ASK FATHER: Can a Catholic help children with dyslexia through a Masonic organization?

From a priest…


I have a parishioner who wants to help children with dyslexia and has found an opportunity with the Children’s Dyslexia Center in ___.

It is affiliated with the Scottish Rite Freemasons. My parishioner wants to know if he, a Catholic, is permitted to affiliate with Freemasonry in this way. He’s not joining them, but I am uncertain on how I should guide him. Please help.

Catholics cannot be Freemasons.  Period.

Freemasonry is not just an organization of civic minded gentlemen (and ladies, these days) who wear cute outfits and do nice things for the community.

While many Freemason groups (especially in North America) do indeed do good things for the community, the organization as a whole is ordered against orthodox Christian belief, and against the Catholic Church in particular.  Freemasonry in it’s most serious form is an enemy of the Catholic Church.

Now many good and reasonable non-Catholic folks join the Freemasons without ascribing to (or even understanding) the profoundly anti-Christian, anti-Catholic basis of Freemasonry itself. They remain good people, with generally good hearts.

In many places in North America, where Freemasonry doesn’t usually manifest in its more virulent forms (as it does in Europe), the Masons do many laudable things, things that might even cause a Catholic to wish to support.

Catholics, while forbidden to join the Freemasons, are not forbidden by Church law to associate with Freemasons. One may have Freemason neighbors. One may invite them to dinner and go over to their houses for dinner. If the Freemasons are helping to build a neighbor’s barn, one may even cooperate closely by handing the mason nails, holding up a post, or providing delicious lemonade to the thirsty mason builders.  Prudence is needed.

There are many hospitals and other care facilities, as well as schools and educational institutions founded and operated by Freemasons. The “Shriners” are a type of Freemasonry.  They have excellent children’s hospitals.  That said, all things being equal, if there are also available a similar Catholic facilities, a Catholic should be inclined to support “our own”.  Right?

That not being the case in this situation, one can – prudently – work with the Freemasons on a good work, such as assisting children with dyslexia.

The intention is to help children, not to help Masonry.

It is good, before doing so, that this person has consulted his pastor. I encourage that conversation to continue. If, while working for the Freemasonic charity, there begins to be evidence of pressure to join the Masons, or any dastardly events, one’s cooperation with the Freemasons should be reconsidered.  It would be a good idea constantly to review the content of the Faith by using a good catechism in order to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, etc.  Prudence is needed.

Wearing a scapular, a Miraculous Medal, or St. Benedict Medal whilst engaged in work with the Masons would also be a good idea.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A Plea: Stop misusing “tragedy”

A bad thing happens. Then journalists, politicians, Church figures, etc., moan about how “tragic” the “tragedy” was. The problem is that 99% of the “tragedies” they bemoan, aren’t tragic or tragedies. It drives me nuts.

From First Things editor R.Reno, to whom I am grateful for taking this up.  With my usual treatment:

[NAME DELETED – I won’t include the rat-bastard queer Muslim terrorist’s name] murder of forty-nine people in Orlando has been called a tragedy—“the Orlando tragedy,” as we hear so often. The word is apt only in the mistaken sense in which we use it now. “Tragedy” has become the word we use when we’re at a loss. When we describe the slaughter of twenty children by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School as a “tragedy,” what we mean is that that terrible event was meaningless. “Tragedy” has come to denote inexplicable evil.

This is a misuse of the term, one that enables our evasions of political reality. It is exactly the opposite of “tragedy” in its classical sense. In his Poetics, Aristotle says that an action is “tragic” when it unfolds in a way that causes the protagonist to suffer, not by happenstance, but in accord with an intrinsic logic. The suffering of the tragic protagonist is fitting. The upshot is catharsis, a release of strong feeling that restores emotional equilibrium. An event is classically “tragic,” then, when suffering is meaningful. We resonate to suffering cathartically when we sense its meaning—and sense that we are implicated in it.

But when we apply “tragedy” to mass murder, our sense of the word is exactly the opposite of Aristotle’s. We could always describe these events as “crimes”; in a legal sense, that’s what they obviously are. But “crime” seems too modest a word, and politicians, especially, don’t want to be seen as downplaying mass murder. To convey the magnitude of the event—and their empathy for the victims, as leadership must these days—they use the grandest word for “suffering” they can think of. It happens to be “tragedy.” They intend to signal that they are empathetic—overwhelmingly so. The evil is inexplicable, incomprehensible, but the suffering is real and in some way must be addressed. “Tragedy” is what we say when we wish to emote and say nothing.  [Dead on.]

And yet, very often, these events are comprehensible. As for Orlando, we all know that [NAME DELETED] rampage fits a pattern—that of Charlie Hebdo, Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino most recently in the West, and countless others in the past and continuing throughout the Middle East. But this pattern points to descriptions and explanations that are unpalatable, because they put demands on our leaders and us. So politicians and pundits default to a therapeutic stance. They call the slaughter a “tragedy,” in order to avoid giving it meaning.

What is its meaning? The Orlando slaughter was not, primarily, an attack on gays, as liberal pundits and politicians now insist. They favor that interpretation, not only because it gives them leverage in our culture wars, but because it provides an easy, predictable, and unthreatening horizon of meaning. “Mass murder of gays, just like the last incident in_______”: You can’t fill in that blank, which is why this way of thinking about Orlando reassures. It does not involve thinking about real threats, and it does not require real leadership to meet those threats.

No, the slaughter in Orlando was an attack on our society. All of us who remain loyal to a country that allows for gay nightclubs were its targets. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Many commentators, including President Obama, seem unable to grasp this basic feeling of solidarity when we’re under attack. In a particularly thick-headed commentary in the Washington Post last fall, Andrew Shaver appealed to psychology to explain why we are much more agitated by terrorist attacks than by the ever-present dangers of dying in a car wreck or from cancer. Shaver’s analysis missed the point. I am upset about Orlando because I am aware that [NAME DELETED]’s killing spree was part of a larger battle plan. That plan has been clearly articulated by an implacable enemy that will kill as many Americans as necessary in order to secure dominion over us. I don’t “fear” dying in a terrorist attack. I am agitated by Orlando and San Bernardino because I am patriotic and recognize that an attack on my fellow citizens is an attack on all of us.

This naturally suggests that we should speak of the “Orlando terrorist attack,” or even of an “act of war” in Orlando, rather than of “the Orlando tragedy.” But this way of talking would suggest that America has enemies, which is a prospect we don’t like to contemplate.


Abraham Lincoln did not describe the shots fired on Fort Sumter as “tragic.” Franklin Roosevelt did not refer to Pearl Harbor as a “tragedy.” As recently as September 11, 2001, we did not take refuge in that empty notion. That we do so now says something about our national decadence—a therapeutic decadence, which evades the hard responsibilities of political leadership.

Read the whole thing there.

Fr. Z kudos.

And let’s, please, stop misusing “tragedy”.

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged | 21 Comments

23 June – Vigil of St. John – bonfires and witch burnings, solstices and snails

Mathis_Gothart_Grünewald John BaptistIt is nice to have as your Patron the great Baptist, for I get two feasts a year, his Nativity and his Beheading.

For the Vigil of St. John (today, as I write) in the old Roman Ritual the priest would once bless bonfires!

And in Bavaria, witches are burned!  A priest friend who shares my feast sent me a spiffing photo (below – a little hard to see at this size, but I assure you, there is a witch in there).

If you have any unwanted witches (and don’t we all?), send them to Bavaria next year for a nice vacation.

In other places, cast-off or unneeded things are burned… in a way parallel, I suppose, to throwing things away at the other end of the year after the Winter Solstice.

In any event, the evening is about as long as the year can offer, so a great party could be had well into the night with much cooking in the open and revelry.  Have a nice bonfire!

The blessing for the bonfire is beautiful.  After the usual introduction, the priest blesses the fire saying:

Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify ? this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to you who are light eternal; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

At this point the fire is sprinkled with holy water and everyone sings the hymn Ut quaent laxis which is also the Vespers hymn.

It is almost as if the fire, and our celebration, is baptized.

The reference to light and darkness surely harks to the fact of the Solstice, which was just observed. At this point the days get shorter in the Northern Hemisphere.  I looked at that HERE and HERE.

