Of seminarians, books, birettas, new vestments, and wherein Fr. Z is very pleased

Every summer the Extraordinary Ordinary of the Diocese of Madison, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, gathers all the seminarians for about a week of fraternity and conferences.  We are in full swing.

Today, I celebrated Holy Mass for them in the Extraordinary Form.  Just now, lunch having been completed, they are off to paint ball.  What better way for men to build camaraderie than to pray together, eat together and then pretend to kill each other.

biretta berettaAlso, the new guys who do not have birettas are all being measured.  The results will be sent to Leaflet in St. Paul as part of our ongoing BIRETTAS FOR SEMINARIANS PROJECT.   Very cool.

Also, we have distributed to all the men the copies of the book I selected for this summer’s gathering.  Thus this year’s BOOKS FOR SEMINARIANS PROJECT is completed.   This year YOU readers gave to the men:

Tracey Rowland, Catholic Theology.  


This book is simply terrific.  Also, in her section on Liberation Theology, there is quite a bit about Pope Francis.  I think she has him exactly right.  The men are filling out online thank you notes through Amazon.  You donors of books should soon get notes.


Today I paid Gammarelli in Rome quite a lot of money for the last of the WHITE Pontifical Vestments.  They shipped the last wave of vestments for the set, including the extra copes and dalmatics and chasubles for ordinations.  They are embroidered with the arms of the Diocese.

PLEEEEEEEZ donate?  It’s tax deductible.  We have yet to make the Rose, Black and BLUE!  Also, I need more funds so we can make the folded chasublesHERE

Moreover, I’ve been receiving SMS texts saying that the two boxes from Rome are OUT FOR DELIVERY!   So, they will come today.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing them in their splendor.  This bring the project to completion, though in the future we could add chasubles and a couple more copes.

I will post updates and photos.

This is how Mass looked last May.


Our next Pontifical Mass is on 22 August, Feast of the Immaculate Heart.

Lastly, we will have SOLEMN MASS on Sunday for the Feast of the Transfiguration.  One of the new deacons will be deacon and the Vocation Director will be Subdeacon.  Talk about strong support for the TLM!


Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

JUST TOO COOL: Sunday – Feast of the Transfiguration – special blessing of GRAPES

Go buy some grapes and take them to the priest  for the Feast of the Transfiguration (Sunday, 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.

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 2011 ICEL 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 fullness in due time, heaven.

Remember that reference, above, to the dove from the Song of Songs?  It all fits together.  For a larger view of that sarcophagus, click HERE or HERE.

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, Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: Lay people using the Rituale Romanum to bless things


People don’t always read carefully before they react.

Let me be clear.  It is okay – it is good – for parents to bless their children by tracing the sign of the Cross on their foreheads.

Stop sending me questions about that. Read what is posted, below.

It is NOT okay for lay people to attempt to exorcise things.  It is NOT okay for lay people to attempt to bless in the manner of a priest, that is by making the sign of the Cross over someone in the usual way that priests do.

___ Original Published on: Aug 3, 2017

From a reader…


In a fairly popular book about celebrating the liturgical year at home, The Year and Our Children, the author recommends purchasing “the Ritual, that slim black book the priest carries about when he gives the blessings.” She goes on to explain how her family “blessed” their own herbs. Can you tell me if laypersons can bless objects and if so, under what conditions? Thank you!

I don’t know that book.  You haven’t quoted any of the book, so – since your planet’s yellow star doesn’t give my the psychic power I would need to know what it says – I don’t know what it says.  However, my first reaction is…


Lay people should not do anything like that, especially involving making the sign of the Cross over anything, as if they were ordained priests.

NO! I say, and again I say NO!

Take things to the priest to bless.

Ask Father to come to bless things.

This is not DIY, people.

If you are not a priest, don’t do these things.  Don’t use the Rituale for anything, especially if there is something to do with exorcisms.   You do NOT want to get into it with the Enemy when you don’t have the grace of ordained priesthood and the authority and power that comes with it.

There is no reason why lay people can’t ask God to bless things.  However, it should not be done with accompanying gestures of blessing, etc.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box | Tagged | 35 Comments

Wherein Michael Sean Winters responded to Fr. Z’s gift of the Combat Rosary

The other day I posted about sending a Combat Rosary to Fishwrap‘s Michael Sean Winters, who had had a little nutty about “militaristic” imagery.  I wondered whether or not MSW would acknowledge receipt.

Today, I see that he responded!  HERE

Lastly, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has been speculating about how I would respond to his gift of a “combat rosary” to me. It arrived Tuesday. I do not have Father’s mailing address so I shall communicate to him here:

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

Thank you for the gift of a rosary. I pray the rosary using one my dear beloved grandmother of happy memory gave me, and she was combative enough for the three of us.

Kind regards,
Michael Sean Winters

First, I’m glad that he received it.  I’m delighted that uses one.  Coincidentally, I had written: “I hope Winters decides to use the Rosary… or dig out the old chaplet that perhaps his, I dunno, grandmother had.  So long as he uses one.”

So, who was right in the poll?  It appears that the 3%!  “Yes, publicly, with a kind note of thanks.”

Will MSW respond to or acknowledge Fr. Z's gift of a Combat Rosary?

  • No. (57%, 751 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a snarky comment. (27%, 357 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a terse acknowledgement. (8%, 100 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a kind note of thanks. (6%, 82 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a kind note of thanks. (3%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,329

Loading ... Loading ...

Frankly, I find his response to be not only kind, but charming.  As a matter of fact, it inclines me to consider not picking on him any more…


Finally, I thought I had included my return address.  No matter.  FWIW, MSW: My return address is always on the sidebar.  Feel free to drop a Christmas card and I’ll return the favor.

The moderation queue is on.

Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Sign of Peace as ratification of what has gone before or as reconciliation before Communion?

paxToday my friend Fr. John Hunwicke has a stunner of a post in which he detonates and explodes the present day commonly chaotic infra dignitatem group-grope “Sign of Peace” during Holy Mass.

First, he writes of period during which the Our Father was introduced in to liturgical worship.  Previously, it had not been considered liturgical prayer.  However, after it’s introduction in liturgical worship, it was followed by a kind of “signing off” on what had preceded, a “signaculum orationis“.

Father writes:

It seems highly likely that what happened is this. When the Our Father was introduced into the Mass, it brought with it its concluding signaculum, the Kiss of Peace. Thus the Pax in the Liturgy is not, in itself, a reconciliatory preparation for Communion, but a ‘signing off’ from the Our Father and the Eucharistic Prayer. We find this situation reflected in the Letter of Pope S Innocent I to the Bishop of Gubbio in 416 (PL 56 515). Troublemakers [never lacking in any epoch] in Gubbio had been saying that it was better to follow the custom of another Church as to the position of the Peace rather than that of Rome; [plus ça change] the Pope responds ‘ the Pax has to be done after all the things which I’m not allowed to mention to show that the people have given their consent to everything which is done in the mysteries and celebrated in Church, and to demonstrate that they are finished by the signaculum of the concluding Pax‘. The fact that he employs the very term signaculum which had been used by Tertullian suggests that we are dealing with conventional usage widespread enough to be common to Rome and North Africa and over a period of at least two centuries.

He also explores the historical question of fast days and the exchange of the Pax, and he wraps up with lots of questions.  In conclusion, however, he adds:

I never cease to be surprised at what I find whenever I delve back into the history of the venerable and wonderful Roman Rite.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. H.  I’ve compressed this a great deal.  You should go over there and read the whole fascinating thing.

That said, one might use Father’s post as part of a series to catechize a parish about a proper way to give the sign of peace.

Ratification of what has gone before or reconciliation before Communion. Of course the one does not automatically exclude the other.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Knights of Columbus change Fourth Degree uniforms

I’m am irritated with the Knights of Columbus for a couple reasons.

The KCs are changing their Fourth Degree uniform.

I am not heavily invested in the KCs’ Fourth Degree uniform, mind you.  But consider the implications.





Here is another reason via the newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix:

Knights of Columbus change Fourth Degree uniforms

The Knights of Columbus, long associated with swords, capes and chapeaus, will be going through a significant uniform change.

The traditional regalia worn by the Knights’ Fourth Degree members will be replaced, announced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson during the Knights of Columbus 135th Supreme Convention being held in St. Louis Aug. 1. The address was available via livestream on EWTN.

Throughout the years, the regalia of the Fourth Degree, known as the patriotic degree, has gone through changes, Anderson said. When the Fourth Degree was first established, the uniform included white ties, top hats and tails.

In place of a tuxedo with a black bow tie, members will be wearing a blue blazer, an official Knights of Columbus tie and a beret, all with the Fourth Degree emblem on them, along with a white shirt and dark gray slacks. There was no mention as to whether the swords would remain a part of the uniform.  [What do you want to bet they won’t now be using AR-15s.]

“The Board of Directors has decided that the time is right for a modernization of the Fourth Degree Uniform,” Anderson said. “On a limited basis, Assemblies may choose to continue using the traditional cape and chapeau for Color Corps at public events and Honor Guards in Liturgical Processions. However the preferred dress for the Fourth Degree, including Color Corps and Honor Guards, is the new Uniform of jacket and beret.”


That will eliminate honor guards, I think.

I think the Councils should ignore this.

Also, did you know that there is a a growing group of traditional Councils?

Posted in Pò sì jiù, You must be joking! | Tagged | 101 Comments

Eating: a retrospective

I spotted this online:


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 40 Comments

Lefeverist smuggling tunnel discovered by Swiss Guards.

From the sometimes amusing Eye Of The Tiber:

The largest cross-boarder Lefeverist smuggling tunnel to date was discovered in a midnight raid earlier today by Swiss Guards.  The smugglers fled, abandoning contraband with a street value of over 3 million euros.

Smuggled goods found included pirated copies of “Teach Yourself Latin” software, DVD’s of “The Cardinal,” as well as thousands of copies of Familiaris Consortio and the Decrees of the Council of Trent.
Lead detective on the case Giovanni Verde told EOTT this morning that all of the items seized were street ready.

“From here they would have gone out and been available in the Vatican colleges and back rooms by sunrise,” noting that the tunnel terminated in a small subterranean chapel under one of the Vatican buildings.  “See how the chapel is set up ad orientem?  This is a site of a clandestine Tridentine Mass.

Rumors have been circulating for years that undocumented Lefeverists were responsible for the countless tunnels undermining the Vatican since the early 1970’s.  According to Verde, his goal is not simply taking down the powerful Lefeverist “cartel,” but also “the numerous groups inside the Vatican supporting them.”

Verde told reporters that he has been tracking a “shadowy figure” who is considered the true leader of the cartel.

We only know him as “Denzinger,” but he is highly respected in some circles, and his writings are quoted like the Bible. It’s not a secret in the Vatican that the recently terminated the head of the CDF, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, was an admirer of Dezinger.

“It was clear for a number of years that the Cardinal had been Denzinger’s man inside the halls of the Vatican, and now we finally have hard evidence of a conspiracy. Denzinger’s influence over the CDF and the Church will finally be broken.”

What is this “DENZINGER” of which they speak?


Every priest, seminarian, student, serious defender of the Faith must have this.

Posted in Lighter fare, SSPX | Tagged , , | 13 Comments


Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

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

Continued from THESE.

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

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

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have two pressings personal petitions.  No, I actually have THREE now.  I can’t get a break, it seems.  Ut Deus….


During this 100th year commemoration of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, remember the central message Our Lady gave to the Church and to the world: penance and reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.  

Off your sufferings in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 30 Comments

The Cassock

cassockUse of the cassock.

In England… and in Wales?… it was illegal to wear the cassock in public.  Perhaps it still is.  I believe there is a tale told that Queen Elizabeth paid the fine for John Paul II.  Se non è vero….

In these USA, the Council of Baltimore, held in a time of real persecution of Catholics, it was determined that in public priests would wear the more secular frock coat, rather than the cassock.  That policy, which shaped the old priests who shaped me, lingers in my practice.  I don’t often go out in public in the cassock, but my resistance is … futile.

However, the erosion of our Catholic identity, and the erosion of priestly identity – directly related to each other – have led inexorably to a lack of comprehension of what a priest is, how to recognize one, etc.  And priests haven’t made that easy.

Now I read a story about a group of seminarians in clerical dress were denied entry to a pub in Cardiff, because the innkeeper thought they were in “fancy” dress or they were there for a “stag do”.

From The Telegraph:

Father Michael Doyle said the seven went to the pub in Quay Street to celebrate the ordination of Father Peter McLaren at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David near Queen Street. He said it was a double celebration because Fr McLaren was the second to be ordained to the priesthood in a week.

He added that the City Arms was a favourite of his colleagues including the Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack.

Fr Doyle said: “They arrived at the City Arms and they were dressed wearing the clerical collar. “The doorman basically said something along the lines of, ‘sorry gents, we have a policy of no fancy dress and no stag dos’.”

The doorman was good-natured but firm, and the students had started to leave when they were approached by the bar manager. “He basically said, ‘you’re real, aren’t you?’,” said Fr Doyle.

“He invited them back in and when they walked back in the entire pub burst into a round of applause, and they had a free round off the City Arms.


The Directory for Priests identity – in the first place – the cassock as the proper dress of the priest and, oh yes… after that other sorts of garb.

I don’t trust priests who speak badly of the cassock.

Posted in Lighter fare, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , | 64 Comments

Translating ICEL

One of you alert readers sent this…


Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged | 3 Comments

1 August – Holy Maccabees! “like an unfurling of their souls in a battle line”

I am sure you already know that today, in the new, Ordinary Form, calendar, is the feast of St. Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori, the Bishop and Doctor of the Church so famous for his contributions to moral theology.

However, in the traditional roman calendar today is the Feast of the Seven Holy Maccabee brothers.  They are listed in the Martyrologium Romanum. Here is their entry:

2. Commemoratio passionis sanctorum septem fratrum martyrum, qui Antiochiae in Syria, sub Antiocho Epiphane rege, propter legem Domini invicta fide servatam, morti crudeliter traditi sunt cum matre sua, in singulis quidem filiis passa, sed in omnibus coronata, sicut in secundo libro Maccabaeorum narratur. Item commemoratur sanctus Eleazarus, unus de primoribus scribarum, vir aetate provectus, qui in eadem persecutione, illicitam carnem manducare propter vitae amorem respuens, gloriosissimam mortem magis quam odiosam vitam complectens, voluntarie praeivit ad supplicium, magnum virtutis relinquens exemplum.

Maybe some of you good readers can produce your flawless English versions for those whose Latin is less smooth.

Who were the Maccabee brothers?

They may be models for our own day, given what is probably coming.

The Maccabees were Jews who rebelled against the Hellenic Seleucid dynasty in the time of Antiochus V Eupator. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean dynasty and fought for Jewish independence in Israel from 165-63 BC.

In 167 BC, Mattathias revolted against the Greek occupiers by refusing to worship the Greek gods. He killed a Hellenizing Jew who was willing to offer a sacrifice to the Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. Later Mattathias’s son Judas Maccabaeus led an army against the Seleucids and won. He entered Jerusalem, cleansed the Temple, and reestablished Jewish worship.

Hanukkah commemorates this victory.

In the period 167-164 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163) killed and sold thousands of Jews into slavery. He violated the Jewish holy sites and set up an altar to Zeus in the Holy of Holies (1 Maccabees 1:54; Daniel 11:31). The people revolted and Antiochus responded with slaughter. He required under penalty of death that Jews sacrifice to the gods and abandon kosher laws. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment” (Hebrews 11:35-36). A chief of the scribes, Eleazar, an old man, did not flee. Pork was forced on him, into his mouth, he spat it out and was then condemned to death.

The mother is venerated by the Greeks as St. Solomnis.

St. Ambrose, in his work On Jacob and the Blessed Life recounts Eleazar’s death along with the deaths of seven sons of a mother. The work is filled with Neo-platonic and Stoic themes, especially about virtue theory.

Ambrose goes through all their deaths in detail, making commentary on them for what they meant.

In these scenes recounted by Ambrose from IV Maccabees, the mother, Solomnis, is being forced to watch each of here sons executed in different ways, eldest to youngest.

She urges them not to give in.

Ambrose thus explores the theme of how God chooses the weak and makes them strong.

The ancient “priest” Eleazar should be weak and infirm due to age, but he is a tower of strength. The mother of the seven boys should be weak by nature but is unshakable.  The sons are not to be moved to infidelity, even the youngest.

Here is a taste of Ambrose in De Iacob et vita beata II, 12:

The words of the holy woman return to our minds, who said to her sons: “I gave birth to you, and poured out my milk for you: do not lose your nobility.” Other mothers are accustomed to pull their children away from martyrdom, not to exhort them to martyrdom. But she thought that maternal love consisted in this, in persuading her sons to gain for themselves an eternal life rather than an earthly life. And thus the pius mother watched the torment of her sons … But her sons were not inferior to such a mother: they urged each other on, speaking with one single desire and, I would say, like an unfurling of their souls in a battle line.

Very cool image.  I wonder if that will unsettle a certain writer at the Fishwrap because it is so “militaristic”.  HERE

The tongues of the Maccabees are venerated in the Dominican Church of St. Andrew (Sankt Andreas Kirche) in Cologne (Köln), Germany.  The same church has the body of St Albert the Great in the crypt, and the chasuble in which his body was clothed at burial (removed when he was moved to the present location).  More HERE.

And, to bring this to completion, today is the Anniversary of the Dedication of the beautiful Roman Basilica S. Pietro in vincoli,…

“The Maccabee relics were later brought to Constantinople and Rome where they are honored even today at San Pietro in Vincoli. According to a legend, the Maccabee relics should have been received by Archbishop Reinald of Dassel at the same time when he (Reinald) should have received those of the holy Three Kings at Milan from the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa; in 1164 (the relics) were transported to Cologne.”

In fact, there is an ancient Roman sarcophagus in the crypt.  This sarcophagus is supposed to contain the relics of the Holy Maccabees, translated to S. Pietro in vincoli by Pope Pelagius (+561).

I am reminded of the story last year about members of the Religion of Peace busily killing Christian children. From the Orthodox Christian Network:

Before Being Killed, Children Told ISIS: ‘No, We Love Jesus’

Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” has seen violence and persecution against Christians unprecedented in recent decades.
In the video embedded below, he recounts the story of Iraqi Christian children who were told by ISIS militants to convert to Islam or be killed. Their response? “No, We Love Yeshua (Jesus).”


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Modern Martyrs, Patristiblogging, Saints: Stories & Symbols, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Advice from a saint, praise for a priest, explanation for a practice

13_02_17_alphonsusAccording to the Novus Ordo calendar, today is the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori.  In the traditional calendar it falls tomorrow.  He is a Doctor of the Church, whose writings set the Church’s approach to moral theology on a healthy course enduring to this day among the faithful.  I once had the astounding, intimidating privilege of holding in my hands his own manuscript of his Moral Theology, replete with glued in pages and scraps of notes and corrections.  Moreover, his Stations of the Cross, his version is what I will always hear for that devotion, his Manual for Confessors strongly shaped my approach to the sacrament, his Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help formed my earliest sense of truly pious Catholics.

Not long ago I posted about how St. Alphonsus bilocated so he could assist Pope Clement XIV at his death. HERE

Once again, my friend His Hermeneuticalness has posted something helpful today. It is great to have him back in the saddle again and posting frequently.  Fr. Finigan points out something that the saint to preachers.

The “Instructions to Preachers” at the beginning of the book is still of value for priests and can unsettle us today.

It were well that the preacher should sometimes exhort the audience to relate to others what they have heard in the sermon; as by this means it may be made useful even to those who have not heard it.

 If we are handing on the teaching of Christ and His Church, we ought to not to be embarrassed to ask others to pass it on. If we are embarrassed, is that because it is ourselves we are preaching?

Did you get that?  Relate to others what you heard in sermons, because it could be useful to them.

Each week I make a post here called “Your Sunday Sermon Notes”, in which I invite you to post a good point from the sermon you heard.

Why?  Because a) I hope that you will pay close attention and look even for good points in an otherwise humdrum homily and b) because many of the readers out there hardly ever hear a good homily.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Sermons | Tagged | 2 Comments

Giant robotic spider perched on Notre Dame Cathedral

I spotted this on Twitter, with a great comment by Andrew Cusack:

From CNS:

Ottawa archbishop surprised by negative reaction to robotic spider on cathedral

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) — The archbishop of Ottawa expressed regret that several Catholics were shocked at the sight of a giant robotic spider perched on Notre Dame Cathedral.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he was surprised by the negative reaction to an artistic initiative after critics called the spider’s placement “sacrilegious,” “demonic,” and “disrespectful” of a sacred space.

“My cathedral staff and I anticipated that some … might object, but thought it would be minimal, as nothing demeaning was intended in the spider being near the church,” said the archbishop in an email interview with Canadian Catholic News.

“I regret that we had not sufficiently understood that others would see this event so differently. I say to those who were shocked that I understand that this would have been upsetting for them and that I regret that a well-intentioned effort to cooperate in a celebration was anything but that for them.”

The spider, named Kumo, is one of two giant robots created by a street theater company of artists, technicians and performers based in Nantes, France. The company, La Machine, was in Ottawa July 27-30 as part of celebrations marking Canada’s 150th birthday.

The spectacle of robots, music and other special effects drew tens of thousands to Ottawa’s downtown.


Not exactly Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Look.  I don’t want to make this seem more serious than it is, but it reminds me of something I learned about during my individual instruction as I entered the Church… no, not in seminary, where you would think this would be taught.  HA!  Given that place and those days, that makes me chuckle.  But I digress…

Once upon a time we paid a lot of attention to theological censures so as to protect the integrity of the Faith and prevent people from being mislead (in the case of falsehood) and confused (in the case of fuzziness).

One of the labels for something to be avoided was “offensive to pious ears” or piarum aurium offensiva.  A verbal expression is piarum aurium offensiva when it shocks the Catholic sense and delicacy of the faithful.

Today we run into this all the time, don’t we?  We hear dreadful statements like the one from the Superior General of the Jesuits who said that there was no tape recorder in the time of Jesus. HERE Hence, he suggested that we can’t know what Christ meant when Scripture records his words.  That is something at least “offensive to pious ears”.   Another category is male sonans, something that “rings badly”, that make you say, “That doesn’t sound right at all!”.  Something is male sonans when improper words are used to express otherwise acceptable truths. An example of this is when the same Jesuit Superior said that the Devil was a “symbolic construct” HERE.  Statements like that are imprudent and harmful, especially because an authoritative person said it.  Mind you, it could be that the Superior’s words were even worse than that, but he attempted to walk them back a little.

In case you were wondering, on list in descending order of gravity

  • hæretica (heretical)
  • erronea (erroneous)
  • hæresi proxima (next to heresy)
  • errori proxima (next to error)
  • temeratia (rash)
  • ambigua (ambiguous)
  • captiosa (captious)
  • male sonans (evil-sounding)
  • piarum aurium offensiva (offensive to pious ears)

Male sonans and piarum aurium offensiva were low on the list of censures, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t taken seriously.

That spider contraption is piorum oculorum offensiva … offensive to pious eyes, and they should have known that before putting it up.

Just because something is “really cool” or has that “wow!” factor, doesn’t mean that it ought to be displayed in or near the sacred precincts of the Church, which ought to be the porta caeli and ianua caelestis.

Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

BITCOIN revisited – 2017

Back in 2013 I polled you about use of Bitcoin.  HERE

With some imminent news about Bitcoin coming up this week, I thought I’d ask about it, and you, again.

Are any of you mining and/or using Bitcoin?

The combox is open… not in an anarchic way, but… just go ahead.

About Bitcoin in 2017...

View Results

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Si vis pacem para bellum! | Tagged , | 15 Comments