Disaster always happen to somebody else. Right?

BOBEvery once in a while I post about BOBs, “bug out bags”.  It’s time again.

I received a note:

Here in Sacramento, Ca and outlying areas are in danger of life threatening flooding. Nearly 200,000 have been evacuated from Yuba Co. Area. There has been a breach in the Oraville dam. Family and friends have already been evacuated.

We are surrounded by 2 major rivers along with other small rivers and lakes. Highway 50, up the hill 35+ miles east has been shut down indefinately due to mudslides.

Needless to say, we are in need of prayer and divine intervention! More rain expected this week for 9 days straight.

I remember your warning ( God did not promise it would not flood, etc. in your area) and am preparing bug out bags with all necessities!

All who reads this blog have different circumstances.  However, disasters can strike any where.   Don’t deceive yourselves that it can’t happen to you.  It always happens to someone else… until it’s your turn.  Surprise!

Ask people from Joplin, MO what can happen.

Fires, flood, earthquakes, angry ex-boyfriends or husbands, storms… there are various reasons why one might need to bug out, and fast.

You should have a plan.   Plan where you will go.  Have an emergency bag packed and easily accessible.   Keep it stocked and fresh.  Go through it periodically so that you know what is in it and you know how to use everything in it.  If you have a family or others who depend on you, work through the plan with them and even walk through it: where to meet, how to get home, how to get out of your home, where to go for safety in your home, etc.

Friends, you simply must make plans along these lines, especially if you are responsible for the well-being of others.  You need a PLAN.  That plan and its preparation should include drinkable water, food, proper clothing, transportation and a place to go.  Don’t forget your meds, comms and self-defense.  A good medical kit is a must.

Depending on where you live, some of you will need more gear for being out in the elements.  Some of you will need more urban stuff.  There are some pre-assembled bags available, such as this one.  I’m not saying “get this”. It is an example: HERE

Could you stop what you are doing, NOW!, grab a bag, and leave?  FAST!

I’ll bet quite a few of you readers have made at least basic preparations.  You may have “go bags” or “get home bags” or “bug out bags”.

It would be interesting to hear what you have done for BOBs or even your everyday carry items.  Others could benefit from ideas.

As a related side note: consider getting one or more UPS to protect your electronic stuff (US HERE – UK HERE).  I also have a Juicebox from Hardened Power Systems (tell them Fr. Z sent you).

Remember: It always happens to somebody else… until it happens to you.

And… the ultimate plan and preparation…


Posted in Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, TEOTWAWKI | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

It’s hard to find a purer liberal ideologue than this one.

Last night on FNC Tucker Carlson had an exemplary guest.  It is hard to find a purer ideologue, deeper into Leftist tactics than this one.   Watch this for a lesson in what we will see increase as the Left gets more and more hysterical, both in civic life and… alas… in the Church.

So, here is your homework for the day.  The event that sparked the interview was the protest at Berkeley (“free speech”, right?) against a speech by Milo Yiannopolous.

In civic, secular life the frenzy is building because of the defeat of their darling and the shift away from their pet policies, such as open borders.  Their strategies about being thwarted.  In the Church, libs sense that they have a shot at victory for their ultimate aims: the overturning of the Church’s doctrine on anything having to do with sexual acts of any kind (more “open borders”).  Their agents, within and without, use similar tactics: vilify opponents, blatantly lie, require all to deny reality, use violence.  In civic life, that violence will be physical violence.  In the Church it is more likely to be persecution of conservative and traditional clergy by bishops and the curia, egged on by the catholic media and donors.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liberals, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

13 Feb 2016: Justice Antonin Scalia – RIP – 1 year later

Today marks a year since we heard of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia at age 79.

Catholics traditionally pray in a special way on one month and one year mark after someone goes to God.

Pray for the Scalia family, remembering in a particular way our friend Fr. Paul Scalia.

Pray for these United States.


Posted in PRAYER REQUEST | Tagged | 7 Comments

Declaration of Council of 9 Cardinals: “adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium”

This is from the Bolletino:

Declaration of the Council of Cardinals, 13.02.2017

The Council of Cardinals began its eighteenth session today.

At the beginning, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2016, acknowledging his encouragement and guidance for the work of the Council.

In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals pledges its full support for the Pope’s work, assuring him at the same time of its adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium.

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New booklet by Cardinal asserted to be response to the Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals

Dali_The_Persistence_of_MemoryIn the shallow, liberal, Italian Catholic weekly Panorama we are informed about a booklet now out over the name of Card. Coccopalmerio, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.  It is ballyhooed as “the response” to the Five Dubia of the Four “intransigent” Cardinals, who are dissenters because they are defending doctrine.

