‘They’ll lynch us!’, Catholics beg for assistance in evicting illegal migrants

A dire notes as the year begins.

First, from Express about Catholics under siege at a parish near Milan.

‘They’ll LYNCH us!’ Church PLEADS with police for assistance in evicting migrants

A CHRISTIAN priest has pleaded for help in evicting a group of migrants squatting in a nearby building – with the church warning “we can’t wait for them to come and lynch us”.

They said the group of “North Africans” were chasing church-goers, scaring children and putting the area “under siege”.

They also said a collection box at the church in Italy had been forced open – sparking a furious reaction from Father Francesco Inversini.

He said the migrants, sheltering in a building near the church of Cristo Re in Milan were “free to do” anything.

The church’s administrator, who only wanted to be identified as Tommasso for fear of reprisals, went further.

He warned the migrants were part of an ongoing crime spree in the area – and claimed the church’s staff could be lynched if police do not do anything.

Tommasso said: “I do not say my name because those guys can kill me, but here, parents and parishioners are angry.


There’s some video.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
Martyrs of Otranto, pray for us.
Our Lady of Victor, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Posted in The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Your Good News

Let’s start out the year with your good news, your good hopes for this new year of salvation.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 13 Comments

Fr. Z’s Predictions for 2017

Right out of the gate this year!

  1. ObamaCare (aka “Affordable” Care Act) will be repealed.
  2. Construction will begin on The Wall.
  3. Pres. Trump’s first international trip will be to Jerusalem.
  4. Pres. Trump will appoint two Justices to the Supreme Court.
  5. Pope Francis will not respond to the Dubia and will, in fact, double down.
  6. Card. Burke will emerge unscathed from the Knights of Malta  controversy.
  7. Curial reform will still not make significant progress.
  8. The number of places in which Extraordinary Form (TLM) Masses are offered will continue to grow.
  9. Applications to seminaries will continue to drop.
  10. Fr. Z will still not be a Monsignor.

How did I do last year?  HERE

1. Francis will still be Pope. [+1]
2. Pres. Obama will continue to trample on the US Constitution. [+1]
3. The Holy Year of Mercy will be under-observed. [+1]
4. Applications to seminaries will drop. [+1]
5. Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee. [+1]
6. Controversy will continue to surround the Synod of Bishops when
priesthood is discussed. [-1]
7. Curial reform will not make significant progress. [+1]
8. The number of places in which Extraordinary Form (TLM) Masses are
offered will continue to grow. [+1]
9. Former-Father Greg Reynolds will still be excommunicated. [+1]
10. Fr. Z will still not be a Monsignor. [+1]

Posted in Lighter fare, Linking Back | Tagged , | 31 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Obligation?

Let us know.

For my part, for the Extraordinary Form (it isn’t the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God), on this Octave of Christmas (olim Feast of the Circumcision) I spoke about Anna the Prophetess who appears in Luke 2. As we look to a new year, full of hope, we don’t know what will happen.  Anna was a widow of 80+ years, and so she was either 84 when the little Lord was brought to the temple or 105 or so.  Life threw her a curve.  We make plans but we don’t know what will happen.  God disposes our lives and He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Anna persevered in prayer and service in the temple.  She is our good example.  We must take care of our temples, keeping them pure, in good order, improving always and full of prayer: the temple that is our church, the family home and our soul, temple of the Holy Spirit.  During the rest of the Christmas cycle through Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of Mary, remember Anna and how she persevered.  She was there when the Lord came to the Temple on that 40th day after Christmas.,  After she had made her plan, God put her on a new course.  Take stock of your situation now, in your church, your home and your soul for the next month, to determine their purity, good order, how they are to be improved.  Ask Anna to intercede with God to help you take stock as this new year of salvation begins.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 13 Comments

Thank you, dear readers. Mass for Benefactors

From the bottom of my beady black heart, I send out thanks to all of you readers for your many acts of kindness and your attention over the last year.

Let’s all pray that this next year of salvation, 2017, will be filled with many benefits and graces.

FYI… on 6 January in the evening I will celebrate a SOLEMN Mass for Epiphany and I will offer the Mass for the intention of benefactors, all you who have donated to me and to the vestment projects of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison, as dear to me as personal projects, and to those who have sent objects from my wish lists.  It is my duty and pleasure to pray for benefactors.

BTW… it is your last day of the calendar year to make a tax deductible donation to the vestment project!  HERE

Meanwhile, please continue to keep me in your prayers as I will you.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Comments Off on Thank you, dear readers. Mass for Benefactors

31 Dec & 1 Jan: Plenary Indulgences!

Today, the last day of the year, you have an opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, by taking part in the recitation or singing of the Te Deum in a church or oratory.

Tomorrow, 1 January, you can obtain a plenary indulgence by taking part in the singing or recitation of the Veni Creator Spiritus.

I recommend warmly that you review and excellent post by my friend Fr. Tim Finigan, the parish priest in marvelous Margate, about obtaining indulgences.  HERE

Tomorrow, we will sing the Veni Creator immediately after Mass.

Every year we need the Holy Spirit’s guidance… but this year?  Whew.



Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, GO TO CONFESSION | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

CQ CQ CQ – #HamRadio Saturday : Vatican

Ham Radio Father church antennaI haven’t posted about Ham Radio lately. I haven’t been active. I have no “shack” at the moment here in the Cupboard Under the Stairs. (No bird feeders, either… though I do have a stove, now. That’s something.) However, I had an evening with my local Elmer which was very pleasant. He had some great keys, which has made me get motivated again. I can at least work on Morse Code. I still must figure out how to get an antenna up. There was a plan, and then God, through weather, took out my target tree just as I gathered the necessary parts. Grrrr. A dramatic example of Zuhlsdorf’s Law.

Speaking of things radio, here is a sad story from CWN:

Vatican Radio ending independent operation

December 30, 2016
Vatican Radio will end more than 80 years of independent existence on December 31, 2016, being absorbed into the new Secretariat for Communications.

Broadcasting programs will continue—at least for the near-term future—but Vatican Radio will no longer have its own corporate identity. Ironically the radio station, which has always been operated by a Jesuit administrator, will disappear during the reign of the first Jesuit Pope.

Founded in 1931 by Guglielmo Marconi, Vatican Radio today employs more than 200 people, providing content in many different languages. However, with the reform of Vatican communications operations, Msgr. Dario Vigano has indicated that he plans to pare down short-wave radio operations. The broadcasts are seen as an inefficient use of limited Vatican financial resources; Vatican Radio has been losing between €20 and €30 million annually.

It is sad. But Vatican communications are, frankly, a massive goat rodeo. Something has to be done to get the act together. Is this the right move? I doubt it. They are thinking about money, not about people who have access to radios but not internet.

Finally, remember that one of our readers here has made his Echolink node available to us: 554286 – WB0YLE-R  (Thanks!) Remember: You must be licensed to use Echolink. BTW… there is a great iPhone app for Echolink. I can see quite a few hams using that method to connect.  The ECHOLINK node number for W9FRZ is now 225022.

I created a page for the List of YOUR callsigns.  HERE  Chime in or drop me a note if your call doesn’t appear in the list.



Posted in Ham Radio | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Penance and Epiphany on Friday: Wherein Fr. Z rants

I had a note about the obligation to do Friday penance (usually through abstinence) on the Friday in the Octave of Christmas. HERE. Yes, we were obliged to do penance… except where we weren’t.  The reason is that the days of the Christmas Octave are Feasts and not Solemnities (as they are during the Easter Octave). In an twist of irony one must still do Friday penance on Feasts.

In any event, a priest friend in England sent me this:


I love that.  The bishops moved the obligation to participate at Mass on Epiphany to Sunday… in itself a day of obligation.

So, in the Novus Ordo calendar, Epiphany, one of the most ancient feasts Holy Mother Church has celebrated in both East and West since her earliest centuries, one of the most significant and liturgically supercharged we have, one of the most beautiful and theologically rich, which has always fallen on the twelfth day after the Nativity of the Lord (which was a lesser feast in days of yore), so fixed in the calendar that it was known as Twelfth Night, is cavalierly shifted to the Sunday… thus eliminating it from the minds and hearts of most Catholics, denying them the opportunity and the need to take stock of how they live their Faith on days other than Sunday, and weakening by that much more our Catholic identity.

And to think that bishops do this.  Bishops.

