Olympics Day 2-3: Maxed

I have my DVR recording multiple channels so that I can pick and choose which things to watch without commercials and skipping the sports that don’t interest me.  The DVR/TV system is so maxed out that I can’t change channels!  It gives me a message that I have to stop recording something before I can switch.  I also have events streaming to one of my monitors and on my laptop.

Over the last couple days, …




I did, however, watch the live Trump economic speech in Detroit.  That’s a kind of sport… isn’t it?


The trap shooting events have a few police officers competing, two, I think from Italy and a woman from London… if I understood the commentary correctly.  Meanwhile, these gals hit targets that are no bigger than a pencil point.
16_08_08_Rio_06 16_08_08_Rio_07 16_08_08_Rio_09 16_08_08_Rio_10

The sabre competition is always great.  I was into this for some time.  Very fast.


Right now, men’s rugby!  I didn’t bother with the women’s rugby.



Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 8 Comments

“Gather Us In” made (almost) acceptable!

When life gives you challenges like lemons, make lemonade.  Right?

When liturgists give you dreck like “Gather Us In”, make… toccatas.

Remember: The Second Vatican Council gives pride of place to the pipe organ over all other instruments.

Fr. Z kudos to the organist, Don VerKuilen.

Posted in Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 33 Comments

Proponents of deaconettes use “dialogue” as a distraction

At the fine Crisis there is a good analysis piece which looks into what the pro-women’s ordination crowd do to push their agenda: dialogue.

I think we’ve all seen how this works: libs demand something – authority says “No” – they violate the law and keep demanding dialogue – authority says “No” – the violations of law continue and they keep badgering about dialogue – authority listens and then says “No” – libs demand more dialogue – and so on and so on and, in many cases, authority caves in enough to keep the defiance and hectoring demands going.

Now to the Crisis piece with my legendary emphases and comments:

When Dialogue is a Distraction


But dialogue is not itself the goal, for history shows us, in faith and in politics, that those of A Certain Mindset use dialogue as a diversion. It generally happens this way: they want some new action to be taken or position to be adopted, so they repeatedly call for dialogue, openness, “continuing the conversation.” Then they push for a power play—a Supreme Court decision or papal decree—which decides the question apart from and outside of the “dialogue” that had been granted. When objections are raised, those of A Certain Mindset declare the matter closed and decided, forever and in perpetuity: settled law, stare decisis, Roma locuta est, and so on. Suddenly, the relativist hardens into the dogmatist.

Those of A Certain Mindset do not truly want dialogue; they want a distraction while they work to achieve their ends. It’s not about seeking the truth, but grasping power and effecting their will. That’s why an article in the National Catholic Reporter[aka Fishwrap aka National Schismatic Reporter] recently called for Pope Francis to issue decrees solidifying his reforms (not sure which, exactly—how many has he truly made, rather than those people think he wants?) lest a future pope attempt to roll them back. They want the matter closed. (Nevermind that no pope could bind a future pope via legislation, since the pope by virtue of his office is the supreme legislator of the Church.) These same often decry alleged legalism and Pharisaism, but are happy to employ it when it suits their ends. [Scratch a liberal and find a Nazi underneath.]

It is disingenuous, akin to the calls for tolerance that result in tolerance only for certain positions—a phenomenon we have seen all too often in recent years, and for which examples abound. This is not a call to Socratic dialogue, a search for wisdom on a deep (and unresolved) question. This is a lawyer continuing to say “Objection!” when the judge has already ruled on the point.

To the original example: [NB] it does not appear that Pope Francis wishes to introduce ordained female deacons into the Church. He stated that reports to that effect angered him, because they did not reflect his words or intentions, and he has stated categorically that female ordination is a closed matter. (A cursory glance at reportage on the commission will find the same phenomenon, encouraged by the usual suspects in the Catholic commentariat.) [Zig and Zag through their nutty commentary and you’l see quickly who those usual suspects are.] Yet the adherents to the cult of perpetual dialogue see no matter as closed—until they declare it so.

Well done.

Posted in Liberals, Pò sì jiù | Tagged , | 20 Comments

In honor of St. Dominic…

In the Ordinary Form calendar today is the Feast of St. Dominic.  You might check out the site of the wonderful Summit Dominicans, the great “Soap Sisters” in New Jersey.  I think that, today, they have some things on sale in their online shop today, in honor of their great founder, who took care of business with the Albigensians.


The sisters need to build.  They are crammed into convent that is too small for the numbers of women who would like to join them.  Give them all the support you can!

Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two in the sermon at the Sunday Obligation Mass you heard?

Let us know.

For my part, I reflected on the Olympic motto citius, altius, fortius and its implications for the Christian life.

After Mass I was privileged to meet some folks from Idaho, who brought me a jar of sour cherry preserves and a QSO card!  I blessed some rosaries for them.

