Synodality? Collegiality? Not so much.

16_05_20_rescript_01This morning early I received an SMS: “Parolin announces ‘clarification’ of CIC by which no diocesan institute of religious can be erected validly without Vatican OK.”

“Gosh!”, or words to that effect, “So much for the collegiality and decentralization that libs so crave”, quoth I.

Buried on page 8 of the number of Saturday, 21 May L’Osservatore Romano we read that the Congregation is concerned that there might spring up new institutes which might not have “l’originalita del carisma… originality of (their) charism”.

Does every new institute have to have an “original charism”?  One that no other institute has ever had?  Anyway…

Can. 579  says: “Provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories.”

That doesn’t speak to validity.

Looking at the actual wording of the new rescript, as of 1 June 2016, diocesan bishops will have to “consult” with the Congregation in order “validly” to erect a Diocesan Institute of Consecrated Life in his diocese.

NB: The bishops do not need to obtain permission. He needs to consult.

Say Bp. Noble of Black Duck receives some priests from the neighboring Diocese of Libville where Bp. Fatty McButterpants is persecuting traditional Catholics. They set up an Oratory at a sleepy inner-city parish with a fading school, near to the university and a couple hospitals. Bp. Noble “consults” with the Congregation. During the “consultation”, the Prefect, not known to be a friend of things traditional, gives a negative view of the project. Bp. Noble smiles, thanks the Prefect, returns to Black Duck and then sets up the Oratory. He has “consulted”.

I have no idea what the background story is here, but I think that somebody, somewhere, is nervous about the kind of institutes that are springing up, where they are on the ecclesiastical spectrum. I suspect, I don’t know but I suspect, that someone wants slow down a certain type of institute.

Meanwhile, the decision still rests with the diocesan bishop.

Bottom line: This seems to be more of a change of attitude than of law.

UPDATE 21 May:

The esteemed Vaticanista Marco Tossati has a similar view at La Stampa.  HERE

He concludes (my translation):

In brief, this means that bishops, individual bishops are less free; and their authority as successors of the apostles – because that’s what we’re dealing with – is undergoing a severe limitation, in favor of a Roman Congregation, the one that handles religious life.  They have to pass through its consensus to approve new diocesan religious institutes.


Good grief!  Haven’t we heard at every turn about decentralization, synodality, and all that jazz?

The Spirit blows, as we know, where He will; but from now on He will have to make a phone call ahead of time to Card. Joao Braz de Aviz.  And maybe even first get a recommendation from a theologian of Liberation Theology….

Tosatti, as you can see, has a somewhat negative view of this move. Also, it may be that, if I am reading this correctly, he misses the point that bishops – provided that they have backbones – are still free to establish institutes of consecrated life, provided that they “consult”… “consult”, not “obtain permission”.


FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark
Posted in Canon Law | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

WDTPRS – Trinity Sunday: Shared glory, Majesty’s gift

The Trinity is the hardest, most mysterious of all dogmas.

There is a logic to the timing of this feast.

We focus on the Son’s Ascension to the Father, then the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and then the Triune God the Sunday after.

God the Father created us through the Son who redeemed us and revealed us more fully to ourselves (GS 22). God the Holy Ghost sanctifies us in Christ’s Holy Church so we can enjoy communion in the Trinity in the life to come.

Here is Sunday’s Collect:

Deus Pater, qui, Verbum veritatis et Spiritum sanctificationis mittens in mundum, admirabile mysterium tuum hominibus declarasti, da nobis, in confessione verae fidei, aeternae gloriam Trinitatis agnoscere, et Unitatem adorare in potentia maiestatis.

This is glued together from new material and part of the 1962 Collect.  The phrase admirabile mysterium is used to describe the Trinity in the minutes of the summit of June 411 in Carthage between Catholic and Donatist bishops. St Augustine of Hippo (d 430), whose work On the Trinity was the first great work of systematic theology in Latin, was a major player at that meeting.


O God the Father, who, sending the Word of Truth and the Spirit of sanctification into the world, declared Your astonishing mystery to men, grant us, in the confession of true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and to adore the Unity in the might of majesty.


God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.

Someone may have been on autopilot in adding that “we pray”.  Our Latin prayers often have some phrase like “tribue, quaesumus“.  This prayer doesn’t.

