ASK FATHER: Enervating, paralyzing shame and going to confession

confession childrenI have occasionally exhorted you to …


I shall continue to do so. I take seriously my duty to try to keep as many of you out of Hell as I can and get as many as possible into heaven with as little time of purification as possible.

Hence, matters of the confessional are of critical importance. We must revive this sacrament. It must be revived FIRST AMONG PRIESTS THEMSELVES. Simultaneously it must be revived by priests among the flocks in their care.

Fathers (this includes you, you bishops out there), when you die – and you will die – you will be judged by the High Priest on how well you carried this, one of you most sacred duties: receive confessions and absolve sins. If you have been negligent or dismissive for whatever reason, you still have time now to get to work.

In my 20 Tips I say:

11) …never be afraid to say something “embarrassing”… just say it;
12) …never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) …never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
20) …remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.

I have received some questions about something that appeared at CNA on confession.

QUAERITUR: What if a person is simply too ashamed to make a confession?  The point of the piece addresses the point and the advice given is sound.

Here is the piece with my emphases and comments.

Madrid, Spain, Dec 28, 2016 / 10:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- While Reconciliation is intended to allow Christ’s victory to overcome sin in our lives, what happens when shame over one’s sins is so great that it keeps people away from the sacrament?

The famous Spanish theologian Father José Antonio Fortea [Kudos!] discussed this phenomenon and practical solutions to it in a blog post.

Normally, a sense of Christ’s mercy should be enough to help people overcome their shame and go to Confession, in order to receive forgiveness and healing.

However, in some cases, Fr. Fortea acknowledged, people are overwhelmed by their sins, and this shame becomes “a wall” keeping them away from Reconciliation.

“They would rather make a 100-mile pilgrimage than have to confess face-to-face certain things they did that are terribly and frightfully humiliating to them,” he said, reflecting on the torment that faces some penitents who struggle approaching the sacrament.

The Spanish priest first pointed out the importance of priests offering fatherly compassion on those who have “these burdens on their consciences.”

[NB] He also noted the importance of ensuring truly anonymous confessions. In each city, he said, “there ought to be at least one confessional where instead of a grill, there is a metal sheet with small holes, making it totally impossible to see the person making their confession.”  [Frankly, I think it should be the other way around: there might be one confessional which doesn’t have a fixed grill.  The grill, or grate, should be the norm, not the exception.]

The person confessing should not be visible to the priest as they approach or leave, he continued. [In the past I have written that, coming and going from the confessional priests should keep their eyes downcast and not make eye contact with anyone.  Fathers, you are not anyone’s ‘pal’ when you are going to and from the Tribunal.] If there is a window on the priest’s door, it should not be transparent. [Practice here is mixed… think of Italian confessionals which can have open front windows. In the main, however, he is right.]

“With these measures, the vast majority of the faithful can resolve the problem of shame,” Fr. Fortea said.

But for those “truly very rare” cases where shame is still a major obstacle, even with anonymous confessionals, additional steps can be taken.

[We move now into really rare stuff.] In these instances of extreme shame, the person can “make an anonymous phone call to a priest in the city and tell him about this problem.” [NB] Confession itself cannot take place over the phone, but “in many cases, the phone conversation will be enough so the penitent can get up his confidence and can approach the kind of above-mentioned confessional.” [Getting it out once could help the person to get it out in sacramental confession.  Call it a “trial run”.  Also, absolution cannot be given validly over telephone, internet chat, etc.  The penitent must be present, physically, even if at some distance.]

If the penitent still finds that the shame of mentioning his sins is too great to bear, he can arrange for a written confession with the priest. [Again, this is an extremely rare situation.  The NORM is that confession of sins is make orally.  This is also called “auricular” confession.  However, if a person cannot speak, signs or writing is possible.  That’s a physical impediment.  If a person is morally blocked by shame or some other reason, a person could write it down and the priest could read it in the presence of the penitent.]

Fr. Fortea said that in several of the confessionals in his city of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, “it’s possible for the penitent to move the screen slightly, just a fraction of an inch, and slip in a piece of paper.” [Some old confessionals had little slots beneath the grate.  Fathers, when you build new confessionals, remember this option.]

