“Welcome to Hell! Here’s your ice cream!”

It has been sometime since I posted anything from Savage Chickens.  (I wonder where the Masked Chicken” got himself off to, anyway.  You don’t suppose The Colonel finally caught up to him, do you?)

New Hell!  How jolly.

While we, as a preaching teaching Church, shouldn’t be incessantly pushing the Four Last Things in a dire and threatening way, we should be pushing the Four Last Things clearly and often.

Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.  These are not options.   Everyone of us will face three out of the four.

We have a say about which three.

But let’s be clear about something: Hell is not nice.  It isn’t nice for those in Hell now and it won’t be nice for anyone in Hell in the future.

There won’t be ice cream.

Hell is eternal… eternal … separation from God with no hope… no hope… of that state ever changing.

The eternal agony of the damned will come from the eternal and irrevocable loss of the Beatific Vision, the happiness of heaven, the bliss of being with God and experiencing that glorified state with the saints and angels.  That is the “pain of loss” to we refer in the classic Act of Contrition when we say we are sorry for our sins because we “dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell”.

But loss of Heaven is not the only painful aspect of Hell.  We are creatures of both soul and body.  Pain of loss is to be felt in the soul.  Pain of the senses will be felt in the senses.   Imagery from Scripture suggests “fire”.  We don’t know for sure what the pain of senses will be, but “fire” doesn’t sound good at all.  Whatever it may be, let’s avoid it, shall we?

How can we avoid the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell?

First, let’s not candy-quote what Hell is.

Let’s talk about Hell and think about it often, if not daily.

Let’s use well all the means of salvation (from Hell, by the way) that Our Lord has given us in the Church.  We have the sacraments and the Church’s sure teaching about faith and morals.

Let’s give good examples and encouragement to others, to help keep as many people out of Hell as we can.

Let’s also present and reflect on the joy and the beauty of Heaven, for which we were made if we only will cooperate with God who desires our eternal happiness with Him.   The glories of heaven are even more vague, in some ways, than the torments of Hell.  And yet we know that we shall be able to see God!  We cannot see Him in this life.  We see now only foreshadowings and suggestions.  Even if we consider just Rev. 24:4, Heaven sounds like a great option: ”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

So, I think you know where I am driving this.

Examine your consciences, consider the Four Last Things and…


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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, De Novissimis: Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Lighter fare | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments

MANHATTAN: Holy Innocents Church – Reprieve until Spring 2015?


I have been informed that “Breitbart was wrong”.

In a letter from the “Office of Strategic Pastoral Planning” of the Archd. of NY, one reads (inter alia):

[...] the Cardinal feels it is essential that he has more time to consider carefully and thoroughly evaluate all that has been handed over to him. Hence, the announcement of the Cardinal’s Making All Things New decisions will be postponed to the beginning of November.  The original date set to make the announcement was the end of September.

I was wondering about that March date, in the context of talking about the Synod, which only goes for part of October.

ORIGINAL 10 Sept 1802 GMT ____

My friends in New York and, frankly, all around the country, have been concerned about the fate of Holy Innocents Church in midtown Manhattan.  There have been lots of reports and much speculation that Holy Innocents was slated for closure.  The ideally-located Holy Innocents is the only church in Manhattan which has daily celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Given that the parish is doing okay financially and that the community there is, under the influence of the Extraordinary Form, growing and becoming ever more vibrant and diverse, many people are puzzled at why closure would be considered.   No doubt there are many factors.

That said, I saw this today at Breitbart:


A source close to Timothy Cardinal Dolan has told Breitbart News the impending announcement about New York parish closings which could number as many as 60 has been held off until Cardinal Dolan returns from Rome in late March.
The source states that a meeting was supposed to have taken place over the past few days between Cardinal Dolan and his priest council so they could make the final decisions together. Dolan cancelled that meeting until further notice.
The source, who has been close to many Cardinal Archbishops of New York, suspects that the delay could have something to do with two unseemly controversies swirling around the Chancery office. First, there is the change in policy that allows organized gays to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—this after consecutive prior Archbishops fought the idea successfully in court.
Second is the equally unseemly spat taking place between Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daniel Jenky over who gets the body of Bishop Fulton Sheen, whose formal cause for Sainthood started more than a decade ago but was brought dramatically to a halt last week over which diocese gets the body of the family TV priest.
Maybe it was too much bad press to put 60 parish closings on top of an already bad week.

Whatever the motive for such a move, if true, it seems that Holy Innocents may have had a reprieve until Spring 2015.

Meanwhile, what sort of things take place at Holy Innocents?

  • You may recall that there are Sung Masses there three times (I think) every week.  They have well-attended Sung Vespers on Sunday.  St. Patrick’s Cathedral does not ever have Sung Vespers.
  • Recently, Holy Innocents hosted a Prayer Rally for Iraqi Christians.  The next one will be Friday, Sept. 12 after the 6 PM Mass (37th Street and Broadway).  There will be a March for Peace to nearby Herald Square!
  • You can check out the stories about Holy Innocents Church by  New York TimesNational Review OnlineRod DreherNational Catholic RegisterVoice of America, the NY Observer. I have written about Holy Innocents, HERE and HERE.
  • The well-known author and preacher Fr. George Rutler is the Administrator of Holy Innocents.
  • The altar-piece is by the painter Constantino Brumidi and it was recently restored to the tune of many thousands of dollars.

This parish is a model for the New Evangelization.

Posted in Linking Back, The Drill | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: EMHCs at TLM… permitted?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR (edited):

On Sunday  I attended the [Traditional Latin Mass - TLM] at ___.  What surprised me was that an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (Male) assisted in distributing Holy Communion, Host only.

Is this proper or did I miss something?

This goes against the 1962 rubrics.  According the Universae Ecclesiae this, and other practices such as Communion in the hand, service at the altar by females, etc., are to be ruled out.

That said, stretching my mind a little, since this is more a matter of disciplinary law, not constitutive law, I suppose that a bishop could grant a dispensation to permit it.  I am not sure about that, however.  That also said, I think it would be a unwise to grant such a permission, except in cases of real necessity: keeping in mind that people are not obliged to receive at every Mass to fulfill Mass obligation or not, say 1000 folks are at the 8:00 AM Mass, Father has his foot in a cast, there is no deacon or other priest available, the parking lot already filling for the 9:00 AM. Mass….  That sort of thing.

It may be that the priest has good motives for doing this, but I don’t see how this is permissible.  This calls more for a private conversation with the priest before gathering the mob, polishing the pitchforks and lighting the torches.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, Universae Ecclesiae | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

UK: Parish resuscitated by Extraordinary Form. New Evangelization continues

On whichever side of the Pond you are, you can be sure that reviving a parish doesn’t have to be rocket science.

We have all heard of parishes which, though moribund, have been revived through the use of Catholicism.   That is to say, hard identity Catholicism.  That is to say, traditional devotions, clear preaching, sound priests and, in particular, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

As we come up to the 7th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, say a prayer for Benedict XVI.

That said, I bring to your attention a parish in England that is finding a new lease on life through the introduction of the older, traditional forms.

I like the headline:

Latin Mass could prove to be church’s salvation  [Latin Mass could mean either the Novus Ordo or the TLM, but we know what they are talking about.]

A landmark church will step back from the brink of closure later this month when a leading priest makes a pilgrimage from Italy to celebrate Mass in Latin.

St Walburge’s in Preston, with its imposing 309-foot spire – the third tallest in the UK – looked destined to be decommissioned only months ago due to a dwindling congregation.  [What do you want to bet that what was being done there was sort of a go-along-get catholicism?]

But now the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has moved in to save the 167-year-old church by offering Catholics traditional services seven days a week.

The new mission will begin on September 27 when Monsignor Gilles Wach, joint founder of the movement, flies in from the Institute’s base in Gricigliano in Tuscany to celebrate Solemn High Mass.

“This is a dream come true for me,” said traditionalist Jim Aherne who is one of around 50 regular celebrants of the Latin Mass at St Mary Magdalen Church in Penwortham.

“To see the Institute take over the biggest church in Preston is wonderful. I’ve always longed for this day.

“The congregation at St Walburge’s have done their best trying to keep the church going, but there was no way this dwindling group of good people could keep it going indefinitely.

“The Institute were invited to a church in New Brighton and what they have done there is nothing short of a miracle. I have a feeling they will do the same to St Walburge’s.”


[Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said:] “There are some voices who tell me that the presence of the Catholic Church in inner Preston is finished. I cannot agree. We need to be here in a new shape and form and at the same time to strengthen our missionary presence and vitality.”


Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Campbell!

The New Evangelization is easier when you have a church open in the place you want to re-evangelize.  So, the older form of Holy Mass and Summorum Pontificum are tools of the New Evangelization.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Brick by Brick, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

ACTION ITEM! 9 Sept – International Buy a Priest a Beer Day!

UPDATE 9 Sept:

The wonderful ladies who do some cleaning in the building, which includes the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue in which I live, brought me a cold beer today!

They are the best.


A reader asked:

“When is buy your priest a beer day?

I thought it was a great idea last year. it was in Aug/Sept. Wondering if you remember when it was so we can start a tradition….”

Around here we are all for tradition.

Last year I posted on this important day, HERE.

Tuesday, 9 September is International Buy A Priest A Beer Day!

As posted last year:

At the blog of The Catholic Gentleman:

International Buy a Priest a Beer Day!
Did you know that this coming Monday, September 9, [last year, 2013] is International Buy a Priest a Beer Day? On this festive day, faithful Catholics all over the world take their priests out for a beer and get to know them better. It’s a beautiful Catholic tradition that goes back to the time of St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest out for a beer.

Okay, if you’re getting suspicious by now, there’s a good reason. Buy a Priest a Beer Day is not a real holiday. But I would argue that it should be! [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

Believe it or not, priests are real people, and they enjoy socializing over good food and drink as much as anyone. They also have a thankless and difficult job, a job that we couldn’t get to heaven without. Priests are the lifeblood of the Church, and they deserve some appreciation.


If you can’t take me out for a beer, you can always use my donation button and add a beery note!  Or a stout or ale-ing note, for that matter.

Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Lighter fare, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , | 25 Comments

CHART: Correspondence of lectionaries, Ordinary and Extraordinary Form

A while back I asked for help, for a way to line up the readings on Sundays between the Novus Ordo and the Usus Antiquior.

For example, I want to see whether or on which Sundays the readings for the, say, 13th Sunday after Pentecost show up in the Novus Ordo on a Sunday.

I was sent a link to something described by my correspondent as a “remarkable piece of work”.  HERE

You simply must have a look.  SAMPLE:


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

8 Sept: Nativity of Mary

Here is the entry in the Roman Martyrology for today’s feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Festum Nativitatis beatae Mariae Virginis, ex semine Abrahae, de tribu Iuda ortae, ex progenie regis David, e qua Filius Dei natus est, factus homo de Spiritu Sancto, ut homines vetusta servitute peccati liberaret.

Perhaps you readers would like to offer your own perfect and smooth versions in English.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 12 Comments


Do you not have a Kindle yet? What's wrong with you? Click HERE! End your suffering now!

Last Thursday evening I gave a talk in Grand Rapids, MI and a nice fellow asked me about the news that I had been killed.  He had seen a tweet about my demise and wondered what was up with that.  I was therefore, at the beginning of my talk able to use a line I doubt I will ever be able to use again: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

The fact is that I was a character in three SciFi books by Chris Kennedy.  They are sort of like The Magnificent Seven meets Star Gate, that is, fun.  He killed me off.  One of the commentatrices here made the observation that I should regenerate since I am actually a Time Lord.  We shall see.

Anyhoo, while I was whinging about my death, I mentioned that I should have at least garnered a unit moral patch out of the deal.

Today, Chris (the author) came through.

It seemed appropriate to put it on one of my range bags.

I suspect that this might provoke some questions during my regular paper killing appointment.

Kennedy’s series begins with the invasion of Seattle by the Chinese.

The first book, is here: Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle (Occupied Seattle Book 1)

On another note, some of you will want to make observations about the Latin motto.

Meanwhile, Glück ab!

Posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Some of the mistakes we make in life can’t be fixed.

Today I read Sam Gregg’s great piece at American Spectator today wherein he unloaded on sentimentalism.  HERE

A sample:

Despite its claims to take the mind seriously, sentimental humanitarianism is also rather “uncomfortable” (to use classic sentimental humanitarian language) with any substantive understanding of reason. It tends to reduce most debates to exchanges of feelings. You know you’re dealing with a sentimental humanitarian whenever someone responds to arguments with expressions such as “Well, I just feel…” or “You can’t say that,” or (the ultimate trump-card) “That’s hurtful.”

This is a good reminder for you who will pay attention to the lead up to the Synod on the Family in October.  It is expected that there will be a debate about Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  On one side we will see those who defend doctrine, going back to the Christ’s words in the Gospel and St. Paul’s teaching.  On the other we will see those who make strong appeals to mercy and suggest in vague ways that doctrine that has been clear since the beginning is somehow subject to change, if only we can apply the right hermeneutic (interpretive lens).  This later group will accuse the former of conducting a war on mercy: “You haven’t looked into the eyes of a divorcee who is remarried and seen the anguish. You are against mercy!  You are mean!”  The “You are mean!” Argument™ was given a test run over at Fishwrap recently, in one of several loooong rambling posts by Michael Sean Winters.

A while back I posted my own little rant about divorce, remarriage and Communion.  HERE  In this little rant I wrote:

People make mistakes. We are not angels. People sin. People suffer. That doesn’t mean we lie to them about what sin is and what their state is. No. We tell them the truth and then, with great concern and compassion, help them with clear teaching, a strong and certain Catholic identity, the sacraments Christ gave us as the ordinary means of our salvation, and encouragement.

We sinners move forward, up the hard, rocky, thorny, path and we refuse the smooth, broad and seemingly easier path down to Hell.

You know what?   Not everything can be “fixed”.

These days we expect everything to be fixable, to have a solution.  There must be some way to get around problems, some cure, some repair, some slight-of-hand.

No.  Not everything can be fixed.  Some of the mistakes we make in life can’t be fixed.  We must deal with the consequences of our choices, seeing them clearly for what they are and not living in a state of denial, or in some fantasy realm in which there are no true consequences for our actions.

Don’t get me wrong.  If there are good solutions to the problems that some couples get into that are consistent with what Christ and the Apostles taught and handed down, and which have been constantly reaffirmed in the whole course of the Church’s history, GREAT!  Let’s use them.  However, the life of grace, even in suffering, for the sake of happiness in heaven by far outweighs the short-term “fixes” of this life that could actually be spiritually dangerous.

It is not “sentimentality” to be concerned about the well-being of people who are in tough situations.  It is, however, a really bad plan to create “fixes” out of sentimentality that will, in the long run, do harm.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there an especially good point in the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass?

Let us know!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 19 Comments