In this prayer I hear echoes of manifestations (epiphanies) of the Trinity in Scripture: at Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan when the Holy Spirit was seen as a dove and the voice of the Father was heard (cf Luke 3) and when Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of Peter, John and James (cf Matthew 17). God “made known, manifested, showed, proclaimed publicly” (declarasti, a shortening of declaravisti, from declaro) the wondrous mystery (admirabile mysterium) that He is Three in One, a Trinity of divine Persons, God the Father, God the Word of Truth, God the Spirit of sanctification, One God.  It is necessary for true Christian Faith (vera fides) that we recognize (agnoscere – “announce, allow, or admit a thing to be one’s own, to acknowledge, own”) that God is Triune, One God having one divine nature in a perfect unity of three distinct Divine Persons. Man can reason toward this truth on his own, as ancient Greek Neoplatonic philosophers did.  They almost got there, too.  Only by the gift of Faith can we profess (confiteor) this mystery in an authentically Christian way.  What reason and intellect straive after, revelation and the grace of faith must complete.

In our Collect we adore the gloria Trinitatis, the maiestas Unitatis. They have “power” (potentia). “Glory” and “majesty” in our liturgical prayers boom with the Last Things.

Maiestas is conceptually related in the writings of the Latin Fathers to gloria, Greek doxa and Hebrew kabod. Maiestas and gloria are more than simple splendor. They express our recognition of God as God.  They also indicate the mighty divine characteristic which God will share with us and by which we will be transformed. The transforming glory we will receive in heaven was foreshadowed in Moses’ meetings with God, when He descended like a cloud upon the tent.  After these meetings Moses’ face shone so brightly that he had to wear a veil.

Declare God’s glory in all you say and do.

Marvel, friends, at the gift that awaits us, when we die in God’s friendship.  We will no longer have to grope for a glimpse God as if through some dark glass, as if through a cleft in the rock.

Face to face we shall meet MYSTERY.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 2 Comments

NEW BOOK on Mother Angelica with never before published information

The other day I chatted for a bit with Raymond Arroyo of EWTN, who stopped at our table at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.  When I got home from DC, I found waiting for me a copy of his new book about Mother Angelica.


Grand silence… that is a churchy term which refers to the silence imposed on religious communities during the night after the ringing of a particular bell.  Think about it: grand silence… religious life… a stroke… work that still needs to be done….

Raymond provides some amazing new material about Mother, including details about a trip she made to the far East after she had her stroke and about torments by the Devil in her cell.

Mother was an amazing woman and she accomplished so much of great benefit to many.

Here is an important point: some of the proceeds of the sales will go to supper Mother’s community of sisters.

Meanwhile, check out Storyented!

Raymond also interviewed an interesting Catholic author, N.D. Wilson:

The author wanted to create a mythos for American children.   So much magnificent literature comes from English authors.  Perhaps an American mythos is needed?

He works real evil into his books for children, he wants to scare, because children need to get it.  He wants to equip kids for reality.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Reason #74 for Summorum Pontificum

This was sent by a priest friend.

“OUCH!” doesn’t quite capture my reaction.

Let me preface your viewing by saying that the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite is not susceptible to this sort of madness.

BTW… the real hurt-locker starts at about 5:30. We’ve seen it before on this blog, alas, but not juxtaposed to solemn Divine Liturgy.

Talk about Liturgy Science Theatre 3000!

After watching this, we might be a bit clearer about why the Orthodox are leery of Rome.

Another example of how Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity!

Posted in Benedict XVI, Both Lungs, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pope of Christian Unity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 45 Comments

My realistic solution to the problems in Amoris laetitia

I am trying to think back through the Church’s long history for an instance in which a Pope has withdrawn one of his own teaching documents, on faith and morals.

Of course Popes have superseded previous documents by issuing their own.

But has a Pope ever withdrawn one?  How would that work?  In my mind’s eye I see a Pope giving a presser on an airplane (which in the future may become the Roman Pontiff’s official cathedra):

POPE WITH MICROPHONE: Okay, everyone, listen up!  That document I issued a while back… you know the one… okay, that’s all over now.  No more document, okay?  It’s gone. I’m withdrawing it.  It’s like… like an annulment, a rendering of something that was something into nothing, right?  Got it?  It’s not going to be on the website anymore.  We are not going to twitter about… tweet?… tweet about it.  We are asking everyone to just, like, throw it away.  If you love Vatican II, just stop talking about it.  Okay?  Thanks in advance everyone.

PRESS SECRETARY: Okay, folks, that’s it for today.

Anyway, I can’t think of an instance of a Pope withdrawing a document.

And yet, that is precisely what one group, which met recently in Rome, wants Pope Francis to do.

LifeSite reports that attendees of the Voice of the Family conference in Rome wanted Pope Francis to zero-out the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.

ROME, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Over 100 pro-life and pro-family leaders from all over the world leapt to their feet in applause at a meeting in Rome on Saturday after hearing a call for Pope Francis to withdraw his controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

At LifeSite are the text of the speech given by John Smeaton of SPUC and addresses people can use to write letters.  A video of Smeaton’s talk is posted.

Look… a lot of those people at that conference were serious people.  There is a growing sector of the Church’s serious people who find problems in Amoris laetitia.   The lack of universal enthusiasm (or at least quiet indifference) and the increasing vocal and written criticism of the problems in the document clearly have shaken some of the usual suspects in the Roman sphere.

Digression: That explains in part, I think, the bitter, peevish, angry comments Fr. Rosica made the other day when he vented his spleen about the Catholic blogosphere, thus doing exactly what he accused others of doing.  But I digress.

Meanwhile, speaking of something that needs to be withdrawn, over at The Catholic Thing, my good friend Fr. Gerald Murray has an essay about Amoris laetitia.  He concludes:

Any approach that would further confuse the sinner by telling him that the Church now has decided that he can be absolved and receive Holy Communion because for various reasons (“mitigating factors”) he is not considered guilty of mortal sin for future acts of adultery is unacceptable – and frankly untruthful.

The shepherd’s duty is to lead the sheep into the good pasture of truth, where God’s grace strengthens the repentant sinner’s resolution to live according to the law God gave us. A “permission slip” to keep committing adultery is a serious failure of pastoral charity by the priest advising someone who is living in sin.

The permission given in footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia poses a dilemma for the priest/confessor who knows the Church’s constant sacramental discipline, based upon her unchangeable doctrine. The practical solution to the dilemma is to ignore the unwarranted permission.

The greater problem for the Church is that such permission was ever given. It must be withdrawn, for the good of souls.

So, Fr. Murray, too, clearly sees problems in Amoris laetitia. His solution is, also, that something must be withdrawn.  Murray, however, limits himself to the Infamous Footnote™… 351, which contains the imprudent, unjustifiable permission that he discerns within it.

Of course Francis is not going to withdraw Amoris laetitia.  That’s not going to happen.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be “withdrawn”, so to speak, from the Exhortation.

Fr. Murray’s request is reasonable and doable and, frankly, not out of the realm of imagining.

My solution: Make necessary changes to Amoris laetitia, such as elimination of, or reworking of, the Infamous Footnote, etc., and then publish the final, official version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.  And then TELL PEOPLE about the version in the Acta.

This leads me back to something I have pointed out in the past.

The Holy See’s official instrument of promulgation of documents is the publication Acta Apostolicae Sedis… “The Acts of the Apostolic See”.  

Digression: For the last few decades, when an important document is to be issued, there is a presser during which some churchy experts talk about the thing.  Journalists get copies in modern languages a little in advance along with print outs of the dull speeches they must endure listening to before a too brief Q&A dominated especially by Europeans who don’t know how to ask a question without a several minute intro.   So, at the time of the presser, the document is released in various languages.  Some years back, Latin was one of those languages, and then the next day the Latin would be printed in L’Osservatore Romano.    These days?  Latin?  Not so much. The problem today is that documents are not being written in Latin.  They are translated into Latin from whatever language was the original or from the Italian, which itself might have been a translation of the original.  You might not believe this, but it is true.  When the Catechism of the Catholic Church was produced in Latin, it had to be translated from the Italian, which was itself a translation from the original working language French.  Can you imagine what that did to quotations that were originally in Latin or French?  It was a mess.  Eventually staff at the Augustinianum had to clean the whole thing up and correct all the errors in citations.  But I digress.

Between the time that documents are released and the moment that they appear in the Acta changes are often made to them.  The official version of the document is the version in the Acta which nobody bothers to consult.  Newsies and scholars and priests and bishops and students and deaconette wannabes refer to the modern language versions which were released at the time of the initial presser.  Those modern language versions are put on the Vatican website and published in booklet form and sold all over the world.  They are not revised in light of the changes in the Acta version.

Therefore, virtually everyone is quoting a document that isn’t really the official document.

Could it be that the first released version and final official version coincide?  Sure!  But you don’t know that until you look, right?

Again my solution to the problems in Amoris laetitia?  Make the first version a draft of the final version.

Make necessary changes and then publish the final, official version of it in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

I can imagine the presser on the plane with the Pope:

POPE WITH MICROPHONE: Okay, everyone, listen up!  That document I issued a while back… you know the one… okay, we’ve got some news about that.  We made some changes and the final, official version is being posted on the website as I speak.  It’s also being sent out 140 characters at a time on my Latin Twitter account.  Ha ha!  Gotchya!  I’m here all week.  And be sure to tip your flight attendants.  [barely audible muffled question]  No, John, I don’t write those Tweets, c’mon.  So, it’s… you know… we listened to the people of God and, like… we got some marriage counseling for the Exhortation instead of an annulment.  See what I did there?  Huh?  Yeah?  Anyway, we are asking everyone to just, like, to stop listening to Card. Schönborn and Card. Kasper and just look at the website.  Okay?  You’re going to see some really great changes because you spoke and we listened and because we – unlike Fr. Z – all love Vatican II and that’s what Vatican II really wanted, right?  Thanks in advance everyone.  [barely audible muffled question]  No, John, he’ll never be a Monsignor.  Not on my watch.  And another thing….

PRESS SECRETARY: Okay, folks, that’s it for today.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

Kerknet – the portal website of the Catholic Church in Flanders – attacks Ordinatio sacerdotalis

How do you say Fishwrap in Flemish?

My first thought was, this antic trumpery would not have been attempted in the pontificates of St. John Paul II or Benedict XVI.

A Belgian Catholic newspaper, what seems to be the official Flemish language catholic newpaper – Kerknet – has an editorial by the editor-in-chief Luk Vanmaercke against Ordinatio sacerdotalis.  HERE

The original text:

“Dat vrouwen nog steeds worden uitgesloten van het priesterambt, valt niet langer te verantwoorden. Pogingen tot theologische onderbouw van het exclusief mannelijke priesterschap rammelen aan alle kanten en overtuigen de overgrote meerderheid van de gelovigen niet langer.

Als vrouwen tweeduizend jaar geleden geen priester konden worden, was dat om cultuur-historische redenen.

Dat de Kerk vandaag vrouwen als tweederangsgelovigen blijft behandelen, is niet enkel betreurenswaardig, het is onrechtvaardig en niet langer aanvaardbaar.”


“That women continue to be excluded from the priesthood, is no longer justified. Attempts to theologically defend the exclusive male priesthood are shaky on all grounds and aren’t convincing for the vast majority of believers anymore.

If for two thousand years women could not become priests, it was for cultural and historical reasons.

That the Church today continues to treat women as second-class believers, is not only unfortunate, it is unjust and no longer acceptable.”

I thought everyone should know what sort of things are being published – seemingly with some kind of official approval – in Belgium.  Who runs and oversees this publication?  HERE

It is described as the “portal website of the Catholic Church in Flanders”.  The “Dioceses of Flanders” are among those who founded the portal.

Registered office and contact

Kerknet 2.0 vzw
Halewijnlaan 92, 2050 Antwerp
Tel. 03 210 08 82

Chairman of the Board of Directors: Herman Cosijns
Coordinator: Sim D’Hertefelt

Posted in Liberals, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Adventures in Preaching! And another, far more important event.

This is both smile and face-palm inducing at the same time.

I picked this up from Church Militant.

It seems that Bishop Donald Hanchon played a ukulele in the pulpit of Assumption Grotto in Detroit during a Confirmation Mass last Tuesday.

I’ve visited Assumption Grotto quite a few times.  I’ve been celebrant there a number of times for their exceptional orchestral Masses.  It is a highly traditional parish with high-church liturgy and high-quality music.  It is about the last place on earth that it would occur to me to see a ukulele.

The organist there, however, hurried to the aid of the bishop!  He helpfully jumped in with stops pulled out to accompany the ukulele ditty.  Just lending a hand, you know.

It must have been both amusing and perhaps a little awkward for everyone, especially for all ukulele fans among the young confirmands.

But wait!   You can see it for yourselves over there… there’s video.


There is an event coming up at Assumption Grotto which, if you are anywhere in the area, you must plan to attend.  HERE

My friend, Fr. Aidan Logan, from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, is giving a talk.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 14 Comments

Interviews you should look into

First, there is an interview with Card. Burke at LifeSite.  In the summary before the interview itself:

Answering a question in which I remarked that “many Catholics are troubled by the text,” Cardinal Burke did not deny that some of the Exhortation’s elements are open to a non-orthodox interpretation, underscoring that these cannot be part of the magisterium. “I think the important thing is that when one reads critically the document, one is always respectful of the person of the Pope,” Cardinal Burke said, thus conceding that in itself a critical reading is not contrary to the Catholic faithful’s correct mindset.

“Some people criticized me for saying that the document is not magisterium; they said it was a Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation and, therefore, must be part of the magisterium; but the title of the document doesn’t give it the quality of magisterium. You have to read the contents and when you do, you see that this document has to be read critically in the light of the Catechism, in the light of the Church’s magisterium. Those parts which support and give full expression to the Church’s magisterium are fine, but there may be other things that are reflections of the Holy Father, but they are not magisterium.”

Also, at the National Catholic Register, the great Edward Pentin has posted a three part video interview with SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay.  The write up is HERE  From the write up:

Reconciliation between the Society of St. Pius X and Rome looks to be imminent, as a key obstacle — opposition to certain aspects of the Second Vatican Council — may no longer be a cause for continued separation from the Church.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX, told the Register May 13 that he is “persuaded, at least in part, by a different approach,” in which, he believes, Pope Francis is placing less weight on the Council and more emphasis on “saving souls and finding a way to do it.”

Pope Francis had an interview at La Croix in French, but the English is available.  HERE

– On April 1, you received Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior-general of the Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X. Is the re-integration of the Lefebvrists into the Church again under consideration?

Pope Francis: In Buenos Aires, I often spoke with them. They greeted me, asked me on their knees for a blessing. They say they are Catholic. They love the Church.

Bishop Fellay is a man with whom one can dialogue. That is not the case for other elements who are a little strange, such as Bishop Williamson or others who have been radicalized. Leaving this aside, I believe, as I said in Argentina, that they are Catholics on the way to full communion.

During this year of mercy, I felt that I needed to authorize their confessors to pardon the sin of abortion. They thanked me for this gesture. Previously, Benedict XVI, whom they greatly respect, had liberalized the use of the Tridentine rite mass. So good dialogue and good work are taking place.

– Would you be ready to grant them the status of a personal prelature?

Pope Francis: That would be a possible solution but beforehand it will be necessary to establish a fundamental agreement with them. The Second Vatican Council has its value. We will advance slowly and patiently.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 5 Comments

“demonic gender ideology”

Another note in the wake of the wonderful National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

During his speech, Card. Sarah referred to “demonic ‘gender ideology’“.

I think we should all start using this description whenever the topic comes up.

From the LifeSite report on the speech:

“Good becomes evil, beauty is ugly, love becomes the satisfaction of sexual primal instincts, and truths are all relative,” said Sarah.

“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, but even promoted as a social good,” he continued.  “The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution.  Nowhere is [this] clearer than in the threat that societies are visiting on the family through a demonic ‘gender ideology,’ a deadly impulse that is being experienced in a world increasingly cut off from God through ideological colonialism.”

¡Hagan lío!


The full text of the Cardinal’s speech is HERE.  Excerpt:

Today we are witnessing the next stage – and the consummation – of the efforts to build a utopian paradise on earth without God. It is the stage of denying sin and the fall altogether. But the death of God results in the burial of good, beauty, love and truth. Good becomes evil, beauty is ugly, love becomes the satisfaction of sexual primal instincts, and truths are all relative.

So all manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, but even promoted as a social good. The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the threat that societies are visiting on the family through a demonic “gender ideology,” a deadly impulse that is being experienced in a world increasingly cut off from God through ideological colonialism.

Saint Pope John XXIII observed in 1962:

“Tasks of immense gravity and amplitude await the Church, as in the most tragic periods of her history. The Church must now inject the vivifying and perennial energies of the gospel into the veins of the human community.”

This remains the challenge that the Church is facing presently, more even than in 1962, and it is our task today. This is what I spoke of in my book God or Nothing [US HERE UK HERE]:

“Today the Church must fight against prevailing trends, with courage and hope, and not be afraid to raise her voice to denounce the hypocrites, the manipulators, and the false prophets. For two thousand years, the Church has faced many contrary winds but at the end of the most difficult journey, the victory was always won.”

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes | Tagged , | 13 Comments

My View For Awhile: Westward Edition

I am on my way home after a few great days in Washington DC.

I love Uber.

Airport Burger review…. Ben’s Chile Bowl…

It’s only after you order and pay that they tell you it’ll take more than 10 minutes.  Really? At an airport?

Chile on it.

Small… okay… took a long time… worth it? Half a shrug.  I won’t go there again.

My unsatisfying lunch was supplemented in the club.

And now to defy the laws of physics again and cause two object to occupy the same space at the same time.

Delta … Comfort Redefined™.


Next leg.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 13 Comments