ASK FATHER: Religious Ed teacher controls First Communion

From a reader…


At our parish the head of the RE [Religious Education] is adamant that no child is allowed sacramental prep without having come to RE for a minimum of one year with good attendance. We home school and our RE and Sacramental prep are way way better than what they use (which is so bad that I refuse to volunteer to teach because they require the teachers to USE that horrid “curriculum”) but I have no idea how to handle this when everything sacramental prep is referred to the RE. She is in control.

She may be in control de facto but the pastor is really in control de iure.   The Code of Canon Law says that parents are the primary educators determining the timing of Communion for their children, together with the pastor.  There is no mention of a “religious ed teacher”.   I wrote recently about similar matters HERE.

You should approach the pastor of your parish to discuss this with him.  If he is intractable, then approach the pastor of another parish and work it out with him.

You are not obliged to receive Communion only at one parish.


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My View For Awhile: Domum

I have been contemplating the set of vestments in green which should be underway. Do I want the dalmatics to fasten with buttons?

Shopping for supper with the editor of New Liturgical Movment. I contemplated pajjata.



From Vespers and Benediction earlier.

And then…. time to leave Rome.

On the way to get a taxi.

Racing past the door of my seminary back in the day.

The Alitalia lounge is only slightly better than nothing, but I think I won’t stay long. It is jammed and uncomfortable.


This is something I don’t see very often.

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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 6 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point in the sermon you heard at Mass as you fulfilled your Sunday obligation?  Let us know what it was.

For my part, I don’t have a congregation today so I won’t preach.

However, I will offer Mass for my benefactors today, in the Extraordinary Form at Ss. Trinità.  I am grateful to all of you who send donations, regularly and occasionally.  It is my duty and pleasure to pray for you and ask God to bless you with graces.

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Sad: “Cranmer tables” in the Pantheon and many great Roman churches

I was in St. Peter’s Basilica the morning they tore out the Altar of the Chair.    There were people stationed to prevent anyone from taking photos.   Workers pried it apart with crowbars and hauled it off like so much junk.  Theologically, the altar brought deep significance to Bernini’s masterpiece above it.

I am in Rome today, on the morning when a “Cranmer table” will be bolted into the floor of Santa Maria “Ad martyres“.   This day is the Feast of the Dedication of that church which took place in 609.   S. M. ad martyres is also called the Pantheon.  More on that in Italian HERE.

Since I’ve been in Rome these last few days, I’ve seen quite a few nasty changes since my last visit in September for the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage.  There are more dreadful tables in place and they are ostentatious.   Go into S. Andrea della Valle and weep.  The same for the Chiesa Nuova.   Weep.

How ideological do you have to be to ignore a magnificent high altar, built for that church?     It makes no sense at all.  In fact, its intellectually insulting.   In the end, it comes back to an overreaching and condescending and self-centered clericalism.  These lib clerics have to be the center of attention.  They impose these innovations on people who haven’t asked for them.  They disrespect the contributions of their forebears and squander their treasures.

There seems to be a rush in Rome to get these altars in place.

I wonder if they are not afraid.

Meanwhile, since it is the anniversary of the dedication of the Pantheon as a church in 609, we might have a taste of the exorcism that the Pope performed on that building which was dedicated to pagan gods (demons).  In Italian HERE.

“In 608 the Byzantine emperor Foca gave [the temple] to Pope Boniface IV and there was organized an evocative ceremony to consecrate it to the Christian God.   On 13 May 609 a huge crowd gathered near the Pantheon to witness the event. Chronicles recount chaos and chilling screams that were felt from within: the pagan demons were aware of what was about to happen. The doors were thrown open and the Pope, in front of the entrance, began to recite the formulas for the exorcism. The screams from the idols increased in intensity, and the commotion deafened the ears of the onlookers.  Fear gripped the crowd and no one was able to stand on their feet, looking and hearing that terrible spectacle. Only Boniface IV resisted and, undaunted, prayed and consecrated the Pantheon to Christ. It is said that the demons left the ancient temple chaotically and with a great din, fleeing from the open “eye” of the dome or from the main doors.  Once the ceremony was over, the Pope dedicated the building to the Madonna dei Martiri, in memory, perhaps, of the many Christians killed in honor of those filthy idols … “

Messa in Latino also calls to mind a vision of Catherine Ann Emerich:

One of the visions of Bl. Catherine Emmerich was precisely about the exorcism and consecration of the Pantheon: “…  I saw again the whole ceremony of the consecration of the temple: the holy martyrs assisted with Mary at their head.  The altar was not placed in the middle, but was was up against the wall.  I saw carried into church more than 30 carts of holy bones.  Many of these were put into the walls.  Others could be seen, where there were round holes in the wall, closed up with something that looked like glass. (p. Schmoeger, ‘Vie d’Anne Catherine Emmerich’, tomo III, pp. da 69 a 71)

Battles with the Enemy are fought on many levels.  Let is not forget that demons are territorial and legalistic.  Once they claim a toehold, it requires effort to break their hold and get rid of them from places, things and persons.




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Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, You must be joking! | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

¡Hagan lío! Wherein Fr. Z is pretty angry and wants to fight back

Bondage mask with Rosaries from the Met “Gay-la”

I’ve been pondering the Met “Gay-La” in light of some experiences here in Rome.

As a preamble, I still stand by everything I have written and said in the past concerning my  convictions about Summorum Pontificum.  It was a tremendous gift to the whole Church, intended by Benedict XVI as part of what I call his “Marshall Plan” to rebuild devastated Catholic identity in the wake of the 60’s, etc.   It was a tremendous gift to the people of God in parishes and dioceses because of the way that contact with the traditional form of the Roman Rite will affect their priests, who will adjust their ars celebrandi and who will begin to understand things about their priesthood that they have need known before.  Summorum Pontificum was a necessary corrective, medicine for a deeply wounded and enervated Body of the Church, applied at a late hour.

I stand by all that and I would be happy to come to your parishes to explain it in greater detail.

The Met “Gay-la”.

Let’s go a little deeper into the Twilight Zone.

SCENE: Elegant and yet modest, humble and yet conspicuous sitting room of a palazzo within the walls of the Vatican City State.  The tasteful illuminaton brings out the subtle mauve and lavander highlights of the decor.

JESUIT: …. And that’s why I maintain that website.   I just can’t… (emotional pause) give it up.

[SILENCE for several beats. The sound of ice dropping from just the right height into a glass of just the right weight is heard.]

SUPER HIGH PRELATE:  Thank you.  Thank you.  That’s what it is truly like to smell like the sheep.  You are an example to us all.

JESUIT [perking up and wiping his eyes]: Hey!  Did you hear that the Metropolitian Museum and Donnatella – she’s an old friend – want to borrow some of those old vestments in the Basilica sacristy and put on a gala event in New York?


CARDINAL: Did I!  They’ve been at me for weeks.   Just yesterday – while I was writing my piece for Sunday’s L’Osservatore on the theological nexus of the one liners of Homer Simpson with the unmistakably eschatological anthropology of Jim Morrison – you really must read it – some of these people came to my office and…

SUPER HIGH PRELATE: No… no… no.  This won’t do.  All that … that… carnival stuff in view?  The People might want more!  No.  It is to remained locked away.

[SILENCE for several beats.  The sound of ice in a slightly shaken glass.  In a corner, somewhat by himself, a figure in a plain black cassock with no buttons, sits in an armchair, face obscured in shadow.  A cigarette glows for an instant. The glow, with what could be interpreted in the shadow as an arm, goes to the armrest.]

UR-JESUIT: No?   Not so fast.  Do you really think that people might want more of that… that beauty [he manages to make it sound obscene], then by all means give these people everything they want.

[Protests errupt and then calm when the SUPER HIGH raises his hand.]

SUPER HIGH PRELATE: Please, you always bring light to our discussions.  What do you think we should do.

[SILENCE for several beats]

UR-JESUIT:  Give them everything they want and more.  However, you should contact our agents in New York and get them involved as a sine qua non.  They can help to plant disinformation stories in Hell’s… in the New York Times about the tittlating secret backstory of the negotiations in which we can create a fall guy for the bad press.   Then we must make sure that there are many fallen away Catholics involved and, if they have been especially acid in their use of Catholic imagery, be sure that they are visible.  No, have them perform their old hits.   The fashions must be sacrilegious and blasphemous…. [PROTESTS ERUPT and a had is raised in the shadow.]  Sacrilegious and blasphemous and entirely exaggerated so that everything that they have imitated they turn into a joke. That’s the key.  Then…. [the glow of the cigarette rises with the shadow of what must be an arm]… its the the Sistine Chapel boys choir going to be in that area?  They must be asked to perform… pardon the word use… to sing, but in the context.   Imagine, all those boys, in the very style of costumes being mocked by the fashionistas singing with those young little voices… so fressssh, and yet so close to all that tawdry and hyper-sexualized blasphemy.   [The coal-like glow rises and falls again.] Remember, let the women’s fashions be fleshy, but let the men’s fashions make you wonder which sex the model is.  That’s important.   But the key is to make every who sees anything of this gala forever have a distorted vision of the glories of the Church’s past tradition.  Think Fellini, double it, and make it real in front of their eyes. Their very… memory [the speaker almost coughs the word as if it stuck in the gorge] must have these new images superimposed in such a way that when they see an old church, beautiful vestments, that solemm and traditional .. wor… wor… worship that is reviving [the listeners imagine they hear a sound much like the cracking of wood, maybe centered near the armrest].   We must superimpose these new images, lay them over what they might see in churches and hear in choirlofts.   It must all be make a thing of mockery.

[SILENCE for several beats]

SUPER HIGH PRELATE: That’s it.  That doesn’t work well on a small scale.  But on the grand and exaggerated scale it just might work.   [Hurriedly]  Not that I for a moment doubt.

OMNES:   Of course not!

JESUIT: Oh, Super High.  This is so… so fabulous.  I’ll contact all my friends immediately.   It’ll be bigger than … than… the Broadway opening of The Producers!

CARDINAL: And even more gay and corrupting.   Let us make sure that at least one Cardinal is there.   I could… could… mind you, sacrifice some time and go to New York to over…

SUPER HIGH PRELATE:  You [pointing at the JESUIT].  Put your website aside for a little while and get to work on the brethren in New York, that one guy in particular.  He has an in now with all the tools whom we need.   You.  [point at the CARDINAL] Put your L’Osservatore article aside for a bit and begin to meet with these people.   However, I stress this. Thread into their hesitations and protestations of respect etc etc etc hints that if they might accidentally go a little too far, we won’t be overly upset.  As a matter of fact, were there some donations to good causes, our moods could be considerably improved.

OMNES: We obey!

UR-JESUIT [whisper]Perinde ac cadaver!

You don’t think this is plausible?

Remember how a small group met in the 1960’s at Hyanissport – key Jesuits and politicians with ultra-liberal moralists such as McCormick and Curran influenced byJesuit John Courtney Murray – to map out a strategy to give cover to catholic politicians so they could take a pro-abortion stand.  To scratch the surface HERE. And do read The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture by Philip F. Lawler US HERE

This sort of meeting does take place.  Think of the meetings of the Sankt Gallen group.  Think of the small meetings of key prelates and theologians during Vatican II.   Many important things are decided by very few behind closed doors.

What sparked this?   I was sitting in the FSSP church Ss. Trinita dei Pellegrini during the beautiful Solemn Mass for Ascension Thursday.  The music was beautiful.  The vestments were beautiful.  The church was beautiful.  The liturgical rites were dignified and reverent and beautiful.   And I had an image of a couple people walking into the church as the music was going and the altar was being incensed and, behind their hands tittering something about the pictures they saw in the newspaper from the Gay-la.

That’s when I got mad.  

I realized that, down to its roots, the Devil was at work.

Here’s the thing about the Enemy, the Devil: he always tells you upfront what he’s doing.   If you slow down and examine events and even personal temptations, the Enemy is hiding in plain sight.

So.  Now I’m mad.

However, I think that this is going to backfire on the Enemy and his agents.   Why?

A couple anecdotes.

I was at supper with a priest friend the other night.  He used an image for the Church’s traditional life which I found compelling.  Think of a balloon that someone is trying to force down underwater.   The moment they let go, even a little, it blasts back to the surface.  It can be held down for a little while, but not forever.

I was in a Roman clerical shop the other day.  I’ve been a regular client in some of these places for over 30 years.   The fellow in the shop recounted that in the days after it got out into the press that His Holiness pretty much pummeled a young cleric who had a Roman hat, a saturno, they sold in that shop more Roman hats in a couple of days than they ordinarily sell in a whole year.   I am reminded of how gun stores in the USA had pictures of Pres. Obama with blue ribbons for “Salesman of the Year”.

I was in chats with various seminarians the younger clergy in the recent past.  They have their eyes fixed on many great things for the future.  Most of them are open to and want our Roman – their Roman – tradition.  Most of them could give a hill of beans about ongoing controversies that are fed in the rock fights of Twitter, etc.

For years I have generally reached for a plain alb and a rather simply surplice when about my duties.   One of the things that libs do – especially those who are projecting onto others there own sexual deviancy problems – is denigrate traditional or conservative with labels about lace or fancy vestments, as if the use of some lace on an altar or alb is somehow “queer” (as the accusers usually are).   Anyway, it may be that I let that get to me and figured, “Okay, I’ll use mostly simple stuff, leaving the lace and fancy for the bigger feasts.”   To heck with that.  The deviants and their devilish teammates who developed the anti-Catholic Met Gay-la tried to spike the ball over our net.  I say, let’s block that ball and spike it right in their hornéd faces.

To that end, as I went with a friend to a clerical shop so he could pick up some ordination gifts, I spontaneously told the shopguy, I take one of those and one of those.

Afterward, we walked over the the great Gesù, the magnificent church of the Jesuits in the heart of Rome.  I went to the image of the Sacred Heart (so many of you know it) in the chapel on the right.  Knelt down and prayed for and against the Jesuits… for their conversion and against everything they are doing to hurt our Catholic identity.  And then I said aloud, “Okay, my Heart.  This is Yours now.  I’m handing this to You.  You have to do this now.  C’mon.  Help us.  We need you.”

We need to fight back now.


Let’s get into the game and leave nothing on the field.  We need super powerful reverent sacred liturgical worship, in continuity with our forebears, according to the vision of Benedict XVI – you KNOW that he was right.   We need gracious corporal works of mercy and bold spiritual works.   These in tandem cannot be stopped by all the powers of Hell.

Do all you can at your local level.

You can also support this by giving donations to the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison!  501(c)(3)   We are trying to raise the tide so that all boats rise.

You can participate in a long-term project here to get birettas for seminarians.  HERE

You can send donations to me.  I’ve got to step it up a little too.

Encourage your priests!  We priests – most of us anyway – are not prec

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Cri de Coeur, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, On the road, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, What Fr. Z is up to, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | 24 Comments

ASK FATHER: Stuck at work for all Sunday obligation Masses

From a reader…


I work 12 hour shifts at a hospital, including 1 weekend a month. This means even Saturday night Mass is out of the question. Is it a sin to miss Mass because I am required to work?

I will assume that there are no more Masses available after your shift within a reasonable distance.   If that assumption is correction, NO, you do not sin by missing Mass in those circumstances.

People are not held to the impossible.  If for the sake of your vocations that job is critically necessary, and therefore you have no flexibility on Sundays, then you are stuck.

However, in many places there are “last chance” Masses.    You want to be sure about your options.   Do some research.

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Some Views From The Journey: Rome again – UPDATED

FYI:  On Sunday (Sunday after Ascension – not Ascension Thursday Sunday) I will celebrate a Mass for the intentions of my benefactors, all of you who donate and send items, etc.   I take seriously my duty to pray for benefactors and it is a pleasure to do so.

One of the most beautiful things on your planet. It’s worth the trip to Sicily to see this and nothing else.

And after… have a cold Crodino!

Sicily.  Who knew?

Sicily.  Who knew?

Sicily.  Who knew?

Ditto.  Best I’ve ever had.

And did I mention this?  Where I ate those?

And now I am in Rome.  Today, I was showing a friend these great plaques and this, by chance, was the anniversary of the plaque.

I went to the Basilica of St. Agnes to pray for my home parish.   I look back on what I gained there over the years and it is simply… staggering.  Staggering.

There is a huge protest going on in Rome right now.  All the places that have tables outside shut down because the city wants to impose even more taxes on them.   Hmmmm…..

Tonight we were not closed at Ss. Trinita.  I said Mass earlier in the afternoon and there was a Solemn in the evening.

Which drink is mine?

This plate of saltimbocca was mine.

Contorno: Roman artichokes.

We went to a place not far from Ss. Trinita where … mirabile dictu… I had never been.  The food was surprisingly good.  To look at it (as I have over the years) I would never have gone in on my own.   I will remember this place.   The other guys had great food, too.   We had vigorous discussions about many issues: the Pope, the Germans, the SSPX, the status of this and that, “What would you do if….”, etc.   We closed the place down.


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

Beans, the Lord’s Ascension and You

As I write, I am in Rome.  We have lovely customs in our wonderful Roman Catholic Church, including special blessings on certain feast days, often tied to the changing of the seasons… in Rome, that is.  It’s the Roman Church, after all.

Today, the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, was decorated with the opportunity to bless beans.

In Rome at this time of year the “broad beans” are usually at their peak. This year Ascension is a little late and the beans are almost done.  However, I managed to find some this morning at the Campo de’ Fiori.    Tonight I shall satisfy my longing for this particular simple fare of broad beans with pecorino and cold white wine… the combination of which is a material proof of God’s love.

Here’s a shot from last year.

The connection of this time of year in the Roman calendar with beans is ancient indeed.

During May in ancient Rome the master of the house would walk around the dwelling on the nights of the Lemuria (9,11, 13) waving beans to ward of evil spirits.  On the Kalends of June (1 June) there was a pagan feast of the Sacrum Carnae Deae when beans and bacon were offered in sacrifice and consumed.  In fact, the June Kalends were called Kalendae Fabariae.  Latin faba is, of course, “bean”, and the Italian is still the same, “fave”.  The essentials don’t change much.  For this feast the ancient Romans ate a mess of beans and bacon.  Any excuse, right?  In his Fasti the poet Ovid writes of beany blessings:

Pinguia cur illis gustentur larda Kalendis
Mixtaque cur calido sit faba farre, rogas?
Prisca dea est, aliturque cibis quibus ante solebat,
Nec petit adscitas luxuriosa dapes.

I enjoy Ovid… it just rolls and rolls out so effortlessly.  In any event, beans and bacon were as big back then as they are now.  It’s amazing how consistent we are.  You get much of the same effect with your fave and pecorino cheese (salty fat).

And don’t forget the awe inspiring fave in tegame.

The the ancient Roman cookbook complied in the 4th c. and attributed to Apicius (US HERE – UK HERE), there are various bean and pea recipes. A good one.  HERE and HERE

Pisam Vitellianam sive fabam (Peas or Beans à la Vitellius)

Pisam coques lias. teres piper, ligusticum, gingiber, et super condimenta mittis vitella ovorum, quae dura coxeris, mellis uncias III, liquamen, vinum et acetum. haec omnia mittis in caccabum et condimenta quae trivisti. adiecto oleo ponis ut ferveat. condies pisam, lias, si aspera fuerit. melle mittis et inferes.

Peas or beans with yolks are made thus: cook the peas, smoothen them; crush pepper, lovage, ginger, and on the condiments put hard boiled yolks, ounces of honey, also liquamen, wine and vinegar; mix and place all in a sauce pan; the finely chopped condiments with oil added, put on the stove to be cooked; with this flavor the peas which must be smooth; and if they be too harsh in taste add honey and serve.

If you don’t have a lot of liquamen, use garum (or substitute colatura or even Vietnamese fish sauce, which is similar).

A Bean Blessing is not, alas, in the Rituale Romanum, but another blessing, for any sort of food, can be used.  Bring lots of beans, perhaps along with bacon, to Father and ask him to bless them.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord, bless + this creature, [beans], and let it be a healthful food for mankind. Grant that everyone who eats it with thanksgiving to your holy name may find it a help in body and in soul; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.

There is a separate blessing for bacon (“lard”… ascension of the lard?):

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord, bless + this creature, lard, and let it be a healthful food for mankind. Grant that everyone who eats it with thanksgiving to your holy name may find it a help in body and in soul; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.

I hope you will all be “full of beans” for this Feast of the Ascension of the Lord!

Fr. Hunwicke once had a fun post about Ascension Beans! HERE

He includes the blessing for grapes… “Benedic +, Domine, hos fructos novos vineae…”.


