “vicissitude” hits it square and sounds wonderful to boot.  The adjective mundanus, a, um, “of or belonging to the world”, must be teased out in a paraphrase.  Efficio (formed from facio) means, “to make out, work out; hence, to bring to pass, to effect, execute, complete, accomplish, make, form”.   Voluntas means basically “will” but it can also mean things like “freewill, wish, choice, desire, inclination” and even “disposition towards a thing or person”.

O God, You 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.

Let us revisit that id…quod construction. We could simply say “love that which you command,” or “love what you command”, but to me that seems vague and generic.  Of course, we must love everything God commands, but the feeling I get from that id…quod is very concrete.  We love and desire God’s will in the concrete situation, this concrete task.  A challenge of living as a good Christian in “the world” is to love God in the details of life, especially when those details are little to our liking.  We must love him in this beggar, this annoying creep, not in beggars or creeps in general.  We must love him in this act of fasting, not in fasting in general.  This basket of laundry, this paperwork, this obsolete ICEL translation…. Didn’t I say it was a challenge?  God’s will must not be reduced to something abstract, as if it is merely a “heavenly” or “ideal” reality. “Thy will (voluntas) be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What did the Anglican Church do with this back in the day?

1662 Book of Common Prayer (Fifth Sunday in Lent):
O almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men:
Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest,
and desire that which thou dost promise,
that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found.

You have to love that!  I often wonder why the original incarnation of ICEL didn’t use the Book of Common Prayer as a model.  But… right… first the redactors of the Novus Ordo cut certain unpleasantries, such as guilt and sin, out of the Latin original and then the people working for ICEL cut out all the rest of the meaningful concepts.

When you slaughter a critter, first you bang it on the head, then you tear its guts out, and afterwards hang upside down to drain out all its blood.

So what did the pre-reformed ICEL do to this prayer?

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.

This version makes me want to scream.

Note the theological catch-all word “help”, a technical term in obsolete ICELese and rather Pelagian.  Does “help us” underscore our total reliance on God?  He does a bit more than “help”.  What did ICEL did to God’s “commands”?

Presto-chango they are now “values”.

And did no one in ICEL or in Rome, where blame for this translation disaster must also be ascribed, see a theological problem with “lasting joy in this changing world”?  The Latin says the world is “fickle” (mundanas varietates).  We cannot have “lasting” joy in this world.  It can be attained only in the life to come.

More about the slippery word “values”.  We should make a distinction between values and virtues.  To my mind, values have an ever shifting subjective starting point while virtues are rooted in something objective.  In 1995 Gertude Himmelfarb wrote in The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values: “it was not until the present century that morality became so thoroughly relativized that virtues ceased to be ‘virtues’ and became ‘values.’

Rem acu tetigit!   In this post-Christian, post-modern world the term “values” seems to indicate little more than our own self-projection.  I suspect this is at work in the obsolete ICEL prayer with its “help us” and the excision of God’s commands and promises.

We should be on guard about that word “values”, in this time of growing conflict between what the Church embraces and worldly relativism.  Can “values” be rescued, used properly? Perhaps. John Paul II used it in Evangelium vitae, but in a concrete way.

Benedict XVI constantly presented us with the threats we face from both religious and secular relativism, the reduction of the supernatural to the natural, caving in to “the world”, that which shifts constantly, is subjective.

Holy Scripture also warns us about “the world” which has its Prince.

The Enemy still dominates this world until Christ the King will come again.   St. Paul wrote to the Romans: “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” (12:2 – RSV).  Christ put His Apostles on guard about “the world”: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

When what “the world” has to give is given preeminence over what God has to give through His Church, we wind up in the crisis Pope Paul VI described on the ninth anniversary of his coronation (29 June 1972):

“…da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio… through some crack the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God”.

Today’s Collect, in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, is a spiritual safeguard in the vicissitudes of this world.

Posted in EASTER, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, WDTPRS | Tagged | 6 Comments