Thanks and 73!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 15 Comments

D. Manchester: New FSSP Parish

Here is some interesting news. But watch how it is reported by AP.

There is a new FSSP parish in New Hampshire.  It looks like they are having their first Mass there today, Sunday 7 August.

From AP (with my emphases and comments):

New Hampshire parish set to offer traditional Latin Mass
A Roman Catholic parish in New Hampshire will be the first in the state dedicated solely to the traditional Latin Mass

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — When he arrived in Manchester nearly four years ago, Bishop Peter Libasci started getting letters from parishioners looking for a church that offered a traditional Latin Mass. [Everyone… TAKE NOTE! Be The Maquis!]
Few New Hampshire churches at the time offered the services, which date to the 15th century [ummm… it’s older than that] and had largely had been replaced since the 1960s by services in English, Spanish and French.  [Good grief.]
First, Libasci had a dozen priests trained to conduct Masses in Latin. [Two points.  First, the bishop did this?  And the Novus Ordo ought to be in Latin.] Then, he went in search of a parish. He settled on St. Stanislaus in Nashua, which opened in 1908 to serve the Polish community but stopped holding mass after it was combined with St. Aloysius of Gonzaga parish in 2002. [Again, this seems to be something the bishop.  If so, kudos to him.]  He recruited Rev. John Brancich, a member of the conservative Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and the church will reopen Sunday — making it the first parish in New Hampshire dedicated to traditional Latin Mass. [Hmmm… he a “dozen” priests who could do this and then he brought in the FSSP?  I would have thought that diocesan priests might be able to staff that parish.  Frankly, while I admite the FSSP and I think they do great work, the real growth of the TLM will come with the involvement of more diocesan priests.]
Libasci said the Latin Mass appeals to “not only those looking for it but those who can be touched by it,” even if they’ve never seen it before.
“To withhold it would not be honest, it would not be true,” he said. “So this is a full expression of our whole treasury of prayer.”  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
Across New England, churches offer Latin services along with services in English and other languages. Some do Latin services occasionally, while a handful conduct them every Sunday. In a Latin Mass, [NB the constant ignorant reference to Latin, Latin Mass.] everything except the homily and readings are in Latin and most of the hymns are sung in the language. As for the service, the priest faces in the same direction as the parishioners and also wears a ceremonial garment 7/8— known as a maniple— on his left forearm.
While still a tiny fraction of overall masses, Latin services have grown in recent years following the decree, Summorum Pontificum, from Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 that made it easier for bishops to offer Latin Masses.
That came on top of earlier guidance in 1980s from Pope John Paul II, who said priests could get permission from their bishop under limited circumstances to celebrate the rite. The guidance marked a shift from the early 1960s when Vatican II largely phased out Latin Masses under Pope John XXIII, with the goal of making Catholic traditions more relevant. Although it was opposed by more conservative forces in the church, it ushered in among other things English Mass.  [English Mass… Latin Mass… good grief.]
“There is a conservative/traditionalist trend which is strong among younger clergy, but disliked among some older liberal clergy, which gained a lot of ground under Pope Benedict XVI to promote traditional liturgical practices,” said Father Anthony Ruff, an associate professor of theology at St. John’s University and School of Theology-Seminary in Minnesota who also has a liturgy blog called PrayTellBlog.com. “In general, it’s a very small group of people who want Latin Mass, but its adherents are very zealous about it, and it is growing.
The desire often overlaps with other conservative trends such as homeschooling, Ruff said, but some parishioners like it “for aesthetic reasons, or find it spiritually calming and beautiful and don’t necessarily have other attendant agendas.”
Monsignor Kevin Irwin, research professor at The Catholic University of America, said the Latin Mass — or Tridentine Mass — is one tool the Catholic Church is using to “bring back the groups that went away from the church after Vatican II.”  [Perhaps he should learn it and then start saying it regularly for a congregation.  He’ll find out who is actually participating at these Masses.]
“It’s an act of trying to reconcile,” Irwin said. “It’s not liturgy in terms of style or pomp and circumstances. It’s wanting to make sure the church doesn’t break down.” [Good grief.]
Over time, however, Latin Masses have become a personal preference for some, and people do in fact like the pomp and circumstance, Irwin said. [Ummm… Low Mass has “pomp and circumstance”?  He needs to learn a few more things about this.]
Sister Maureen Sullivan, professor emerita of theology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, described Latin Masses as having a sense of grandeur, like a “medieval opera,” where the priest wears opulent vestments and altar boys carry the cape he is wearing while walking down the aisle. [Sometimes when newsies interview you, they use very little of what you said.  I hope she told the writer something smarter than this.]
“I would go to one if one was here, as a remembrance,” said Sullivan, who now lives in Maybrook, New York. “I would go because it would bring back memories.”
Libasci sees the desire for Latin Masses as a response to concerns of globalization, and a return to a time when Latin served as a unifying force for the church.
“Latin was the one language that everybody knew. When you go to church, you pray this way,” he said. “That has been lost.”

So, this article was a mixed bag.  It reported something positive, but it was poorly written.

Bp. Libasci clearly has game and I compliment him for his initiative and openness.  Also, I compliment those people who originally asked the bishop for his pastoral solicitude.

Take note, everyone.  ¡Hagan lío!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Fr. Z KUDOS, Priests and Priesthood, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , | 80 Comments

Olympics Day 1: Variety!

I have four monitors going, so I opened up several streams as I worked.  Also, the DVR helped me to catch a few events without the commercials.

I was a bit surprised at how difficult and technical the cycling course is.  The commentators (who also announced the Tour de France) were remarking on how hard and dangerous parts of it were, particularly the downhill stretches in rainforest (= wet roads).  Sure enough there were a bunch of nasty crashes in descents which blew away some major figures.  Too bad.



Team handball… very cool.


Epee… one of my weapons along with sabre.


Field hockey… oh well.


Volleyball is great.  It was fun to play and it’s fun to watch.  I don’t care much about the beach thing, but the court version is great, either male or female.


I also saw some of the swimming prelims.

A highlight of the morning was seeing the young lady from these USA win the large bore air rifle medal.  Apparently the bullseye isn’t much bigger than a pencil point.  Remarkable concentration and discipline.

Following the events with DVR and on-demand stream and highlights has really made it easy and more time-efficient.

Posted in Events | 9 Comments

German theologian on women deacons

I’ve been looking around for information on the members of the newly appointed Commission that will study the question of deaconettes.

I found an interview with the German theologian Karl-Heinz Menke at Die Welt.   HERE   It doesn’t have an auspicious headline, but it winds up being fairly good.

For example (my fast translation, which I am sure could be polished.):

Denn das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil hat die Frage endgültig geklärt, ob der Diakon das Sakrament des Ordo empfängt. Das Sakrament des Ordo wird nicht nur vom Bischof und vom Priester, sondern auch vom Diakon empfangen. Wenn es also nur ein einziges Sakrament des Ordo (in drei Stufen, also Diakon, Priester, Bischof) gibt, würde die Zulassung der Frau zum sakramentalen, durch Weihe übertragenen Diakonat ihre Zulassung auch zur Priester- und Bischofsweihe bedeuten.

The Second Vatican Council conclusively clarified the question whether the deacon receives the Sacrament of Orders. The Sacrament of Orders is received not only by the bishop and the priest, but also by the deacon. If there is only one Sacrament of Orders (in three stages, that is, deacon, priest, bishop), the admission of women would be sacramental, transmitted through ordination, diaconate would mean their admission to priestly and episcopal ordination.

Which is clearly impossible.

Women cannot be admitted to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

The diaconate is a grade of Holy Orders.  Since the diaconate is a grade of Holy Orders, women cannot be deacons, not in any sacramental sense.  It could be possible to cobble up some legislation to let women do some additional things that don’t require Holy Orders, but, whatever they would be called (e.g., nuns), they wouldn’t be deacons in the sense that men can be.

Whatever might be unearthed about the ancient deaconettes (that hasn’t already been unearthed), the decisions about modern deaconettes would have to depend on our modern understanding of the Sacrament of Orders.

Anyone out there who says she is interested solely in the diaconate for women, should instantly, clearly, publicly, renounce any hope for sacramental ordination.

Ceterum autem censeo unicam stolam umquam feminis induendam esse mustelinam.


Posted in The Drill | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

WDTPRS – 12th Sunday after Pentecost: FORWARD!

Today’s Collect survived the liturgico-surgical scalpels of the Bugniniites to live on in the Novus Ordo for the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The prayer is ancient, and results in the Gelasian Sacramentary as well as in the Veronese Sacramentary during the month of July.


Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cuius munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur: tribue, quaesumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.

Let’s find out what this means by starting with some vocabulary.

We have a loaded word in our Collect today: munus.   Munus means essentially “a service, office, post, employment, function, duty.” Some synonyms are: officium, ministerium, honos.  A Greek equivalent of munus is “leitourgia” whence comes our word “liturgy”, originally standing in ancient Greek for a needed civic work or service one performs because he ought to for the sake of society.

In the New Testament this old word was applied to a new Christian context for concepts like taking up collections for the poor (i.e., what man does for man) and religious services (man’s worship of God).   To make this more complicated, munus also means “a present, gift.”  When it means “gift” it seems often to be in the ablative case, as in the construction mittere alicui aliquid munere… “to send something to someone as/for a gift”.  I say munus is a loaded word because in theological writing we speak among other things of the three-fold office or tria munera which Christ passed to His Church, the Apostles and their successors: to teach, to govern, to sanctify.

When the Lord gives us commands (and He doese.g., love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34-35), take up your Cross and follow me (Mark 8:34-38), be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), do this in memory of me (Luke 22:19), etc.) we can sum them up in the two-fold commandment of love of God and of neighbor (cf. Matthew 22:36-38; Mark 12:2-31; Luke 10:26-28).

All followers of Jesus have been given a two-fold munus to fulfill which reflects the three-fold munera Christ gave to the Church’s ordained priesthood.

I invite you to try an experiment.  See what happens to your perception of the Collect if you make munus mean “office” rather than “gift.”  When I wrote about this Collect the first time, waaaay back in the first year of my WDTPRS series, I chose “office” over “gift”.  We might be able to say “ministerial gift” so as to get at both sides of the content of munus.  While reading this, can you keep both concepts simultaneously in mind?

Our dog-eared editions of the Lewis & Short Dictionary provide insight into offensio, closely related to the verb offendo.  This verb has many meanings though some are not obvious.  Primarily it stands for “to hit, thrust, strike or dash against something.”  Therefore it is also, “to suffer damage, receive an injury” and “blunder, make a mistake, commit an offense.” From our knowledge of the English cognates, offendo also can mean, “be offensive, shock, mortify, vex.”

However, offendo can also simply mean, “to hit upon, light upon a person or thing, i. e. to come upon, meet with, find.”

Personal Anecdote: Many years ago in Rome, during my intensive studies of Latin, I used to write postcards in Latin to my home parish.  During the summers the pastor, the late Msgr. Richard Schuler, was teaching some informal Latin courses to seminarians.  They weren’t receiving this essential training from the seminary (as is required in the 1983 Code of Canon Law).  I caused some surprise and not a little of anxiety once when I wrote: “Cardinalem Ratzinger offendi… I had by chance met Card. Ratzinger” or “I ran into Card. Ratzinger”, to get the sense of it, and greeted him from the aforementioned pastor whom the Cardinal knew.  When they read, “Cardinalem Ratzinger offendi” and that I greeted him in the name of the pastor, I am told that at first they were mortified.  They thought I had done something else to Card. Ratzinger, in the name of Msgr. Schuler and the parish.  The moral: Latin words have layers of meanings and sometimes the English cognates lead us into a false or deficient understanding of what the Latin really says.  But I digress…

Back to offensio.  The first meaning of offensio is “a striking against anything; a tripping, stumbling.”  By extension it can also mean the thing that causes one to trip or stumble, a “stumbling block.”  As a result, offensio indicates also an offense, either given to someone or received from someone.   In the Latin Vulgate offensio can be a thing which causes one to sin.

Some Latin grammatical constructions force us to scramble after an English paraphrase.  This verb serviatur signals one of those hard constructions. First, servio is one those verbs constructed with an “object” in the dative case (tibi) rather than in the accusative. L&S tells us that servio is virtually never used as a passive.  So, we can rule out saying something like munus … serviatur … “that the gift/office may be served”.  What we have instead is a periphrastic (Greek peri– “around” and phrastic – “saying”) or “roundabout” way speaking, using the third person and the point of reference in the dative.

And, of course, the verb curro means “to run, to move quickly (on foot, on a horse, ship, etc.), to hasten, fly”.


Almighty and merciful God, from whose gift it comes that service be rendered unto You by the faithful worthily and laudably grant us, we beseech You, that we may run toward Your promises without stumbling.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973 – 3rd Ord Sun.):

God of power and mercy, only with your help can we offer you fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust your promise of eternal life.

CURRENT ICEL (2011 – 3rd Ord. Sun.):

Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised.

This Collect gives me the image of a person, a servant, hurrying to fulfill a duty or command given by his master or superior.  He is rushing, running.   He is, as usual, carrying a heavy burden.   While dashing forward, he is trying to be careful under his burden lest he stumble, fall, consequently spill what he is carrying and ruin it.

This could be a description of how we live our Christian vocations.

Each one of us was made in God’s image.  We were given something to do here.  When we discern God’s will and do our best to live well according to our state in life, we experience heavy burdens.  We have the opportunity to participate in carrying the Cross of Jesus.  By His incarnation, Passion and resurrection, Christ made us heirs of the Kingdom of heaven.

But we can lose the Kingdom.

The Lord Himself told us that if we want to be with Him, we must participate in His Cross.  We must pick up our Crosses and follow Him each day.

During His fearful Passion, our Lord literally carried His (and our) Cross.  Without a doubt He was hard pressed to stay on His feet under such a burden.  Envision the soldiers, probably the Temple guards, prodding Him while the Roman soldiers cleared the way.  They were forcing Him to go faster faster faster in order to beat sundown deadline and the Jewish holy days that followed.  The road He walked would have been uneven and rough, with edges and corners to catch weary feet.  He stumbled.  He fell even though He surely was being as careful as possible.

We stumble and fall too, though not like the sinless Lord.  We stumble mostly by choice.

In our Collect, we pray that we can hurry, even run (curro), rather than drag along toward the reward of heaven.  We beg God (quaesumus) that we do so without mishap.   We desire never to give offense to God by what we do (offensio) and we ask that the road be made free of stumbling blocks (offensio) for our feet as we run.  Indeed, we desire to do so not just without fault, but also in a praiseworthy way (digne et laudabiliter). He understands the tough road we travel.

When we stumble in sin, we give offense to God.

Here is an echo of our petition in the Lord’s own Prayer: lead us not into temptation, let us not be faced with burdens we do not have the grace to bear.

Do not forget that there is a tempter out there, an Enemy who desires us to fall and give offense to the Lord.  He with untiring malice and angelic guile will place obstacles before our feet.

That one we do not want to meet with (offendo) even by chance.

Pray without ceasing.


Receive the sacraments.

Do penance.

Run forward.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

JUST TOO COOL: Feast of the Transfiguration – special blessing of grapes

Go buy some grapes and take them to the priest  for the Feast of the Transfiguration (tomorrow, 6 August), with a page from the Rituale Romanum (go to p. 345 – Benedictio uvarum), or cut and paste the English text (below, or here) and ask the priest to bless them.

The Roman calendar has many little treasures which remind us of how our Faith and the Church’s calendar, the rhythm of temporal and spiritual life, are integrated in our seasons.

At the beginning of August we Romans remember the martyrs Pope Saint Sixtus and his four deacon companions.  This is the time of year with the first grapes of the harvest are blessed.  Together with the Transfiguration of our Lord, the blessing of grapes – an eschatological symbol – shows that Holy Church is already in the end time, though we wait for its completion.

Here is the text for the blessing of grapes, for those who don’t have Latin:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this fresh fruit of the vine,
which Thou hast graciously brought to full ripeness
with the dew of heaven, abundant rain, and calm and fair weather.
Thou hast given them for our use;
grant that we may receive them with thanksgiving
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Vine,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
God for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

(And they are sprinkled with holy water.)

I was delighted by the reference to “dew of heaven… rore caeli“.  You might recall the controversy over the reference to “dew” when the new, corrected translation was being prepared.

The cultivation of certain types of grapes requires special conditions.  In a contrast to the benefits of dew lauded in the prayer of the blessing, however, dew isn’t always good for grapes.  Dew helps fungus to get hold, through in the case of some grapes, certain fungi are welcome, as in the case of the “noble rot” in a very late harvest which produces wines of a spectacular sweetness and depth.  Also, it is important to harvest grapes after dissipation of dew.  But certainly the evocation of dew in the prayer refers to the necessary moisture grapes need for their proper development.  And of course, dew is a Scriptural image for the descent of God with graces.

The coming of and effects of the Holy Spirit, in Scripture and in the Fathers of the Church, are often described not by fire imagery, but rather by water images and, indeed, dew.

First, ros can come from above like rain.  Second, ros is dew which forms nearly imperceptibly.  In one case, rain flows across a thing and washes it.  Dew slowly dampens.  In both cases there results a penetrating soaking.  Arid ground yields to planting.  Seeds germinate and sprout.   The ros Spiritus in the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer can be both the cleansing and the moistening.

Our Catholic doctrine of sanctification teaches us that at baptism a person is both justified and sanctified by the washing/indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  That sanctification can be deepened through the course of one’s life.  It comes suddenly.  It comes gradually.

In Scripture the psalmist sings about the “King of Justice”. “May he be like rain (Vulgate ros) that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!” (Ps 72:6 RSV).  In the Song of Songs, we hear, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew (ros), my locks with the drops of the night. By night I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them” (Cant 5:2-3).  St. Augustine (+430) saw in the lover and beloved an image of Christ calling His ministerial Church to service.  From Isaiah we have an image which has come into the Latin Church’s liturgy, namely, “Rorate caeli desuper … Shower (rorate), O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it” (Is 45:8 Vulgate and RSV – Introit 4th Sunday of Advent).

The Fathers made much of ros through an allegorical technique of interpretation.  Origen (+254), via Rufinus’ translation of the Homilies on the Book of Judges (8.5) says: “But we also, if only we might offer our feet, the Lord Jesus is ready to wash the feet of our soul and cleanse them with a heavenly washing (rore caelesti), by the grace of the Holy Spirit, by the word of sacred doctrine.”  Saint Ambrose of Milan (+397), who drew much upon Origen’s writings as a starting point, in his work on the Holy Spirit wrote: “The Holy Scriptures were promising to us this rainfall (pluvia) of the whole world, which watered the orb under the coming of the Lord, in the falling dew of the divine Spirit (Spiritus rore divini)” (De spiritu sancto 1.8).

The imagery of grapes is also Scriptural.  The immediate association for Catholics is the Eucharist.  But grapes symbolize the end times.  They have an eschatological import.   In Revelation 14:19-20 we have an image of the end times and judgment when the grapes of wrath are pressed in the winepress:

And the angel thrust in his sharp sickle into the earth and gathered the vineyard of the earth and cast it into the great press of the wrath of God: And the press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Of course the image of grapes is a happy one as well… obviously.  From the ancient Roman Church grapes are found in carvings in the catacombs and on sarcophagus reliefs.  Bunches of ripe grapes are symbols of completion, that the season has finally brought things to fruition.  Grapes remind us that Christ is the Vine, whence all our life and hope flows out to us, His branches and tendrils.

In those ancient depictions we sometimes see the harvest of grapes, which is the happy completion of life.  For example there is the relief of the famous 4th c. sarcophagus with the Good Shepherd from the Catacombs of Praetextatus which shows a harvest.  In the Catacomb of Priscilla there is a 4th century carving of a dove eating grapes, the dove being a symbol of the Christian soul and grapes the happy attainment of the goal of fulness in due time, heaven.  Remember that reference, above, to the dove from the Song of Songs?  It all fits together.  You can click on that image of the Good Shepherd for a larger view.

Grapes remind us that we shall be known from the fruits we both bear and we generate for the benefit of others.

Grapes remind us that we should not be sour grapes for others.

Grapes remind us that, if we do not live our vocations as the Lord’s branches well, then the grapes may be those of wrath, though mercy and forgiveness is what the Lord offers those who fall.

So, get your grapes and get them blessed if you can.

When you eat them consider:

  • how good God has been to you, even if some of the grapes are bitter;
  • whether or not, through the dew of God’s graces and the light He shines on you, you are developing well for your own eternal salvation;
  • whether or not you are producing fruits for the benefit of others, hopefully sweet fruits and not sour.
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

A new priest hat to covet

I could kick myself for not getting a Spanish biretta when I was in Madrid.  Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.   I guess I’ll have to go back.

That said, I spotted a new priest hat to covet.

Here is an image of a newly ordained priest in China.

chinese priest

I want one.

According to that über-source for all things ecclesio-haberdashical, Philippi, this is a ?? – jijin.  A jijin is a “sacrifice or ‘festival” towel, wrap or head cover) is a square hat, worn by Catholic priests and missionaries in China during the late Ming (ca. 1615) and the Quing Dynasty (1644-1911).”  “Jijin were most commonly seen during the 19th and very early 20th century. By the 1920’s it began to disappear as Western clerical garb became common. End of the 19th century the Holy See asked the clergy not to relaunch the jijin again where it was abolished.”


Look, we are living in an age when things that were not actually abolished but claimed to be abolished have been revived (e.g., the TLM, ad orientem worship).  We are also living in a time when certain things have been abolished but they are still been perpetrated (e.g., use of glass vessels, etc.).

I say, FIGHT BACK!   We need, along side the standard Roman biretta (with or without pom), Spanish birettas with the great pointy horns and this Jijin thing!

Posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Islamic State corrects Pope Francis: Yes, this is a religious war.

To paraphrase Trotsky, you might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

At Christianity Today there is a sobering piece every leader in the Church should read.  My emphases.

Islamic State attacks Pope, says its war against Christians is most definitely a ‘religious’ war

Islamic State has denounced Pope Francis for stating that the war being waged on the West by Islamic State terrorists is not a “religious war”.

The terror group, also known as Daesh, says the acts of terrorism it carries out are most certainly religiously motivated and even bear the blessing of Allah as testified in the Koran.

It says Pope Francis and others who argue that Islam is a peaceful religion are delivering a “false narrative“.

The chilling religious propaganda behind IS [Islamic State] is spelled out in the latest issue of Dabiq, reproduced in a “safe” format by the Clarion counter-extremism project,

IS warns there will be no let up in the terror. It condemns Christianity as a “religion of polytheism”.

It contains a feature of the same name, and another headlined: “Why we hate you and why we fight you.”

It says the recent Orlando shooting was “most definitely” an act of terror: “Muslims have been commanded to terrorise the disbelieving enemies of Allah.”  [More on this issue of “terror” at the end of this post.]


[…]The magazine comes just days after Pope Francis insisted the war on terror being waged across the world is not a religious war. Speaking to journalists on the plane to Poland for World Youth Day, after a Catholic priest in France had his throat slit by two IS followers, he said the world is at war but it is not a religious war.

“It’s war, we don’t have to be afraid to say this,” he said. But it was a war of interests, for money, resources. “I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war.”

IS says in its magazine that it is in fact a war of religion.

“This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,” the magazine states. “Indeed, waging jihad – spreading the rule of Allah by the sword – is an obligation found in the Koran, the word of our Lord, just as it was an obligation sent in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel.”

The magazine adds: “The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.



Among those who have also reported on the IS magazine is Breitbart, which reports other disturbing statements, such as: “The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, ‘Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them.’

I recommend that you read Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War bySebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

In this book, Gorka describes one of the reasons why these people choose to inflict terror.

According to the Pakistani general, there is only one target of importance in war: the soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed. Lastly, since the only target that matters in war is the soul of the infidel, Malik concludes that the most effective weapon in war is terror. Here we see the relevance of his book to groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. The enemy’s belief system must be utterly destroyed, and terror is the most effective way to do that. That is why 9/ 11 was so important. It is the highly symbolic suicide attacks, the crucifixions, the beheadings, the bombings of civilian crowds, and the videos of immolations that will destroy the will of the infidel to go on.

According to the Quranic concept of war, and because these terrorists are inspired to bring about the eschatological fulfillment of their religion, they wage war on the souls of the non-Muslim and, in their view, the insufficiently-Muslim.  Their war has an eschatological view.  They must destroy the spirit of their enemy.  This is why they use terror and why they commit atrocities which they record and broadcast.

Posted in Pope Francis, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | 14 Comments

Summer Olympics and You

ancient olympics shoesSo, the 2016 Summer Olympics are upon us. The opening ceremony is tonight. There are various controversies going on.

Controversies aside, are you going to watch any of the events?

For my part, I’ll use my DVR to record swathes that I can zip through (I detest commericials) and I’ll watch the schedule for some of the sports that I was into when I was younger (fencing, karate) along with others like ping pong (yes yes, table tennis, I know I know) and gymnastic events. It’s also fun to see some of the classics of the olympics, track, jumping over stuff, throwing things, etc.

What about you?


Of course in the opening ceremony they just had to indulge in absurd global warming scare-mongering B as in B, S as in S.

Posted in Events | Tagged , | 35 Comments

5 August: #InternationalBeerDay

Because of the great esteem I have for you, I want to remind you all that today is International Beer Day.

I can’t think of a better way to commemorate this day than to… well, other than sending me a donation… than to patronize the Benedictine Monks of Norcia and to obtain some of their wonderful beer: Birra Nursia!

It’s some of the best beer I’ve had.  And… you help real monks!

And speaking of beer…


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WDTPRS – 19th Ordinary Sunday: Trusting Audacity, Harrowing Consolation

The Collect for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time was not in previous editions Missale Romanum before the 1970 Novus Ordo. It has roots in the 9th century Sacramentary of Bergamo and thus is ancient text… sort of.

Note that for the 2002 Missale Romanum there was a variation from the 1970MR.  In the 2002MR the ablative absolute clause “docente Spiritu Sancto” was inserted.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
quem [docente Spiritu Sancto –
not in the 1970MR]
paterno nomine invocare praesumimus,
perfice in cordibus nostris spiritum adoptionis filiorum,
ut promissam hereditatem ingredi mereamur

Paternus, a, um is an adjective, “fatherly”. Literally, a paternum nomen would be “Fatherly name”. In English we need to break that down a little, just as we do with the Latin for “Sunday”: dies dominica or “lordly Day” in place of what we say “the day of the Lord”. In English a paternum nomen is “the name of Father”. Latin uses adjectives and adverbs for more purposes than we do. Our trusted old friend Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us that invoco means “to call upon, invoke” especially as a witness or as aid. So, there is an element of urgency and humility in the word. Praesumo gives us the English word and concept of “presumption”. At its root it means, “to take before, take first or beforehand.” The adverb and adjective prae, the prefix element of prae-sumo, is “before, in front of, in advance of”. In a less physical sense it can mean “anticipate”, in the sense of “to imagine or picture to one’s self beforehand” or in a moral nuance “to presume, take for granted”. It is even, more interestingly, “to undertake, venture, dare” together with “to trust, be confident”.


Almighty eternal God,
whom, [the Holy Spirit teaching,
added in the 2002MR]
we presume to invoke by the name of Father,
perfect in our hearts the spirit of the adoption of children,
so that we may merit to enter into the inheritance promised

Notice that I translate filii as “children” rather than as just “sons”, according to the literal meaning. Latin masculine plurals, depending on the context (and unlike the diaconate), can also include females even though the form of the word is masculine.


Almighty and ever-living God,
you Spirit made us your children,
confident to call you Father.
Increase your Spirit within us
and bring us to our promised inheritance

Take careful note that the language of adoption has been expunged. Does this change the impact of the prayer? Does it present a different view of the Christian life than that presented in the Latin Collect?

An important element of our Collect comes from Paul: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. We can invoke God the Father with confidence, not fear, when we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15… and “Abba” does not mean “daddy”).


Almighty ever-living God,
whom, taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised

During the Holy Mass, through the words, actions and intentions of the ordained priest, as a Church we presume with trusting audacity to consecrate bread and wine and change them substantially to the Body and Body of the Second Person of the Trinity.

We do this because Jesus commanded us to do so, but it is a harrowing and consoling undertaking all the same.

We are laying hands upon truly sacred things, the most sacred things there can be: Christ’s Body, Blood, soul and divinity.

What could be more presumptuous?

Two sections of the great Corpus Christi sequence by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) remind us of what is at stake when we approach the Blessed Sacrament for Communion (not my translation):

“Here beneath these signs are hidden
priceless things, to sense forbidden;
signs, not things, are all we see.
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
yet is Christ in either sign,
all entire confessed to be.
… Both the wicked and the good
eat of this celestial Food:
but with ends how opposite!
With this most substantial Bread,
unto life or death they’re fed,
in a difference infinite.”

That last part bears repeating: “Mors est malis, vita bonis: / vide paris sumptionis / quam sit dispar exitus.”

Eternal death for the wicked if they receive Communion improperly. Eternal life for the good if they receive well.

See how dissimilar the different outcomes from the same act of Holy Communion can be?

This is good to ponder during Mass and the lead up to Mass:

Am I properly disposed to receive what Christ and the Church have promised are truly His Body and Blood? Do I dare receive? When was my last good confession?

Immediately after the Eucharistic Prayer but before our intrepid reception of Communion, we dare to pray with the words that the same Son taught us.

In introducing the Lord’s Prayer the priest says in Latin, “Having been instructed/urged by saving commands and formed by divine institution, we dare/presume (audemus) to say, ‘Our Father…’”. Audeo is “to venture, to dare”, and in this it is a synonym of praesumo. Jesus taught us to see God as Father in a way that no ever one had before. Christ revolutionized our prayer. In our lowliness we now dare to raise our eyes and venture to speak to God in a new way. We come to Him as children of a new “sonship”.

We learned from our examination of the Collect for the Third Sunday of Easter that adoptio is “adoption” in the sense of “to take as one’s child”. We find the phrase in Paul: adoptionem filiorum Dei or “adoption of the sons of God” in the Latin Vulgate of Jerome (cf. Romans 8:23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5).

We do not approach God as fearful slaves. We are now also able to receive Communion with reverent confidence provided we have prepared well. God has done His part.

God will come to us not as “stranger God”, but as Father God!

What God does for us is not cold or impersonal. It is an act of love.

Even in commanding us, God the Son did not mean to terrify us into paralysis. This, however, was the result for some who, when hearing Christ’s teaching about His flesh, left Him because what they heard was too hard (cf. John 6). We need not be terrified… overwhelmed with awe, certainly, but not by terror.

Warned, urged, instructed by a divine Person who taught us with divine precepts, let’s get straight who our Father is and who we are because of who He is.

We are children of a loving Father. He comes looking for us to draw us unto Him because of His fatherly heart. The Holy Father Pope John Paul II wrote for the Church’s preparation for the Millennium Jubilee:

“If God goes in search of man, created in his own image and likeness, he does so because he loves him eternally in the Word, and wishes to raise him in Christ to the dignity of an adoptive son” (Tertio millennio adveniente 6).

As God’s adopted children we have dignity.

The adoption brought by the Spirit is not some second rate relationship with God or mere juridical slight of hand. It is the fulfillment of an eternal love and longing. This is a primary and foundational dimension of everything we are as Catholic Christians. It is perhaps for this reason that that the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks so clearly to this point, in the first paragraph.

The adoption we speak about in this Collect is something far more profound than a juridical act by which one who is truly not of the same blood and bone is therefore considered, legally, to be so. Some Protestants see our return to righteousness in God’s sight, that is, justification through baptism, in these terms: a sort of legal sleight of hand whereby we remain in reality guilty and corrupt, but our disgusting sinful nature is ignored by the Father because the merits of Christ are interposed between His eyes and our debased nature.

However, we know by divine revelation and the continuing teaching of the Christian Church that by baptism more than a legal fiction takes place.

We are more than justified, we are sanctified.

Something of God’s divine grace is given to us, infused into our being so that we truly become sons and daughters of Almighty God, transformed radically from within, as members of Christ’s own Mystical Person. Thus, we too share Christ’s sonship. It is almost as if God infused His own Holiness DNA into us to make us His own in a sense far beyond any legal adoption could accomplish.  This transformation alters who we are without removing our individuality or dignity as persons. We are His and unified as One in Christ, and yet we remain ourselves. We are integrated into a new structure of Communion, indeed a new family.

By our discordant actions we can make this earthly dimension of our supernatural family, our Church, dysfunctional.

What a mystery it is that God, who lavishes upon us the mighty transforming graces we all have known and profess to love, leaves also in our hands the freedom to spurn Him and trivialize His gifts.

This freedom, itself a gift, could only be a Father’s gift to beloved children.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment