ASK FATHER: “The Body of ‘grace’”?

From a reader…


I am distressed. I went to mass today and received, as the priest said over and over, “the body of grace.” Don’t get me wrong, I love grace, but I was expecting the body of Christ. Is this wording approved? BTW, anticipating his word “grace” I openly said “Christ,” just as I was to receive. I worry about this and what it means for this priest. Should I be concerned?

Perhaps Father had just been to the dentist and was still recovering from Novocaine?

The text in the Novus Ordo Missal is pretty clear concerning what Father is to say and what you are to respond.

The priest says: The Body of Christ.  The communicant replies: Amen.

That’s it.  It isn’t hard, is it?  It isn’t complicated?  Why must priests make things up and cause such wonder among the faithful?

What is being distributed is not “the body of grace”.  It is “the Body of Christ”.  Grace and Christ are not to be reduced to each other.

Should you be concerned?  Not very much.  This is just something silly he doing.  He probably is doing this from mawkishness rather than malice.  He just mistakenly thinks that he is making the moment more meaningful.  I suspect he is of a certain age.

Or maybe it was just the Novocaine.

Someday, perhaps, asks him about it.  Smile when you do.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Anglicans have a home

Across the pond in Ol’ Blighty, the Church of England has approved female bishops.

This was inevitable.  The CofE is on the State’s leash and the State blows with (and creates) the wind of social changes, trends, fads, etc.

But wait, traditional Anglicans!  Don’t fret!

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Welby, was reassuring:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, pledged to ensure traditionalists with theological objections to women’s ministry would enjoy special provision in the church.

What will those provisions look like?  Will they have in their cathedrals, for example, different tabernacles? One tabernacle with their eucharist ”consecrated” by a “priest” “ordained” by a man, another with their eucharist ”consecrated” by a female “pryst”, and still another with their eucharist “consecrated” by a male “priest” “ordained” by a woman and then again a tabernacle with their eucharist “consecrated” by… wait… I’m getting confused…  a prystyss “ordained” by a wyshyp?  Then they can have different “communion” lines, too.  One for “communion” from a male “priest” “ordained” by a man, one with….

You get the idea.

How about this.

The Catholic Church already has special provisions for Anglicans.

We have the doors open to you and the lights are on.  You have a home.

But we don’t have – and never will have – women bishops, women priests, or women deacons.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Pope of Christian Unity | Tagged , , | 13 Comments


The other day I recommended Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism by Ronald Rychlak and Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa.

Now I want to recommend it warmly.  (UK link HERE)

Rychlak has written about the smearing of Pius XII (e.g., Hitler, the War, and the Pope).  He is a law professor who teaches about evidence.  In this book he teamed up with the guy who ran intelligence for Romanian despot and Soviet thug Nicolae Ceaucescu. Pacepa fled to the West when he was asked to start killing people. He is an expert on the Soviet technique of framing, disinformation, creating false narratives and history. The book exposes the Communist background of seemingly-benign organizations and explains the treatment received by Cardinals Stepinak, Mindszenty and Wysznski and, of course, Pius XII.

As I write, I have finished the section on the way the KGB and Communist agents worked to make sure that the disinformation play to smear Pius XII, The Deputy, was staged on Broadway.

There was a fascinating description of the involvement of the once-Catholic and future-Communist publication Ramparts.  I quote:

While it no longer claimed a Catholic identity, until at least 1969 Ramparts devoted special attention to the Catholic Church. According to former communist and onetime Ramparts editor Peter Collier, Hinckle encouraged articles on “the new spirit of dissent within the Catholic Church being.” Articles from this era opposed Church teaching on sexuality (especially Pope Paul VI’s teaching on birth control in Humanae Vitae), complained about abuse of authority by the Catholic hierarchy, and promoted leftist “liberation” theology. Ramparts religion editor James F. Colaianni identified priestly celibacy, authoritarianism, suppression of socially aware priests, lack of communication, absence of grievance procedures, and summary disciplinary actions as some of the greatest structural problems with the Church. (pp. 145-146 Kindle).

Sound familiar?

This book is a real eye-opener.  The deep connections of one well-known name and publication and organization after another with the KGB and other Communist block intelligence agencies are amazing.  Their methods of infiltration and distortion of truth are astonishing.

You can see how the Left has worked for decades, and how the catholic Left has been influenced.

Need a Kindle?




Posted in REVIEWS, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

“If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” JOY and YOU.

I saw this at ITS TACTICAL but I think it comes from the always interesting The Art of Manliness:

It’s the 1970s. A 30-something man makes his way across the Golden Gate Bridge. He’s passed by pedestrians and cyclists, and steps around tourists taking pictures of Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the channel of water below that runs between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He gazes up at the reddish-orange towers soaring above, and then climbs over the bridge’s four-foot safety railing. He steps out onto a 32-inch wide beam known as “the chord,” pauses, takes one last long look out at the bay, and then jumps. His body plummets 220 feet and violently hits the water at 75 mph. The impact breaks his ribs, snaps his vertebrae, and pulverizes his internal organs and brain. The Coast Guard soon arrives to recover his limp, lifeless body.

When the medical examiner later located and searched the jumper’s sparse apartment, he found a note the man had written and left on his bureau. It read:

“I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”


Food for thought, folks.

I am reminded that Joy – Gaudium or Chara is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t think we have to walk around grinning like idiots.  After all, risus abundant in ore stultorum, and that goes for grins, too, and not just laughter.  You just don’t know what may be the impact of small gestures of basic human kindness.

There is a lot more in that entry, which you can read there.   And while you are there, check out the previous entry which shows you how to Samurai armor knots – Agemaki or Dragonfly knots – on your own MOLLE plate carrier!  Step by step instructions with video.  Rather cool.

I wonder if I could get a cassock with MOLLE … hmmmm…. maybe a black plate carrier over the cassock?  MOLLE biretta?  No… not practical.  Still…

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Religious Freedom under attack in the US Senate – URGENT

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the Hobby Lobby case, some members of Congress are trying an end around to undermine our religious freedom.

YOU need to get involved with this one.  YOU need to pick up your phone and call your senators or write an email.  Concrete helpful info and links, below.

Here is the USCCB’s explanation:

Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori To Senate: Oppose Bill That Attacks Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON—In a letter sent July 14 to all U.S. Senators, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore stated their “strong opposition to the misnamed ‘Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014’ (S. 2578).” Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Lori chair the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively.

“Though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” they wrote.

The two bishops identified several areas of concern with the bill, including its unprecedented curtailment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993; its potential for overriding other federal conscience protections, including the Hyde-Weldon amendment on abortion; its application to coverage mandates beyond the HHS contraceptive mandate; its application to employers beyond for-profit businesses; and its denial of religious freedom for employees and their minor dependents, not just employers.

“In short, the bill does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty. Indeed, if it were to pass, it would call that commitment into question. Nor does it show a genuine commitment to expanded health coverage, as it would pressure many Americans of faith to stop providing or purchasing health coverage altogether. We oppose the bill and urge you to reject it,” they wrote.

Full text of the letter is available online HERE.

More HERE.


Recommended Actions:

  • Send e-mails through NCHLA’s Action Center. Click HERE.
  • Contact your Senators by phone. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call Senators’ local offices. Full contact info is on Senators’ web sites at:

Suggested Message: “Please vote against the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578). This misnamed measure would revoke conscience rights now guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal laws. In the future it could empower federal officials to mandate abortion or any other item in all health plans, forcing Americans to violate their deeply held religious and moral beliefs on respect for human life.”

When: The Senate may vote as early as the week of July 14. Please contact your Senators today!


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 31 Comments

Traditional young Catholics’ groups are spreading quickly

I saw at Aleteia a story about the great traditional young people’s group Juventutem (which has that unfortunate “J”).  The undersigned is mentioned, but that is not the important issue.  What is important is the growth of chapters of this fine group.

What On Earth Is Juventutem and Why Is it Spreading So Fast?
While one foiled Black Mass at Harvard grabs all the headlines, young Catholics at Harvard (and in Chicago, Miami, DC, Michigan and beyond) have been busy introducing thousands to the Traditional Latin Mass.

They are a young organization of young people and growing super-fast. The first American chapter of Juventutem began in Michigan in 2012, and since then 11 additional chapters have been formed all over the United States.

A big highlight in their short history so far has been a Solemn High Mass in Boston in the Spring of 2013, celebrated by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Over 200 people attended this first “TLM” in decades, illuminated by the artistry of the Choir of St. Paul—boys from the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School—and a professional male schola, which sang beautiful Renaissance polyphony by Victoria and Palestrina.

If Juventutem has their way, such beauty is just the harbinger of things to come. Recently, four members—three Harvard students and one alum—sat down with Regina Magazine to tell us about Juventutem in the United States. Jim McGlone is a History major from New Jersey. Evan O’Dorney is studying mathematics; he’s originally from the San Francisco Bay area. Eileen Macron is a freshman from Staten Island, New York. Finally, Paul Schultz is a Harvard alum and a lawyer who is the Group Coordinator of the Michigan chapter of Juventutem and the Secretary of the Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem.


Read the rest there.

As an aside, I know of Knights of Columbus councils which are either going wholly traditional for their Masses or which are being formed with tradition in mind.

Brick by brick.

Posted in Brick by Brick, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

The Wrong Stuff: Anglicans on the course of self-destruction.

One of our frequent commentators here sent me this (appetite spoiling) photo with this:

The Right Stuff? (Remember the scene with the 7 astronauts in space suits?

Get a load of these photos of “clergy” arriving for vote on wymen bishops:

From the Daily Mail:


A senior Church of England bishop has appealed to traditionalists not to defy the overwhelming majority of ordinary churchgoers by voting down legislation to introduce women bishops, as a key meeting of the General Synod got under way.
Bishop of Rochester the Rt Rev James Langstaff warned the governing body of the consequences for the morale of the Church of England if a plan to introduce women bishops is defeated for the second time.
“The Church of England has spoken very clearly through the voting of the diocesan synods and we today have, I believe, a responsibility to show that we have listened,” he said.

“Wherever each of us stands on the spectrum of views, I want to suggest today that we have a responsibility to be guided, yes, by what we ourselves think, but also by what we assess to be the settled view of the great majority within the Church of England.”  [Go ahead and go with the majority view!  Sounds like the perfect place for the Fishwrap, The Pill, the LCWR...]
In his address at York University, Bishop Langstaff said he respected the views of opponents of women bishops who felt they had no option but to vote against the legislation. But he hoped other opponents might choose to abstain from the vote.
His remarks were made as the Church of England faced a knife-edge vote on giving final approval for the legislation, which requires a two-thirds majority in each of the houses of bishops, clergy and laity. [As soon as they start with the women, they ought also to issue their document Romanorum coetibus.]
The plan collapsed in November 2012 after it was derailed by just six votes cast by lay members, causing shock and bitter recriminations within the Church of England and prompting threats of an intervention by Parliament.

Remember: The Church of England is tied to the state.  Therefore, it cannot not follow social trends.  The CofE is on a leash.

My response to their move for women bishops?

My CofE friends, don’t forget Anglicanorum coetibus.

They are self-destructing over there, which is fine by me.  I hope that all the more tradition-leaning Anglicans will swiftly enter the Catholic Church.  Yes, I’ll say it: I am hopeful that they will convert.

Finally, former-Father Greg Reynolds is still excommunicated and Benedict XVI is still the Pope of Christian Unity.

Posted in Dogs and Fleas, Liberals, Pope of Christian Unity | Tagged , , , , | 58 Comments

October Rome Pilgrimage – Summorum Pontificum

John Sonnen, who is from my native place, lived in Rome for a long time and was a tour guide there.  He is also staunchly traditional.  He now has a tour company that will be doing a pilgrimage to Rome in October (the best time of year in Rome, btw) to coincide with the annual Summorum Pontificum event, a Pontifical Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.  He sent me some details.  I’ll just include them as bullet points:

  • In conjunction with the 7th anniversary of SP.
  • 11-day itinerary.
  • All inclusive or land-only package.
  • Deadline for registration: August 1.
  • Deposit of $1,000 required to register.
  • This tour will not be repeated. Once in a lifetime.
  • Inclusions:
  • Round-trip air transportation from NYC to Rome – direct.
  • 9 nights accommodation at 4-Star Hotel Ponte Sisto, where the young Fr. Wojtyla stayed upon arrival in Rome in 1946. [Right next to the FSSP parish in Rome!]
  • All breakfasts, two lunches, and four exquisite Roman dinners served with local wine.
  • Complete sightseeing program which includes excellent local guides and tour escort.
  • Private guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
  • Private guided tour of the “Scavi” to explore the excavations below St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Private guided tour of the Catacomb of Priscilla, which contains the oldest known Marian paintings.
  • Private tour of ancient Rome to see Colosseum and Roman Forum.
  • Deluxe motor coach for airport transfers and sightseeing.
  • One day excursion to Orvieto to see the Eucharistic miracle of 1263, the “Corporal of Bolsena.”
  • Two opportunities to see the Pope: the papal General Audience on Wednesday and the traditional Sunday Angelus.
  • Daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees according to itinerary.

More info HERE

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Another German Abdication?

The best thing to come out of World Cup/Pope humor, from the often amusing Eye Of The Tiber:

Germany Abdicates World Cup Championship; Argentina To Assume Title

BRAZIL––The German National Team today stunned soccer fans across the globe with their announcement that they would abdicate the World Cup title, effective today. UEFA, the administrative body for association football in Europe and part of Asia, said today it has voted the largely unknown Argentinian National Team to assume the title of champions of the soccer world.

In a statement issued today, the German National Team wrote: “…in today’s game, subject to so many rapid changes on the pitch and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the beautiful game, in order to govern the bark of the World Cup and proclaim the goodness for beautiful game, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few quarters of play, has deteriorated in us to the extent that we have had to recognize our incapacity to adequately fulfill the duties necessary to being World Cup champions.”

The Argentinean Nation Team takes over title as UEFA is embroiled in a storm of controversy after accepting Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Moments after news broke that Argentina would be taking over as World Cup champions, soccer fans from the across the globe were enthusiastic about the news. One American soccer fan, Timothy Clark, told EOTT that it was a time for a change.

The old champions were not a good fit for today’s game. They didn’t allow soccer to evolve to today’s game. It seemed like they wanted to take game back to the early days of soccer. But the Argentinian team appears to be a champion for the people. They seem open to changes in the game. I really think they will open the door to female players in the near future.”

At press time, the Argentinian National team has told the press that “If a player wants to slap another player on the butt after a goal, who are we to judge.”


Posted in Lighter fare | 20 Comments

WDTPRS: 5th Sunday after Pentecost – In redeeming us, God does not unmake us.

Today’s prayer is at least as old as the Gelasian Sacramentary.  It has survived the post-Conciliar revisions to live again on the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The version in the Novus Ordo, however, adds a comma after ut.

COLLECT – (1962 Missale Romanum):
Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti,
infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum;
ut te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes,
promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.

The insuperable Lewis & Short Dictionary divulges that affectus means “a state of body, and especially of mind produced in one by some influence, a state or disposition of mind, affection, mood: love, desire, fondness, good?will, compassion, sympathy.”  An interesting verb is consequor which means among other things, “pursue, go after, attend, to follow” and also, “to follow a model, copy, obey”.  It conveys, “to follow a preceding cause as an effect, to ensue, result, to be the consequence, to arise or proceed from.”  I am choosing to say “attain.”

There are many words of loving and longing in today’s prayer.  We have diligo, amor, affectus and we have other tangential words like cor, desiderium, promissio.  Diligo is marvelous.  Initially it means, “to value or esteem highly, to love”.  It also carries the impact of “careful, assiduous, attentive, diligent, accurate”, as in our word “diligent”.  Desiderium is “a longing, ardent desire or wish, properly for something once possessed; grief, regret for the absence or loss of any thing [or person].”

O God, who prepares unseen goods for those loving You,
pour into our hearts the disposition of Your love,
so that we, loving You in all things and above all things,
may attain Your promises, which surpass every desire.

This Collect pulses with longing.  When this prayer is pronounced aloud, in Latin, my ears tune in to the connection between invisibilia at the beginning and promissiones at the end.

The concepts in the prayer are presented in a climactic order.  We have a necessary unspoken starting point, logically before the prayer begins: the ways we love on our own, previous to or apart from the new character of the baptized Christian.  This is “natural” love.  The first words of the prayer draw us beyond merely human forms of love.  Those natural loves are transformed with the help of God’s grace.  We ask God to pour into His manner of loving, charity, into our hearts.  It is not that we cannot love in a merely natural, human way.  We desire that how we love may be transformed, raised up.  As we know from our Catholic theological tradition, and it is almost an axiom, “gratia non destruit, sed supponit et perficit naturam… grace does not destroy, but rather supposes and perfects nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh la. 1.8.).   Our human nature was terribly wounded in the Fall from grace, but its essential goodness was not lost.  We can love in our fallen human way, but our loves can be disordered.  Grace builds on our nature, it perfects our way of loving in this life by aligning it with God’s love.

From this building up our our love in this world, then we aim in our prayer at the love awaiting us in heaven, a love beyond anything we experience in this life.  Heaven will complete our every hope and desire and surpass them.  That is how I connect invisibilia, “invisible things” and promissiones, “promises.”  We know they are there for us in heaven, but we cannot attain them yet.  We live in a state of “already but not yet” in regard to our participation in the Resurrection.  What awaits us after our entrance into the Beatific Vision is unimaginable.  We can only gasp and ache after it, long for the completion God promised.

So, I find in this Collect an ascent in and to true Love, indeed to Love personified.  But we should be wary of opposing too strongly natural and supernatural loves.

Human love, sometimes called eros, isn’t automatically contrary to “religious love”.  We are human beings, not angels.  We must avoid on the one hand the extreme of trying to profane what is supernatural by locking it into the finite, and on the other hand desiring only and purely supernatural love in this life, which would render us ineffective and powerless.  We find fulfillment of our good earthly loves in the perfect love which is only in God.  Grace builds on nature, it doesn’t destroy it.

Pope Benedict, in Deus caritas est  … God is love, his first encyclical signed on Christmas Day of 2005, reflects among other things on ancient, technical Greek terms for different kinds of love: eros and agapeEros and agape have different shades of meaning.  Agape is self-giving love.  Think of it in terms of “descending”, emptying oneself for the sake of giving to another. Eros (whence the word “erotic”) is a love which seeks to receive, to be filled from another. Think in terms of ascending, seeking to rise to fulfillment.

Both of these loves, eros and agape, are inherently good.  However, because of our fallen nature, eros can be corrupted to the disordered love of mere appetite or passion or grasping use, even in the sexual sense.  In a way, eros and agape are two dimensions of a complete love, which foresees and both giving and receiving.  Eros must be complemented with agape and elevated to the spiritual sense of Christian love, the Catholic sense of charity.  The proper integration of the love which is self-emptying and that which is self-fulfilling, which gives and which takes, comes from the infusion of God’s own love in grace.  There is a human dimension which is indispensible, but which can be complete only with God’s help.  God builds on our love, perfects it.

We therefore long for Love, we reach out to it, thirsting for its fullness, its completing, healing, transforming power.  As St. Augustine (+430) wrote in his Confessions, “our hearts are restless” until they come to their proper resting place, their fulfillment in God’s love.

In redeeming us, God does not unmake us.  He lifts up who and what we are and makes us whole again.  This is the promise which helps us live and hope in this vale of tears.  Think of the Preface for the Mass for Christmas, the day Pope Benedict signed Deus caritas est, the celebration of Love Incarnate:

“For through the mystery of the incarnate Word, the new light of Your glory dazzled the eyes of our mind, so that while we know God visibly, through Him we may be snatched up into invisible love… (in invisibilem amorem rapiamur).”

Richard of St. Victor said: “Love is the eye and to love is to see.”  Love is the key to seeing what, rather, the one who, is otherwise unseeable.  This kind of love, which seeks to give as well as to receive, which is raised to a new supernatural order by grace, also allows us to see what is loveable in our neighbor, despite our human frailty.


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