Of course it can’t be that, can it?  The response to the Dubia should come from the Holy Father (to whom they were submitted) or from the CDF (whose Prefect has spoken unofficially about the issues but who hasn’t issued anything official).

Beware. When you read Panorama your IQ is likely to drop.  The use of verbs would help their writers come off as less smarmy.  But I digress.

Here is some of the piece in my fast translation.  My emphases  and comments.

In a little book on the reasons why the Church can’t turn back in the face of those who “are not in tune with Catholic doctrine”.

“Divorced and remarried, unmarried couples living together, are certainly not models of unions in harmony with Catholic doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way. For which reason the sacraments of reconciliation and of communion ought to be given also to so-called wounded families[a euphemism intended to arouse emotion rathe
r than thought, empathy rather than clarity]
and to those who even though living in situations not in line with the traditional canons on matrimony, express a sincere desire to draw closer to the sacraments after an adequate period of discernment.” [Not just “canons”.  They are not in line with Christ’s teaching either, or the perennial doctrine of the Church.]

17_02_13_panoramaThis is the pointed, calm and precise response that Pope Francis gives [Noooo…. Pope Francis didn’t give it.  The Cardinal did.  But this is what they want you to accept.] to those especially within the church and even in the College of Cardinals, who continue to express doubts about the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia in which, for the first time, there is foreseen the possibility of admitting to the sacraments those who contract a second marriage, unmarried couples living together and those people who live together in deformity with ecclesial directions in the matter of nuptial unions.

An indirect response, in any event, [See the slight of hand?] but [BUT!] the fruit of a deep canonical and ecclesiological study made, at the request of the same Pontiff, by one of the closest and most trusted collaborators, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (the “ministry” of justice of the Holy See).

The text – a booklet of only 30 pages entitled, “The 8th chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia” – was printed by the Vatican Press and on Wednesday 8 February arrived in religious bookstores which surround the Vatican.

The Doubts of the Four Cardinals

An initiative, they [the famous “they”] explained in the Vatican, that aims to “clarify” all the “doubts” raised by the most traditionalist elements bound with a vengeance [How mean!  How merciless!  How … mean!] to the defense of ecclesial doctrine in the matter of matrimonial life and of access to the sacraments.  [What sort of surreal, Dali-esque landscape has the Church become if those who defend doctrine are suddenly the dissenters?  Clocks are melting off the sides of tables.]


To all appearances, like a “normal” request for canonical clarifications, [This is more slight of hand: the Dubia ask for doctrinal clarifications, not just canonical.  So, the respose from an official of a canonical office isn’t going to take care of the doubts.] in reality a gesture of clear though polite disobedience on the part of four members of the College of Cardinals the organism which by its very nature is called to back up the reigning Pope in the governance of the Church.  [“Those dirty rotten mean old cardinals!  They are mean old meanies!”  (That’s the general level of the reader of Panorama, by the way.)]

It is normal that if a Cardinal feels the need to have clarifications on certain matters he can ask for them calmly – they assure us across the Tiber – in the course of personal audiences with the Pope. It is another thing to publish an open letter and bring up doubts and discontents in public opinion. A clearly offensive gesture toward the Pope almost completely like those which are used in interviews. As, for example, the German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did in recent days, who, in a newspaper, openly criticized admission to the sacraments of couples living together and the divorced and remarried because, he admonished, Doctrine “is to be left alone” (la Dottrina “non si tocca”).  [Do you see what they did?  They smear Müller in order to raise Coccopalmerio above him as an authority.  Thus the Doctrinal Cardinal is out and the Canonical Cardinal is in.]


This is another confusing puzzle piece to deal with.  It is confusing because it has the appearance of official approval (it was published by the Vatican Press), but it remains a non-response response to the Five Dubia.  That’s probably why the ad hominem attacks lace the Panorama piece.

In any event, we still – prayerfully and patiently – await greater clarity from some with the true authority to issue what are manifest and actual responses to the Dubia.  Or else… we await a statement that they are not going to be answered.

Clocks melting off the edges of tables.  Elephants on stilts.  This situation is getting really strange.

Temptation Of St Anthony Salvador Dali

The moderation queue is, of course, ON.

If you think about offering a comment, please don’t rave.  It does no good for anyone (including yourself) and it will do harm (including to me).  Think before posting.  This isn’t a liberal fever-swamp.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm | Tagged , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Ad Orientem News – A bishop opines

Francis_Ad_OrientemI had the pleasure of reading column by Bp. Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island. HERE

Keeping our Eyes on the Prize: Jesus

Let us keep our eyes fixed on

Jesus, the leader and perfecter of our faith. (Heb 12:2)


And St. John Paul offered this affirmation: “The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it, but also by praying before it outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the wellspring of grace.”

In short, praying before the Blessed Sacrament is an excellent way of nourishing our friendship with Christ.

That shouldn’t be surprising, though, for it’s only natural to look at the one to whom we’re speaking, isn’t it? It’s that same instinct, I think, that’s leading to a renewed appreciation of the celebration of the Mass ad orientem, that is, priest and people facing the Lord, instead of one another. Keep in mind, it is an approved liturgical option.

Turn Ad Orientem AgainCardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and champion of ad orientem worship, in a recent interview explained the need for “conversion,” a turning-around, this way: “The best way to celebrate, for priests and faithful, is turned together in the same direction – toward the Lord who comes. It’s to turn together toward the apse, which symbolizes the East, where the cross of the risen Lord is enthroned. By this manner of celebrating, we experience even in our bodies, the primacy of God and adoration.”

The orientation of the priest while celebrating Holy Mass is a fruitful discussion, one that we might explore at some point in the future.

But far more important than our physical posture is the openness of our minds and hearts; to remember that our prayer is the foundation of our faith and the key to spiritual growth. It is in prayer, after all, that we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.”

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Tobin.


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

REVIEW: The Nightingale – Wherein Fr. Z suggests good movies

I’m a fan of Chinese cinema. I’m sort of a fan of French cinema.  With the help of Netflix today, to the accompaniment of stir fried pork and vegetables I watched a Chinese-French film (in China, on Chinese themes, by a French director): The Nightingale or Le Promeneur d’oiseau or 夜莺 (yèyīng).  US HERE – UK HERE (French version)

The first adjective that leaps to mind is: gentle.  The next has to be: dreamy.

There are five broken people in the movie and one bird.  The bird being released from its cage is the symbol of their healing.  You’ll find quite a few layers.  The main action revolves around a man, estranged from his son whose marriage is falling apart, taking his rather bratty grand daughter from Beijing to his original tiny village where his wife is buried.  It is a common sight in China to see men walking about with bird cages.  This “walk”, however, involves this ancestral voyage to release the now elderly songbird, which had been a gift from his wife, at her grave.   The aging man and the young girl have adventures and come to know each.   I’ll stop there.  I don’t like spoilers.  The film is more complicated than the surface story suggests.

The filming is marvelous.  There is a mystical quality to it at times.   Themes common to Chinese movies, at least that I have observed, are explored: intergenerational relationships, father and son dynamics (rather different in Chinese culture, but universal nevertheless), the tension between the City and the Country and migration.

There are no explosions, car chases, gun fights or spaceships… all of which usually improve film.  There are no bad words or too much skin… which don’t.  There are, however, bamboo forests, a whistle, green and more green, and a cameo by a water buffalo.  It is lovely and patient and dream-like and gentle.

I will now watch something with space ships and death rays, but I am really glad I got this movie, which also demonstrated to me that my Chinese is slipping.  Time to brush it up.

A couple other beautiful Chinese movies for your delight, if you don’t know the genre.

Superb.  Visually gorgeous. By one of my favorite directors Zhang Yimou. I doubt you will last the last few minutes without choking up a little.  Again, we have the tension of tradition and the modern, what was lost and what must be recovered, the countryside versus the city.   Zhang, channeling his inner Vittorio De Sicca (director of the most depressing movie ever made), finds actors who aren’t actors, by the way.  They lend a special quality to the look and sound.


A young man from the country moves to the city to try to make his way.  His livelihood depends on the company’s bicycle which he works eventually to own.  The bicycle is his everything.  Then it is stolen.  He must get it back.  There are a few gut wrenching moments in this one.


The ultimate “If life gives you lemons” flick. A family survives one disaster after another bridging from the fall of the War Lord era, through the revolution, into the Great Leap Forward.  Each time they face catastrophe, it turns out that the previous catastrophe is what enables them to survive the next blow.  Their goal: simply to live, simply.  Acting: incomparable.  Again, Zhang Yimou.

US HERE – UK … might be hard…

Zhang strikes again.  Again with the intergeneration theme.  Again with the tension of the old ways versus modernity.  Again with the father and son dynamic.  The setting is a traditional men’s bathhouse in an old neighborhood of Beijing, dwindling in numbers, not yet demolished for modern buildings.  These bath houses were reference points for men.  They would meet friends, pass the day, converse, bring their special fighting crickets to compete, read, etc.  An aging man is running the place, just barely, and taking care also of his now adult mentally challenged son.  Here comes the older, first son, upwardly mobile, modern, yuppie, detached, conflicted.  Then the father dies and decisions have to be made.  The performance of Jiang Wu as the challenged son is incredible.  You also saw him in To Live (above).

Quite a few of Zhang Yimou’s movies have a quirky and light attitude.  Right up to the twist.


Ang Lee directs this, about an aging widower (again) with three unmarried daughters: perhaps the Chinese definition of that place between a rock and a hard spot.  He is a legendary chef (again with the tradition).  The daughters are firmly in the modern world.  They have a weekly family meal at which surprise announcements are made.  Along the way, however, the old man has lost his sense of taste: not good for a chef.  Is it simply the sense he has lost or his taste for life?  He eventually has his own surprises to announce and his daughters don’t all head off in predictable directions.   The movie was redone in these USA, in Los Angeles with a Mexican American family, under the title Tortilla Soup (US HERE – UK HERE) with Hector Elizondo.  Pretty good! See the Chinese version first.  And be ready to crave Chinese food.  This is one of those movies in which food and its preparation is lushly central.

BTW… you might check out an oldie post I did on the intersection of Dante with Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda.  No, really.  HERE


Posted in REVIEWS | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

God the Son teaches about adultery (HINT: He disapproves)

Today in the Ordinary Form, the 6th Ordinary Sunday, the Gospel is from Matthew 5.

First, the Lord says that he did not come to abolish the law and prophets but to fulfill them.

He has stern words for those who break the commandments, indicating also that Hell exists.

His words about adultery are harrowing.  Let’s hear the last part, as read in the Ordinary Form:

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife –  unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Christ’s words.  God’s words.

He doesn’t seem very approving of adultery, does He?   It seems as if, for God mind you, adultery is officially a bad thing, perhaps even something be avoided!

The Second Person of the Trinity Made Man even mentions a Very Bad Place™ in his explication of adultery: Gehenna.    Gehenna was originally a place where children were sacrificed.  It was, hence, a cursed place.  Gehenna is, for Christ, a nickname for Hell.

The reading ends with v.32.

It’s too bad the pericope (a fancy word for a scripture reading) didn’t also include v. 37.

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

“From the evil one”.  Very Bad™.  “ek tou ponerou”.  “From the Devil, the Evil One, the Enemy of the Soul”.

Be truthful and don’t waffle, obfuscate, equivocate, temporize.  Be clear.

Adultery is bad.  There is a Hell.  The Evil one is out there.

It is hard for me to start our from these points and arrive – by a straight path – at Communion for impenitent adulterers. It seems to me that people who do things which Christ warns again, invoking even the ultimate destination of Hell, are unlikely candidates for the eternal life He connects to eating His Body as described in John 6.

So, for me, it’s gotta be: No. No.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

septuagesima_matthew_20_smWas there a good point made in the sermon you heard during your Mass of Sunday Obligation?

Let us know.

I didn’t preach today, since I was the deacon for the Mass and I didn’t have another scheduled Mass.  Had I preached today, I think I would have spoken about the dignity of work, especially the menial tasks we perform.  I would have tied together the parable of the man who hires workers at different times of the day and also the Epistle in which Paul uses sports imagery.  It takes menial, repetitious, boring work to become proficient in a sport, so that you can finish the race or match and win the prize.  Some come by their prizes more easily than others, but we can all get to the finish line.  God does not offer challenges that we can’t attain.  It takes work.  We can make progress toward the finish line even in our boring, menial tasks.  By offering brief prayers while working and by offering the work itself as a sacrifice, we ready ourselves for the trial which we face in our desire for heaven.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 17 Comments

FOLLOW UP PHOTOS – Septuagesima: Burying the Alleluia for Pre-Lent

The other day I posted about burying the Alleluia on Septuagesima Sunday.  As Pre-Lent (aka Fore-Lent) begins, in the traditional Roman Rite we sing the Alleluia for the last time at 1st Vespers of Septuagesima.  There was a custom of yore of burying the “Alleluia” as if to entomb it until the Sunday of the Resurrection, Easter.

Our Alleluia and its coffin was made by a great family in the parish.

At the time of the Asperges, it got splashed with a little holy water.


Off we go… outside… into a side door… down into the undercroft or “crypt” which has a dirt floor.


Father puts Alleluia into its not-so-final resting place.

17_02_12_Sept_Alleluia_02 17_02_12_Sept_Alleluia_03 17_02_12_Sept_Alleluia_04

Back into church for Mass.  It happened to be the first time our celebrant, who is the Vocations Director of the diocese for the Extraordinary Ordinary.


So… the Alleluia is buried for Pre-Lent, Lent, Passiontide and the Sacred Triduum.

UPDATE 14 Feb:

I received some photos from the wonderful Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa.






Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | 18 Comments

Good books for Lent

In another entry, the book The Heresy of Formlessness by Martin Mosebach came up.  I warmly recommend it.  I mentioned that book together with some others back in December.


Some other books I’ve recently mentioned, in case you are looking for good reading material.




Hey, Fathers!



Are you thinking about Lent?



Fathers and … Fathers!




Everything by Vonier is great, by the way.

Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged | 15 Comments

More on the “mutual enrichment” theme: West meets East Edition

More about “mutual enrichment” comes from Catholic World Report.

First there was a piece Fr. Peter Stravinskas, who made suggestions about how the older, traditional form of Mass should be altered.  HERE I think he was wrong in the very notion of adaptations… now, at least. We need a long period of stability before the organic development of worship can take place in a healthy way. We need at least a generation, a life time, for the Usus Antiquior to become normal again.  Fr. Stravinskas has made some great contributions over the years (e.g., he was a staunch ally in the trenches during the first “new translation” war… a second is looming – TWI & TWII?), but I think he put his foot wrong in this topic. Let’s move on.

Now at Catholic World Report we see a piece by Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille, a prof at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. He offers Eastern Catholic liturgical rites as a source of mutual enrichment.  NB: DeVille isn’t talking about Eastern enrichment of the traditional Roman Rite specifically.  His is a more general East meets West presentation, what we Latins can learn from the East in the midst of our manifold liturgical woes.

DeVille hits the nail squarely several times.  As a matter of fact, he makes many of the points that I have been making for years.  For example, concerning the use of Scripture at Mass, the three year v. one year cycle, DeVille stresses that liturgy isn’t pedagogy and that the one year cycle, with its repetition (an important point for DeVille) ensures that people will remember the pericopes.   Right!  Back in 1993 I did an interview with Augustine Card. Mayer (founder of Sant’Anselmo, Prefect of the CDW, 1st President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”) for the journal Sacred Music.  Mayer said: 

I would say to a certain extent. Generally liturgy grows through the life
of the Church which is especially her prayer life. Now they sit down and
write it. First, I said it was very positive that we have this new richness
of scripture readings. On the other hand, I think nevertheless, one should
also say that we have done a bit too much. It somewhat surpasses the priest
and the faithful, especially some of the readings of the Old Testament.
Yes, in the old order of Mass the readings were restricted, but this also
guaranteed that certain readings would be heard, understood, and

And these readings were tied to the sacred music for the Mass. The
antiphons and chants were tied to the readings.

Yes. Yet, it seems to me that in the selection of the pericopes, there was
an exegetical approach rather than a liturgical approach in the choices
made. Liturgy is always a serving of and adoration of God. We must adore
God. The exegetical point of view can be different. The Novus Ordo has a
strongly didactic element. We have to admit that the liturgy has also this
purpose, but to put it first is wrong
. First, is the cultic, understood
correctly of course. We have to concede that the didactic intention often
dominates now, no? But the first important aspect remains adoration,

Repetition is the essence of liturgy.

DeVille describes the attitude of many liturgists as “condescending” towards lay people, or anyone who doesn’t have a degree.  This was a constant problem in the first translation war.  It continues today.  How true is his rhetorical question: “Have you… ever seriously consulted the people God about liturgical reform? Or was it imposed from the top down by a papal fiat beholden to a commission of ideologues?”  Bingo.

I read with great relish his devastating comment about “noble simplicity”.  Perpend:

The first kataphatic or positive way [NB: I am constantly banging on about the apophatic dimension of the traditional Roman Rite, so the introduction of these categories is welcome indeed.] the East might enrich the West is by helping it answer anew the question: what is liturgy for? If a Western liturgist observes Eastern liturgy, he will not have to wait long for the answer: it is for the glorification of God in the most beautiful manner possible. In the East, the Divine Liturgy is called that for a reason: it is about worshipping God in the beauty of holiness.  [I must add that the point of participation in sacred liturgical worship is because, one day, we are all going to die and go before The Judge.  We go to Mass because we want to go to heaven.  More on that elsewhere.]

To learn from the elaborate, complex beauty of Byzantine liturgy, you must first stop believing all the fantasies foisted on people in the 1960s, when it was put about that the liturgies of Christian antiquity were supposedly pristine examples of  simplicity, accessibility, and transparency (a “community meal”) until they were cluttered up with “medieval accretions” that Vatican II had to remove. Read Catherine Pickstock’s magisterial reversal (in After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy) of this romantic guff.   [Pickstock, while good, is not Mosebach, who is wonderful.  You MUST read The Heresy of Formlessness.]

In this spirit, stop assuming that young people today want “simple” liturgy using “relevant” or “modern” music patterned on concerts or Protestant mega-churches. They don’t. For almost a decade now, I have been sending hundreds of students a year to Byzantine liturgy as part of a class assignment. Every single time they come back staggered by what they see. Time and time again they confess, almost in a stammer, “these people are serious about worshipping God!”


Hatred of repetition is invariably justified by self-congratulatory talk about “noble simplicity.” It is neither. “Noble simplicity” is just a sanctimonious display of bourgeois iconoclasm, with its fetishes for “cool, clean lines” and “decorative sparseness.”

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

How about this one:

Abandon the mania for fake jobs: stop the scandal of a dozen lay people traipsing up to the front to hand out the Eucharist to a few dozen parishioners like biscuits at a parish tea.

Keep the “Amen” comin’, brothers and sisters!

And there’s this, about fasting and about feasting, including the really bad idea of transferring important feasts to Sundays:

[D]emand more of people before the Eucharist by restoring the ancient requirement of fasting from midnight, [See my posts on that and the POLL on the sidebar!] as the East still does. In fact, restore more serious fasting throughout the year. Stop assuming people can’t fast today or don’t need to. Many of us spend too much of our time sitting in front of screens—not hauling coal out of the ground, or thousand-pound nets of fish out of the sea. A little fasting for us with our bloated existence is eminently suitable.

The other side of fasting, of course, is feasting. Stop treating feasts like playthings to be yanked around—Epiphany is January 6th. Not 5th or 9th or 3rd. January sixth. Ascension is forty (40) days after Pascha—not 43 or whatever Fr. Spadaro’s new math would have us believe.  [heh]

He goes on to talk about the restoration of Octaves.  Do I hear an “Amen!”?

DeVille also touches on the disdain that Easterners, especially the Orthodox, experience when they see what we dopey Latins are doing to our churches and worship.  The horror! The horror!

Toward the end of his excellent offering – and these are hardly exhaustive of the good points he makes – we have to remember that our liturgical live costs money.  We need to sacrifice to build beautiful churches, make beautiful vestments, foster beautiful music.  On that note, please donate to the TMSM (501(c)(3))!

Lastly, I will expand on a superb suggestion: restoration of Communion rails.

DeVille takes the restoration of Communion rails a little farther, proposing even rood screens (the Western parallel of the Eastern iconostasis).  He states clearly: “These need not necessarily be Byzantine-style icons for there are plenty of beautiful Western liturgical artistic styles. But there is nothing preventing the West from fully adopting Byzantine imagery.”

True.  Nothing prevents Westerners, Latins, Romans, from using also Byzantine art and imagery.

However, I say “Let Romans be Romans”!

At the top of his essay, DeVille makes the important point that no Rite is pure and without outside influences.  The Roman Rite has strong strains of the Gallican uses, which were imported.  They were imported and absorbed and made Roman.  Something inherent in Romanitas is the ability to adopt and absorb. This is part of the Roman genius.  So, fine, we can also adopt and absorb Eastern elements.

That said, when it comes to adopting Byzantine elements now… no, I have to resist that.  What I want is a full-blown and fair restoration of the Roman Rite in all its potential.  That means, of course, restoration of the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite.

Modern people are rightly all agog when they attend splendid and grand Eastern Divine Liturgy.  I am too.  It is grand and unapologetic and precisely what it ought to be.  That has its effect, especially on those who are only partially churched, are low-church protestants, or are your typical, Novus Ordo suburban Catholic parishioners.

The Roman Rite in all its possibility has nothing to apologize for either.  When it is executed with all the stops pulled out, it is grand and precisely what it ought to be.

Thus, while I adore the Eastern Divine Liturgy (as a matter of fact for a couple of summers I sang for Ukrainian Divine Liturgy every day), I want Romans to be Romans.  Let’s bring our liturgical standards all the way up to what they can be. Yes, we can learn from the attitude of the East.  We don’t have to become quasi-Eastern in order to have worthy sacred liturgical worship.  DeVille doesn’t say that we do.  He is careful to distance himself from that.  But there are those who do think that way.  No.  A hundred times, No.

Hence, I am all in favor of DeVille’s piece.  You must rush quickly over there to read it in its entirety.

Fr. Z kudos to Dr. DeVille.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Both Lungs, Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Where were you 4 years ago?

Where were you four years ago.  This is the fourth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he would abdicate.

My blog that day HERE

You might also remember that on 11 February 2013 lightning struck St. Peter’s Basilica.

The photo from Agence France-Presse:

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ASK FATHER: Mass texts for Pope Benedict

benedict_xvi_emeritusFrom a priest…


While I mourn the resignation of Pope Benedict I also mourn the fact that there is no particular Mass text with which I can pray for his health. If there were to be a Mass for a retired pope, what might that look like?

Good question.

I’ll confine myself to the older, traditional Roman Rite.

I think you could during a Votive Mass simply add the orations Pro Papa.  I say this because they are virtually identical with the prayers Pro Episcopo, with the exception that in the latter you also name the bishop’s church.  Benedict remains a bishop, after all, and his church was The Church.  Also, were you to say Mass for him on the anniversary of his episcopal consecration (28 May), you could use – mutatis mutandis – the Mass In anniversario Episcopi.

Perhaps others have solutions.

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WDTPRS – Septuagesima Sunday: “What am I getting myself into?!?”

In the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is called Septuagesima, Latin for the “Seventieth” day before Easter.  Already!  It is quite early this year. The Roman Station today is St. Lawrence outside the walls.

This number, 70, is more symbolic than arithmetical. The Sundays which follow are Sexagesima (“sixtieth”) and Quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) before Ash Wednesday brings in Lent, called in Latin Quadragesima, “Fortieth”.  One of our frequent commentators here enriched my view of the numerical adjectives:

A fairly literal interpretation of the terms Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima:

• Septuagesima Sunday is the 63rd day before Easter and thus falls in the 7th (septimus) decade or 10-day period consisting of the 61st to 70th days before Easter;
• Sexagesima Sunday is the 56th day before Easter and falls in the 6th (sextus) decade consisting of the 51st to 60th days before Easter; and
• Quinquagesima Sunday is the 49th day before Easter and falls in the 5th (quintus) decade consisting of the 41st to 50th days before Easter.

These pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter.

Septuagesima gives us a more solemn attitude for Holy Mass.

Purple is worn on Sunday rather than the green of the time after Epiphany.  These Sundays have Roman stations.   The station today is St. Lawrence outside the walls.  St. Gregory the Great preached a fiery sermon here, which we have, and which is read in part for Matins in the traditional Office.  The traditional Office also presents three figures over the three pre-Lent Sundays, all foreshadowing Christ: Adam, Noah and Abraham.

When we want to follow what Holy Church is giving us in our sacred liturgical worship we should remember that Mass is only part of the picture.  We also have the Office, the “liturgy of the hours”.  They mesh together and reinforce and complete each other.  PLEASE don’t say “the liturgy” when you mean “the Mass”.  Say “Mass”.

Alleluia is sung for the last time at First Vespers of Septuagesima and is then excluded until Holy Saturday.  There was once a tradition of “burying” the Alleluia, with a depositio ceremony, like a little funeral.  A hymn of farewell was sung.  There was a procession with crosses, tapers, holy water, and a coffin containing a banner with Alleluia.  The coffin was sprinkled, incensed, and buried. In some places, such as Paris, a straw figure bearing an Alleluia of gold letters was burned in the churchyard.  Somehow that seems very French to me.  We will do this tomorrow at the parish where I am on Sundays, between the Asperges and the Solemn Mass to follow.

The prayers and readings for the Masses of these pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604), Pope in a time of great turmoil and suffering.  Looking at Gregory’s time, with the massive migration of peoples, the war, the turmoil, you are reminded of our own times.

I like to imagine the Romans who were aspiring to be brought into the Church at Easter. They were brought out to St. Lawrence for today’s Mass, only to hear in the antiphons about suffering and crying out to God, and then to hear the reading in which Paul says that God wasn’t pleased with everyone who drank from the rock.  They might have exclaimed:  “What am I getting myself into?!?”   Indeed, I think that was the intended effect of the formulary. But, if throughout the Mass formulary there are grim messages, there are also signs of great hope.  God does hear the cry of those who invoke him.

In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent.

A terrible loss.

We are grateful that with Summorum Pontificum the pre-Lent Sundays have regained something of their ancient status.  May they through “mutual enrichment” correct the Novus Ordo.

The antiphons for the first part of Mass carry a theme of affliction, war, oppression.  We hear from 1 Corinthians on how Christians must strive on to the end of the race.  The Tract (which substitutes the Gradual and Alleluia) is the De profundis.


Preces populi tui, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: ut, qui iuste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur.

This prayer, as well as the other two we will see, is in versions of ancient sacramentaries, such as the Gregorian. Our wonderful Lewis & Short Dictionary says ex-audio means “listen to” in the sense of “harken, perceive clearly.” There is a greater urgency to exaudi (an imperative, or command form) than in the simple audi. Clementer is an adverb from clemens, meaning among other things “Mild in respect to the faults and failures of others, i.e. forbearing, indulgent, compassionate, merciful.” We are asking God the omnipotent Creator to listen to us little finite sinful creatures in a manner that is not only attentive but also patient and indulgent.


We beseech You, O Lord, graciously to hark to the prayers of Your people: so that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may mercifully be freed for the glory of Your Name.

The first thing you who attend mainly the Novus Ordo will note, is the profoundly different tone of this prayer. The focus on our responsibility and guilt for our sins is alien to the style of the Ordinary Form.  Such direct references to our sinful state were systematically excised from the ancient prayers which survived, in some form, in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum.   We need them back.

It is just as succinct as most ancient Roman prayers.  It has the classic structure.  But the focus on our responsibility and guilt for our sins is very alien to the style of the Novus Ordo.  For the most part, such direct references to our sinful state were systematically excised from the ancient prayers which survived in some form on the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum.


Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis: et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi.

This ancient prayer was also in the Mass “Puer natus” for 1 January for the Octave of Christmas.  The first part of the prayer is an ablative absolute. In the second part there is a standard et…et construction.  The prayer is terse, elegant.


Our gifts and prayers having been received, we beseech You, O Lord: both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries, and mercifully hark to us.

In the first prayer we acknowledge our sinfulness and beg God’s mercy.  In this prayer we show humble confidence that God is attending to our actions and we focus on the means by which we will be cleansed from the filth of our sins, namely, the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, about to be renewed upon the altar.

As the Mass develops there is a shift in tone after the Gospel parable about the man hiring day-laborers.  An attitude of praise is introduced into the cries to God for help.


Fideles tui, Deus, per tua dona firmentur: ut éadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant.


In an ancient variation we find per[pe]tua, turning “by means of your…” into “perpetual”. That éadem (neuter plural to go with dona, “gifts”) is the object of both of the subjunctive verbs which live in another et…et construction.  Requiro means “to seek or search for; to seek to know, … with the accessory idea of need, to ask for something needed; to need, want, lack, miss, be in want of, require (synonym: desidero)”.  Think of how it is used in Ps. 26(27),4: “One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after (unum petivi a Domino hoc requiram); that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”  Quaero is another verb for “to seek”, as well as “to think over, meditate, aim at, plan a thing.”  The first meaning of the verb percipio is “to take wholly, to seize entirely” and then by extension “to perceive, feel and “to learn, know, conceive, comprehend, understand.”

Notice that these verbs all have a dimension of the search of the soul for something that must be grasped in the sense of being comprehended.

The New Roman Missal – 1945:
May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts,
that receiving them they may still desire them
and desiring them may constantly receive them.

The New Marian Missal – 1958:
May Thy faithful people, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts;
that in receiving them, the may seek after them the more,
and in seeking them, they may receive them for ever.

Saint Andrew Bible Missal – 1962:
O Lord, may your faithful people be made strong by your gifts.
By receiving them may they desire them.
And by desiring them, may they always receive them.

Just to show you that we can steer this in another direction, let’s take those “seeking/graping/perceiving” verbs and emphasize the possible dimension of the eternal fascinating that the Beatific Vision will eventually produce.


May Your faithful, O God, be strengthened by Your gifts: so that in grasping them they will need to seek after them and in the seeking they will know them without end.

In this life, the closest thing we have to the eternal contemplation of God is the moment of making a good Holy Communion.  At this moment of Mass, which so much concerned struggling in time of oppression, we strive to grasp our lot here in terms of our fallen nature, God’s plan, and our eternal reward.

I don’t believe this prayer, like Septuagesima Sunday, made it into the Novus Ordo, to our great impoverishment.

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