He offered guidelines for such written confessions: they should generally not be longer than one page, sins should be written “in a clear and concise manner,” or if possible, should be typed for clarity in reading. [And they should be destroyed immediately.]

“The priest will give his counsel, the penance and absolution without needing to bring up any questions for the penitent. In this case asking questions would be counterproductive,” he reflected. [According to individual circumstances, of course.]

While the general rule is that confession should be vocal, it can be done through writing in some cases, the priest said. He noted that those who are deaf or mute have always been permitted to make written confessions.

And in the case of insurmountable shame, this would also be licit, he said. “A psychological inability can be just as real as a physical one.”

So, that is a discussion of the role of shame to the degree that you simply cannot do it.

However, remember another important point: God cannot be deceived.  Don’t look for easy excuses for yourself.


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28 Dec – Childermas – The Holy Innocents: “They were the Church’s first blossoms”

holy innocents medieval greek 02

Today is Childermas, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay.

O sisters too, How may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling,
For whom we do sing,
By by, lully lullay?

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay.

Herod, the King, In his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might,
In his own sight,
All young children to slay.

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay.

That woe is me, Poor child for thee!
And ever morn and day,
For thy parting
Nor say nor sing
By by, lully lullay!

The “Coventry Carol”, a lullaby of mothers to doomed children, dates to the 16th century. It was part of a Mystery Play, “The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors”, about chapter two of the Gospel of Matthew.  The carol is about the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. The carol came to greater popularity after the BBC broadcast it at Christmas of 1940, after the Bombing of Coventry: it was sung in the ruins of the bombed Cathedral.

We could sing it on every street corner.

Holy Innocents roundThere is sometimes attributed to St. Augustine a quote about the Holy Innocents with some beautiful imagery.  Here it is… mind you, attributed to the Doctor of Grace:

These then, whom Herod’s cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom, are justly hailed as “infant martyr flowers”; they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.

Lovely, no?  Augustine didn’t say that.  It was Caesarius of Arles who preached:

Quos herodis impietas lactantes matrum uberibus abstraxit; qui iure dicuntur martyrum flores, quos in medio frigore infidelitatis exortos velud primas erumpentes ecclesiae gemmas quaedam persecutionis pruina decoxit.  [s. 222, 2 in CCL 104]

Some interesting things are going on in the Latin.  First, you need to know that gemma isn’t just “gem”, but can also be “bud, blossom”.    In Latin there are two related verbs, lacto, lactare, “to contain milk, to give suck”, and lacteo, lactere, “to suck milk, to be a suckling”.  However, in all periods they swap meanings.  We could use one English verb for both, “to nurse”. This is also why we for the famous line “out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings” both “ex ore infantium et lactentium” and “ex ore lactantium”.  By the way, if you like this drilling into Latin, try Latin Synonyms, with Their Different Significations, and Examples Taken from the Best Latin Authors, by M. Jean-Baptiste Gardin Dumesnil, translated into English, with additions and corrections, by the Rev. J. M. Gosset. US HERE – UK HERE Decoquo is “to reduce by boiling”.  I found an interesting reference in Suetonius how Nero made a icy-cold drink decoction, a decocta.  Pliny uses decoctum as a medicinal drink.  Note the juxtaposition of the heat indicated in decoquo and the cold of frost.  The heat of persecution brought forth flowers before their day.  Here is a literal rendering:

Whom the ungodliness of Herod dragged as nursing babies from their mothers’ breasts; who rightly are called the flowers of martyrs, whom the frost of persecution cooked up, grown up in the midst of the cold, bursting forth as the first buds of the Church.

Here is the Collect from the 1962 Missale Romanum:

Deus, cuius hodierna die praeconium Innocentes Martyres non loquendo, sed moriendo confessi sunt: omnia in nobis vitiorum mala mortifica; ut fidem tuam, quam lingua nostra loquitur, etiam moribus vita fateatur.

O God, whose public heralding the Innocent Martyrs professed this very day not by speaking but by dying; mortify in us every ill of vices; so that (our) life might confess Your Faith, which we speak with our tongue, also by (our) morals.

Look at the not-so-subtle change made to the Collect by the cutters and pasters who glued together the Novus Ordo:

Deus, cuius hodierna die praeconium
Innocentes Martyres non loquendo,
sed moriendo confessi sunt:
da, quaesumus, ut fidem tuam,
quam lingua nostra loquitur
etiam moribus vita fateatur.

Can you spell “bowdlerize”?


O God, whose public heralding the Innocent Martyrs
professed this very day not by speaking but by dying;
grant, we implore, that (our) life might confess Your Faith,
which our tongue declares,
also by (our) morals

That lingua nostra could, I suppose, be ablative, but it is probably the nominative subject of loquitur.  I originally swerved that into “which we speak with our tongue”.  There is a strong temptation to reconstruct these clauses when rendering it into English.


O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed
and proclaimed on this day,
not by speaking but by dying,
grant, we pray,
that the faith in you which we confess with our lips
may also speak through our manner of life

Did the translator not get that fateor is deponent?  The subject is vita, no? Accusative fidem is the object, not the subject.

What a mess.


the Holy Innocents offered you praise
by the death they suffered for Christ.
May our lives bear witness
to the faith we profess with our lips

I’ll stick with the older Collect in Latin, thank you very much.

St. Thomas Aquinas dealt with the question of how the Innocents could be considered martyrs if they didn’t yet have use of their free will so as to be able to choose death in favor of Christ and if they were not baptized. The Angelic Doctor answered that God permitted their slaughter for their own good and that their slaying brought them the justification and salvation that would also come from baptism.

This was a “baptism of blood”. In their deaths they were truly martyrs. And they were indeed for Christ, since Herod, fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15, killed them from ill-will for the new-born Christ.

And a modern reworking of Lully Lulla Lullay by Philip Stopford which might quite simply make you choke up and then, at the descant about 3:15, lose it.

Like it?


holy innocents 01

Adorazione_dei_Magi_by_Gentile_da_Fabriano_Predella Flight into Egypt sm

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ASK FATHER: What’s up with the ‘penitential wand’ and indulgences?

16_12_26 rod wand ferula penitentiary confessorFrom a reader…


I recently read about the indulgences formerly attached to being touched by the ‘penitential wand’ in Rome in the Raccolta. I’ve been trying to find more information about this practice online, all to no avail. I wonder if you could write about it? Seems like something as ‘rigid’ as this could do us well these days!

Right.  We are now into serious Catholic cool arcana.

The penitential virga or ferula, bachetto penitenziario, wand, or rod, is sadly out of use … for now.

These were instruments – longish rods – used by special confessors with wider jurisdiction and my major and minor penitentiaries, especially the Major Penitentiary of the Church, whose jurisdiction when it comes to matter of confession or indulgences is second only to the Pope’s.

16_12_26 easter-in-rome-the-major-penitentiary-in-st-peters-church-granted ferulaI suspect it’s use stemmed from Ps 23: “Virga tua et baculus tuus consolata sunt… Thy rod and thy staff they have comforted me.” The sight of these churchy gizmos would have given great confidence and consolation to the penitent or one seeking an indulgence; he would know that this confessor had greater jurisdiction.

In the great Roman Major Basilicas there were special indulgences granted to pilgrims on certain days of the year and special occasions. You would approach the Major (or Minor) Penitentiary, seated on his great throne-like chair (for he was like a tribune or judge), kneel before him and – if you had a document saying that you had fulfilled your pilgrimage, etc., it would be brought to him – he would then bop you on your penitential head with the penitential wand in his benignity, thus granting you the indulgence.  There is still one of these chairs in St. John Lateran.

At first, I think there were only 10 days indulgence granted by Benedict XIII, of happy recollection, and Benedict XIV of even happier memory increased that to 40. on certain days it was of 100 days. In 1917 it was increased to 300 days… inflation?

When we are elected Pope, this practice will return.

Their use extended even into the time of Our predecessor Paul VI.  There were attached to the doors of the confessionals in St. Peter’s a rod rather like a standard fishing in dimensions which the penitentiaries, confessors, would use to grant indulgences with a tap on the head to those who passed by and requested one.

It is to be suspected that sometimes their use might possibly have been – in the right hands – wrong hands? – a source of general amusement.  This may be why Paul VI made the mistake of getting rid of them.

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ACTION ITEM! Support Our Lady of Hope Clinic – MATCHING GRANT

I have an ACTION ITEM for you good readers. You have been generous to causes I have mentioned in the past.  Sometimes people have a hard time finding causes to support.  This is one of them that I admire.

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

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

Read more HERE and HERE

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

They have a DONATION page.

Please tell them Fr. Z sent you.

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

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

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


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

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

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27 Dec – St. John Evangelist: “We must deny to Protestantism any right to use the Bible, much more to interpret it.”

Today, being the Feast of the Evangelist John, we have a special blessing for wine and other libations.  I wrote about that HERE.  We have this blessing because of an assassination attempt.    There was an attempt on the life of St. John the Evangelist by poisoning.  He blessed the cup and the poison crawled out in the form of a serpent.  You often see St. John depicted this way in art.

St Jerome Joos van CleeveSt. Jerome says this about the Evangelist.  Priests read this in the Breviarium Romanum during Matins.

V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. May the Spirit’s fire Divine in our hearts enkindled shine. Amen.

Reading 6
From the Commentary upon the Epistle to the Galatians, by the same author [St. Jerome]
iii. 6.

The Blessed Evangelist John lived at Ephesus down to an extreme old age, and, at length, when he was with difficulty carried to the Church, and was not able to exhort the congregation at length, he was used simply to say at each meeting, My little children, love one another. At last the disciples and brethren were weary with hearing these words continually, and asked him, Master, wherefore ever sayest thou this only? Whereto he replied to them, worthy of John, It is the commandment of the Lord, and if this only be done, it is enough.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

R. In the midst of the congregation did the Lord open his mouth.
* And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. He made him rich with joy and gladness.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.

This is the author of the Fourth Gospel, the visionary of Revelation, the discipline whom Jesus loved best, the one who, though he ran at first, was at the Cross, and to whom the dying Savior entrusted His Mother even as He told her that John was her son. This feast reminds us of the filial relationship priests should have with Mary, which she already has with us and would see deepened.

Fabiola_Jean_Jacques_HennerAnother connection through St. John’s Day and Jerome is that this is the feast of St. Fabiola, one of the ascetic gang of Roman matrons who were around Jerome while he was in the City and who busied themselves in works of mercy.  She eventually moved to St. Paula’s monastic house in Jerusalem to continue her work near Jerome. She was quite a wealthy widow and is a patroness of widows, divorced people, troubled marriages, victims of domestic abuse and those who suffer because of adultery.  Perhaps we can ask her today to intercede with God for enlightenment of Card. Kasper and … others who are confusing the People of God about the indissolubility of marriage and the sinfulness of infidelity.  There was a famous painting of Fabiola by the French painter Jean-Jacques Henner, which was copied many times before it was lost.  There are many copies.  As a matter of fact, there is an exhibit of these copies presently on at the Menil Collection in Houston through May 2018.

There is a novel about Fabiola called, surprise, Fabiola by Nicholas Wiseman… Cardinal and the first Archbishop of Westminster after the restoration of the hierarchy in England in 1850.


I like this quote from Card. Wiseman (not in Fabiola):

“The doctrine and practice of the Church must not be allowed to be impugned by those who have no claim at all to Scripture, and who can prove neither the canon, its inspiration, nor its primary doctrines, except through that very authority which they are questioning, and through treacherous inconsistency with the principles on which they are interrogating it. When many years ago this ground was boldly adopted, it was charged with being an attempt to throw Protestants into infidelity, and sap the foundations of the Bible. Years of experience, and observation not superficial, have only strengthened our conviction, that this course must be fearlessly pursued. We must deny to Protestantism any right to use the Bible, much more to interpret it. Cruel and unfeeling it may be pronounced by those who understand the strength of our position, and the cogency of the argument; but it is much more charitable than to leave them to the repeated sin of blaspheming God’s Spouse, and trying to undermine the faith of our poor Catholics.” [The Catholic doctrine on the use of the Bible, 1853]

I’m sure that the Evangelist, Jerome and Fabiola would have all been in agreement.

Lift a libation and invoke health today for your loved ones… and confusion to your enemies… on this Feast of St. John.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’ wrong?


When you need help, run to your Mother. She has a lovely big stick to beat the Devil with.

From a reader…


In general it seems that we only ask God to have mercy on us. This is most clear in litanies of the saints, where the response for a saint is ‘pray for us’, but the response for, e.g. ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ is ‘have mercy on us’.

However, in the Alma Redemptoris Mater, it seems that we ask Mary to have mercy on sinners. Which of these things am I wrong about?

Mary is, after all, the Mother of Mercy Himself.

The Latin line which interests you, at the end, is … Virgo… peccatorum miserere.

That miserere is an imperative from the deponent verb misereor, which in the first place means, “to feel pity, have compassion, pity, compassionate, commiserate”.   Misereor can take a genitive “object” (it’s not really an object, but it works out that way, it’s like saying “take pitying notice of X”).  So, what the Latin says is really, “have pity on sinners… be compassionate in regard to sinners… and, therefore, intercede with Your Divine Son, who alone is the font of mercy but who will always listen to His Mother’s plea.”

So, asking Mary to have mercy on us is a way of asking her to have compassion for us.   She has mercy on us in her manner of having mercy, while Christ has mercy on us in his manner.  Sometimes words in Latin have different meanings depending on to whom we apply them.  For example, when we speak of pietas in regard to us, we think of piety and dutifulness, but when we apply it to God, we think of His mercy towards us.

That’s what’s going on.

Don’t worry, the Latin hymn we have sung from Compline of the 1st Sunday of Advent in Holy Church for so many centuries all the way through Candlemas, penned by Hermannus Contractus (Herman the Cripple +1054), perhaps based on earlier writings of the Fathers, is not heretical.

mary mother of mercy

This detail from a painting by David, makes the point I’m making.

Here is one of my favorite settings, by Palestrina, at about the tempo which I prefer. Well sung.

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ASK FATHER: Can SSPX priest still give absolution validly after the Year of Mercy?

confession-731x1024From a reader…

For the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis gave permission to receive Absolution from SSPX priests. Has that permission ended with the Year of Mercy or is it still in effect? We can’t find an official answer explaining this.

You can read this for more. HERE

The statement is buried in a super long, not to say verbose (6000 words), Apostolic Letter for the close of the Year of Mercy called Misericordia et misera.

The bottom line is, yes, the Holy Father extended the opportunity to receive absolution validly from SSPX priests, even though they are suspended.

this settles the issue of valid sacramental confessions.   It does not settle the issue of valid marriages.  The priests of the SSPX are still not proper witnesses of the sacrament, thus not satisfying proper canonical form.

To all those who are attached to chapels of the SSPX…


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, SSPX | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Help from readers: Find the banding!

Okay folks… who can find this banding (the red embroidered part) for us?


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Concerning the movie ‘Silence’ movie by Scorsese, book by Shusaku Endo

I just read at The Catholic Thing a review by Brad Miner of the movie from Martin Scorsese Silence, from Shusaku Endo’s book.

Here is the bottom line from the review:

Scorsese’s Silence is not a Christian film by a Catholic filmmaker, but a justification of faithlessness: apostasy becomes an act of Christian charity when it saves lives, just as martyrdom becomes almost satanic when it increases persecution. “Christ would have apostatized for the sake of love,” Ferreira tells Rodrigues, and, obviously, Scorsese agrees.

I think I won’t go to the movie… which is three hours long.  And it is promoted by certain Jesuits… no thanks.  I would very much like to see the first version of Silence by Masahiro Shinoda.

I read the book and it left me deeply disturbed.  We should all spend time thinking about the Four Last Things… every day.  I also firmly believe that we should all try to get our heads into that mental place against the day when we might be called upon to make the Big Choice.   Endo raises these questions for the reader, especially the priest reader, in a particularly brutal way.  However, he left me depressed.

Fathers, you would do well to read the book.


You might also want to read Lucy Beckett’s The Time Before You Die.


And also John Gerard’s The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest


And… on that note…  MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Hmmm… the lyrics become a little melancholy, not to say ominous, in light of the books mentioned above.

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Merry Christmas Octave!

We are in the Octave of Christmas.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Here is a shot from our Midnight Mass.


The word “immemorial” came to mind when I saw it.  We have a beautiful continuity with our many forebears who sacrificed so much to hand down what we have.  We should remember them in our grateful prayers.

Also, during Midnight Mass and the other Masses of Christmas I remembered at the Memento of the Living all of you my benefactors who contribute with donations, to me and also to our projects for the celebration of worthy sacred liturgical worship.

¡Hagan lío!

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FOLLOW UP: Requests for GREGORIAN MASSES and priests who can say them.

UPDATE 26 Dec:

Since I last posted an update, I matched up about quite a few priests and petitioners!

However, as I write all the priests are “crossed off the Available List”, that is, I have forwarded requests to all the “open” priests that were on my list.  Until more priests respond that they are available, I cannot forward any more requests.

Again, all I do is put you in touch.  You work out the details between yourselves.

___ Original Published on: Dec 14, 2016 ___

mass sacrificeEvery once in a while someone will ask me if I can take a Gregorian Mass intention (i.e. 30 straight days for the same intention, usually for the soul of someone who has died).

I have then put on my yenta cap and posted here on the blog asking if there are priests out there who can take them. I then forward requests to those priests. I have nothing to do with the stipend, which the parties work out for themselves.

Today I received a note from a priest who says that he can take a Gregorian Mass stipend. I now have quite a few priests on my “Available” list.

If you, dear readers, want Gregorian Masses said, drop me a note (HERE) and I will forward your request to a priest on my list. I won’t have anything to do with setting the stipend. Period.

Petitioners put: GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST in the subject line. Put that in the subject line so that I will be able to find you in my email:  GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST  [UPDATE: It is amazing that people are writing and NOT putting that in the subject line.  No… really… put just that… unless you want me to miss your email.]

Priests: Put AVAILABLE FOR GREGORIAN MASS in the subject line.

Folks, think about this.  

Are you looking for a truly spiritual Christmas gift to give?  How about having Gregorian Masses said for the deceased priests who served you?   Don’t necessarily pick the priests who were seriously holy guys.  How about picking priests who were troubled or who were liberal and, therefore, probably not exactly faithful?   Have Masses said for the priests who really need your spiritual care?

I know that I would appreciate your prayers after my own death.   I appreciate your prayers in this life too!   You can have Masses said for both the living and the dead.  Pray for your priests, dead and alive.   We need your prayers.

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The Angry Man

A friend sent me this.  It’s good. It explains a lot.

The Angry Man

For all the interest group pandering that shapes modern American politics, the group that may well have decided the election has come down to the demographic of “The Angry Man.”

The Angry Man is difficult to stereotype. He comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America , from sophisticated urbanite to rural redneck, Deep South to Yankee North, Left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

No matter where he’s from, Angry Men share many common traits; they aren’t asking for anything from anyone other than the promise to be able to make their own way on a level playing field. In many cases, they are independent businessmen and employ several people. They pay more than their share of taxes and they work hard. Damn hard, for what they have and intend to keep.

He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the Christmas party for the employees at his company, three sets of braces, college educations or a beautiful wedding or two. Not because he was forced to, but because it’s the right thing to do.

The Angry Man believes the Constitution should be interpreted as it was written. It is not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of appointed judges and political winds.

The Angry Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun and use it in defense of his home, his country and his family. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone if necessary to achieve those goals gives him only momentary pause.

The Angry Man is not, and never will be, a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina. He got his people together and got the hell out. Then, he went back in to rescue those who needed help or were too stupid to help themselves in the first place. He was selfless in this, just as often a civilian as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter. Victimhood syndrome buzzwords; “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” don’t resonate with The Angry Man. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him.

His last name, his race and his religion don’t matter. His ancestry might be Italian, English, African, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, Russian, Hispanic or any of a hundred others. What does matter is that he considers himself in every way to be an American. He is proud of this country and thinks that if you aren’t, you are whole-heartedly encouraged to find one that suits you and move there.

The Angry Man is usually a man’s man. The kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, go hunting, play golf, maintain his own vehicles and build things. He coaches kid’s baseball, soccer and football and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, design a factory or work the land. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant so that you can keep the lights on while never knowing everything it took to do that. The Angry Man is the backbone of this country.

He’s not racist, but is truly disappointed and annoyed, when people exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their ethnicity. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they’re willing to work hard and play by the rules. He expects other people to do the same. Above all, he has integrity in everything he does.

The Angry Man votes, and he loathes the dysfunction now rampant in government. It’s the victim groups being pandered to and the “poor me” attitude that they represent. The inability of politicians to give a straight answer to an honest question. The tax dollars that are given to people who simply don’t want to do anything for themselves. The fact that, because of very real consequences, he must stay within a budget but for some obscure reason the government he finances doesn’t. Mostly, it’s the blatantly arrogant attitude displayed implying that we are too stupid to run our own lives and only people in government are smart enough to do that.

The Angry Man has reached his limit. When a social justice agitator goes on TV, leading some rally for Black Lives Matter, safe spaces or other such nonsense, he may bite his tongue but, he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.
But when government officials are repeatedly caught red-handed breaking the law and getting off scot-free, The Angry Man balls-up his fists and readies himself for the coming fight. He knows that this fight, will be a live or die situation, so he prepares fully. Make no mistake, this is a fight in which he is not willing to lose and he will never give up.

Obama calls him a Clinger
Hillary Calls him Deplorable
Bill calls him Redneck
BLM calls him a Racist
Feminists calls him Sexist
ISIS calls him an Infidel
Donald Trump calls him an American

Posted in The Drill | 60 Comments

26 Dec: The Protomartyr, The Octave, and You

In addition to Boxing Day, and the day good King Wenceslaus went out, it is the feast of St Stephen.

St. Stephen’s feast has been celebrated this day since the earliest centuries of the Church’s life.

We are also in the Octave of Christmas. Octaves are mysterious. For Holy Church time is suspended so that we can rest in the mystery of the feast.  In her wisdom, Holy Church “stops” her clock so that we contemplate the mystery of the feast from different angles, through different lenses.

St. Stephen reminds us of the consequences of discipleship.  He is usually depicted surrounded by people who are beating him to death with rocks.  As I said, there are consequences of discipleship.

Are you ready for consequence in the days remaining to you?

Consequences can be more or less dramatic.  I think we need to get our heads into mental places wherein we can imagine even dire consequences.

Today I also congratulate all the members of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen!  This is a guild of altar boy that started in England.  The first chapter ever outside of England was at my home parish of St. Agnes, in St. Paul.  In the sacristy there was a letter from the Archbishop of Westminster approving the chapter and each year on this day the new boys were enrolled.

I hope today that all your snow is neat and crisp and even.

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The 1914 Christmas Truce


Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.
At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.
The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.

More at the Imperial War Museum. HERE

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

CHRISTMASCAzT 29: “We have beheld his glory…”

Here is CHRISTMASCAzT 29, for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.

These 5 minute offerings began in Advent to help you prepare for the upcoming feast as well as for your own, personal, meeting with the Lord, are a token of gratitude for my benefactors who donate and send items from my wishlist.  Thank you!

Make some Mystic Monk Coffee and have a listen!

Some great music for Christmas!


Please chime in if you listened.  I read and need the feedback.

PS: These podcasts should also be available through my iTunes feed, though in years past I have had problems with it. Let me know how you are listening.  Through the plug in on this post? Through iTunes? Downloading?

Posted in ADVENTCAzT, ADVENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments