WDTPRS – 1st Sunday of Advent (N.O.): They are His but they are ours

AdventWe’ve come around this weekend to the 1st Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year.

In the newer, post-Conciliar calendar this Sunday is back to back with the Solemnity of Christ the King, honoring the future Second Coming at the end of the world, even while Advent prepares us for celebrating His First Coming at Christmas.

Advent is about how the Lord comes… not just in His Nativity and at the Second Coming, but in every way. He comes in actual graces. He comes when the priest says, “Hoc est enim corpus meum….This is my Body.” He comes in Holy Communion and in the person of the needy.

“Make straight the paths!”, the liturgy of Advent cries out with the words of Isaiah and John the Baptist.

As we begin Advent, perhaps you would do well to remember that when the Lord comes, He is going to come by a straight path whether you have done your best to straighten it ahead of time or not. He will do the straightening for you, one way or another. Better to start doing now, don’t you think?

Let us drill into the very first oration of our liturgical year, according to the Novus Ordo or Ordinary Form

This is a new prayer for the Novus Ordo but based on ancient prayer from the so-called “Gelasian Sacramentary”.


Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
hanc tuis fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dextrae sociati, regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.

This is how we begin our year, suffused with the language of deep humility: “Grant, we beseech You….”

There may be a current of Matthew 25 flowing into this prayer, with its parables of the wise and foolish virgins, waiting for the Bridegroom to come, and image of the Lord’s right hand, where we hope to be gathered after the separation of the goats from the sheep.  Both parables have to do with the coming of the Lord, as Bridegroom and as Judge.

The prestigious Lewis & Short Dictionary says that voluntas is basically, “will, freewill, wish, choice, desire, inclination”, but in our collect I think it has also the nuance of a “disposition” toward a thing or person. Occurro is, “to run up to, run to meet” and the deponent verb mereor, “to deserve, merit, to be entitled to, be worthy of a thing”. The usually active socio, “to join or unite together, to associate; to do or hold in common, to share a thing with another”, has a “middle” impact in this passive construction with the dative.


Almighty God, we beseech You, grant
to Your faithful this (disposition of) will,
that those rushing with just works to meet Your Christ, now coming,
united at His right hand may merit to possess the heavenly kingdom.


All-powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.


Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom

It can be hard to get certain constructions from Latin into English. The “Christo tuo venienti” with its present active participle is one of them. The present or, better here, contemporary participle has the time of the verb of the main clause. It describes “Your Christ” in the very act of “coming”. We can do that as “Your Christ who is coming” rather than “Your Christ-right-now-in-the-process-of-coming” or the awkward “Your coming Christ”. We are rushing forward (occurrentes) and smoothing the path for the feet of our King. This requires work, just works, just by their origin, Christ Himself. When even in this life we are united to the right hand of Christ (dextrae sociati) our works are truly ours but also truly His and we merit heaven. The image of the “right hand”, the Biblical place of honor, points to the eternal glory of God and the inauguration of the Messianic kingdom… regnum…celeste to which we look forward even as we look back to His First Coming (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 663-4).

A Protestant or fundamentalist Christian would not say this prayer with its “just works”, its “meriting”, its “disposition”. Frankly, libs wouldn’t say this prayer with any understanding either.  I mean…

“But Father! But Father! Disposition?  What is that?!?  That’s old language.  You claim that this means ‘disposed‘? I thought the Spirit of Vatican II disposed of that!  HA HA!  See what I did there?  This prayer HATES VATICAN II and SO DO YOU!!”

Seriously, what does “disposition of will” (voluntas) mean for us fallen humans? Protestants think our nature is wholly corrupt and so our disposition must be entirely evil. But we know man is wounded by the Fall, not wholly corrupted. Protestants believe anything good in us must be imposed from outside through the “alien merits” of Christ. Is the voluntas we are begging in the prayer going to be our will or someone else’s will covering us over? The prayer doesn’t say if the voluntas is God’s or ours.

Once we are baptized and live in the state of grace, we are New Creations and God the Holy Trinity is at work in us. Our cooperation with God’s gift of faith through good works saves us, not “faith alone” or a mere “covering over”. A proper interior “disposition of will” is made possible and given by God but after that it is really ours. Our works do not by themselves merit anything, but once we are transformed and renewed by sanctifying grace, “united at His right hand” already in this life, our work on earth merits the increase of grace and the reward of heaven because they are His while they are ours.

Thomas de Vio Card. Caietanus (Cajetan +1534) explained to Martin Luther (+1546) that, when we say that we “merit”, we are saying that Christ merits in us (cf. De fide et operibus, 12).

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) preached that,

“When God crowns our merits (merita), He crowns nothing other than His own gifts (munera)” (ep. 194, 5, 19).

We merit salvation on the foundation of habitual, sanctifying grace, through the virtuous works which we perform. His will becomes our sole desire.


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Do today’s Jesuits aid and abet a militant anti-Catholic counter religion?

Today at The Catholic Thing (btw… did you know that was the title of a book by Rosemary Haughton?) there is a perspicacious offering called

Pascal and the Jesuits [which could be the name of a discordant band]

It seems to me (I’m hardly alone) that many clerical leaders (priests and bishops) are relatively “soft” on matters related to sexual sin – fornication, unmarried cohabitation, abortion, and homosexuality. It’s not that they approve of these things; they just don’t go out of their way to condemn them.


Qui tacet consentire videtur?

He goes on to distinguish three types of Christians, “serious… ordinary…bad”.   The second, because they are rather tepid, are dangerous for the faith and the Church in the present milieu.

Going on…


And so, to make sure these folks, the great majority of Catholics, don’t leave the Church, thereby not only damaging the religion but endangering their own salvation, the Church loosens the reins on these people. If they don’t believe everything the Church believes, oh well, let’s not make a fuss about it. And if they have incorrigible habits of sin, well, let’s not make them feel uncomfortable by publicly condemning the sins they’re prone to; and let’s tell them that God is forgiving and tolerant; and let’s remind them that all sins can be instantaneously wiped away in the confessional or on a good deathbed. Above all, let’s tell them that, practically speaking, the goal of this life (except for a rare few) is not Heaven but Purgatory; in other words, you don’t have to get an A-plus in sanctity, a C-minus will do just fine.  [A horrid thing to tell people!]

In his Provincial Letters, Blaise Pascal (a Class 1 Catholic if ever there was one) finds fault with the Jesuits of his day for bending Catholicism so that it will accommodate the un-Christian code of honor that was then typical of upper-class gentlemen. In one of the more hilarious letters, Pascal tells of a Jesuit casuist (some things never change) who figured out a way for a gentleman to participate in a duel while not, technically speaking, violating the Catholic rule that dueling is a mortal sin.


And then there are the James Martins of the world, whose influence is at least enervating if not downright pernicious….


When the Jesuits tolerated, say, the morality of 17th century French gentlemen – a morality that included dueling and “gallantry” (as upper-class adultery was euphemistically called) – they were not tolerating a non- or anti-Catholic religion. They were tolerating – however much we may laugh about it – an un-Catholic code of manners and morals, quite a different thing.

But when today’s Jesuits (and other Catholic clerics) are “soft” on sex-related sins, including homosexuality, they are doing much more than making a calculated accommodation to an un-Christian code of manners. They are tolerating a sexual ethic that is part and parcel of an increasingly militant anti-Catholic religion.

What religion is that? Secular humanism, a comprehensive worldview that is tantamount to a (God-less) religion. Dueling in 17th century upper-class Paris was bad, but it was not an affirmation of an anti-Catholic religion. By contrast, abortion and homosexuality in 21st century America truly are affirmations of a growing and decidedly anti-Catholic quasi-religion.

Catholic leaders from the pope on down need to wake up to the nature of that new mortal threat.

I often remark to myself that some clerics today “belong to another religion”.  They sure don’t seem to be Catholic in a lot of important ways.

Be sure to read the whole piece over at The Catholic Thing.  There’s quite a bit more and it’s good.


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Some of you have written asking about “Rorate Masses” during Advent.

This is a beautiful custom whereby Mass is celebrated illuminated only by candlelight. They are usually before dawn.

The Mass is a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin, and so it is celebrated in white, rather than Advent purple.  “Rorate” is the first word of the Introit chant for a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin in Advent.  There is also a beautiful Advent Gregorian chant hymn that uses this text, which comes from Isaiah 14.

One way that I have heard this done is that, while the hymn Rorate caeli begins, the priest and people, who have gathered outside, process into the church. At the end of the hymn, prayers at the foot of the altar begin as the chant Rorate is sung if it is a Missa Cantata. When the Gloria is sung (for the Blessed Virgin’s votive Mass) the lights of the church are turned on.

That’s one way.  Otherwise, the lights remain off, as they would have, obvious, in time before electrification.

It could be good to time to end of Mass as the sun is rising.

Are you having Rorate Masses where you are?

Post your schedules, below.

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Your Good News

Do you have GOOD news to share with the readership?

Let us know.

(PS I may be offline for a bit and your comments will wait in the queue.  Pour them in!  I’ll get to them anon.)

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Is the Church weak and defenseless? Is it over?

On a related note, see the end.

From the appropriately named Crisis:

Can the Church Recover Its Fighting Spirit?

The Islamic world is waging—and winning—a war on Judeo-Christian civilization.

With 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, the Catholic Church is potentially one of the most powerful centers of resistance to Islam. It certainly has been in the past. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. What are those 1.3 billion Catholics doing in regard to the struggle with Islam? Well, essentially, very little. Many of them are just standing on the sidelines.

Why is that? The chief reason is that Catholics are receiving little guidance about Islam from their leaders. And what little information they receive is misleading. The hierarchy is still sticking with the message that Islam is a religion of peace which has recently been given a bad name by a tiny handful of terrorists who misunderstand the beneficent nature of their faith.

Meanwhile, while Catholic leaders have been pedaling this rosy picture of Islam, 90,000 Christians were murdered for their faith in 2016. Between 2005 and 2015, 900,000 Christians were martyred. In most cases the executioners were Muslims.

That tiny handful of extremists must be extremely busy. Either that, or the extremist ideology is actually widespread and the bishops have been woefully mistaken in their assumptions about Islam. As Islam gobbles up more and more of the geographical and cultural landscape, the latter possibility seems most likely. The Catholic leadership has been dead wrong about Islam and, as a result, a lot of Christians who were put off their guard by clerical reassurances, are dead, period.


The attacks are from Islam, but also from many other fronts, such as relativism, post-Truth loons, demonic gender ideology, etc.  And they are within the walls.

What can we do?

First, know your Catholic Faith!  If you don’t know it, you can’t share it or live it in adverse circumstances.

Second, pray to saints who’ve been there.  I like Ss. Nunilo and Alodia.

Third, ask constantly for protection of St. Michael and the other angels.  Invoke them in your family, parish, community.

Stay informed.

Here are a couple of books:

Also, get these books and get them also for your family and friends.

Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka.


Do you know the word “dawa”? More on this HERE.

And get a Kindle!  US HERE – UK HERE

I also recommend The Grand Jihad by Andrew McCarthy.  He explains how and why the liberal left coddles and cooperates with Islam in the destruction of Western culture.



I also found something at LifeSite by the author Michael O’Brien (think Fr. Elijah, Voyage to Alpha Centuri, etc.

The Church: called to be a bulwark against the coming Apostasy

Why have so many Christians proved to be so vulnerable to, even eager for, the pathological narratives of our time? Why, in short, do we tell lies to ourselves? We deceive ourselves because there are abundant rewards for doing so, while simultaneously the inner tensions inherent in the moral struggle of the human condition are eased, left behind, as if we were discarding an outmoded legend. Daily, we gulp plausible lies, a web of falsehoods coupled to flattery, to emotional and physical pleasures, and constantly reinforced by a new world culture largely contrived by the entertainment and communications media, by the corruption of education, by morally compromised politics, and most reprehensible of all, by ambiguous theology and spurious spiritualities. [Do I hear an “Amen”?]

In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul exhorts the shepherds of the flock of the Lord to preach the word of God with determination, in season and out of season, to “convince, rebuke, and exhort,” to be unfailing in persistence and in teaching. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4: 3-4).

If the current studies of faith and practice in the Western world are accurate, it appears that more than 80% of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the need for Confession, nor in other fundamental doctrines of the Faith.



What does this mean for you in your state in life?

What changes have to be made?

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FOLLOW UP: Traditional Confirmations in Madison

On Tuesday 28 November in Madison, the Extraordinary Ordinary confirmed using the traditional Roman Rite.  There were quite a few confirmands.  We had people from Kansas, Minnesota, Maryland and North Carolina along with folks from area.

We started with a Solemn Mass, a Votive of the Holy Spirit.

After which His Excellency came in and confirmed.

He was in good humor after.  It is a cheering moment, to tell the truth.  How wonderful and encouraging it is to see all these good people receive the great sacrament of Confirmation.

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Previous unknown letter of Sr. Lucia to Pope Paul VI: “diabolical revolt”

I just read at CWR a fascinating piece about a newly revealed letter of the last seer of Fatime, Sr. Lucia, to Pope Paul VI predicting dire things for the Church.

It is in interview with the author Kevin Symonds who has a new book called: On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima – US HERE – UK HERE

Now CWR article:

The Third Secret of Fatima and the “Hermeneutic of Conspiracy”

“I am convinced that we are entering into a new phase of Fatima’s history,” says the author of a new book on the controversial Third Secret of Fatima.

Kevin J. Symonds (kevinsymonds.com) is the author of the recently published On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima (En Route Books and Media, 2017), which offers a scholarly challenge to those who claim the existence of a yet-unrevealed text of the third part of the secret of Fatima, given to Sr. Lucia de Jesus dos Santos by the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. In response to the publication of his book, Symonds was invited by Angelus Press to debate Fatima controversialist Christopher Ferrara at the traditionalist publisher’s annual conference in October.

In the following interview with CWR’s Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Symonds discusses his research on key issues of controversy in the debate over the text of the Third Secret, and his recent debate with Ferrara. He also reveals the existence of a heretofore unknown letter from Sr. Lucia to Pope Paul VI regarding a “diabolical revolt” against the Church that seems to refer to themes from both the second and third parts of the secret.


Symonds: In June, I visited the Sr. Lucia museum in Coimbra, which is overseen by the Carmelites of Coimbra, Sr. Lucia’s convent. On display was the first page of an unpublished and undated letter of Sr. Lucia to Pope Paul VI. She wrote him a beautiful, encouraging letter that was similar to one that St. Pio [of Pietrelcina] wrote to the Holy Father in September 1968.

In her letter, Sr. Lucia spoke about a “diabolical revolt” that was being “promoted by the powers of darkness” with “errors” being made against God, his Church, her doctrines and dogmas. She said the Church was going through an “agony in Gethsemane” and that there was a “worldwide disorientation that is martyring the Church.” She wrote to encourage Paul VI as the Vicar of Christ on earth and to tell him of her and others’ steadfastness to him, to Christ and his Church, in the midst of the revolt. Perhaps I am biased, having studied the third part of the secret, but I was struck by how similar Sr. Lucia’s discourse appeared to the second and third parts.


There’s a lot more.

There’s also a roundup at LifeSite.


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REMINDER: Registration, passwords, moderation

First, a reminder that a few weeks ago, after a rocky software update for the blog I had to recertify 17K user accounts manually which somehow were put into “pending” mode.   In that process you you were sent an email (to the address you registered with) with a new password.   Some didn’t find that email.  Hence, some of you lost access to the combox here.

If you have had a hard time posting comments, drop me a line and I’ll get you a new password.  PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR USERNAME!

When I reset passwords they are very strong and scary looking. For example:


You can change them in your profile.

Second, since the renovation, an important plugin I used to control the knuckleheaded stuff that sometimes arrives in the combox stopped working.   Hence, I have – until a new solution presents itself – switched on combox moderation for ALL POSTS.  Every comment of every user now will go through the queue.   I am sorry to have to do this.

Next, only registered users can comment.  Please register.  NB: Don’t neglect the field where I ask for “biographical information”.  No one will see it.  It doesn’t have to be long… just something that no bot or spammer would fill in, like your confirmation name, name of your parish… I rather enjoy the longer descriptions, however.

Moreover, if this blog is helpful to you, please consider subscribing to make a monthly donation.  This keeps the blog going.  No income, no blog.  I regularly pray for benefactors here, and say Masses for your intention.

Some options

Say a prayer when you use the blog, please.  Perhaps the “Internet Prayer”.

And maybe add one for me.  This blog is always under attack from spammers and nefarious ne’erdowells.


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Division in Catholic identity of young people and @MassimoFaggioli shows his true colors

This is sad.  This fellow really needs prayers.


Today at the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, we find a piece about

Study: young Catholics divided between traditionalists and modernists

Some want to ‘draw the Church back’ while others want it to follow social trends, a report says [In other news, water is still wet.]

There are two groups of young Catholics: those who want to “draw the Church back” to a previous era, and those who think the Church should conform to social trends, according to a report from the bishops of England and Wales.

The bishops surveyed around 3,000 young Catholic Britons ahead of next October’s synod of bishops, whose theme is “Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment”.  [Now the surveys from various parts of the world will be sent to Rome, where they will be found in conform to a pre-determined agenda.]

Describing the two main groups, the report said the first is “a small but vocal group who want to draw the Church back into an era which they have been told was far better than it is today”. [Notice the language.  “back” …  NO!  Consider what a reasonable person does when she finds that, instead of heading to the store, she instead went in the other direction.  Does she simply keep going in the wrong direction?  No, she retraces her steps and get’s back to the proper course.  One doesn’t go “back” for the sake of going “back”.  That’s just nostalgia. That’s not what young people have.  They don’t have “nostalgia”.  They want a future.  Look at the numbers of people who self-identity as Catholics, at the numbers of priests and religious, and what the trends are.  If we keep heading in the wrong direction, those numbers are going to get real ugly, real fast.]

The other group, which the report describes as “much larger, though less evident”, [Note the language again. “less evident”…. why?  Because they… don’t go to church?] adheres to the “predominant narratives in society, wanting the Church to follow suit”.

“The first group asks for clarity, the second for authenticity,” the report claims.  [We do not accept the premise that the one is somehow opposed to the other.]

“If we’re brave enough not to dismiss either of them, it’s possible to hear their yearning for a compelling narrative of how to live as Christians both faithfully and authentically.” [Okay.  They got to a good place.  “not to dismiss either of them“…]


That’s enough to get the sense.  Read the rest there.

Speaking of acrimony… the Catholic Herald tweeted its story:

Here is how Beans responded.

Traditionalists are “bad”.

This is a perfect example of the catholic Left, the same sorts who made disparaging remarks about converts last summer.  HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

It’s not only that they hate the ideas that traditional people in the Church hold.

They hate the people, who hold them.  They hate the people.


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“The Continuing Vocation Crisis in the United States”

Recently, I posted

I just read a piece by Fr. Mark Pilon at The Catholic Thing about the vocations crisis.  He compares the small numbers of ordinations in large dioceses in metro areas such as New York City and Los Angeles, with the relatively large numbers in small dioceses such as Wichita.  He tries to get a handle on what the differences are.

Inter alia, he wrote (my emphases and comments):

At the same time, it’s highly questionable just how truly committed to Catholic education most of the schools are in large archdioceses and even in smaller dioceses. How many of these local churches effectively oversee the hiring of faculty to assure that the Catholic educators are themselves practicing and faithful Catholics? Students being educated in a school where there is a pro forma, watered-down religion curriculum, and who are also well aware that some or many of their other teachers either disagree with Church teaching or don’t practice their faith at all, are surely less likely to be the kind of committed Catholics from whom vocations will emerge. So, the study might just look at how many dioceses are insisting that to teach in a Catholic school, the faculty member must be a faithful Catholic who actually practices the faith. [And what to say about their families?]

Another datum from these two small dioceses is that they have had a succession of bishops who themselves were firmly committed to building a strong and affordable Catholic education system and who were personally involved to one degree or another in the vocation program itself. Of course, that involvement is easier in smaller dioceses, [I’m not so sure that’s true.  Priorities must be set.] but given the small number of candidates today in large archdioceses, certainly some involvement will be more possible today than in previous times. The first bishop of my own diocese, Thomas Welsh, was very much involved in strengthening the religious curriculum of the schools he inherited, and he was very directly involved in the vocations program. He had been the rector of the major seminary in Philadelphia and understood well the needs of young men studying for the priesthood – including some regular personal contact and support from their bishop. That’s one reason why the Arlington Diocese does not have a priest shortage.

Read the rest there.

The crisis of priestly vocations is largely artificial.   It has, in some cases, been manufactured.

Tradition is the counter-measure to the crisis.  It works where it is tried.

Also, we need to pray explicitly for vocations and keep the sound of that prayer ringing constantly in the ears of parents and their sons.  Again, I propose that every parish adopt the following prayer, to be prayed while kneeling by the entire congregation at every Sunday Mass immediately after the Gospel.

Use it exactly as it is.  Do not change a word, except to substitute “diocese” for “archdiocese”.

LEADER: Please kneel for our prayer for vocations.  Let us ask God to give worthy priests, brothers and sisters to His Holy Church.

ALL: O God, we earnestly beseech Thee to bless this (arch)diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters, who will gladly spend their entire lives to serve Thy Church and to make Thee known and loved.

LEADER: Bless our families. Bless our children.

ALL: Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.

LEADER: Mary, Queen of the Clergy!

ALL: Pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. Obtain for us many more.

It works.

A friend back home – whom I miss rather a lot – sent me one of the original holy cards, which I prize.


I also recommend that you get copies of this as gifts for your priests and for seminarians.


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ACTION ITEM! Please support Our Lady of Hope Clinic – MATCHING GRANT

Sometimes people have a hard time finding causes to support.  I have a few organizations which I trust 100% for my own charitable giving.

This is one of them that I admire.

Our Lady of Hope Clinic.  This is a CATHOLIC clinic, that practices medicine in keeping with the teachings of the Church.

RIGHT NOW… they have a “matching grant” going on.  Every TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation to the clinic from now to the end of the year will be matched, so your donation does double duty.

I have written about Our Lady of Hope Clinic before.  This is one of the worthiest causes I have seen for a while and it could use your help, wherever you are.

Read more HERE and HERE

This could be a new model for health care in a rapidly changing – disintegrating – time.  The “Affordable” Care Act really… isn’t.  Even if Congress and the Trump administration is able to take this disaster in hand, we still have big problems and the poor are always with us.

They have a DONATION page.

Please tell them Fr. Z sent you.

Contact Julie Jensen, Director of Development, at Julie@ourladyofhopeclinic.org, or by calling (608) 957-1137.

In the clinic you see a sign on the wall explaining that
“Our Lady of Hope Clinic practices medicine consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church”

Therefore, they will not refer for abortion, prescribe contraception, refer for sterilization, refer for in vitro fertilization, etc.


“We will practice in complete accord with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.”

I suggest that it is a model that may be duplicated in other places, especially as the chaos really starts to begin in healthcare in these USA.

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Birettas For Seminarians Project – UPDATE

If you don’t know what this IMPORTANT project is all about, go HERE.

Meanwhile, I have received a thank you note from a seminarian recipient of one of your birettas.

I just thought you would like to know.

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ASK FATHER: Masses outdoors or not in a church

Portable altars by St. Joseph’s Apprentice are wonderful.  They are great gifts to priests.

From a reader…


According to Canon 932 s1: The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.

What constitutes “necessity” in this case? Would planning an “outdoor Mass” in the summer for a picnic qualify as “necessity”?

GUEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson

Our interlocutor correctly cites the Code of Canon Law, Mass may be celebrated outside of a sacred space in cases of necessity. The Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, in paragraph 108, helpfully clarifies, “The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.”

This instruction, thereby, abolishes the ambiguity wherein the priest who celebrates is the one who determines that necessity, at least for public celebrations of the Holy Mass.

Celebrating the Holy Mass outdoors for cases of necessity – for example, with a group who are camping in a remote area, or on the instance of a pilgrimage where no church building would sufficiently – would still be a possibility, but the diocesan Bishop should be consulted. Celebrating Mass outdoors, because it’s a nice day and we want to sing that cool fourth verse of “Gather Us In” about not being in dark and confining buildings… that would seem to be right out.

A priest offering the Holy Sacrifice hidden by a hedgerow, or in a dining room with the shades drawn in a place and at a time where the practice of Catholicism is banned, would still be licit.


And then there are the “mega Masses”, like those held in the piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica (aka a parking lot).


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STIR UP SUNDAY 2017 – Christmas Puddings, Explosions, and You

Yesterday was Stir Up Sunday.  This is the day on which many will prepare their traditional English Christmas Pudding.

The “stir up” comes from the first words of the traditional Collect at Mass of the Last Sunday of the Year.

Excita, [Stir up!] quaesumus. Dómine, tuórum fidélium voluntátes: ut, divíni óperis fructum propénsius exsequéntes; pietátis tuæ remédia maióra percípiant.

Also, because you stir up the ingredients for your Christmas pudding on Stir Up Sunday, and steam it, so that it has adequate time to set before the big day.

What are YOUR pudding plan?

In the meantime, here are images from a book I recall from my distant childhood, depicting “Max” preparing what I now – at long – last understand to be The Christmas Pudding!  As a kid I had always wondered what he was making.

Any resemblance to hamsters – once on sidebars – is entirely intentional.

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

MAX's Christmas Pudding

Yes, sometimes our best plans and efforts blow up in our faces.

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VIDEO for your Just Too Cool file – supercomputer simulation of past year’s hurricane season

At APOD I saw this amazing video and I can’t but share it.

Explanation: Where do hurricanes go? To better understand dangerous storms, NASA compiled data from several satellites into a supercomputer simulation of this past year’s hurricane season. Specifically, the featured video shows how smoke (white), sea salt (blue), and dust (brown) tracked from 2017 August through October across the northern half of Earth’s Western Hemisphere. These aerosols usefully trace sometimes invisible winds. In the midst of the many mesmerizing flows, hurricanes can be seen swirling across the Atlantic Ocean on the right. Some of these hurricanes lashed islands and coastal regions in North America before dissipating in the northern Atlantic. Studying this year’s weather patterns may bolster more accurate storm forecasts as soon as next year.

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