For the feast of St. John in June for centuries the Church has sung at Vespers the hymn beginning Ut queant laxis

If you want to hear Ut queant laxis sung “in the wild”, as it were, check out the Benedictines at Norcia, a fine group of men, really living the Benedictine life in the place where Benedict is said to have been born.  HERE (they don’t update consistently – but buy their new chant album HERE).  Also, check the monks at Le Barroux.  Hard core.  Fantastic chant. HERE

Those of you who are lovers of the movie The Sound of Music will instantly recognize this hymn as the source of the syllables used in solfège or solmization (the use of syllables instead of letters to denote the degrees of a musical scale). Both the ancient Chinese and Greeks had such a system.

The Benedictine monk Guido d’Arezzo (c. 990-1050) introduced the now familiar syllables ut re mi fa sol la for the tones of the hexachord c to a… or, more modally, the tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc. of a major scale. The Guidonian syllables derive from the hymn for the feast of St. John the Baptist:

UT queant laxis
REsonare fibris
MIra gestorum
FAmuli tuorum,
SOLve polluti
LAbii reatum,
Sancte Ioannes (SI).

After the medieval period (when music became less modal and more tonal) to complete the octave of the scale the other syllable was introduced (si – taken from S-ancte I-oannes, becomes “ti”) and the awkward ut was replaced sometime in the mid 17th c. with do (or also doh – not to be confused in any way with the Homeric Simpsonic epithet so adored by today’s youth, derived as it is from the 21st century’s new liturgical focal point – TV) and do came to be more or less fixed with C though in some cases do remains movable.

So, now you know where Doh, Re, Mi comes from!  Check out this oldie PODCAzT from 2007:

It is also good to gather St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) on the feast.  “Wort” is from Old English wyrt (German Würze), which means “plant”, but is used mostly in compounds.  Since ancient times “singent’s wort” was known to relieve melancholy or depression, as does borage… which every garden should have.  It would be hung above doors, windows and sacred images (hence the hyper-icum “above image”) to keep witches and evil spirit away.  Burning those witches might have something to do with its effectiveness as well, now that I think about it.

Build a fire tonight, even if you can’t burn a witch, and sing something in honor of St. John!

Oh! And eat some snails.

It is a Roman custom to eat snails on the Feast of John the Baptist.

And, just in case it has been a while…

BTW…only four people are signed up for a monthly donation for this date, the 23rd of the month, using the subscription button.  Go to the very bottom of the this blog or…

Some options

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SUPER! New book with table of readings for the Novus Ordo and TLM! ACTION ITEM!

UPDATE:  Originally posted 14 April.

I just learned of this and I am eager to get my hands on it.  It should be a helpful tool.

I have often longed for an easy to use chart to line up the readings from Scripture in both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms for Mass.  Is reading X on this Sunday in the Ordinary Form appear also in the traditional Roman Rite?  Why could knowing that be helpful?  For example, if it does, then we might be able to find great commentaries developed over the centuries on that pericope (a cutting from Scripture used in the liturgy) over the centuries.  That’s just one application.

It looks as if my desires have been realized, thanks to the work of Matthew P Hazell and Peter Kwasniewski (who provides a Forward – he teaches at Wyoming Catholic College).

Every priest and seminarian needs this.  Make sure they have it.

Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite (Lectionary Study Aids) (Volume 1)


I hope they issue the next volume tomorrow.

I am going to put this book on my Amazon Wish List with a request for 35 copies, so that all the seminarians of the Diocese of Madison can have one.  We have done projects like this before with birettas (HERE) and other great books (in years past we got them Ratzinger’s Faith (would THAT be refreshing to read right now?) and Turning Towards the Lord and for the deacons Reid’s reworking of Fortescue/O’Connell’s The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. As a matter of fact, I’ll put 2 copies of that on my wishlist, to give the the new deacons here.)

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged | 6 Comments

Soros is involved in the Migrant Crisis, against national borders

As people in the UK vote about leaving the EU or staying, there’s this from Breitbart:

Soros Admits Involvement In Migrant Crisis: ‘National Borders Are The Obstacle’

Billionaire investor George Soros has confirmed he wants to bring down Europe’s borders, following the accusation made last week by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Last week, Mr Orban accused Mr Soros – who was born in Hungary – of deliberately encouraging the migrant crisis.

“This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those (human rights) activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state,” Mr Orban said.

“This Western mindset and this activist network is perhaps best represented by George Soros.”

Mr Soros has now issued an email statement to Bloomberg Business, claiming his foundations help “uphold European values”, while Mr Oban’s actions in strengthening the Hungarian border and stopping a huge migrant influx “undermine those values.”

“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” Mr Soros added. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”

Last month, Mr Orban accused pro-immigration non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of “drawing a living from the immigration crisis,” singling out those funded by Mr Soros.

George Soros is a firm backer of transnational bodies such as the European Union, and his Open Society Foundation (OSF) provides assistance for pro-migration activists. He is well-known for his support for “progressive” causes such as the Centre for American Progress, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.


Read the rest there.

Posted in The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 25 Comments

ASK FATHER: When Holy Days of Obligation… aren’t

From a reader…


When a holy day such as the Assumption or All Saints Day falls on a Saturday or Monday and we are not required to attend mass, are the usual restrictions on work also lifted?

Yes. When the obligation is lifted from a Holy Day of Obligation, another effect is that all other restrictions are taken off the day as well (as well as the parish losing yet another collection… thanks). They are still celebrated, liturgically, as solemnities, but the obligation to refrain from servile labor or anything that would hinder the due relaxation of the body and the worship of God no longer applies.

One effect remains, however: the Holy Angels weep.

When bishops push these holy days off the calendar they are saying, “We don’t want to put additional stress on priests by making them offer extra Masses and preach.  Rather, we want lay people not to have a day off and to work their fingers to the bone.” Bishops can be mean.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 20 Comments


A quick book recommendation.  On my drive home from Michigan yesterday I started listening to a book, read to me by my older gen Kindle (don’t have one yet?  US HERE – UK HERE) by Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History.


It’s great.

Posted in Biased Media Coverage, Our Catholic Identity, REVIEWS, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Just Too Cool: Bishop Etienne on Wyoming Carmelites

Bp. Paul Etienne of Cheyenne was the monastery of the Wyoming Carmelites to ordain one of the men to the diaconate.  He made some great comments in his blog (HERE) about the monks and the monastery they are building.

The bishop posted a great photo of what they have built so far.  Thus, Bp. Etienne:

At present, there are 16 members of the Mt. Carmel community in Wyoming, and after the day I have spent with them, I can tell you they enjoy a vibrant spirit.  The love of Christ is very much alive within this cloister!  Over the years of my observations of this fledgling community, I can see a sure and certain maturity.  They are a gift to the Church.

As most of this readership knows, the Mt. Carmel monks began construction of their new monastery two years ago.  We visited the site late this afternoon to check on construction progress.  The monks are hard at work, carving the limestone and sandstone that will cover all of the buildings.  They are also laying the stone in place themselves.

With the winter season now behind us (I hope!) construction is kicking into high gear once again.  Tomorrow, they will begin digging the foundations of their monastery church, one of the last buildings of the campus to enter construction phase.  The refectory, chapter house, porters office and hermitages are fully under roof, and the foundations are now in place for the infirmary.  Once in full gear, the job-site will employ approximately fifty laborers.

In the coming days, they will have four stone-cutting machines in full operation.  As you can imagine, it will take tons of stone to cover the exterior of all of the buildings.  Below is a photo of the north side of the refectory building, giving you an example of just how much these monks have learned over the past two years, and the quality of their workmanship.  They are building a monastery of which the church can be proud.  And this bishop is quite impressed with the ‘temple’ they have already built within their community.

This is the refectory.  Wow.  I have got to visit them sometime.

Meanwhile… when you buy their coffee and tea and other items, you help them to build.   You also help me.

Friends, if you are buying coffee and for your office, use my link.  If you are buying for your parish coffee and donuts, use my link.  If you are buying for yourself… you get the idea.  And they have K-cups, which I have used.  HERE

Try a sampler!  HERE


Posted in Just Too Cool | 14 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Coordinated prayer for Pope Francis against diabolical attack

action-item-buttonMy friend Fr. Byers wrote to ask for help with something. HERE

He suggests that people all over the world pray at the say time each day (early morning Rome time) to ask God to protect Pope Francis from diabolical assault.

¡Hagan lío!

Thus, Fr. Byers…

An Hour for Pope Francis – Help!

4:00–5:00 AM daily the Pope’s time (following daylight savings time in the country where he happens to be around the world) is being dedicated to praying special prayers for the Holy Father. May he begin each day dedicated to Jesus and free from diabolical assault. Join in at that time if you can for as long as you can. Your prayers are helpful anytime. When it’s 4:00 AM in Rome, it is:

2:00 AM Sierra Leone
3:00 AM London / Bangui
5:00 AM Jerusalem / Nairobi
7:00 AM Dushanbe
7:30 AM Mumbai
9:00 AM Bangkok
10:00 AM Shanghai
11:00 AM Seoul / Ulaanbaatar / Yakutsk
12:00 Noon Sydney
2:00 PM Christchurch
4:00 PM Honolulu
5:00 PM Rikitea
6:00 PM Adamstown
7:00 PM Los Angeles / Destruction Bay
8:00 PM Denver / Sinaloa / Hanga Roa
9:00 PM Chicago / Cité Soleil
10:00 PM New York / Havana
11:00 PM Buenos Aires / Rio de Janeiro
Suggestion (1):

V: Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

R: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Oremus: Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

V: Let us pray for our Pontiff Francis.

R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Let us pray: O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church: grant him, we beseech Thee, that, by word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, he may attain everlasting life. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


That’s the suggestion that I will use.  It’s a prayer I should memorize anyway.  He has other suggestions and you can see them there.

NB: In the older, traditional form of Holy Mass priests could/were to add orations after those assigned in the Mass formulary for the day.  One of them was/could be for the Roman Pontiff.   Sometimes when I read Mass privately, I add orations (whether the rubrics indicate or not… I just do) for specific purposes or people.


Think about this for a while.  Once upon a time, thousands of priests all over the world, at every hour of the day, were praying for the Pope at Mass with great frequency – and not merely in the Roman Canon, but specific with specific orations.  And then we stopped doing that.   Once upon a time, after almost every Mass everywhere in the world people knelt after Mass and prayed the Leonine Prayers, asking the help of Mary and St. Michael, asking for the conversion of sinners, protection of the Church, mercy.  And then we stopped doing that.

Did stopping help?

So, friends, be prayer warriors and help the Pope, who really needs help.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Be The Maquis, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Urgent Prayer Requests | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Yet another group of US women religious is being called to Rome for a chat.

Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) is squawking that yet another group of women religious in these USA is being called to Rome for a chat.   First, the Sisters of Loretto (think Sr. Jeannine Gramick) are summoned to talk about doctrinal and moral concerns.  Now, the Sisters of Charity.

Who knows what it is about.

Sr. Teri Hadro, president of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said her community received a letter from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in early April asking the sisters for written response to the office’s continued concern over the order’s “public dissent of Church teaching.”

“It’s a very friendly letter,” Hadro said. “It’s just that I think they tend to interpret things as dissent that really aren’t dissent.”  [And yet it’s time for a chat.]


“Because we focus on those issues and not on right to life from conception forward, our silence is being interpreted as dissent,” Hadro said. “I don’t think that’s the understanding that women religious have. We probably have the same top 10 values and priorities as the bishops, but in different order. And it seems to me that there’s some beauty in that, because our role in the church is different from that of the bishops.”


A very nunny answer.


Hadro declined to share all of the recommendations the Vatican made to her community, but she said one of the recommendations was that the sisters “engage in the study of” Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’ — a request Hadro said proves how much miscommunication has happened during the apostolic visitation process.


You have got to be kidding me.  The Congregation told them to read Laudato Si’?


“I think the European understanding of religious life, the hierarchic understanding of religious life, and the understanding of religious life from inside a women’s congregation in the United States are three different understandings,” she said. “This whole process is a demonstration of what happens when the three parties start to look at the same thing, but not necessarily in dialogue. It’s been complex.”

Right.  In other words, they don’t have a clue what religious life is.  It stopped the day Perfectae caritatis was signed.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 13 Comments