Is it any wonder that….


His dictis, start thinking about how you might observe Epiphany… including going to Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, which honors the mysteries of the Lord’s divine manifestation on 6 January.

Eastern Catholics have some lovely customs.

In the Latin West, on the Vigil of Epiphany, Epiphany Water may be blessed.  We can blessed frankincense (I bought 10 bags against the day), gold (I didn’t buy so much of that, but I hope you will send me a lot), and chalk, for the use in the special blessing of houses and dwellings.  Also, on Epiphany there is the Noveritis (“Let y’all know”), the liturgical proclamation of the movable feasts, especially Easter, for the year.

Let’s have a look at an seasonally appropriate image by the mighty Giotto.

What do you see?


This hails from about 1320.  It’s a panel from a series on the life of Christ. Note the three defined levels. Angels hover, and one of the shepherds – and his dog – are listening to the message. (I wonder if the angel is telling the shepherd to “Shut up with the bagpipe, already!) Another angel hangs out on the roof to adore the Word made flesh. The panel must have been cut at the top, because angels are doing something with something above. The stable is articulated, with good perspective. And there’s the star. It has a little tail, like a comet, so we can tell that it’s been moving around and guiding the Magi. The moment is not static. It is an action shot. The foremost king, has handed off his gift to Joseph. And, crown off – BAM- he kneels, starting the ram. He is in the enraptured act of of picking up the Child. His eyes are rivited. Mary looks to Joseph with clear concern on her face. Joseph, gift in his far, left hand, extends his right hand as if to say, “Hey, wait a second!” The second king, who has gifts in each hand, has cocked is head at the act of his colleague: “Whoa!”

On second thought, perhaps Mary’s furrowed brow and body tension is due to that damn bagpipe, which is pointed right at her.

No, she’s worried about the Child and that bizarre guy whose grabbing Him out of the manger.


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 18 Comments

ASK FATHER: Which superhero would you be?

From a reader… some lighter fare.


Sometimes I see faithful, traditional priests as heroes. That word might be overused today, but that’s how I see it. They work in obscurity and take a lot of hard knocks and keep going. Then there are the priests who are not invisible but are very visible and take tremendous beatings and risks to defend the Church’s teaching and traditions. You guys are like superheroes.

So, which superhero would you be like if you could choose?

Amusing.  Okay, I’ll bite.

When I was really young I ran down the sidewalk with a red cape. That might be a hint.

On a more serious note, I can’t remember where or when it was but someone once told me that I was like “a cross between Kung Fu Panda and Wolverine.”

I’m trying to envision that as I type.

Yep… that works.

Some might think that my superpower is the ability to irritate even the most unflappable. While I can roll with that, my other superpowers seem to be the uncanny ability to find really good 小籠饅頭 as well as to rip liberals to shreds.

Here is shot from my last trip to NYC… just to prove my point.

xiao long bao


I might seem to the average reader as a – how does Rush put it? – “a harmless, lovable little fuzz-ball” but I assure you that this is not the case. In the presence of heterodoxy I transform. In one moment I am a cheerful cleric and then – BAM! – I am transformed into The Meanest Priest In The Entire World. As a matter of fact, I have said that in sermons – especially those that touch on moral issues. I say it straight out: “I’m generally recognized as The Meanest Priest In The Entire World”. Once that is established, I speak my piece, and that piece usually involves the words “Wrong”, “Evil”, “Sin, and “Hell”, spiced up with with sprinklings of “No” and “Can’t”.

Jeff Cooper said, “A gun that is ‘perfectly safe’ is perfectly useless.” That applies to priests too, I think. Especially today. If all we do is affirm you in whatever the hell state of mortal sin or delusion you are living in, then we are useless – no, rather, we do great harm! And we are going to go to Hell for being feckless wastes of time who let souls who could have been helped to heaven slip down to the other place. Sometimes, dear questioner, we have to get up in your face and use the word “No”.

In any event, I am not a tame priest and this blog is not a “safe space”.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Lighter fare | 18 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can priests say the “Tridentine Mass” alone, without a server?

Mass-Holy-Card-with-AngelFrom a priest…


I know that Canon Law currently permits, although discourages, a priest to say a Mass alone (i.e. without server or faithful). I’ve heard that previously, it was forbidden under penalty of mortal sin to say Mass alone. I’m not sure about the relation between the new Code of Canon Law and Mass in the Extraordinary Form. If a priest has just reason, is he now permitted to say Mass in the Extraordinary form alone? I’m currently a transitional deacon who hopes to say the EF, but may not have the opportunity to do so publicly too much. If possible, I would occasionally say it in private to become more comfortable with it until the time comes when I can say it publicly.

Thanks for asking.

Yes, Father, you can say Mass in the Extraordinary Form alone, that is, even without a server.  It is not a sin.  Sometimes we make a distinction between Mass sine populo (which has a server but no congregation) and the Missa solitaria (which means you are on your own).

The Code of Canon Law can. 906 says that priests can say the Missa solitaria for a just reason.

“Can. 906 – A priest may not celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.”

Can. 904 urges priests to say Mass daily.  So, desiring to take that canon seriously is enough of a reason to say the Missa solitaria.  It is enough of a just reason to desire to say Mass for the good of souls for whom they are celebrated.   It is a good enough reason if you simply want to say Mass, as the priest/victim that you are as alter Christus at the altar which is Calvary.

If you are by yourself, there are a few things to attend to on your own.

First, you make your own responses.  However, during the prayers at the foot of the altar you don’t do the Confiteor twice.  Do it once and leave out “vobis, fratres… vos, fratres”.  You are not talking to other people, after all.  In the absolution change misereatur vobis  to nobis.   In response to your own Orate, fratres, say manibus meis.

You have to move the book yourself to the Gospel side.  Don’t genuflect at the middle, but bow your head.  Then I go back to the center for the prayers as usual.  Take the stand with you at the end for the Communion antiphon.   Before Mass, pour a little (unblessed) water into the ablution bowl for your Lavabo so it will be there for you when you need it.  As far as turning around for Dominus vobiscum… which you should not change… turn around for it or not, as you please.  If you are just learning the Mass, then turn around so you can learn to do it correctly.

Force yourself not to rush or to cut corners.

Remember, you are never truly alone when you say Mass.

You are thronged about with myriad upon myriad of Holy Angels.  Your Mother, Queen of Priests, attends.  The saints gaze.  The Poor Souls hang upon your every word and gesture.

mass saints and angels

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 17 Comments

WDTPRS – 30 Dec – Holy Family: Pray that God might be appeased.

Through an oddity of the calendar, and because the great feasts of the season line up on Sundays, today is the Feast of the Holy Family… in the Novus Ordo reckoning.  In the traditional calendar, the Feast of the Holy Family will be celebrated on Sunday, 8 January.

murillo heavenly earthly trinitiesOur liturgical, seasonal context is Octave of the Nativity of the Lord.  An “octave” is a period of eight days when liturgical time is suspended during an octave and the feast continues uninterrupted.  In imitation of creation and the final summation of the universe at the end of all things, we rest within the Christmas mystery and consider it from different angles in our liturgical worship.

God in His divinity came to light as our brother in our humanity.  He came to save us from our sins and reveal us more fully to ourselves (cf Gaudium et spes 22).

When He came in His first coming, He came to be a part of a human family.

In the infant Christ, with Mary and Joseph humbly and protectively bent over Him, we see who we really are more fully than ever we could before His birth.

The presence of Christ in the midst of His Holy Family is an icon of how He should be present in the midst of every family.

That is how important a family is.

That is also why the powers of Hell will attack the very concept of the family at its roots.

Hell will attack the family and its members, destabilize it, even while drowning Holy Church’s defending and clarifying voice in the public square.  When we detect the malodorous fruits of Hell in society, we know the family is on its heals.

Here is the Super oblata, the Prayer over the Offerings, for Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form:

Hostiam tibi placationis offerimus, Domine, suppliciter deprecantes, ut, Deiparae virginis beatique Ioseph interveniente suffragio, familias nostras in tua gratia firmiter et pace constituas.

Deprecor, by the way, is not just “to pray”, but “to pray earnestly.”

This Super oblata is essentially the same as the Secret of the Mass of the Holy Family found in the older form of the Missale Romanum though the word order has been changed a bit since 1962.

One might at this point ask, “Why change it around like at all?”  Partly for style, partly for emphases.


We offer Thee this sacrifice of appeasement, O Lord, humbly bent down in earnest prayer, so that, as the recommendation of the virgin Mother of God and of blessed Joseph intervenes, you may establish our families firmly in Thy grace and peace.

In my way of thinking, this oration – in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which Satan and the fallen hordes hate and undermine with relentless attacks – grounds the family in Christ’s self-oblation on the Cross.

“But Father! But Father!” some of you are beefing, “Appeasement? Pfft. You are an ignorant troglodyte.  You said that this prayer grounds the family in the Cross, but – HAH! HAH! – the Cross isn’t mentioned the prayer!  We are now an Easter People guided by the Spirit of the Council.  We want the happy image of rising, not all your dark pessimism.  You throwbacks put the Cross into everything and put it in front altars and stuff because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

Libs.  Sheesh.  Okay… do your best to follow.   That placatio means “a pacifying, appeasing, propitiating”.   Propitiation… appeasement… because of our sins… Sacrifice… Cross….   Get it now?  I know that most of those words are foreign to you.

As the family in general goes, so goes society.

It is fitting that we should use the language of appeasement in begging Him to form and shape our families.

What do we find as we look around today?

Legal abortion, growing legalization of euthanasia, same-sex marriages, high divorce rates, young women disposing of newborn infants in garbage cans, scientific experimentation on living human beings, experiments in cloning, the distortion of physical, sexual differentiation in favor of post-modern, deconstructed, personally, selfishly chosen “gender” , same-sex “marriage”.

The concept of the family is breaking to pieces.

We even have a weakening of the concept of the indissolubility of marriage in the minds of many within the Church today because of the objective lack of clarity in a papal document!

Sometimes it is said that if God does not strike our society down, then He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.  His image and likeness is being profaned now in more horrible ways than those ancient sinners could have and on a scale that they wouldn’t have been able to conjure.

In his annual address the Roman Curia in 2012, Pope Benedict said:

Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. … [F]rom being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. [And to dispose of.] When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.


We offer you, Lord, the sacrifice of conciliation, humbly asking that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and Saint Joseph, you may establish our families firmly in your grace and your peace.

Pray that God might be appeased.

Get on your knees and beg God to forgive us all, to guide and enlighten those whose influence might start to set the ship back on course. Do penance for their sins of commission and omission in defense of marriage and the family as well as your own.

Posted in "But Father! But Father!", Christmas and Epiphany, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle, WDTPRS | Tagged | 3 Comments

NLM: Four Bloggers Submit Dubium to Eye of the Tiber Concerning Its Status as Satire

As seen on NLM:

Four Bloggers Submit Dubium to Eye of the Tiber Concerning Its Status as Satire

Four prominent members of the Catholic blogosphere – Fr John Zuhsldorf of Fr Z’s Blog (formerly called “What Does the Prayer Really Say?”), canonist Dr Edward Peters, author of the blog In the Light of the Law, Amy Welborn of Charlotte Was Both, and Matthew Archbold of Creative Minority Report – have presented a formal request to S.C. Naoum, the author of the blog Eye of the Tiber, asking him to clarify whether the items which he posts are in fact satirical.

Although EOTT is thought by many to be a purely humorous website, it has long suffered from what is sometimes known as an “Onion problem.” This term derives from the website The Onion, (which bills itself as America’s Finest News Source,) many of whose articles have been mistaken for true news stories over the years; this has happened so often, in fact, that the Wikipedia article about The Onion has a whole subsection dedicated to the occasions on which its articles have been mistaken for actual news.

Even on its own website, EOTT says “We are proud to have recently been nominated for Best Catholic News Satire, narrowly losing out to the National Catholic Reporter, [aka Fishwrap] proving thus that, more trusted Catholic news sources aside, Eye of the Tiber is your most trusted Catholic news source.” “The confusion runs deep here,” noted Fr Z. “NCRep. (a.k.a. ‘The Fishwrap’) is the most self-serious publication outside all of Christendom. How are we supposed to take this?”

The Catholic blogosphere doesn’t get better than that.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Lighter fare | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Merenda Time!

It’s mid-afternoon coffee time.

How is your supply?


You know what to do.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 1 Comment

29 Dec – St. David: Musical Poet King, Old Testament Prophet, Forerunner of Christ

Holy Church considers many Old Testament figures to be saints.

Today when you open your trusty copy of the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum you will find, just below the St. Thomas Becket, this interesting entry:

2. Commemoratio sancti David, regis et prophetae, qu, filius Iesse Bethlehemitae, gratiam invenit ante Deum et oleo sancto a Samuele propheta unctus est, ut populum Israel regeret; in civitatem Ierusalem Arcam foederis Domini transtulit ac Dominus ipse mox ei iuravit semen eius in aeternum mansurum esse, eo quod ex ipso Iesus Christus secundum carnem nasciturus esset.

You readers can come up with your renderings of the Latin original, either in a smoother version or perhaps in a slavishly literal way.

Changing tracks slightly, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art there  is a series of paintings of Old Testament figures, including King David.  These are elements from an altar piece by Florentine painter Lorenzo Monaco (known also as Piero di Giovanni +1422).

Moses is at the top left.  Next to him is Abraham.  Below him on the bottom right is Noah with his ark.

By thy way, since I took that photo, the paintings have been rearranged… in case you go looking.

Here is David, holding a psaltery.  Greek ψάλλω…psallo means “to pluck”.   While there are also bowed psaltery, this one is plucked by the fingers rather than bowed or struck with a pick or plectrum.

When you get the audio guide at the Met and listen to experts talk about the works, sometimes you get a sample of period music.  In this case, you get to hear some music played on a psaltery.

I dug around a bit and found some psaltery music on Youtube and elsewhere.

You can hear, below, a sample of bowed psaltery together with a small harp, also appropriate to David, as well as plucked psaltery in two versions of a Medieval Lament for Tristan, which would have been in vogue at the time the painter was working on the altar piece.

Listen as you do your translation!

Also, here again is Tristan’s Lament.

And, just for fun… here is another image of a psaltery bunny from a late 13th c. French manuscript. He even had the audience moved to sorrow.


Posted in Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: Friday penance, abstinence during the Octave of Christmas

florentine steakFrom a reader… already…

Is Friday, December 30, a Meat Friday since it falls within the Octave of Christmas?

It is good to see that someone is planning ahead.  As I write we are a fortnight from the day in question.  Ergo, none of you will need to be confused about what’s what on 30 December 2016.

Days (other than Sunday) within the Octave of Christmas are not “heavy enough” (as a “solemnity” would be) to “outweigh” the Friday obligation to do some sort of penance as determined by the conferences of bishops.

In the 1962 Missale Romanum they are “II class”, which corresponds to the newer, non-traditional calendar’s “feast”. In the 2001 Missale Romanum they are categorized as second class, as “feasts”, not as solemnities (as they are during the Octave of Easter).

If, however, you are at a parish named “Holy Innocents”, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents falls on the Friday, you might argue that it is greater due to it being the patronal feast of the parish.  [UPDATE: For more about England and Wales check Fr. Hunwicke’s post HERE.  He mentions exceptions for Boxing Day and, indeed, any Friday in the Christmas Octave.]

Bottom line, the Octave of Christmas does not have the “weight” of the Octave of Easter.  Easter Friday outweighs the penance thing, but Christmas Friday does not.

In any event, pay attention to can. 1251.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

And, you can ask your parish priest to dispense you or commute your act of penance.

Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor[parish priest] can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.

Members of religious communities and third orders should consult their own regulations and review to whom they turn for dispensations.

You can substitute another form of penance for abstaining from meat.  Make it penitential, however.  Abstinence from meat has good reasoning behind it.  For some, however, there abstinence from other things can be of greater spiritual effect.

That said, it seems to me that fasting and abstinence are pretty good penances/mortifications. Fasting is especially helpful.  Cutting back on the quantity of food you eat is something that can be done daily, so long as you do not endanger your health or ability to care for your family.

The Latin Fathers, such as Leo the Great, attached almsgiving to fasting. Fasting wasn’t just about fasting. It was about then giving the money saved to the poor.  Picture yourself going to purchase your fresh food each day since there wasn’t refrigeration.  Instead of buying the food, you gave the money to the poor.  With a little thought, the same could be done now, right?

Thus, though we are always called to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy, our penances can be more significant if we attach works of mercy to them.

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