Synod’s “Relatio” drafting committee. Notice anything odd?

Pope Francis made an interesting move.  He added a few prelates to the group assigned to write the final Relatio (summary and suggestions to be submitted to the Pope).

At this point in the Synod, after all the little speeches, the members break into smaller groups, usually by language, to draft their proposed contributions in few of a final document to be drafted by a sub-committee.

The papal appointees to the drafting group are:

  • Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.
  • Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.
  • Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and one of the pope’s top theological advisors.
  • Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico, president of CELAM, the Latin American bishops’ council.
  • Archbishop Peter Kang U-Il of South Korea.
  • Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón of Spain, superior general of the Jesuit order.

No Africans.

Some people will say that the committee is comprised of members who lean one way or another.   That isn’t what surprised me.

No Africans are on the drafting committee, and yet is it clear that the state of the the family in Africa is considered pretty important.

I guess it isn’t as important as the state of the family in the wealthy West and Northern Hemisphere.

Isn’t that interesting?

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Posted in The Drill | Tagged | 34 Comments

Behold how the Left thinks

At Daily Kos you can find a good example of how the Left thinks.  This is also an insight into how the catholic Left think, too.  For confirmation just watch the combox of the Fishwrap.  You see similar attitudes and tone.

Daily Kos attacked Card. Burke in an especially vicious way.  HERE Why? He stated, clearly, what we know about homosexuality.  Same sex-attraction is an inclination that is not a well-ordered inclination, according to human ecology, the natural law.  It is, as the Church has explained in rather clinical language, disordered.  The Kos writer, probably not up to date on any sort of technical language or the finer points of any language, leaped to conclusion that Card. Burke (or any of us) think that homosexuals are therefore deranged.

So… here is a sample of how the Left “thinks”, which includes also – in many cases – the catholic Left.  Thus, Kos, with my usual emphases and comments:

Hey, Cardinal F*ckwit, listen here: [With an intro like that, imagine what sort of brilliant reasoning and prose might follow!] The only “intrinsic disorder” here is your hatred and bigotry that belongs in the Dark Ages. [I suspect that, for the writer, "Dark Ages" is only a vague trope, a cliché.] The only thing that LGBT people suffer from is the efforts of people like you to condemn their lives at every turn, [Who did that?] and to fight with every ounce of your strength [I suppose the writer thinks that the world revolves around homosexuals.  We don't really spend much time thinking about them.] their dignity, equality and civil rights. [No.  This is a canard.  Do not be taken in by the claim that this is a civil rights issue, as if it was on par with racial civil rights.] The only thing that makes them “profoundly unhappy” are your constant messages of hostility, animosity and condemnation for nothing else than who they are [?] and who they love. [It seems to me that only a profoundly unhappy person could write this stuff.] Something that actually scandalizes children is the rape and sexual abuse of them, which has been perpetrated, defended and covered up by your church for decades. [A drastic overplaying of that card.]

Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. [Card. Burke didn't say that it was.  This is a straw man.] The beliefs that the Catholic Church holds about it is. [Try to follow that.  "The beliefs" are a "disorder"?  Does that even make sense?] The cure for this disorder is [This is where it gets really nasty.] to challenge them, shun them, shame them, ridicule them, mock them, condemn them, and make anyone who is considering holding them too embarrassed to do so. [You'll have to try harder than this, I'm afraid.  This is simply rude slop which only paints the writer as the one with the problem.] And I’m tired of having the meaning of tolerance dictated to me by the right. Tolerance means that I don’t ban you from saying what you just said. [This person isn't full of herself.  Nope.  Not a bit.] That’s it. I do not owe your sick beliefs one iota of respect. In my mind, they should be shoved to the absolute fringe of society, away from where any half-decent person can give them any consideration at all. They should have no place in mainstream society, in the same category as racism, misogyny and religious prejudice, [Of which the writer is deeply guilty.] and they deserve nothing but profound disrespect.

It’s the only way you’ll learn.

That’s your pitch?

It seems to me that this person may need counseling.

Meanwhile, that other liberal bastion quoted Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap, thus demonstrating that the Left and the catholic Left are at work in the same echo chamber.

In response to Burke’s declaration that gay relationships are “intrinsically disordered,” National Catholic Reporters’ Michael Sean Winters called the cardinal”tone deaf” and said such statements “make the Church look foolish and mean-spirited.”

This man’s inability to speak with even a whiff of human compassion is intrinsically disordered if you ask me,” Winters said.

Sound familiar?  Now compare and contrast the above with the Fishwrap’s combox.  You will need a mask and nitrile gloves for this one.  HERE

Cowards.  They hide behind their anonymity to pour all manner of spiritual poison out into the world.

We respond with,

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:11-16)

And to Card. Burke, I say:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, 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. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. (2 Tim 4:1-5)

Comment moderation is ON.


The aptly-named Daily Beast has a piece by someone named “Barbie” in the same vein as Kos and HuffPo, but with a bit less bile.  HERE  These folks come quite simply unglued at the thought that people should have to rut constantly.

Posted in Liberals, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence | Tagged , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two in the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass?

Let us know!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 24 Comments

WDTPRS: 28th Ordinary Sunday – “God crowns His own merits in us”

The elegant Collect for the 28th Ordinary Sunday has been used for centuries on the 16th Sunday after Pentecost according to the traditional Roman calendar.  This is a lovely prayer to sing.

Tua nos, quaesumus, Domine, gratia semper et praeveniat et sequatur, ac bonis operibus iugiter praestet esse intentos.

The separation of tua and gratia in the first line is an example of the figure of speech called hyperbaton: unusual word order to produce a dramatic effect.  That et… et construction is snappy.

The pair of verbs praeveniat…sequatur reminds me of a prayer I heard at my home parish every Tuesday night after the communal recitation of the Novena of Our Mother of Perpetual Help by St. Alphonsus Liguori (+1787).  I believe this prayer is sometimes employed for the sick:

“May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you that He may defend you, within you that He may sustain you, before you that He may lead you, behind you that He may protect you, above you that He may bless you. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Intentus, -a, -um is from intendo, “to stretch out, extend” as well as “to turn one’s attention to, exert one’s self for”.  Our Collect has both semper (“always”) and iugiter (the adverbial form of iugis) meaning “always” in the sense of “continuously.”  A iugum is a “yoke”, like that which yokes animals together.  Iugum, or in English “juger”, was a Roman measure of land, probably because it was plowed by yoked oxen, and it is also the name of the constellation Libra, Latin for a “scale, balance”, which has a beam, a kind of yoke. The Roman measure of weight called the “pound” still today has abbreviation “lbs”.  The iugum was an infamous ancient symbol of defeat.  The Romans would force the vanquished to pass under a yoke to symbolize that they had been sub-jug-ated.  Our adverb iugiter means “always” in a continuous sense probably because of the concept of yoking things together, bridging them, one after another in an unending chain.  We hear this iugiter also in the famous prayer written by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) which is the Collect for Corpus Christi and is also used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: “O God, who bequeathed to us a memorial of Thy Passion under a wondrous sacrament, grant, we implore, that we may venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, in such a way as to sense within us constantly (iugiter) the fruit of Thy redemption.”


We beg, O Lord, that Your grace may always both go before and follow after us, and hence continuously keep us intent upon good works.


Lord, our help and guide, make your love the foundation of our lives. May our love for you express itself in our eagerness to do good for others.


May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry out good works.

Let’s be super picky for a moment about the conjunctions.  That et…et is a classic “both…and” construction, joining praeveniat and sequatur. Here we see et…et…ac…   That ac sometimes informs us that what follows is of greater importance than what precedes it. If that is the case here, then our Collect presents a logical climax of ideas.  This is why I added a “hence” to my literal version.

Tua gratia, “your grace”, is the subject of all these verbs.  We want God, by means of grace we do not merit, always to be both before and behind us.  We want His help so that we, fallen and weak, may be always attentive to the good works which, informed by faith and God’s grace, will help us to heaven and benefit our neighbor.

All our good initiatives come from God.  If we choose to embrace them and cooperate with Him, He guides them to completion. Grace goes before.  Grace follows after.  Our good works have merit for heaven because God inspires them, informs them, and completes them through us, His knowing, willing, and loving servants.  The deeds and their merits are ultimately God’s but, because we cooperate and because He loves us, they are also truly ours.  As St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) wrote, God crowns His own merits in us (ep. 194.19 to Sixtus, later Pope Sixtus III).

Sunday’s Collect reminds us how important our good works are for our salvation. They are all manifestations of God’s grace.  Just as we hope God will lavish His graces on us, so too we should be generous with our good works for others.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Let there be color

I saw a rather cool series of photos from the B&W age which have been colorized. The colorized versions give an entirely different “feel” to the moment.


Posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare | Tagged | 16 Comments

11 Oct: St. John XXIII

Today is the feast of the Pope who issued the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia.

Today is the feast of the Pope who didn’t like it when people clapped in church.

Today is the feast of the Pope who issued the Roman Missal of St. John XXIII.

His propers are HERE.

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 16 Comments

VIDEO: Card. Burke’s clear, articulate, blunt answers about divorce, remarriage, Card. Kasper

His Eminence Raymond L. Burke gave an interview to Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.

You don’t want to miss this. Arroyo does not lob softballs. He starts out with a question about Pope Francis praise of Card. Kasper!

This is refreshing and it gets better and better as it goes along.

It is about, in part, the “Five Cardinals Book”.

As I post, it has 589 views.

Click to PRE-ORDER

Buy in UK HERE

The book is available for KINDLE (USA) for a reduced price of $9.99, which is much less than the paperback. HERE
Don’t have a Kindle yet.  What on earth are you waiting for?  USA HERE (for one type, a Paperwhite, you can surf to others) and UK HERE

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , , | 49 Comments

“Does it apply to murderers and pedophiles?”

There is a good post at Fr. Hunwicke’s place pertaining to the admittance of the civilly remarried to Holy Communion. With my emphases:


One gathers … as we grandly say in England … that brilliant ways are being mooted in Synodo for squaring the circle: formally maintaining Catholic sexual morality while letting people off the hook of having to try, with the help of grace, to adhere it. (There was a time when English Protestants claimed that ‘Subtle Jesuits’ could “prove that Black was White”.) One of these Brilliant Ways is Graduality or Gradualism.

Another is the old Liberal Protestant trick of talking about morality as an ideal rather than as a casuistic.

Another, that we must be more polite about people in certain situations and not call them Hurtful Names.

The Hunwicke test for diagnosing clever but shoddy dodges is threefold:
(1) Can you square it with the Sermon on the Mount and the ethical teaching of S Paul?
(2) Can you square it with the Lord’s parables and teaching about ‘we do not know the Day or the Hour’?
(3) Does it apply to murderers and pedophiles?


Check his blog often.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 13 Comments

“The Church, while it strives to emphasise mercy, cannot do so by encouraging sin.”

I was alerted to a piece in The Spectator by Louise Mensch, a divorced a remarried Catholic who knows that, in her present situation, to receive Holy Communion would be a mortal sin.

It is a pleasant change of pace to read something by someone who isn’t sugar coating her situation or trying to twist doctrine (and us readers) through emotional manipulation.

Louise Mensch: I’m a divorced Catholic. And I’m sure it would be a mortal sin for me to take Communion

Accept liberal arguments for the convenience of people like me, and you threaten the foundations of the Church

I am a divorced and remarried Catholic. I attend Mass every week. When my children want me to take them up to Holy Communion, I walk along behind them and cross my arms over my breast. My youngest is particularly keen on going up for a blessing, although he wants to know when he can get ‘the bread’. I say, ‘When you understand why it isn’t “the bread”.’ [Well done.]

It has never occurred to me to present myself for Communion when I have not sought — for various reasons that I won’t discuss here — to have my first marriage annulled. I know I am not a good Catholic, and I am living a life that the Church considers to be adulterous. Yet I am in good spirits, as I hope in God’s mercy. But I do not presume upon it. My Catechism says that is a further mortal sin, as would be the unworthy reception of Holy Communion.

People in my state are explicitly encouraged, in the Catechism, to attend church, and to make a spiritual communion, as I do each week. [But apparently we have to spend a lot of time on this issue.] I have the hope that one day I will be in a state of grace and able to receive Holy Communion again. I hope that, despite my ongoing sin, God nonetheless hides me in the shadow of his wings; that Mary, hope of sinners, has her cloak of mercy cast about me. I am a poor Catholic but I am also a believing Catholic. Yet there is a faction within the Church that evidently considers ‘believing Catholic’ to be a hopelessly old-fashioned clique that they must get shot of, alongside lace mantillas and kneeling at the Communion rail.

Holy Communion, for most of the bishops of England and Wales, appears to have become Protestant by default. [OUCH!] Instead of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist — a presence we should tremble to receive at the best of times — Communion is now a sign, a symbol, a mere shared meal, an ‘expression of community’. [Sadly, I think she's right.  And that's not only in England.]

Next week [this was published a week ago] an Extraordinary Synod of Catholic bishops, summoned by Pope Francis, will meet to discuss the family. Catholic reformers are full of hope that, under his guidance, the bishops will liberalise the Church’s teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics. The liberal Tablet magazine devoted a cover story to the subject. It filled me with dismay. The article began by quoting Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leading liberal cardinal: ‘The church’s blanket ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion…’.

Where to start? The Church does not ban anybody from receiving Communion other than non-Catholics (and there may be exceptions) and those too young to understand what they are receiving. Rather, nobody may receive God in the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. Even before I remarried, and I use the term in a legal sense, since I cannot sacramentally remarry, I did not always present myself for Communion. Often I would be in a state of serious sin and had not found the time or organised myself enough to go to confession. The fact is that nobody in a state of serious sin — whatever that sin may be, in this case, adultery — is able to receive Christ worthily. To receive him unworthily is to commit a further mortal sin.

The Tablet article was called ‘The Case for Mercy’ and, reading it, I felt like pleading for us suckers who actually believe the basics: sin, confession, absolution, the Real Presence and the like. [Yes, we are soooo behind the curve, aren't we?] What Cardinal Kasper appears to want to do is to tempt a generation of people into weekly mortal sin. How is that merciful? How is that helping? Is it impossible for liberal theologians to combine their reforming fervour with actual logic? [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] Allow a divorced and remarried person to receive Holy Communion and you are saying one of two things: either that it is not adulterous to have sex outside the marital bond, or that one may harmlessly receive the Most Holy Eucharist while in an ongoing state of mortal sin — a sin one firmly intends to commit again as soon as convenient.

There is no way that either of those things can be true, and the Church’s teaching be true. If sin doesn’t matter, what was the point of the Crucifixion? Why did Christ not stop with a ‘community meal’ on Maundy Thursday and skip that whole bothersome deal the next morning?

There are ways that those civilly divorced and remarried can be admitted to Holy Communion. Make it easier for them to obtain a declaration of nullity. Here is an area where the Church could be more sympathetic, could grant dispensations and exemptions in matters of process. The power of ‘radical sanation’ — granted for various reasons — to make a marriage whole could also be administered more often. That power does actually exist. Where the Church can legitimately change is in matters of tradition and practice — but not doctrine or dogma. Here, we sinners are protected from the human failings of individual priests and bishops by the infallibility of the Church. Some traditionalists protested when altar girls were permitted; [Yes, that was wrong then and it is still wrong now.] I remember asking in one forum if the Bishop had the right to do this (yes), then if it had been done to say it was wrong was — equally as much as in the other direction — to say the Church was wrong. [Well... I think that was a mistake, but it is apples and oranges when it comes to altar girls and Communion for the remarried.]

Theologically, the Church is like a giant tower in Jenga; pull out one brick and you topple all the others. We cannot admit that sex outside marriage isn’t adulterous, nor can we say that mortally sinful people can receive Holy Communion. But we can look harder at the powers given to the Church to declare and discern when somebody is in a state of sin or where, for genuinely merciful reasons, a union can be made whole, by powers already granted to our bishops by the Holy Spirit. [Who knows.  We also have to avoid the suggestion that the Church is changing doctrine.  Some people are bound to get it wrong and there is nothing we can do about that.  We need to avoid wide-spread confusion.]

Nothing will ever persuade me to receive Holy Communion in a state of grievous sin, unless for a serious reason. I once did so, when I discovered that a Protestant at my sister’s wedding had approached the priest, taken the Host and put it into his pocket. The poor priest hesitated but the man had walked away. He was foreign and hadn’t understood. I went to find him at the reception and he said ‘I didn’t want to interrupt the line’. I asked if I could have the Host from his pocket, I made a quick act of adoration and contrition and I ate it, despite being at that time not fit to receive. It seemed the lesser of two evils, and certainly that was my intent. I believe that under the circumstances, it was valid to consume the Host (although I am not sure).  [I think she did the right thing in that case.] One day I hope to do so again. But I understand that the Church, while it strives to emphasise mercy, cannot do so by encouraging sin. Communion is not, as the Tablet journalist I Twitter-debated this with said, just ‘for the saints’, that is true. But nor is it, as he put it, ‘a help for the journey.’ It is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. However unfashionable that may be, it remains true.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 4 October 2014

Fr. Z kudos.

Posted in HONORED GUESTS, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is a priest necessary for a burial?

From a reader…


When my Dad died in August we had his funeral mass. He requested cremation and he was cremated following the funeral mass.

With the process of interment in a national cemetery (he had served in the Air Force), we had to schedule a time with the cemetery when my out of town brother can be here. It is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving.

My Mom (also Catholic) is not planning to have a priest for this. I think this is mostly related to shoddy treatment they received from their pastor. Is it necessary to have a priest there?

I know there would normally be graveside prayers.


The Praenotanda (explanatory section) of the Order of Christian Funerals says that “When no priest or deacon is available for the vigil and related rites, or the rite of committal, a layperson presides.”  In the older, traditional rite, clerics handle things.

There are prayers that are to be said at the graveside, which include the blessing of the grave itself if interment is not in a Catholic cemetery which has already been blessed. Though the rite is unclear (… and aren’t they all nowadays? …) it seems that this blessing, if it is to be considered a constitutive blessing, would need to be done by a priest or deacon.

Can the rites of committal be done by a layperson? Sure, if there isn’t a priest or deacon available. The Church is mindful of the reality that, around the world, many people only have access to a priest once a month, if that often. Sometimes they have to bury their dead without the consoling presence of a priest. Thankfully, in these United States, even with a declining number of priests at present, there is an abundance of priests compared to some part of the world.

Arguments and spats happen with priests.

Sometimes, the priest is at fault.

Some priests can be unpleasant. Some laypeople can be unpleasant too.

It would be a shame … no… it would be a really bad idea to deprive yourself and your late father of the priestly ministry of the Church because of an argument with some priest – even if he was totally to blame.  If the wounds of the argument are still too raw with that particular priest, contact another parish or ask the funeral director for advice.   Funeral directors often know retired priests or priests with non-parochial ministry who can be called on to help out in situations like this.  They are also among the world’s best diplomats.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, De Novissimis: Four Last Things | Tagged , , | 4 Comments