My View For Awhile: Yeah… I know….

I know, I know.

If it weren’t for the fact that the great people at Paulus institute organized the Pontifical Mass tomorrow (I’m on the crew), and if it weren’t such a good cause, I’d be back at the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue with the shades drawn and a blanket pulled over my head and chicken soup warming on the hot plate.

But no. No. I’m at the airport on my way to Washington DC for the March for Life.

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


25 votes, 4.32 avg. rating (86% score)
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Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 19 Comments

If you want peace, DEFEND LIFE!

There are rumors floating around about a restructuring of the Roman Curia, and a document which would replace Pastor bonus (will it be called”Mercenarius malus“?).

Something in an article in CNA (HERE) that caught, and disturbed, my eye.

The draft is under discussion, and – according to a source who works in the Pontifical Council for the Family – the Academy for Life is now to be included in the Congregation for Laity and Family, and not in the Congregation of Justice and Peace.

Under Family? I object. I strenuously object and so should everyone else.

Life is, first and foremost, an issue of human rights… of justice.

What pops into my mind is Caritas in veritate 28

28. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. […]

Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. […]

Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. […]

Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. […]

Benedict XVI stressed the link between the development of peoples and respect for life.

NGOs impose abortion and contraception as a sine qua non for aid to developing countries.

Francis has mentioned this, perhaps channeling his inner Benedict.

Benedict’s encyclical established an essential linkage in Catholic social thought between work for justice and peace with the struggle against abortion, sterilization, contraception and euthanasia. Benedict thereby linked Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum progressio with his encyclical Humane vitae so that, henceforth, the bifurcation that had previously existed in Catholic social thought between social justice issues and respect for life, or pro-life activities, would be forever corrected.

Is Mercenarius (my fictitious name for the replacement for Pastor bonus) going to undermine Benedict’s inspired advance in Catholic Social Teaching?

In the future, will curial efforts in “social justice” and “world peace” be compromised be a lack of attention to respect for life?

Why is abortion treated like a sex issue or a woman’s issue? It is a justice issue.

In bureaucracies, if you locate an issue in one department rather than another, people in that department will work on that issue through a particular lens and they won’t make the proper linkage.  Look at the bureaucratic map of most church organizations.  I’ll bet that nine times out of ten you will find an office for Justice and Peace and you will find a different office for Pro-Life issues.

Separate offices: Justice and Peace … Pro-Life.  That perpetuates a problem.

We need to correct the bifurcation of pro-life cultures and social justice cultures in the Church.

If we want peace, work for and defend life.

This isn’t exactly a new idea.  Look at what John Allen wrote at Fishwrap in 2012 HERE:

[Benedict XVI offered  … a memorable phrase to express the idea that being pro-peace and pro-life is one organic whole: “If we want peace,” he said, “let’s defend life!” […] (For the record, the phrase is not exactly new. Pope Paul VI’s message for the World Day of Peace in 1977 was titled, “If you want peace, defend life.” John Paul II used a slightly more complicated version of the same idea during a 1999 speech in St. Louis: “If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. It you want life, embrace the truth, the truth revealed by God.”)



UPDATE: Moderation queue is ON (travel day).

23 votes, 4.43 avg. rating (88% score)
Posted in Benedict XVI, Emanations from Penumbras, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, Reading Francis Through Benedict, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Samuel Gregg on Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address and Islamic Jihadism

At NRO be sure to take in every word of Samuel Gregg’s exceptional answers in a short interview on questions that have to be asked about Islam. Gregg brings us back in particular to Benedict XVI’s insightful Regensburg Address.

Here is a sample:

GREGG: Benedict’s lecture is ever relevant because one of its central arguments is that a religion’s understanding of God’s nature has immense implications for its capacity to live peacefully with those who do not share the same faith or, for that matter, have no religious faith. A religion that regards God as sheer Will, operating above and beyond reason, cannot ultimately object to the notion that such a God may command its adherents to do unreasonable things. For if God is ultimately unreasonable and the Creator of the universe, then so too are the people created in His image. Hence, if such an unreasonable God commands equally unreasonable humans to do something utterly irrational — such as slaughter cartoonists, fly planes into buildings, axe to death Jews praying peacefully in a synagogue, behead Christian children in the Middle East, kill Nigerian as Boko Haram has done, the list is endless — not only can we not object on grounds that such actions are unreasonable and intrinsically evil, but we must simply submit to the irrational Deity’s desire for blood. In other words, whether we like it or not, there is a theological and religious dimension to what happened in Paris — and what is happening in Syria and Iraq, what occurred on 9/11, and what Islamic jihadists keep doing all around the world — and we ignore this at our own peril. That’s another reason why it is so embarrassing and self-defeating for people like President Obama, President Hollande, and Prime Minister David Cameron to go on repeating, mantra-like, that Islamic jihadism has nothing to do with Islam. Of course it has something to do with Islam. That’s why it’s called Islamic jihadism. [If we don’t admit that what is going on is also a religious war, we won’t be able to deal with the challenges we face effectively.]

Q: Why was Regensburg so controversial at the time?

GREGG: It was controversial because in one relatively short address (one that I think will be remembered as one of the 21st century’s most important talks), Pope Benedict managed to upset a number of groups. First, by highlighting the central theological issue — Is the Islamic understanding of God that He is primarily or purely Voluntas? — that must be addressed if Islamic jihadism is to be countered, he annoyed not just some Muslims but also those liberal Westerners who want to treat Islamic jihadism as if theology and religion have nothing to do with it. Many professional interfaith dialoguers also didn’t like the Regensburg address because it highlighted just how much of their discussion was utterly peripheral to the main game and consisted in many instances of happy talk that avoided any serious conversation about the real differences that exist between many religions. It also annoyed those who believe that all religions are ultimately the same and of equal worth. That’s obviously not true, but saying such things in a relativistic world that is increasingly “uncomfortable” with reasoned argument (let alone logic) and more at ease with feelings talk is bound to make you plenty of enemies today.


Sam writes and speaks with great clarity.   Go there and read the rest.

For more on the Regensburg Address…

19 votes, 4.58 avg. rating (91% score)
Posted in Benedict XVI, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments


Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

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

Continued from THESE.

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

Something is up. I’m getting many more requests for prayers than last year at this time

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

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below. You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.

10 votes, 4.60 avg. rating (91% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 39 Comments

ESOLEN: How to kill vocations – Feminize everything!

Ultra Fr. Z kudos to Anthony Esolen who has a must-read, do-not-miss, go-there-to-read-it-now piece about making the Church effeminate and, thereby, killing vocations to the priesthood.

How to Kill Vocations in Your Diocese

Cardinal Raymond Burke has recently laid some of the blame for the precipitous decline in priestly vocations upon the feminization of the liturgy. His assertion prompts two questions. What would qualify as “feminization”? Have we in fact done that to the liturgy? The question that the assertion should not prompt is, “Would a feminized liturgy actually cause young men to turn away from the idea of the priesthood, in indifference, perplexity, or bemused contempt?” For example, would a sight of two priests twirling a-tippytoe like big-bellied ballerinas at an Easter Vigil service, along with a troop of girls waving scarves and sashes, for six minutes and more, to Aaron Copland’s arrangement of The Lord of the Dance, [I posted a video involving that on 8 Jan HERE] have any natural appeal whatsoever to the overwhelming majority of boys and young men who know to what sex they belong?

[… I am cutting out a big chunk here.  Esolen eventually suggests, with great irony, some things to do to destroy vocations. Here are a few…… ]

Dilute the faith. Fighters want something to fight for. Make sure there is nothing to fight for. Do not preach the full doctrine of the Church. Never speak about the terrible sins of our age. Be more sensitive about offending a couple of the people who still show up for Mass, than about offending God. Cut the sixth commandment out of the ten. While you are at it, cut out the second, the third, and the ninth too.


Turn the Sacrament into snack time. [Remember my description of Communion time in the context of the debate about Communion for the civilly remarried?  “They put the white thing in our hands and then we sing the song.”] Get rid of any remaining altar rails. Make sure that everybody takes the Sacrament into his hands, like a fortune cookie. Tell the people to stand afterwards. Go as far as you can to prevent people from kneeling during Mass. Make it as difficult as possible for people to receive the sacrament of confession. Treat it as insignificant. If somebody does want the sacrament, roll your eyes and make sure that the penitent knows how much it annoys you. Don’t take the penitent’s sin seriously. In fact, give the penitent the impression that he can go on and commit the same sin with impunity. In this way you will make it likelier that a moose will amble down Main Street than that a sin-burdened soul will seek you out, or that a healthy line of them will be making their way to the confessional. And, while you are at it, make sure there are no confessionals. Turn them into closets for brooms, mops, and bleach.


Be effeminate. Get rid of every single hymn that has anything to do with Christian soldiership. Castrate the rest of the hymns. Or, better, favor hymns that make Jesus into a kind of safe sweet Boyfriend, with whom you can make out on the couch now and in heaven later. Let the music be led by women, especially women who like to be seen and heard performing it. Put the hand-raising cantor up front, to upstage the priest and Christ. Let girls do silly dance routines up and down the aisles. If you can, have five or six girls do that, in the company of one boy whose mother has obviously compelled his attendance, and who stands there gritting his teeth and fuming. Favor any musical instrument except the organ. Let the piano player tickle the keys like a hired performer at a bar, so that the communicants can, as they return to their pews, slip a fiver into the hat, right next to the long-stemmed champagne glass. Use as many altar girls as possible. Discourage the boys from joining. Give them nothing important to do. Use as many women lectors as possible. In fact, once Mass has become too bland for girls themselves, use the old ladies as acolytes, busying about the altar as if they were laying out the tablecloth and silverware for a party.

Never suggest that the Church needs men for anything. Make “man” into an obscenity. Never suggest that fathers and mothers play complementary roles in the family. Never suggest that Jesus had something important in mind when He chose twelve men as his brothers. Suggest instead that to be a genuine Christian, a man has to stop being a man. Buy the silly feminist notion that Christian women have been “oppressed” for nearly two thousand years.

Then pray for vocations, after you have done your level best to make sure that you will never have any.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

He nailed this, of course.  This is exactly what has been going on for decades and this is exactly the sort of thing Card. Burke was talking about.

81 votes, 4.38 avg. rating (87% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged , , , , , | 99 Comments

OLDIE PODCAzT 127: The Eve of St. Agnes and a Bleak Midwinter

This is the Eve of St. Agnes and, therefore, time once again for a PODCAzT I made a while back.  HERE

I, fan of poetry that I am, read out Keat’s poem, 42 Spencerian stanzas.  It is torrid and lush, with marvelous moments and imagery, imbued with the revival of romantic, courtly love which was coming back into vogue in the early 19th century.  The poem takes inspiration from a superstition, which I explain in an introduction.

The Eve of St Agnes would inspire the Pre-Raphaelites, as a matter of fact.

Speaking of Pre-Raphaelites, one of their circle, was Christina Rossetti, a poet in her own right.

Christina Rossetti wrote a poem which later was made into a Christmas carol: In the Bleak Midwinter.  We are still within the Christmas cycle until Candlemas.

When I first posted this, a few prudish knuckleheads had a spittle-flecked nutty in my combox, but we pretty much ignored or deleted them.


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Posted in Linking Back, PODCAzT, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

“Namore of this, for Goddes dignitee … Thy drasty riming is nat worth a toord!”

chaucerAll of us who are interested in language are, at some point, fully engaged with Chaucer.  I like to stay engaged with Chaucer even today through his blog (HERE)… but I digress.

I read today a piece at the UK’s Spectator about a new book on Chaucer.  The author seems to have identified where Chaucer probably lived.  Here is a sample:

The Poet’s Tale: Chaucer and The Year that Made the Canterbury Tales
Paul Strohm
Profile Books, pp.284, £15.99, ISBN: 97817812505945

Proust had his cork-lined bedroom; Emily Dickinson her Amherst hidey-hole; Mark Twain a gazebo with magnificent views of New York City. Where, then, did the father of English poetry do his work? From 1374 till 1386, while employed supervising the collection of wool-duties, Chaucer was billeted in a grace-and-favour bachelor pad in the tower directly above Aldgate, the main eastern point of entry to the walled city of London.

‘Grace and favour’ makes it sound grander than it was. With the help of a wonderfully ingenious pattern of inferences — in particular an architectural drawing from 200 years later which happened to include a sketch of Aldgate’s north tower at its margins — Paul Strohm is able to reconstruct the room in which, after a long day weighing bags of wool and writing down columns of figures, Geoffrey Chaucer retired to scratch away at his verse.

Chaucer occupied a single bare room of about 16’ x 14’. The only natural light would come from ‘two (or at most four) arrow slits’ tapering through the five-foot thickness of these walls (the towers were a defensive feature) to an external aperture of four or five inches. ‘Light, even at midday, would have been extremely feeble. Arrangement for a small fire might have been possible. Waste would be hand-carried down to the ditch that lapped against the tower and dumped there.’

You can imagine how cosy it was in winter. And the noise! Chaucer slept directly over the main London thoroughfare. Every morning at first light the portcullis would go rattling up, and thereafter ‘the creak of iron-wheeled carts in and out of the city, drovers’ calls, and the hubbub of merchants and travellers pressing for advantage on a wide but still one-laned road, probably made sleep impossible, five-foot walls or no five-foot walls’. That’s if he could hear anything over the incessant bong-bonging of bells from each of the three churches within a couple of hundred feet of his front door.

