Italian Islamic leader wants legal recognition of polygamy

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

I saw at Crux

Italian Islamic leader wants legal recognition of polygamy

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

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

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


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

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

The moderation queue is ON.


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

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

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

There were a few interesting appointments made today.  Check

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

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

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

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

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 16 Comments

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


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

ORIGINAL POSTED 16 August 2016

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

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

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

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

Must Catholics Believe that Islam Is Peaceful?

The Apostles’ Creed (updated version):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

ASK FATHER: Can Lectors still bless bread and fruit?

13_01_06_minor_ordersFrom a reader…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here the candles are laid aside.

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

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

Prayer. The bishop rises and prays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged | 7 Comments

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

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

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

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



Imposing incense.


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

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






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


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

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


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


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


Posted in Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Solitary Boast | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Act of Reparation taught by the Angel of Fatima

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

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

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

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


Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: Why no confessions on a feast day?

12_04_06_confessionalFrom a reader…


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

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

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

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

Is there any prohibition against Sunday confession?

What immediately came to mind was what Our Lord said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Videos of Pius XII declaring the Dogma of the Assumption

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

Here is a video about the event in 1950.

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

Posted in Our Solitary Boast | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Assumption – The 4th Glorious Mystery

As today, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are to begin the 54 Day Novena it is appropriate to share again something I put together back in 2006 for my “Patristic Rosary Project”.  I drill into into the Mysteries we reflect on during recitation of the Rosary using the lens of texts from the Fathers of the Church. I will have to return to that PRP one day and do some editing and expanding. In the meantime, … here is the post relevant to today’s beautiful feast.


4th Glorious Mystery: The Assumption

Although Ven. Pius XII refers to Mary’s death in the document whereby he declared infallibly the dogma of the Assumption, and Bl. John Paul II adverts to Mary’s death in a General Audience in 1997 – as do other saintly writers – we do not have from the Church a definitive or infallible teaching beyond a shadow of a doubt whether Mary died and then was assumed body and soul into heaven at that moment or if she was assumed without dying.  That said, it was certainly fitting that, if her Divine Son tasted death, then she would as well.

Even in the Eastern tradition, which speaks of the Dormition, the Sleeping, of Mary we have a sub-current of death.  Greek ???????? gives us ??????????? or Latin coemeterium, whence English “cemetery”, which is a “sleeping place”. Traditions are divided about her last earthly breaths. Some authors hold that she did not die before her Assumption. There is also a strong tradition that she was buried.

Perhaps a good explanation is that Our Blessed Mother, desiring to be like her Son, who did die, chose herself to die though Satan had no hold on her.  It was fitting that she, the daughter of her Son and disciple of Her Lord, should be as He was.  So, after a brief interval during which no corruption touched her, her soul and body were reunited in heaven in the presence of God.

In any event, we know with our Catholic faith, and by infallible authority, that at the end of her earthly life, the Mother of God was assumed into heaven and no stain of the corruption of the grave touched her.

Our humanity is seated at the right hand of the Father in the divine Person of our Lord, but now also in the human person of our Lady.

Christ is consubtantial with the Father. Christ is consubstantial with His Mother.

Mary is Mother of a divine Person with two natures. She is not Mother of part of Christ, but Mother of all of Christ in His integrity. And so, we can call her Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Her heavenly Assumption was fitting.

There are not elaborate reflections in the writings of the Fathers on the Assumption, because it was not a main point of theological interest for them. Still, we can find their thoughts on some passages of Scripture which help us to understand Mary’s role in the plan of our salvation.

As a perfect model for our own Christian discipleship, we can consider, among many texts, Proverbs 8:

And now, my sons, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Happy is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD; but he who misses me injures himself; all who hate me love death.

While this concerns Wisdom, in a sense it harks to Mary, Wisdom’s seat. Here is the reflection of Athenagoras on this section of Proverbs:

[The Son] is the first offspring of the Father, I do not mean that He was created, for, since God is eternal mind, He had His Word within Himself from the beginning, being eternally wise. Rather did the Son come forth from God to give form and actuality to all material things, which essentially have a sort of formless nature and inert quality, the heavier particles being mixed up with the lighter. The prophetic Spirit agrees with this opinion when He says, “The Lord created me as the first of His ways, for His works.” Indeed we say that the Holy Spirit Himself, who inspires those who utter prophecies, is an effluence from God, flowing from Him, and returning like ray of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists who admit God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who teach their unity of power and their distinction in rank? … We affirm, too, a crowd of angels and ministers, whom God, the maker and creator of the world, appointed to their several tasks through His Word, He gave them charge over the good order of the universe, over the elements, the heavens, the world, and all it contains. [A plea regarding Christians 10]

This fellow sounds a bit like a subordinationist, but he is fascinating. This passage is interesting also for its hints at the cosmology and physics of late antiquity. Also, it aims at the spiritual hierarchy in which our wondrous Lady has a privileged place.

Consider that the reward of assumption into the beatific vision stems as well from her perfect act of free will when she gave her “Fiat” to God’s will as expressed by the angel. Here is St. Augustine speaking of the impact of free will:

Man in paradise was capable of self-destruction by abandoning justice by an act of will; yet if the life of justice was to be maintained, his will alone would not have sufficed, unless He who made Him glad had given him aid. But, after the fall, God’s mercy was even more abundant, for then the will itself had to be freed from the bondage in which sin and death are the masters. There is no way at all by which it can be freed by itself, but only though God’s grace, which is made effectual in the faith of Christ. Thus, as it is written, even the will by which “the will itself is prepared by the Lord” so that we may receive the other gifts of God through which we come to the Gift eternal – this too comes from God. [Enchiridion 28.106]

God’s grace and Mary’s “Fiat” which was by grace. Mary was drawn with love into God’s plan and, later, into God’s presence. The Fathers made frequent use of the Song of Songs. St. Gregory the Great writes about the exchanges of heaven and earth which marked the plan of salvation:

The Church speaks through Solomon: “See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hill!” … By coming for our redemption the Lord leaped! My friends, do you want to become acquainted with these leaps of His? From heaven He came to the womb, from the womb to the manger, from the manger to the Cross, from the Cross to the sepulcher, and from the sepulcher He returned to heaven. You see how Truth, having made Himself known in the flesh, leaped for us to make us run after Him. [Forty Gospel Homilies 29]

Our Lady, who would feel Christ leap beneath her heart, herself leapt after Christ in her heart by her “Fiat”. She leapt to begin His public ministry when she said at Cana “Do whatever He tell you.” She leapt up Calvary with Him when the Blood and water flowed down. Her motherly and Christian heart leapt in joy in seeing Him gloriously risen. She leapt to Him in heaven when her earthly life was concluded.

In heaven Mary shines with the glory God shares with her. In the book of Revelation we have a description chapter 12 of the woman clothed with the sun. The Fathers speak about this image. They will mostly consider the woman as an image of the Church. We cannot reduce the Church to Mary. Nor in talking of the Church as Christ’s Body reduce Christ to the Church. But the three, Christ, Mary and Church are intimately associated. Hippolytus (+245) writes:

By the “woman clothed with the sun”, he meant most manifestly the Church, endued with the Father’s Word, whose brightness is above the sun. And by “the moon under her feet,” he referred to [the Church] being adorned, like the moon, with heavenly glory. And the words “upon her head a crowd of twelve stars” refer to the twelve apostles by whom the Church was founded.

Of course Christ founded the Church on the Apostles, and chiefly upon the Rock who is Peter. The description of the woman, however, fits Mary the Mother of the Church as well as the Church herself. Here is an extended piece by someone not too many in the West may read, Oecumenius (6th c.) called the “Rhetor” who wrote the earliest Greek commentary on Revelation:

The vision intends to describe more completely to us the circumstances concerning the antichrist…. However, since the incarnation of the Lord, which made the world his possession and subjected it, provided a pretext for Satan to raise this one up and to choose him [as his instrument] – for the antichrist will be raised to cause the world again to fall from Christ and to persuade it to desert to Satan – and since moreover His fleshly conception and birth was the beginning of the incarnation of the Lord, the vision gives a certain order and sequence to the material that it is going to discuss and begins the discussion from the fleshly conception of the Lord by portraying for us the mother of God. What does he say? “And a sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sum and the moon was under her feet.” As we said, it is peaking about the mother of our Savior. The vision appropriately depicts her as in heaven and not on the earth, for she is pure in soul and body, equal to an angel and a citizen of heaven. She possesses God who rests in heaven – “for heaven is my throne” – it says yet she is flesh, although she has nothing in common with the earth nor is there any evil in her. Rather, she is exalted, wholly worthy of heaven, even though she possesses our human nature and substance. For the Virgin is consubstantial with us. Let the impious teaching of Eutyches, which make the fanciful claim that the Virgin is of another substance than we, be excluded from the belief of the holy courts together with his other opinions. And what does it mean that she was clothed with the sun and the moon was under her feet? The holy prophet Habakkuk, prophesied concerning the Lord, saying, “The sun was lifted up, and the moon stood still in its place for light.” calling Christ our Savior, or at least the proclamation of the gospel, the “sun of righteousness”. When He was exalted and increased, the moon – that is, the law of Moses – “stood still” and no longer received any addition. For after the appearance of Christ, it no longer received proselytes from the nations as before but endured diminution and cessation. You will, therefore, observe this with me, that also the holy Virgin is covered by the spiritual sun. For this is what the prophet calls the Lord when concerning Israel he says, “Fire fell upon them, and they did not see the sun.” But the moon, that is, the worship and citizenship according to the law, being subdued and become much less than itself, is under her feet, for it has been conquered by the brightness of the gospel. And rightly does he call the things of the law by the word “moon”, for they have been given light by the sun, that is, Christ just as the physical moon is given its light by the physical sun. The point would have been better made had it said not that the woman was clothed with the sun but that the woman enclothed the sun, which was enclosed in her womb. However, that the vision might show that the Lord, who was being carried in the womb, was the shelter of His own mother and the whole creation, it says that He was enclothing the woman. Indeed, the holy angel said something similar to the holy Virgin: “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” For to overshadow is to protect, and to enclothe is the same according to power. [Commentary on the Apocalypse 12.1-2]

Take careful note of the image drawn on by the interesting Oecumenius, which also speaks to the cosmology of late antiquity. First, Oecumenius either knew that the sun gave light to the moon, as it does, or he extrapolates this from the glory that Christ gives to Mary.

All our Marian feasts, all our reflection, to keep the sunlight and moon theme going, always must draw us back to the Person of the Lord. We reflect on the face of the Lord who is reflected in the face of His Mother.

Our recitation of the Rosary brings us to know the Lord more and more and, in turn, know ourselves better.

We reflect His image and likeness and He came into the word to reveal us more fully to ourselves.

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START TODAY! 54 Day Rosary For Our Nation – 15 August (Assumption) through 7 October (O.L. of the Rosary)

action-item-buttonCan we agree that our nation – I mean these USA – need some serious intervention and graces from God?  I fear that if we don’t change our collective ways, God will either intervene somewhat less gently.  Otherwise, He’ll owe Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

My friend Fr Richard Heilman is spearheading a 54 Day Rosary Novena for our Nation.

What do you do?  Say the Rosary every day for 54 days.

This 54 Day STORMING of heaven through the intercession of Mary will take place from 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, until 7 October, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto.

I’ve written about Fr. Heilman pretty often. Lately I interviewed him in PODCAzTs.

The National Catholic Register wrote this up:

“I call this our Nineveh moment,” said Father Richard Heilman, assessing the situation in our nation in reference to the story of Jonah’s warning to a wayward people.

Father Heilman is spearheading a major spiritual initiative to turn the tide and heal the country — the “Novena for Our Nation.”

The “54-Day Rosary Novena” will begin on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption. The faithful are asked to pray daily for the nation to return to holiness, through the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7.

Knowing that Father Heilman, a priest of the Diocese of Madison, had experience with 54-day Rosary novenas through social media and that he recently launched the national Holy League, a group — including Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life — approached him to head this nationwide prayer campaign.

“They thought: ‘What better time than now, in this election year, the terrorism going on and the condition of this world and our nation, to do this,’” explained Father Heilman.

“All the signs are there,” said Father Imbarrato. “We have an immoral and corrupt government that is becoming more and more tyrannical. The fact of the matter is: We need a conversion of our culture, but, more specifically, of our elected officials or leadership. This 54-day novena and the Rosary Rally [on Oct. 7] is all part of the effort we need to end preborn child killing and attacks on marriage and the family.”

D.C. Rosary Rally

The Rosary novena will be capped off on Oct. 7 with a special “Rosary Rally” in Union Square in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, to call on the Lord for our nation’s spiritual restoration. The faithful across the country are encouraged to have a Rosary Rally in their areas, too — in a parish church, at a government facility or in front of a Planned Parenthood business, for example.

As Father Heilman said, “We should prefer not to go through suffering, but to do what the people of Nineveh did — repent and see a reparation for where we’re at right now.”


What: Rosary “Novena for Our Nation”
When: Aug. 15 to Oct. 7
More Info: Pray-ers may sign up on the website or via Facebook to show support, but there is no obligation to register to be part of the Novena for Our Nation. The important thing is to pray.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Our Solitary Boast, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

15 August – Assumption – Blessing of herbs, flowers and fruit

12_08_07_Assumption_RubensOn 15 August, Feast of the Assumption, in the traditional Rituale Romanum there is a prayer for the blessing of herbs, flowers and fruits.  HERE

These occasional blessings, attached to feasts, help us to experience more fully the rhythm of our marvelous sacred liturgical year.  God gives us gifts in seasonal rhythms.  The Church, the greatest expert in humanity there has ever been, helps us to accept them and use them with gratitude for the good of both body and soul.

Here are a sample of the blessing prayers:

Let us pray.
Almighty everlasting God, who by your word alone brought into being the heavens, earth, sea, things seen and things unseen, and garnished the earth with plants and trees for the use of man and beast; who appointed each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only for the food of living creatures, but for the healing of sick bodies as well; with mind and word we urgently call on you in your great kindness to bless these various herbs and fruits, thus increasing their natural powers with the newly given grace of your blessing. May they keep away disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in your name; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.
God, who through Moses, your servant, directed the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new grain to the priests for a blessing, to pluck the finest fruits of the orchard, and to make merry before you, the Lord their God; hear our supplications, and shower blessings in abundance upon us and upon these bundles of new grain, new herbs, and this assortment of produce which we gratefully present to you on this festival, blessing them in your name. Grant that men, cattle, flocks, and beasts of burden find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, against the fangs of serpents or poisonous creatures. May these blessed objects be a protection against diabolical mockery, cunning, and deception wherever they are kept, carried, or otherwise used. Lastly, through the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary, whose Assumption we are celebrating, may we all, laden with the sheaves of good works, deserve to be taken up to heaven; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.
God, who on this day raised up to highest heaven the rod of Jesse, the Mother of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that by her prayers and patronage you might communicate to our mortal nature the fruit of her womb, your very Son; we humbly implore you to help us use these fruits of the soil for our temporal and everlasting welfare, aided by the power of your Son and the prayers of His glorious Mother; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon these creatures and remain always.
All: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water and incensed.

Take lots of herbs, flowers and fruits to your parish priest for blessing!  You might have to explain what’s going on.

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D. Madison – 15 August – Assumption – Mass of Reparation

On the Feast of the Assumption, there will be a Solemn Mass at 7 PM at St. Mary’s Church in Pine Bluff, just a few minutes to the west of Madison.

This Mass, while not to fulfill the obligation (which was dispensed), will be offered in reparation for the scheduled sacrilege and blasphemy in Oklahoma City.

Do you know of any other Masses of this kind on Monday?  Let everyone know.

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Mary: Cunctarum Haeresum Interemptrix – Destroyer of All Heresies


La Madonna del Soccorso

Over at The Catholic Thing there is a great entry by my friend Fr. Paul Scalia about Our Blessed Mother, whom we invoke as “Destroyer of All Heresies”.

Here’s a sample…

In Pascendi dominici gregis, [thank you for the correct orthography] Pope Pius X invokes the Blessed Virgin Mary by the title Destroyer of all heresies. He took this curious appellation for the gentle, sweet maiden of Nazareth from the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The title had particular meaning in Pascendi, which was written in 1911 against modernism, the “synthesis of all heresies.” Faced with that crisis, it was proper to appeal to the Destroyer of all heresies. The title still applies, however. Indeed, it describes something that has always been true of our Lady – and is perhaps even more urgent now.

But how? How does she destroy heresies? Mary never preached a sermon against error. She never conducted an inquisition or excommunicated anyone. She never (God forbid) presented a paper at a theological conference. [She did present the Word in the Temple, as well as to the architriclinus and his staff.]


I don’t want to offer too much of it here. Rather, go there and get it in an integral reading.

And do not miss the shot he slips in about relieving people of the obligation to hear Holy Mass on Holy Days of Obligation if they fall on a Monday.

Fr. Z kudos.

Modernism, friends, is in full bloom these days, much like the gruesome “Corpse Flower” (Amorphophallus titanum), though with a much longer and far more frequent effect.

These days Modernism pervades in a form I call Modernism 2.0 (aka Imanentism Lite): most people today who spread errors and dissent aren’t smart enough to come up with errors on their own.

Let us invoke the Blessed Virgin, Destroyer of All Heresies, against the pernicious effects of obstinate dissent. In Pascendi, St. Pius calls her “cunctarum haeresum interemptrix“. In Latin, interemptrix has a particularly brutal ring to it.

Let us also invoke her chaste spouse, St. Joseph, Defender of the Church, against one Corpse Flower in particular. HERE

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point in the sermon delivered during the Mass you heard to fulfill your Sunday obligation?

Let us know.

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WDTPRS – 20th Ordinary Sunday: snatched up into invisible love

The Collect for the 20th Ordinary Sunday, found also in the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary, is in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost.

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti, infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum, ut, te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.

Our prayer has many different words for love and longing: diligo, amor, affectus and the related cor, desiderium, promissioAffectus means “a state of body, and especially of mind produced in one by some influence, affection, mood: love, desire, fondness, good will, compassion, sympathy.”  The marvelous diligo means initially, “to value or esteem highly, to love”.  It also has the impact of being careful  and attentive, as in English “diligent”.  When you love, you give your best.  Desiderium is “a longing, ardent desire or wish, properly for something once possessed; grief, regret for the absence or loss of any thing [or person].” Cor is, of course, “heart” and promissio “promise”.  Consequor means, among other things, “pursue, go after, attend, to follow” and also, “to follow a model, copy, obey”.  It indicates, “to follow a preceding cause as an effect, to be the consequence, to arise or proceed from.”  I will say “attain.”


O God, who have prepared unseen goods for those loving You, pour into our hearts the disposition of Your love, so that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may attain Your promises, which surpass every desire.


God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining.


O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire.

Today’s Collect pulses with longing.

When this is sung aloud – FATHERS…. please sing our prayers more often? In Latin? – I hear a connection between invisibilia at the beginning and promissiones at the end.  The concepts are ordered into a climax, beginning with the ways that we can love on our own (the starting point as the prayer begins), namely, that at first we love with “natural” love, previous to or apart from our new Christian character given to us through baptism.  We then move beyond mere human loves.  We can love, in this world, with the help of the grace which we ask God to pour into our hearts (charity).  Then we aim at the love which awaits us in heaven, a love beyond anything we can experience in this life.  This Love will complete our every hope and desire.

Everything God promised is already fulfilled for us, but we still have to live in love to have later Love Himself.

What a mystery it is that, even though Christ defeated death, we must still pass through death to have Love’s unimaginable fulfillment.

What awaits us at our entrance into the Beatific vision is unimaginable.  For now, however, we can only ache for the completion of what God promised.

Although we have, in our Collect, an ascent in and to Love personified, we shouldn’t oppose natural and supernatural loves. Human love, sometimes called eros, isn’t automatically in conflict with “religious love”.  We are human beings, not angels.  We must avoid the extreme of trying to profane what is supernatural by locking it into the finite and, on the other hand, in this life paying attention to purely spiritualized supernatural love, which would render us ineffective in regard to Our Lord’s two-fold command of love for God and neighbor.

Our good earthly loves are fulfilled in the perfect love which is only in God.  Grace builds on nature, it doesn’t destroy it.  In redeeming us, God did not undo us. He lifts up who and what we are and makes us whole again.

We therefore long for Love, we reach out to it, thirsting for its fullness, its completing, it healing, transforming power. This is the promise we live for in this vale of tears.

Though this is summer, consider the Preface for Christmas, the celebration of Love Incarnate and finally visible:

“For through the mystery of the incarnate Word, the new light of Your glory dazzled the eyes of our mind, so that while we know God visibly, through Him we may be snatched up into invisible love… (in invisibilem amorem rapiamur).”

Richard of St. Victor, in his work on contemplation, cites the phrase: “Love is the eye and to love is to see”, or more precisely “where your is love is, there is your eye” (Ubi amor ibi oculus – Benjamin minor 13 – sometimes cites as “Amor oculus est, et amare videre est.”).

Our Collects teaches us that love is the key to seeing the one who is otherwise unseeable.

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