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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 6 Comments

The more I more read about the “Make the Church a Joke Again” Gay-la, the creepier it gets.

You’ve been reading about the “Gay-la”, the “Fellini Rip Off”.

I wrote earlier that it was sure to have made all the Jesuits present swell with pride.  I then learned that Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin, LGBTSJ, was there.

A Jesuit wrote an email to me:

“[I]t didn’t make me swell with pride. I was appalled, as were several Jesuits in my community. Don’t let up on calling out Jesuits though. Many of us need a good raking over the coals. But I hope you will have a chance to meet some “good” Jesuits also. There are not a few, including me, who are fans of your blog.”

I have meet good Jesuits.  Actually, great Jesuits.  I know you are out there, men.   DO SOMETHING about your brethren!

Today I was sent a story about stuff they ate.


For Monday night’s gala, Zilberman joined forces with Versace to make the edibles that fit with the theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” But she didn’t only use her imagination.

“I took specific inspiration from the jewelry, including hand-carved rosaries and giant papal rings, that I photographed when I visited the Vatican a few months ago,” Zilberman described.

According to Bobb, in her piece published Friday, Zilberman “used edible gold to create the pieces” of religious items alongside Versace’s logo of Medusa’s head.



Piers Morgan on the Gay-la HERE


“I’m a Catholic,” Morgan wrote for the Daily Mail. “Not the most devout you’ll ever meet, I’ll admit. But I was brought up a Catholic – I even received not entirely successful spiritual guidance from nuns as a teenager! – and I still consider myself to be a Catholic. I know many people don’t believe in any God or religion, let alone Catholicism, and I respect that. All I ask in return is for my beliefs not to be rudely disrespected.”

And the Met Gala costumes did just that, he wrote. Such costumes includedsexualizations of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rihanna dressed as a glitzy female pope, and a Victoria’s Secret model in a modified cardinal’s cassock with a slit up the side.

“A lot of the imagery was highly sexualised, which you might think not just inappropriate for a religious theme but also incredibly offensive to the many victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church,” Morgan pointed out.

He wrote that Madonna “looked preposterous” and performed Like a Prayer at the after-party.

“When it first came out, Madonna enjoyed enraging Catholics by making a video featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood and her seducing a black Jesus,” he commented. “What a nice touch to have this blasphemous old crone [!] returning in all her unedifying glory to insult us all over again.”

“Next year’s Met Gala is going to have an ‘Islam’ theme,” Morgan wrote sarcastically. “Yes, guests in 2019 will be encouraged to wear skimpy, provocative dresses that ‘celebrate’ the Prophet Mohammad, Islamic clothing including hijabs and burqas, and the Koran. I can also reveal that the 2020 Met Gala will have a ‘Jewish’ theme. Yes, a bunch of celebrities and models will be posing for the world’s paparazzi dressed in all manner of Jewish attire and regalia, including dressing up as Rabbis and wearing kippahs.”


Ross Douthat has an odd piece but with some good bits.  His use of Proust was inspired, but he dropped the ball a couple of times in this one.  Here is the part that caught my eye:

In 1904, during a debate in France over the anticlerical government’s takeover of church property, a young Marcel Proust wrote an essay for Le Figaro inviting readers to imagine a future in which the Catholic Church vanished completely from his country’s memory, leaving only the bones of French cathedrals as its monuments.

Then he further imagined the cultured elites of some future France rediscovering the texts and chants and rubrics of Catholic liturgy, and in a spasm of enraptured aestheticism, restoring the cathedrals and training actors to recreate the Tridentine Rite Mass. In his vision, like devotees of Wagner making pilgrimage, “caravans of swells make their way to … Amiens, Chartres, Bourges, Laon, Rheims, Rouen, Paris,” and inside France’s Gothic churches “they experience the feeling they once sought in Bayreuth … enjoying a work of art in the very setting that had been built for it.

But of course the recreated Catholic liturgy and revived Catholic aesthetic would never be the real thing; the actors might know their roles, and the incense might waft thick, but attendees could “only ever be curious dilettantes; try as they might, the soul of times past does not dwell within them.”

Proust’s essay, lately translated by Catholic traditionalists, came to mind while watching the beautiful and blasphemous spectacle at the Met Gala on Monday night, where a parade of stars and fashionistas swanned about in costumes inspired by the aesthetics of Catholicism, while a wide variety of genuinely Catholic articles, from vestments to tiaras, were displayed in a Met exhibit titled “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

Like Proust’s “caravans of swells” attending liturgical performances, the attendees at the Met were paying a cultural homage to the aesthetic riches of the Roman Church — when, of course, they weren’t sexing them up for shock value. But the spectacle was not exactly Proust’s prophecy come to life, because unlike in his thought experiment, Catholicism today remains a living faith — weakened but hardly gone, with as complicated a relationship to its own traditions as any lapsed-Catholic museum curator or celebrity dressing up as the Maid of Orleans.

This complication is apparent in the Catholic response to the Met Gala itself, which consisted of an institutional blessing for the spectacle — not just Cardinal Timothy Dolan opening the museum exhibit, but the Sistine Chapel Choir performing for the swells and starlets in the evening[and Madonna] followed by an angry Catholic social-media backlash against the evening’s various impieties. When a living faith gets treated like a museum piece, it’s hard for its adherents to know whether to treat the moment as an opportunity for outreach or for outrage.

But the complexity runs much deeper, because to the extent that part of the Proustian prophecy has come true, to the extent that elements of the Catholic tradition have turned into archaic curiosities to be rediscovered by aesthetes and donned lewdly by Rihanna, the choices made by the church’s own leaders have played as much of a role as the anticlericalism of Proust’s era.


Make it all into a joke.   This is Satanic.

As I read that, I was reminded of the scene in the book Voyage to Alpha Centauri by Michael D. O’Brien  US HERE – UK HERE

The colonists have arrived on the new planet and they discover a temple with strange writings, which they eventually decipher.  They describe rites and some of the colonists decide to recreate and perform them.  However, they are in actuality summoning the demon that destroyed the previous occupants.  Here’s an excerpt:

Day 369: Green Day again. A year has passed since the previous exercise in elevating our cosmic sensitivities, or “interplanetary bio-consciousness” as it is called officially. There are few people onboard the Kosmos at present, so the green banners, scarves, and neckties were scarce here. Down on the planet, however, festivities were in full swing. On the panorama screen, I watched a few celebrations at various stations, dominated by an incompatible mixture of ecological cant and jargon and an any-excuse-for-a-party attitude, seasoned with mystical music. One particularly nauseating performance occurred in the temple itself. There, accompanied by the piped-in music of flutes and drums, a bevy of maidens danced around the black altar cube. They were dressed in diaphanous green gowns that left nothing to the imagination. Somewhat frenzied, nearly erotic, and definitely euphoric, the ten young women twirled and pranced and sang in praise of a cosmic “lord” who held fire in one hand and arrows in the other. Their choreography resembled a coil, winding and unwinding hypnotically as they chanted. At the head of the dance, leading it all, was the old Russian psychiatrist lady who had been so offended by me looking at her scar years ago. She was now without doubt far into her eighties, which was unfortunate, since her gown was the flimsiest of all, nearly transparent. With flailing arms, she repeatedly let fly full-throated cries rising from her arching abdomen, a crone-nymph on hallucinogens. As the event progressed, a soft, male voice-over informed the viewers of our need to reconnect to primitive “spirituality”, which entailed, apparently, a “rediscovery of the phallic” (thankfully not acted upon, at least not on screen, as far as I know, which isn’t saying much) and a “reintegration of light side and shadow side” for the sake of universal harmony. (Ay, caramba! I turned it off and went for a long walk.)

O’Brien, Michael D.. Voyage to Alpha Centauri: A Novel (Kindle Locations 8050-8065). Kindle Edition.

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The Cardinal, the Model, the Miter and the Gay-la. The lesson?

There is a Latin phrase….

Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent.

Whoever lies down with dogs, rises with fleas.

If you go these galas and try to deal with them on their terms and turf, it isn’t going to go well.

Card. Dolan made a joke about lending a miter to some supermodel.  The MSM ran with it.

Alas, this whole thing is a mockery.

I read Ross Douthat’s piece in the NYT.  I am digesting it.  However, I would also say to Ross…

Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent.


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