Meanwhile ‘a stench wafted from the open sewer known in its northern extension as Houndsditch that ran (or festered) just outside the city wall’; Houndsditch was so called because of the many dead dogs dumped there. In addition to rotting garbage, dead dogs, and faecal waste from the next-door Holy Trinity Priory (‘a populous foundation’, Strohm tells us jauntily), you’d find ‘the occasional human corpse’. ‘And then,’ Strohm adds with excellent tact, ‘there was the matter of felons’ and traitors’ rotting heads…’ This was an occupational hazard of living in a gatehouse tower. On the other hand, there was a nice view from the roof…


Absolutely go over there and read the rest.



Here is a bit more… I can’t help it…


Why was 1386 decisive? Because that was the year in which it all went south. As a young man, Chaucer had forsaken the safe, conservative route of following his father into trade as a vintner and sought a higher-risk career in aristocratic service. He became, in due course, an esquire — the right side (just) of the line separating gentlefolk from the rest of the population. But he would always be, as it were, from trade. His wife Philippa, his social superior to start with, was the family’s real ticket to promotion when her sister became mistress of John of Gaunt, the most powerful (and hated) man in the country.

For most of their adult lives Chaucer and his wife lived apart — she, and their sons Thomas and Lewis, were with the Lancastrian household in Lincolnshire. The adult Thomas used his father’s seal only once (‘S Gofrai Chaucier’); the piercing dedication to Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe — ‘Little Lowys my sone’ — is the only thing to connect Lewis Chaucer to his father.

What was Chaucer, in his rather solitary existence, like? (We know he didn’t bother taking up citizenship of London, or guild membership.) The work does provide tantalising, elliptical, jokey, modest self-portraits — remember the narrator of the Canterbury Tales, such a duffer that when he tries to recite a poem the host, Harry Bailly, finally exclaims: ‘Namore of this, for Goddes dignitee […] Thy drasty riming is nat worth a toord!’ — but they are suggestive rather than decisive. Still, the story of Chaucer’s professional life — congruent with his wanly disarming self-portrayal — does seems to invite the word ‘hapless’.


13 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (80% score)
Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

“Don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting.”

With a tip of the biretta to Ann …   o{]:¬) … here is a quote worth memorizing so that you can scratch it into the wall of your cell block when they come for us.

“There is no man, let him be aware of it or not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest; no one who does not take an active part in the responsibility of the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, the captive and the free, the old man and the child, the civilized and the savage, share equally in the combat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. In it is unknown the exception of sex or age; here no attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a poor widow; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of woman are soldiers.

And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.”?  — Juan Donoso Cortes

Juan Donoso Cortes (+1853) HERE  The passage is from Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism.

I am reminded of a moment in Inferno.

Dante moves through the gate that says “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”, passing into the “fore-Hell”, he sees a great, bare plain upon which a vast multitude of souls run in a circle chasing a meaningless whirling banner. A great moaning wail rises up. As Dante gazes at them, he says, “I had not thought death had unmade so many.” As they run, wasps and flies sting them. These are the souls who were tepid, whom God spewed out. They are “hateful to God and His enemies”. As commentator Anthony Esolen describes them in his good translation, they are the “unnamed spirits whose cowardice relegates them to the vestibule”.

25 votes, 4.32 avg. rating (86% score)
Posted in Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | 19 Comments

Undeveloped photos from WWII found

One of you readers sent me a link to a great story at the Daily Mail about a man who bought 31 rolls of undeveloped film from the WWII era at an auction. Along with them were moving letters written by the photographer, one from a hospital, another “musing about the meaning of it all”.   There is a video.



15 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)
Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 5 Comments

Travel altar cards for TLM – special sale

I received a note from the nice lady of SPORCH who makes the marvelous travel altar card set for the Extraordinary Form.

I have over 40 lower left old style travel sets available at a reduced price.  These are sets that have a minor trimming errors.

I need to raise cash soon to pay help–I shattered my wrist & will have to hire help/find some volunteers quickly.

Poor thing.  Broken wrist.  Been there.  Brrrrr.


Here is a photo:

#2 travel set2

I have a set of these cards and use them when I travel.  They make life a lot easier!  Recently I lent them to a priest friend who went on vacation with some other priests, one of whom was going to coach him up on the TLM.  He told me they were great.

Get a set for your priest!

Meanwhile, I didn’t notice anything at the SPORCH site specifically about the cards that are on sale, but you can contact her directly.


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Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | 1 Comment