This morning… I want this guy’s job!

It’s about 8:30 a.m. and I have already had four phone calls about stuff having to do with the Synod and other related things.

It feels like the world and the the Church withing the world are flying apart at the seams.  So, let’s have a break.

Here’s the latest from Mat.

Mat isn’t doing anything in these videos, except just being there and being, probably, being happy, which is what I need.

This morning… I want this guy’s job.  I could go to all sorts of places and make videos of me saying the traditional Mass.   Okay… maybe not quite so much with the whole crowd involvement thing.  Any better ideas?

Nothing actually goes on, but it is hard to take your eyes of this.

Unfamiliar with Mat?

Here is another one.  There are a few great moments in it, like the Bollywood thing. For all of them in one video HERE.


And speaking of travel… click the waving flag to send a donation for my Rome trip in January for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy meeting.

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Posted in Lighter fare | 11 Comments

ASK FATHER: Convert confused about “private revelations”

From a reader…


Father, I am a fairly new convert to the Church and while I have studied theology, which led me here, I sure do get confused at times.

It seems Catholics, hesitate at studying the scriptures but jump on any and all mystical revelations. I am in a Bible study about Blessed Mary and 1 person kept bringing up Emmerich’s book which I found was at odds with historical this book of revelations accepted I thought it had been discredited because the poet who wrote down supposed dictation made it up

Please help my confused mind

Welcome to the Church!

Now that you’ve been received into Holy Mother Church, we can let you in on a little secret. We’re all a bit confused at times. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s true.

Depending on where you are and what circle you hang with, you’ll discover a vast variety of interests among Catholics.

Some people, indeed some parishes, are gangbusters about Scripture study. Some are into biographies of saints (hagiography), or even dogmatic (though that’s now a bad word, I guess) theology.  Within these categories, you’ll find a wide range of variations.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was a holy woman.  She was a religious who suffered with poor health.  She received the stigmata and had numerous visions throughout her life. Clemens Brentano, a poet, visited her over the course of several years and took notes of their conversations regarding her visions. Brentano and Emmerich spoke different dialects. Many of his notes were written well after his visits. Ten years after Blessed Anne Catherine’s death, Brentano completed his notes for publication. The last three volumes, on the life of Christ, were published after Brentano died.  Fr. Karl Schmoger produced these volumes after editing Brentano’s notes.

So, there are problems with attributing the books to Blessed Anne Catherine, who never even had a chance to look them over.

The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints excluded the books from their examination of the life of Bl. Anne Catherine. They made the recommendation to St. John Paul II for beatification on the basis of her life alone.  What portion of the books can be safely attributed to Bl. Anne Catherine is unknown.

Private revelations are tricky. We know, definitively, that the age of Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle (John). All that is necessary for salvation has been revealed to the Church.

That doesn’t, of course, prevent God from revealing further things.  We cannot place limitations on God.

When the Church rules that a private revelation has indeed taken place, She merely declares that nothing in the revelation is contrary to faith or morals and that the circumstances of the revelation are such that it appears to be valid. No obligation is placed on the faithful to believe the content of the revelation.

The nature of private revelation is precisely that: private. God reveals something to that specific person or those persons. Were God to have wanted to impose the obligation of belief in some particular matter on all mankind, He would have done so through universal revelation (which, as stated above, ended with the death of the last Apostle).

Private revelations can sometimes help other people, bystanders like you and I, grow in faith.  They can be hindrances. Their utility is, first of all, for the one to whom the revelation occurs.

The old Catholic Encyclopedia, available at New Advent, has a good explanation of private revelation: HERE

In the meantime, welcome again to the confusion of Holy Mother Church. You’ll never get used to it.  You’ll never be bored by it.  You’ll may wind up adding to it yourself.  Christ is at the helm of our barque.  We can rest confidently knowing we’re headed for the right destination, provided we don’t pitch ourselves off the deck and into the cold drink on either the starboard side or to port (that’s right and left for those of you in Columbia Heights).

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Bl. J.H. Newman’s “To be deep in history” Mug (and a tease)

It’s the feast (in some places and for some groups) of Bl. John Henry Newman.  Who can forget his beatification by Benedict XVI?

Those of you who may be new readers may not know about the mug I made with a phrase of Bl. John Henry Newman: “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.

Thinking back on the course of my own conversion, the elements which made it easier to take the plunge, and considering the growing projects of the Anglican Ordinariates, and also remembering that Benedict XVI – the Pope of Christian Unity – beatified John Henry Newman…. I put the phrase on a coffee mug.

Fill yours with Mystic Monk Coffee as soon as humanly possible.

Here is a shot of the regular sized coffee mug… I’ll bet you could put your yogurt and granola in it too.

To be deep in history

The Z-Swag Store is HERE.

A shot of the larger coffee mug.. I’ll bet that you could put … hot chocolate in it too!


You see that for this mug I really wrapped the design across most of its surface.

Here is the largest mug, the stein.  I suspect that this might be coaxed into holding a beer.


The image itself (it’s larger on the mugs):

To be deep in history

Here are three shots of the ur-mug, the larger coffee mug.   It is made from the same durable stuff I punished for years in the microwave and dishwasher.  Though I don’t have a dishwasher now… other than my hands.

I also made another version, with the phrase tighter on one side to make it easier to read:


After years of treating these things with great brutality in the nuclear reactor and the bottom rack of the washer near the heat, I succeeded in getting a crack in one of them, cosmetic, but not fatal.

It might start a conversation.   But I suggest that before flashing it about, you might brush up on why being deep in history leads to the Catholic Church.

You can find all the links you need to Z-stuff HERE.


PS: I should have a NEW line rolling out tomorrow.  I was inspired by how some nitwits in the combox of the Fishwrap (a more vicious place on earth you will not find) were ridiculing YOU READERS!

Posted in In The Wild, REVIEWS, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

ASK FATHER: How to have Masses said for me after my death?

From a reader…


What is the best way to ensure that part of whatever funds are left in my estate are used to have masses offered for the repose of my soul?

I think we all wonder about this.  I sure do.  Will anyone pray for me after I die?  Some of us with little family of our own, and they not Catholics… well.  Who will remember us?  So many “funerals” or “post-living life celebrations” these days neglect the one thing that is necessary: prayer for the dead.

I want prayers, darn it, not balloons and jokes.

Also, it is hard for many people to find priests who can take their Mass intentions for loved ones.  Pray for more priests, good holy, devout and faithful priests.

So, now to the question: making provisions for Masses to be said for you after your death.

If leaving funds for Masses to be said, be as specific as possible about what you want.

Can. 950 of the Code for the Latin Church establishes that if there is no indication of the number of Masses to be said, the presumption is that the number of Masses is determined by the offering prescribed in the donor’s residence.  For example, I leave $1,000 “for Masses” in my will without specifying how many. Based on the common custom of $10 per Mass in the Diocese of Black Duck (where I lived), I should have 100 Masses said. Otherwise, I could specify that I’m leaving $1,000 for 50 Masses. In that case the stipend per Mass is $20.

Perhaps one solution would be to establish an agreement with a monastic community.  You might create a foundation that would provide a steady flow of money to the community with the agreement that a Mass be celebrated regularly.

Canons 1299 – 1310 cover issues for a pious foundation.  Pay attention to details.  The Ordinary (usually the religious superior) is the executor of such foundations, and no other provision is acceptable (can. 1301, 3). The Ordinary is to see that the parameters of the bequest are carried out diligently. Provisions may be made for long-term obligations, such as a series of Masses (can. 1303, 1), but the Code no longer speaks of “perpetual obligations.”

A provision might be included in the will to make provisions for the reasonable termination of the foundation, or its transfer to another entity.  For example:

“I leave from my estate $50,000 to the Abbey of St. Exuperantia, to be held in a foundation, and from the interest of which foundation, $100 is to be taken per annum for ten Masses for my soul, for at least the next thirty years. However, should St. Exuperantia Abbey close its doors before that time, or be rendered incapable of fulfilling the requirements of this foundation, the remaining funds are to be transferred to St. Aceptisimas Abbey, or another Benedictine Abbey of the Federation of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. After thirty years, if the Abbot makes a determination that the Masses should not continue, what remains in the foundation is to be dispersed to the Diocese of Black Duck for the support of elderly and infirm priests and, in particular, priest bloggists.”

Whatever provision is made in the will for something like really ought to be looked over by both a civil lawyer and a disinterested canon lawyer.

Finally, why wait until someone dies to have Masses said?  Have them said also while people are still alive!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, De Novissimis: Four Last Things, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

NEW STUFF! Glorious altar cards! 2015 ORDOs! Spanish/Latin Missalettes!

I have been wanting to post about a few useful items.  Let’s start with what I received today.

I have written in the past about the spiffy TLM travel altar cards from SPORCH.  SPORCH is the Society for the Preservation of Roman Catholic Heritage.  Click HERE

Today I received a new set that are, quite simply, glorious (that’s a pun for those of you who know Italian). Sorry about the rather banal soda can.  I use it to give you a bit of scale.

A closer look at the Epistle side card.

The center section of the central card.  Notice the old typeface.  I think that a priest who is very new to Latin might want to study the cards well in order to get used to the different presentation.  I, for one, thrive on it and even created some of my own cards with all the ligatures, etc.  But I digress.

These have now replaced my old cards on my own altar, though I may breakdown and take them to the parish… maybe.

The nice lady who runs SPORCH, whom I met during my recent trip to Louisville, KY, has quite a few different styles, for just about any altar style or size.  She sent three sheets with some images.  Here’s one:

SPORCH cards would be great gifts to a parish and the travel cards a good gift to a priest or transitional deacon.

Next on the list of things to promote we have two Spanish/Latin missalettes for the TLM.  One is for the regular TLM and the other for Nuptial Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

They come from the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, which has done such great work over the decades through the dedication of Mary Kraychy and others.  I just saw Mary Kraychy last weekend in Chicago, where I gave some talks and said a few Solemn Masses.

This is timely!

I have been writing about the importance of including Spanish speakers at TLMs in these USA.  Get hopping, friends!  I especially commend Fr. Parkerson in the Diocese of Raleigh, who recently started a TLM with Spanish sermon.  Well done.

Next, it is that time of year again.  Advent is just around the corner.  That means that we have to get our new ORDO for 2015.  Every Latin Church sacristy should have an Ordo for both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form.

I have received two different editions, so far.

First, the Fraternity of St. Peter sent me one copy of their 2015 Ordo.

It isn’t substantially different in content from those of previous years.  It is useful.  There are helpful documents in the back.

Here is a page, so you can see how it is laid out.

I also received a 2015 Ordo from the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago.

This is a little zippier than the FSSP Ordo, but they are both spiral bound.

Here is a page that explains use of the 2nd Confiteor.  You decide.

Helpful directions about abstinence and fast.

The calendar layout.

In my effort to be helpful, I hope you will visit the respective sites and find some great items to help you in your full, conscious and actual participation in Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form!

Tell them Fr. Z sent you!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fr. Murray answers Card. Kasper, et alii: “Why is the Church not as merciful as God?”

Over at The Catholic Thing Fr. Gerald E. Murray has a good essay about denial of Holy Communion: it isn’t “punishment”.  With a few edits…

Denial of Communion Awakens Conscience

By Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Cardinal Walter Kasper published another article in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family advancing his proposal that the discipline of the Church forbidding the admittance of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to the reception of Holy Communion needs to be cast aside.

The theme he develops is God’s mercy. He states: “Many ask: If God is always merciful, why is the Church not the same? Or, why does the Church not seem to be as merciful as God?” [We must deny that premise.] And he continues: “The worst reproach that can be leveled against the Church – which in fact, often applies to it – is that it does not practice what it proclaims to others. Indeed, many people experience the Church as rigid and lacking in mercy.”


But Christian mercy does not consist in validating someone’s complaint of victimhood because the Church, in her discipline, is calling that person to repentance and fidelity to his word, given solemnly before God when he exchanged his marriage vows. ["But Father!  But Father!  Are you saying that people are responsible for the really big choices they make?  You must hate Vatican II!] The prohibition of the reception of Holy Communion by someone living with a person to whom he is not validly married is in fact a charitable act that upholds the Church’s doctrine concerning the reverence we owe to Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, and thus prevents the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion and the attendant scandal that would commonly be given by such an act. [Get that?  1) It's charity, not punishment. 2) It prevents sacrilege. 3) It prevents scandal.]

Reception of the Holy Eucharist is here wrongly conceived of as a necessary public sign of fully belonging to the Church, hence its denial is treated as akin to an act of exclusion of that person from the Church. [Good point!] But those in invalid marriages are still in the Church; their persistence in a state of sin, however, means that they are not qualified to receive the Bread of Life. [Get that?  I like the sober point about people thinking that Communion is "necessary".  Frequent Communion didn't come into vogue until the 20th c.  The Church's law prescribes confession and Communion once a year.]

Their own public choice to enter into an adulterous union is the reason why they have excluded themselves from the sacrament of the Church’s unity, which they continue to wound in a serious way by their persistence in such a union. (It’s telling that in the early sessions of the synod, some are already calling for abandoning the term “adultery” as too harsh.) [HERE]The denial of Communion may awaken the conscience. The Gospel call to repent and be converted means ending adulterous behavior by separating, or where that’s not possible or very difficult, by living as brother and sister. In case of doubt about the validity of a Catholic marriage, an ecclesiastical tribunal must decide if a case can be made for nullity.

Cardinal Kasper goes on to restate his proposed solution: “If a person after divorce enters into a civil second marriage but then repents of his failure to fulfill what he promised before God, his partner and the Church in the first marriage, and carries out as well as possible his new duties and does what he can for the Christian education of his children and has a serious desire for the sacraments, which he needs for strength in his difficult situation, can we after a time of new orientation and stabilization deny absolution and forgiveness?”

Yes, not only can we deny absolution, we must deny absolution until that person ceases to live in an adulterous union. Absolution cannot be given to someone who will not make a firm purpose of amendment to desist from his sins. [NB] Cardinal Kasper here characterizes the civilly remarried person as someone whose repentance is limited to ending the first marriage. That is not the only thing he needs to repent of. In fact, if he were not at fault in the break-up of his marriage, he cannot repent of what he did not cause.

What must be repented of is ongoing adulterous behavior with a person to whom he not in fact married in the eyes of the Church. [Ehem... in the eyes of Christ.] His “serious desire for the sacraments, which he needs for strength in his difficult situation,” requires him to turn away from all serious sin and make a good confession. Absent the integral confession of his sins and a firm purpose of amendment, he should not be given absolution.

If he nevertheless approached the altar to receive the Holy Eucharist without having been absolved, that reception would provide no true “strength in a difficult situation” (apart, perhaps, from some chimerical psychological reassurance), [including how reception might allow me to feel self-validated, especially because I am aware of determining my own status without regard for 2000 years of Christian tradition and clear law and teaching] but would rather be an offense against the holiness of the Eucharist and a true scandal, leading others to doubt the teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and the necessary dispositions for worthily receiving Holy Communion. [The concept of scandal is fading, but it is still real.  If, for example, what some Catholics read in the "Synod of the Media" (esp. liberal outlets) leads them to go to Communion even though they should not, then scandal has been committed by those writers and outlets.]

Those who have made the fateful decision to enter into an invalid second marriage need our prayers, and our encouragement to reform their lives in accord with the demands Christ Himself has placed upon us. Cardinal Kasper’s proposal is a direct contradiction of the Church’s understanding of those demands.

As such, it is a true distraction from the discussion the Synod needs to have about how to help divorced and remarried Catholics to encounter Christ once again – and lovingly embrace the demands of His Gospel.

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is pastor of Holy Family Church, New York, NY, and a canon lawyer.

Be sure to check the original page and comments.

Fr. K kudos to Fr. Murray.

Posted in "But Father! But Father!", Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Why can 5th graders figure out what many priests don’t?

From a reader:

I am one of two Altar Boy Deans in charge of my parish’s 112 Altar boys.

Yesterday I was assisting our Altar boy director in training new recruits to the program (5th graders). He had asked me to show them where we keep our Altar cross and where to put it on the free-standing Altar for the Priests who like to use it.

They asked why it was used and I told them so that the Priest could focus on Christ during Mass, especially the consecration, and not distractions in the congregation; I also told them this is why there is always a Crucifix on high Altars (we still have ours – Altar of Repose, except for the annual Dominican Rite Mass in the summer).

Then I was asked why the Priest faces the Altar away from the people at the Latin Mass and I explained that the Priest is leading us in the prayer that is the Mass, and we are all facing Christ in the tabernacle together.

One boy then asks, “Well, why doesn’t the Priest always face the Altar at Mass!?” I could only smile and agree with him that this should happen.

Ex ore infantium!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Another donation suggestion post. Updates on past projects you helped with.

Sometimes people ask me about good causes to donate to.  They want to make sure that their hard earned money goes to something that will make a difference.

I want today to suggest three causes which are local to where I am, but which you can trust are solid.

First, I am a big fan of a small Catholic clinic here in Madison (aka “77 square miles surrounded by reality”): Our Lady of Hope Clinic.

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 clinic could be a model for health care in a rapidly changing – disintegrating – time.  100% pro-life primary care to all patients; and free care for the uninsured.  The “Affordable” Care Act really isn’t.  It is going to be harder in the future for people to get health care, not easier.  And for those without much bucks? They have a DONATION page.  The last time I posted about Our Lady of Hope Clinic, they wrote to me saying:

Thank you so much for your plug of the Clinic in this morning’s blog. Last time you mentioned us, we had money come in from across the country.

Let’s do that again!

Next, I am leading a group that supports the Extraordinary Form here in the Diocese of Madison, the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison.  Bishop Morlino, the Extraordinary Ordinary, has been very supportive.  We are set up to help priests and parishes get going with the Extraordinary Form.  We are lumbering back into motion once again now that we have the 501(c)(3) status worked out.  Right now, since His Excellency the Bishop has been happy to celebrate Pontifical Masses, we have been trying to acquire proper vestments.  We just obtained a black pontifical set.  We need to raise some money for a white set, which will be used far more often.  Can you help us?  Our next big event will be at 7 pm on Monday 3 November, a Pontifical Requiem Mass at the Throne.  The music will be De Victoria’s Requiem for 4 voices.  We are also going to organize training for priests of the diocese in the Extraordinary Form.  It is time to press forward without any hesitation or discouragement.  And if you are around Madison, I generally have the 7:30 Mass at St. Mary’s where the great Fr. Heilman is pastor.

And next, a frequent commentatrix here, Elizabeth Durack sent me this:

A mother of 8 children (toddler to middle school) whom your blog readers helped out a lot by buying homeschooling books last year via an Amazon wishlist, needs to raise funds to fix her house before winter. There is a GoFundMe page for that: HERE

Her parish priest appealed to parishioners and raised the exact amount needed to fix the roof (which the crowdfunding page has not been updated to show). Some generous and talented Catholics have stepped forward to do this and some other labor (there were “bees” which were apparently yellowjackets or something in the roof and “hundreds” of them were coming in her bedroom, and a parishioner got rid of them!). But there are other critical repairs still to be made, that take money. I have been to her house and have seen for myself the serious problems with its condition–she does a good job cleaning but is not skilled at house repair. Her situation is complicated.  My friend is also actively seeking a part time job and got some training in a particular field, while also open to other kinds of work that might be available, but employment has not come through yet.

I remain grateful also that your blog readers also bought Bibles and drawstring backpacks for my catechism students of this year, we just had our first class and they are excited to receive them next week and I am going to have them pray for their benefactors!

When you readers get into motion, you do wonderful things.

For example, I can’t tell you how impressed I was with your reaction to the “Fox Sox” drive for the soldiers in Afghanistan.  A priest of Madison was deployed as chaplain there and we bought socks for the entire battalion.  I recently met Fr. Hesseling, the chaplain, who is now reassigned back in these USA as the head recruiter for the USArmy for East of the Mississippi.  You men thinking about Catholic military chaplain tracks should drop me a note and I can put you in touch.

As a matter of fact, you can also donate to the Archdiocese for Military Services and tell them Fr. Z sent you!

And don’t forget my donation button!  Father wants to go to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy meeting in January.

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Because I never want a report that one of my readers ended up splattered or having splattered some innocents.


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St. John Paul: “the Church does not agree to call good evil and evil good”

From St. John Paul’s 1984 Post-Synodal Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia:

34. I consider it my duty to mention at this point, if very briefly, a pastoral case that the synod dealt with-insofar as it was able to do so-and which it also considered in one of the propositions. I am referring to certain situations, not infrequent today, affecting Christians who wish to continue their sacramental religious practice, but who are prevented from doing so by their personal condition, which is not in harmony with the commitments freely undertaken before God and the church. These are situations which seem particularly delicate and almost inextricable. [This certainly describes the civilly remarried.]

Numerous interventions during the synod, expressing the general thought of the fathers, emphasized the coexistence and mutual influence of two equally important principles in relation to these cases. The first principle is that of compassion and mercy, whereby the church, as the continuer in history of Christ’s presence and work, not wishing the death of the sinner but that the sinner should be converted and live, and careful not to break the bruised reed or to quench the dimly burning wick, ever seeks to offer, as far as possible, the path of return to God and of reconciliation with him. The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, [See that? The are "complementary" and not "conflicting".] the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways,not [NOT] however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions.

On this matter, which also deeply torments our pastoral hearts, it seemed my precise duty to say clear words in the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, as regards the case of the divorced and remarried, and likewise the case of Christians living together in an irregular union.


For all those who are not at the present moment in the objective conditions required by the sacrament of penance, the church’s manifestations of maternal kindness, the support of acts of piety apart from sacramental ones, a sincere effort to maintain contact with the Lord, attendance at Mass [still obligatory] and the frequent repetition of acts of faith, hope, charity and sorrow made as perfectly as possible can prepare the way for full reconciliation at the hour that providence alone knows.

And thus both compassion and truth are held out as complementary by St. John Paul II.

Are we ready to set this aside as no longer applicable today?  No longer relevant?

Posted in Linking Back, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments