Posts roll off the front page here pretty quickly.  Here are some links to recent offerings.

First and foremost:


Help each other out.

And now…

And now, my usual paragraph of thanking donors and people who have sent things from my wishlists… well… I haven’t updated for a few days.  I’ve been really busy.  However, THANKS.  After posting this, I’ll start to update and send out some thank you notes.

However, I will say Mass for my the intention of benefactors on 20 Sept, Saturday.  I include those of you who have subscribed to make an monthly donation, who make an occasional donation, or who send items, Kindle books, etc.  I don’t always get a slip with the name of the person who sent items, but God knows you and I keep you in mind, whoever you are.

DY and GS, you are always on my list.

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HAM RADIO stuff again: Echolink QSL request by RADIOGRAM.

I’ll put on my Ham hat for a moment to share some news and ask advice from my virtual Elmers.

I posted a while back about Echolink HERE and HERE.  Alas, we haven’t done anything with this yet.  Should we schedule a time?

I just received a “Radiogram” by snail-mail.  Here is a scan.

I am not sure what to do with this, but I’d like to do something.  It would be my first QSL.

What is a “Radiogram”? It’s sort of a telegram that comes via post, through the help of volunteers. It is a plain text message, along with metadata (headers). It is launched into a traffic net by a ham operator and then relayed to another ham who volunteers to deliver it. In this case, it was tucked into a regular envelope and mailed from a place nearby to where I live in the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue.

Kinda cool, really, both the tech and the human interaction. Very cool, as a matter of fact. My thanks go out to everyone who helped.

Now… I have to figure out what to do!


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Ham Radio, Just Too Cool | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Card. Kasper accused other Cardinals of attacking the Pope

Card. Kasper, the proponent of the “tolerated by not accepted” solution, has been reacting all over the Italian secular press today.  He is “surprised” at the appearance of the “Five Cardinals” Book™.

His Eminence is flummoxed that he should be taken to task for what he has publicly proposed.

In English you can read at CNS:

“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” the cardinal (Kasper) said. “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”
Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes.”

This is untrue.

I have seen the book. It was sent to me by the publisher. What Kasper said is untrue. The only way in which His Holiness is mentioned in the book is favorably. The Pope is praised.

Noooo…. the target is Card. Kasper. And he knows it. That’s why he is hiding behind the Holy Father’s skirts.

Specifically, the Pope is praised for his talk to the International Theological Commission when he reminded them that sensus fidelium had nothing to do with opinion polls. Francis is cited in the book, when he reiterated in April 2014 to the bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland that marriage is between one man and one woman and it is indissoluble. Francis in that same address praised St. John Paul’s Familiaris consortio as the basis for marriage instruction in these African countries.

The “Five Cardinals” Book™, if it is anti-Kasper at all, can only be described as anti-Kasper Lite.

If you want something weighs in more heavily, in a way directed far more pointedly at Card. Kasper by name, try the other new book coming out from Ignatius on marriage, divorce and Communion called The Gospel of the Family: Going Beyond Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal in the Debate on Marriage, Civil Re-Marriage and Communion in the Church by J. J. Pérez-Soba and S. Kampowski with a foreward by Card. Pell.

Click to PRE-ORDER

I am reading this book now.

Here, for your edification, is a quote from Pell’s foreward:

This book is important for many reasons. A courteous, informed, and rigorous discussion, indeed debate, is needed especially for the coming months to defend the Christian and Catholic tradition of monogamous, indissoluble marriage — focusing on the central elements of the challenges facing marriage and the family, rather than being distracted into a counterproductive and futile search for short-term consolations.

The health of an organization can be gauged by observing the amount of time and energy devoted to the discussion of various topics. Healthy communities do not spend most of their energies on peripheral issues, and unfortunately the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive Holy Communion is very small indeed.

The pressures for this change are centered mainly in some European churches, where churchgoing is low and an increasing number of divorcees are choosing not to remarry. The issue is seen by both friends and foes of the Catholic tradition as a symbol — a prize in the clash between what remains of Christendom in Europe and an aggressive neo-paganism. Every opponent of Christianity wants the Church to capitulate on this issue.

Both sides in this discussion appeal to Christian criteria, and everyone is dismayed by the amount of suffering caused to spouses and children by marriage breakups. What help can and should the Catholic Church offer?

Some see the primary task of the Church as providing lifeboats for those who have been shipwrecked by divorce. [Kasper uses this image... "naufragio... zattera"]

And lifeboats should be available for all, especially for those tragic innocent parties. But which way should the lifeboats be headed? Toward the rocks or the marshes, or to a safe port, which can only be reached with difficulty? Others see an even more important task for the Church in providing leadership and good maps to diminish the number of shipwrecks. Both tasks are necessary, but how are they best achieved?

The Christian understanding of mercy is central when we are talking about marriage and sexuality, forgiveness and Holy Communion, so not surprisingly, in this excellent volume the essential links between mercy and fidelity, between truth and grace in our Gospel teaching, are spelled out clearly and convincingly.

Mercy is different from most forms of tolerance, which is one of the more praiseworthy aspects of our pluralist societies. Some forms of tolerance define sin out of existence, but adult freedoms and inevitable differences need not be founded on a thoroughgoing relativism.

The indissolubility of marriage is one of the rich truths of divine revelation.


Order the book and the read the rest!  Right now its 24% off.

If Card. Kasper needs a copy, I hope he’ll use my link!


Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Synods and Sausage: having a Church isn’t for the squeamish

The opening of the Synod on the Family draws closer. Books in various languages are to be released in which marriage and Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried are studied, with a special eye on the proposals of Card. Kasper. Catholic media and blogs speculate that Pope Francis is irritated, maybe even angry, with those who are criticizing Card. Kasper’s proposals. Perhaps he is even exiling or punishing people.  Sides are polarizing.  People are having discussions.  Hands are wringing.

Can’t we all just get along?

A few thoughts.

First, this is what “synodality” looks like. It’s messy.

Bishops and theologians have at it. They propose. They counter-propose. They raise their voices.

Shall we forget our Church’s history? Look back to the ancient Church and the fiery synods of those days.

Anyone out there remember Vatican II?  It was in all the papers.

If people, especially liberals, want a more synod-like approach to how we do things in the Church, this is what they are going to get.

By the way, it doesn’t work very well for the ecclesial communities and churches that have it. But hey! Don’t complain about getting what you have asked for.

The liberal MSM is getting into it too.  For example, Nicole Winfield of AP has a bit today about the soon-to-be-released Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (the “five Cardinals” book that dismantles Card. Kasper’s notions – HERE).  Here’s a look at some of it:


Conservatives, [Let's stipulate that "conservatives" are the bad guys standing in the way of "mercy" and move on.] including the five cardinal authors, have vehemently ["vehemently"?  Read the book before characterizing its tone.] opposed Kasper’s suggestion as contrary to Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Their debate — unusually raw and public for such “princes of the church” [Huh?  Where's the "raw" in "We don't agree."] — has crystalized the growing discomfort among conservatives to some of Francis’ words and deeds, and sets the stage for what is likely to be a heated discussion starting Oct. 5.  [A "heated" discussion in a "synod"?  What a thought!   This underscores a problem of perspective among those who lean to the Left.  Synods are apparently supposed to be like meetings of the Korean Supreme People's Assembly in which participants clap mechanically for the predetermined (read: liberal) position.]


Francis has asserted church doctrine on the matter but has called for a merciful, pastoral approach: He reportedly told an Argentine woman earlier this year that she was free to receive Communion even though her husband’s first marriage was never annulled. Knowing the issue is divisive, though, he has convened the whole church to debate the issue as part of a broad discussion on family issues over the next two years.  [Here, she got it right.  The Pope called for discussion of the issue.  Even during the airplane presser on the way home from WYD in Rio, the Pope called for the questions to be studied.  And now "conservatives" are being "vehement" and the discussion is "raw" when some cardinals and scholars do exactly what the Pope asked for?]


It is rare for cardinals to publicly and pointedly accuse another cardinal of being flat-out wrong, and rarer still for a cardinal to question the pope, as Burke has done. [Woah! Is that what Card. Burke did?] Regarding the purported phone call to the Argentine woman, Burke told the EWTN Catholic channel: “I wouldn’t for a moment impute that Pope Francis intended to give a signal about church doctrine by calling someone on the phone. This is just absurd.” [It is blatantly false and manifestly unfair to state, as Winfield did here, that Card. Burke "questioned" the Pope.  And let's be clear.  Who knows what the Pope really said in that phone conversation, reported second-hand on Facebook. Furthermore, the Church's doctrine is not established in phone calls to couples living in irregular marriages.]


We are not used to seeing how the Church’s sausage is made.  It is messy.  Hands get dirty.  Lots of things go into it which, considered individually, aren’t very appealing.  Having a Church isn’t for the squeamish.

Can’t we all just get along?  Sure we can!  That doesn’t mean we can’t have heated arguments about matters that are central to our lives as Catholics.  We can and must discuss the truth in charity.

Unless, of course, the era of Caritas in veritate … charity in truth… is over.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, The Drill, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants, ¡Hagan lío! | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is it wrong to use Holy Water to bless my unbaptized children?

From a Protestant, catechumen…


My husband and I are Protestant Christians, both baptized. We have three young children, all under the age of 5, and none of them are baptized. We are beginning RCIA and have been regularly attending a Catholic parish for about 9 months now. I was under the impression that it is alright to make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of my toddler and baby with holy water, and to teach my 4 year old how to bless herself. My husband disagreed, saying that only Catholics should do this. We asked our priest, who agreed with my husband that the use of holy water is only for the baptized; however, since we are praying that our oldest will soon choose to be baptized (we feel she is too old for us to force it upon her and the priest agrees), it is alright to teach her how to use it. So, then, is it wrong for me to use holy water to bless my other unbaptized children who are too small to reach into the font properly and then make the sign of the cross on themselves? Thank you for your help.

I see no reason why sacramentals cannot be used, within reason, by – or in this case on – the unbaptized.  Certainly it would not do to sprinkle holy water on an adult heathen who rejects the faith. Can. 1170 states,

“Blessings, which are to be imparted first of all to Catholics, can also be given to catechumens and even to non-Catholics, unless there is a prohibition of the Church to the contrary.”

The mother raises an interesting issue.

Children are presumed to attain the age of reason at 7 years old.  Prior to that point they are considered infants.  As such, they are unable to make the adult choice to be baptized.  They therefore fall under their parents’ rule.

However, if  - as seems to be the case here – a younger child demonstrates a maturity beyond her years, she may have prematurely attained the use of reason.  Thus, she could be able to make the conscious choice for baptism.

I strongly caution against the notion of all children being allowed to “make their own decision” with regards to Faith. Parents have a right and the responsibility to raise the children whom God has entrusted to them.  That responsibility includes having them baptized and catechized.

Work with the parish priest closely in the decision making process.

In the meantime, keep using that Holy Water. Keep teaching little fingers to make those little Crosses.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Where are the September Ember Days? (And some other fascinating stuff!)

In the Roman tradition we observe the Ember Days four times a year, around the changes of the seasons, during Lent, at Pentecost, and close to St. Lucy’s Day and Exaltation of the Cross (“Lenty, Penty, Crucy, Lucy”).  These days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the week and they are penitential in spirit and aim.  The learnéd Fr. Hunwicke at his blog Mutual Enrichment (olim “Liturgical Notes”) has some interesting notes about the displacement of the September Ember Days (which we really ought to be observing this week) to next week.

Thus, Fr. H:

But when are the Ember Days?


According to the pre-modern versions of the Roman Rite, and the Book of Common Prayer, the September and December Ember Weeks come respectively after the festivals of the Holy Cross and S Lucy. What a nice easy rule. A child can apply it. So that is where you will find them in the ORDO which I compile, and in the admirable Saint Lawrence Press ORDO. [You can sense what is coming, right?  If it was easy before, it had to be made harder.]

So why, in ORDOs printed according to the 1962 Roman books (LMS; SSPX), does the September Ember Week, this year, come a week later? [Good question.]

Technically, the reason why the Ember Weeks come where they do is that, in the Breviary, [that's the Breviarium Romanum as it was during the Council, with the 1961 rubrics, I think] their readings are [now] tied into those of the week after the Third Sunday of September. Before 1962, the “First” Sunday of September might actually be at the end of August. So, this year, August 31 is the official First Sunday of September. But the 1962 revisers, dippy lot of cleverclogs, [aka pointy-headed academics] changed this so as to be clear-cut and logical … First Sunday of September for them has to mean literally First Sunday of September. Hence (if you’re still interested) [we are!] the Third Week of September starts September 14 according to the old reckoning, but not until September 21 according to 1962.  [....?!?]

As so often happens when people try to tidy things up and to be neat and logical and clever, this decision of 1962 led to the potential dislocation of the Ember Week from its ancient mooring to Holy Cross Day.  [BOOOOO!]

Since the 1962 rite lasted in widespread use less than a decade, I find it hard to take it seriously in those matters where it conflicts with what the Latin Church had kept easy and natural for centuries.  [This would also apply, I assume, to the use of the 2nd Confiteor and the ridiculous changes to the Solemn Mass, as when the priest sits down for the Epistle... but I digress.]

Summorum pontificum, [Pontificum... reallyI presume, took the 1962 books as normative for ecumenical and practical reasons: because this is what the SSPX had done since Archbishop Lefebvre changed his liturgical policy around 1974. Logically, the 1965 rite should have been regarded as the last integral edition of a Missal before the Novus Ordo. But, although the 1965 Ordo Missae was ordered to be printed in editions of the Missal* and was declared typica in the Acta Apostolicae Sedisit seems that no copies of the Missale Romanum with the 1965 Ordo Missae in it ever in fact did roll off the printing presses. (Anybody got one?)  [Hmmm... good question.  Anyone?]

[NB:] But it appears that the 1962 Missal was never technically declared typica in the legal forum (AAS) in which it should have been so declared!!! Arguably, it does not exist (see the thread attached to my piece of 11 July 2014). [Hmmm... is this indeed the case?]

1962 should be regarded as an interim stop-gap.

Circa-1939ish should be the starting point for a measured, sensible reconstruction of the Vetus Ordo.  [Thus avoiding the Bugnini innovations promulgated by Pius XII.]
* The 1967 variations were never promulgated as an Ordo Missae, simply as Variationes … inducendae; nor were they ordered to be incorporated into a complete Missale, as the 1964 Ordo Missae was, nor were they declared typica in the AAS.

Question for you cleverboots out there.  There was an edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI which had to be withdrawn because there was theological error in the Praenotanda.   Does anyone have one of those?

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

“There are not a series of rules made up by the Church; they constitute divine law, and the Church cannot change them.”

Click to PRE-ORDER

Today in the liberal Italian daily Corriere della sera there is an article about the forthcoming book Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (in English by Ignatius Press HERE – UK link HERE).  The books is being rolled out in Italian soon and so the daily jumped on it.

As a matter of fact, this is why – I think -the news of Card. Burke reassignment was leaked.  I digress.

I didn’t expect a good presentation by Corriere, but it was remarkably fair.   The best part about it is that, unexpectedly, it stuck to the issues and quoted exactly the right bits from the introductory chapter by the editor, Fr. Robert Dodaro.  I’ve read nearly the whole book, by the way.

Corriere‘s headline faltered badly in a couple respects:

«No alla comunione ai divorziati» … “No to Communion for the divorced”
Cinque cardinali contro le aperture … “Five Cardinals against openings” (like saying opening up to the “divorced”)

The problem isn that the Church says that the “divorced” can’t receive Communion. They can. If, however, they are not in the state of grace, they can’t, just like everyone else. If the divorced subsequently get a civil marriage, that’s a problem. And it isn’t as if the Cardinals are “closed” to “openings”. They, however, are defending Catholic doctrine. That is what this fight is really going to be about.

That said, without translating the whole of the Corriere piece, here are the bits from Dodaro’s chapter which they quoted:

Remember: The clearly stated purpose of the book is to respond to the ideas brought up by Walter Card. Kasper. The Pope stated that he wanted people to study the problems that were raised. He got exactly what he asked for.

An extended quote from Dodaro’s introduction:

The authors of this volume jointly contend that the New Testament presents Christ as unambiguously prohibited divorce and remarriage on the basis of God’s original plan for marriage set out in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. The “merciful” solution to divorce advocated by Cardinal Kasper is not unknown “in the ancient Church, but virtually none of the writers who survive and whom we take to be authoritative defend it; indeed when they mention it, it is rather to condemn it as unscriptural. There is nothing surprising in that situation; abuses may exist occasionally, but their mere existence is no guarantee of their not being abuses, let alone being models to be followed” (p. 80). The current Eastern Orthodox practice of oikonomia in cases of divorce and remarriage stems largely from the second millennium and arises in response to political pressure on the Church from Byzantine emperors. During the Middle Ages and beyond, the Catholic Church in the West resisted such efforts more successfully and did so at the cost of martyrdom. The Eastern Orthodox practice of oikonomia is not an alternative tradition to which the Catholic Church can appeal. Oikonomia, in this context, rests on a view of the indissolubility of marriage that is not compatible with Roman Catholic theology, which understands the marital bond as being rooted ontologically in Christ. Hence, civil marriage following divorce involves a form of adultery, and it makes the reception of the Eucharist morally impossible (1 Cor 11:28), unless the couple practice sexual continence. There are not a series of rules made up by the Church; they constitute divine law, and the Church cannot change them. To the woman caught in adultery, Christ said, “[G]o and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). God’s mercy does not dispense us from following him commandments.

Let me underscore some things.

First, watch coverage of this issue and watch for words like “rules” and “policies” when the Church’s perennial, divinely founded teachings are described.  The Church could change mere “rules”.

Second, just because something happened in the past, that doesn’t mean that what happened was either good or accepted.  This is key to understanding the flaws even about the claimed ordination of female deacons.  On p. 17 of Remaining, in the introduction chapter, Dodaro cites a former professor of mine in Rome, Fr. Giles Pelland, SJ.  This concerns Card. Kasper’s flawed methodology in presenting his (flawed) support from ancient sources for his proposals.  I’ll quote Peland:

In order to speak of a “tradition” or “practice” of the Church, it is not enough to point out a certain number of cases spread over a period of four or five centuries. One would have to show, insofar as one can, that these cases correspond to a practice accepted by the Church at the time. Otherwise, we would only have the opinion of a theologian (however prestigious), or information about a local tradition at a certain moment in its history—which obviously does not have the same weight.

In a nutshell, it is possible to find any number of isolated incidents of this or that aberrant practice in the ancient Church.  We see this in our own day.  Just because some group does or says X today doesn’t mean that it is accepted Catholic practice or teaching.  A serious problem arises when you try to found your arguments on those isolated aberrant practices as if they were accepted.

Next, note the comments about Eastern oikonomia and the influence of political pressure.  We cannot, as Catholics, simply cave into secular ways and expectations.  Anglicans, for example, have hitched their ecclesial community to the State.  We don’t do that.  We cannot simply give away divinely founded perennial teaching under the pressure or the expectations of “the world”.

I’ll be writing more in the days to come, but here are a few points to ponder as you watch the press.

This new book is a HUGE DEAL.  It isn’t easy reading, but it pays dividends.


Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Emergency Contact, Medical Information and YOU!

Sometimes I post about preparing for emergencies or disasters.  For example, I’ll mention things as practical as having an Uninterreptable Power Source (UPS) for your important electronic equipment. I like APC products the best, reliable and great customer service. I’ll mention some emergency food and water, especially for times of natural disaster or a quick get away from where you live. I’ll mention some identity security, such as LifeLock.

I’ll tell you to GO TO CONFESSION!  Because a sudden and unprovided death (without the sacraments) is a dreadful prospect.

Things always happen to someone else… until it’s your turn.

Thus, I saw something at ITS Tactical that some of you might find useful. The GO ID Emergency Medical ID Kit

Say you are out and about and, quod Deus averruncet, something happens to you and you are unable to tell first responders about your medical history or allegeries, medicines you take, etc.  Time and information are critical in emergencies.  Giving a EMTs or firefighters or LEOs a fast overview could make a big difference.

Some people with certain conditions wear or carry medical ID.   Some like the bracelet or dog tag option.  This is another option.

For lots of photos and a thorough review, check out the page at ITS Tactical HERE  They have photos of how this handy medical ID can fit beneath your watch with an exposed tag, or be placed in the weaving of your shoe laces, or clipped onto other laces or straps or cords or zipper pulls.  It also has the recognizable “Star of Life” medical logo on it.

Check it out and then…


Because it’s always someone else, until it’s you.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Semper Paratus | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

St. Robert Bellarmine

Today I greet readers and friends who are blessed with the name “Robert”.  Happy Novus Ordo Name Day.  You get two Name Days, since the traditional day is 13 May.

In particular I congratulate His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, the Extraordinary Ordinary, Bishop of Madison.

Let’s have a look at St. Robert’s entry in the post-Conciliar Martyrologium Romanum of 2005.

Sancti Roberti Bellarmino, episcopi et Ecclesiae doctoris, e Societate Iesu, qui praeclare de theologicis temporis sui controversiis peculiari ac subtili habitu disputavit; cardinalis renuntiatus, ad ministerium pastorale in Ecclesiae Capuana magnopere sese impendit et tandem Romae ad Apostolicae Sedis et fidei doctrinae defensionem plurimos suscepit labores.

St. Robert’s body may be venerated in Rome at the Church of St. Ignatius, Sant’Ignazio, which is a must visit for many reasons.  He was deeply involved – and positively – in the “Galileo Affair”.

Would you all like to stretch your Latin muscles?  I’ll turn on the moderation queue so that you can’t copy from each other’s papers.  Other comments (without translations) about St. Robert I’ll let through as I find them.

Not long ago, I was privileged to see a letter with a signature of St. Robert Bellarmine.  HERE


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

The possible demotion of Card. Burke. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’ll post this. I do not like the fact that Sandro Magister posted in this way, however.  I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now.  The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod.  Or at all.

It’s not good news.  At the time of this writing, it is still – officially – a rumor.  I believe it, however. I have been trying to get myself into a mental and spiritual place to see it for what it is and, more importantly, for what it is not, and to plot my own reaction and subsequent course.

Vatican Insider has posted that His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke will soon be demoted by Pope Francis from being Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to the Patron of the Knights of Malta.

The move is not lateral.  That position is usually entrusted to older Cardinals.  The present Cardinal Patron is Card. Sardi, who is now 80.  Before him was Pio Card. Laghi.  The reassignment would be a demotion, for the Patron of the Knights is not nearly the equivalent of Prefect of a Roman dicastery.

I didn’t think that Card. Burke would be moved to Chicago, though I had a little fun with that idea. I thought he might be moved laterally to the Congregation for Causes of Saints to replace Card. Amato, who is over 75.  More on Saints, below.

There are a few points to make here, before the trads blow arteries and quite simply die and before liberals and dissidents, who suffer from Burke Derangement Syndrome, start their Lord of the Flies Dance.

First, it is possible that the three Roman tribunals (Penitentiary, Signatura, Rota), might be collapsed into a single dicastery for justice. I don’t know how that would work. I think it would be a really bad idea, but they didn’t ask me. If that is the case, the Signatura and the Penitentiary will not both need a Cardinal.

Second, according to a couple sources I have heard from, there is talk of collapsing the Congregation for Causes of Saints back into Divine Worship where, historically, it once belonged. Once upon a time the powerful Sacred Congregation of Rites had the brief for beatification and canonization. That would eliminate another cardinalatial chair in the Curia.

Furthermore, there is talk of collapsing minor curial offices, Councils and the like, into a Congregation for Laity. That could eliminate several other Cardinals in the Curia.

If you eliminate a position that has required a Cardinal, and that Cardinal is not 75 or 80, that is, ready for retirement, the Pope has to do something with him.  Burke is only 66.  What can the Pope do if there are no longer enough cardinalatial slots in the curia because he plans on eliminating them?  Well, you can send His Eminence off to be the bishop of some important see in his own country, right?  What if the Pope can’t do that because the Cardinal’s own countrymen have been drenching the same Cardinal in contumely?  Not enough curial chairs, not a good option back home?  Don’t forget that the Archbishop Secretaries of eliminated offices have to go somewhere too!  They might need those dioceses back in their native places.

So, what? You put the Cardinal in the best possible cardinalatial role you can find.  Some Cardinals who hit 75 and are at the end of service in a Congregation, are still useful.  They reside in Rome.  They can be on other Congregations until they are 80.  They could head up some office such as, once upon a time, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.  That’s been put under the CDF.  There are still, for example, Archpriests at the Major Basilicas.  But, there’s already an American at St. Paul’s outside-the-walls: Card. Harvey, 64, also from Wisconsin, just like Card. Burke. Two American sexagenarian Cardinals from Wisconsin as Archpriests of Papal Basilicas at the same time? Not likely. I suspect that if Francis eliminates a few offices, such as Cor Unum or Justice and Peace or the like which have men who are still of service age, one of them will go, say, to be Archpriest at St. Mary Major, where the present man, Card. Abril y Castelló, is about to turn 79. An Italian could wind up as the Delegate for the Basilica of St. Francis where Card. Nicora, 77, is now.

It is fair to imagine that Pope Francis – certainly at the instigation of a few close advisers – is purging the Curia of his predecessor’s influence.

It is also fair to imagine that Francis is pairing down the number of Cardinals and offices in the Curia.  It could be more about that than about Burke himself.  It could be a purge of Cardinals and not just of Burke.

It could be about both.  After all, Cardinals Piacenza and Cañizares were moved.

What I am wondering about is what might happen at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Will Card. Müller be moved out of the Curia to Berlin?

We could know more when and if Francis appoints Burke’s successor at an existing, unreformed Signatura.

NB: with the removal of Burke from the Signatura, there will be zero US Cardinals in the Roman Curia.  Is it likely that that is what Pope Francis wants?  No American Cardinals in the Roman Curia?  That’s a pretty big and influential country to snub.

QUAERITUR: Is Francis opening up a slot into which he would move another American Cardinal from these USA?  An American (or other) Cardinal into a key position for any reform of the tribunals who may agree with Card. Kasper’s views or be on side if it comes to trimming down the annulment process?

And then there is this.

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This news has been leaked a couple weeks before the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops which will tackle, inter alia, the question of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  However, Card. Burke will surely be a participant in the Synod.  Moreover, days before the Synod begins, a book will be released in five languages – in English, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, by Ignatius Press HERE – UK link HERE – in which Card. Burke has an essay (along with those of four other Cardinals) in defense of the Church’s traditional teaching and discipline.  Card. Burke has been a leading figure in the holding position against the really bad ideas of Walter Card. Kasper, the “tolerate but don’t accept” position that the liberals and dissidents are swooning over.  You will have noticed – or maybe not, for how many people read it, after all – that at Amerika Magazine, its 24/7 Kasperism.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are asking, “How could something like this take place?  Why would this take place?” Others are saying “Hah hah Fr. Z!  You hate Vatican II! Next we’re coming for you!”

In addition to the scenario of cutting back the curia I outlined, above, I  think that Card. Burke’s enemies, both in these USA and in Rome – at least occasionally, got the upper hand when advising Pope Francis.  It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.

This is millennial, clerical blood sport.

Sacerdos sacerdoti lupissimus.

No surprises here.  The sun rises at dawn.  Dog bites man.

Is there an upside to this?  Sure there is!

If this happens – and it is still not official yet – Card. Burke will not have so much on his plate. He is still young enough to have a good store of energy.  This move, if true, would mean that he would not be tethered to a desk full of nearly as much paperwork.  He will have more time to write.  He will have more opportunities to raise his voice and express his views.  He is already pretty forthright as a Prefect.  When he is off the leash, he will still act with the Romanitas and the gravitas of a Cardinal, but I’ll bet he’ll be even more vocal.

Another upside?  He will probably retain his membership in the Congregations to which he belongs.  Those appointments change from time to time.  We shall see.

Remember, this is not official until it is formally announced.  However, it seems likely.

I know Card. Burke a little.  I know him well enough to know that he is a man of deep spiritual resources.  He will be fine.  Do, however, say a prayer for him regularly.  Every Cardinal needs prayers!  Imagine how the Enemy targets Cardinals, especially real defenders of tradition.  It’s a terrifying prospect.

And then there’s this.  This is the part I direct at YOU, dear readers.

Many of you will be tempted to have a spittle-flecked nutty of sorrow and panic about this, directly proportioned to the spittle-flecked nutty of giddiness and schadenfreude that the catholic Left are about to throw.

Many of you will be tempted to run in circles squawking about Francis the Disaster, the cross between a Jesuit and South American Dictator.  At the same time the catholic Left will be running in the opposite direction squawking about Francis The Unjudgmental, the first Pope ever to smile or to kiss a baby, the most wonderfullest fluffiest Pope ehvurrr. He’s the only Pope ever to think about mercy!  In doing this, the Left will also manifest their trademark venom. Remember what foaming paroxysms they had when Burke was not reappointed as a member of the Congregation of Bishops?  When he was moved from St. Louis to Rome?  ”Demotion!”, they cried. (Benedict moved him to Rome, by the way, not Francis, and it was a promotion.) So too with the Right!  Francis says something that is – admittedly – strange or impenetrable and trads freak out.

We have to breathe deeply and try to see this for what it is and what it isn’t.  And to continue the respiratory metaphor, some of us – I include myself – are going to have to hold our noses and swallow this bitter dose as if it had all the asafoetida that Dr. Maturin was accustomed to add to his draughts.  [That's a Patrick O'Brian reference.]

Every pontificate has its good days and its bad days.  Which it ain’t always beer and skittles, is it, as Preserved Killick would put it?  [That's another.]

There are many factors to consider in this move, consideration of which should take us beyond a simple and facile assumption that this is part of a Franciscan Night of the Long Knives.

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