Wherein Fr. Z sends Michael Sean Winters a “Combat Rosary”

wile-e-coyote helpUPDATE:

Winters responded!  HERE
ORIGINALLY Published on: Jul 31, 2017:

The other day Michael Sean Winters, the juggernaut writer for the Fishwrap, attacked you readers here. HERE  He did so, because one of you asked me about the Most Holy Rosary as a “weapon”.

He ignored the context of my response to the questioner. HERE  My answer was, go ahead, but it is better to carry it concealed.   Winters referred to the “militaristic” language, hence the concept of spiritual warfare, as a kind of profanity.

That bothered me.

It isn’t uncommon to refer to the Rosary as a “weapon”.  It is a commonplace to speak about “spiritual warfare”.

Warfare against what?

St. Josemaria Escriva said,

“For those who use their intelligence and their study as a weapon, the Rosary is most effective. Because that apparently monotonous way of beseeching Our Lady as children do their Mother, can destroy every seed of vainglory and pride.”

I opined,

“I wonder if MS Winters prays the Rosary. He uses his intelligence and study as a weapon, after all.”

I also said, in that post:

“I would be delighted to send to MS Winters both a Combat Rosary and one of these Rosary “Concealed Carry License” cards.  All I need is a good postal address.”

So, dear readers, on your behalf and mine I took matters into my own hands. 

Since I don’t have MSW’s address, I sent a Combat Rosary and Card to the main offices of the Fishwrap in Kansas City MO.

I sent it registered, with a cover letter asking that it be forwarded.  Inside the envelope, I put a postage-paid envelope with the Rosary and Card.

The contents of the inner, unsealed envelope which was to be addressed and sent to MSW:


I set it up in such a way that, when they opened it in KC MO, nothing within was sealed: they could check the contents easily.  There was nothing secret inside, just my personal card, and the Rosary.  I clearly identified myself and provided also a return address.  I was wholly above board.


Now some time has passed.

I received back the card which certified that the package had been accepted at the offices of the Fishwrap on 19 July.

It was up to them to address the inner envelope, seal it, and mail it.  It already had correct postage on it.

Has there been a response from MSW yet?


I would genuinely like to know if he received it.

Yes, this project had a touch of the facetious to it.  However, it is also a sincere gesture.

It’s my job to try to keep as many people out of Hell as I can.  The sending of the Rosary, while having also a touch of irony (it’s a “Combat Rosary” after all), was motivated from more than a touch of priestly solicitude.

I don’t think that anyone who regularly – even occasionally – prays the Rosary would have made a comment about spiritual combat, the image of spiritual weapons and warfare – in connection with the use of the Rosary, as being profane.

That jab moved me to a measure of even deeper concern than I already had.

I am sincerely concerned about the spiritual well-being of the people involved in the Fishwrap.  That’s why I ask you to pray earnestly either for conversion or for collapse of the Fishwrap.

I hope Winters decides to use the Rosary… or dig out the old chaplet that perhaps his, I dunno, grandmother had.  So long as he uses one.

Will MSW respond to or acknowledge Fr. Z's gift of a Combat Rosary?

  • No. (57%, 751 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a snarky comment. (27%, 357 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a terse acknowledgement. (8%, 100 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a kind note of thanks. (6%, 82 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a kind note of thanks. (3%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,329

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The moderation queue is… now… ON.

Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

If Fishwrap and modernist Jesuits had their way…

Writers for the Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter) and Amerika type Jesuits want us to become like these forward-looking, progressives whom they so idolize.

This was sent by a friend.  Here’s a smattering with my emphases and comments.

From American Conservative:

Spin Of The Year [Accompanied by a pic of their lesbian president in a band collar giving a 2009 abortion blessing at a gathering of NOW.]

Via the Episcopal News Service, a press release revealing that the ultramegaliberal Episcopal Divinity School is winding things down:

Episcopal Divinity School will cease to grant degrees at the end of the upcoming academic year, the seminary’s board of trustees decided July 21 on a 11-4 vote. During the next year, the board will explore options for EDS’s future, some of which were suggested by a specially convened Futures Task Force to make plans for EDS’s future.

“A school that has taken on racism, sexism, heterosexism, and multiple interlocking oppressions is now called to rethink its delivery of theological education in a new and changing world,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall ’76, chairman of the board, in introducing the resolution. “Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice.”  [ROFL!]

Translation: “Having abandoned anything to do with orthodox Christianity, we find that we have made ourselves completely irrelevant. If we spin our theological and financial bankruptcy as a sign of our virtue, maybe we won’t look so bad.”

A sampling of courses from the current EDS catalogue:

HB CS 4152 Liberating Bible Interpretations, Antiracist, and White Identity: Approaches to Reading Scripture

What makes an interpretation of the Bible liberating? For whom? When? Where? We will explore how various stages of racial identity development and awareness present challenges to our reading of the texts and each other, in order to develop antiracist and other anti-oppression strategies for preaching and teaching from scripture. Critical Race Theory and Critical White Studies shall inform our primary focus on racial identity of “white” readers while also looking at other culturally dominant features of identity in the interpretive process of biblical texts. G

PT L 1420 Unleashing Our Voices: Voice, Identity, and Leadership
A course for the courageous, [a course for the already convinced] who wish to explore first-hand [oh dear] the liberatory [sic] and transformative power of their voices in community. Using the classroom community as a laboratory, the course will combine: (1) practical work on voice production and the body/mind/soul as human instrument with (2) in-class discussion and small team exploration of readings on voice, identity/community membership, and leadership. Voice work will include group exercises for freeing the body and voice, as well as individual work in front of the group using prepared spoken texts and/or sung pieces. Readings will be drawn from writings on the physical voice and voice as an element of social location from womanist, feminist, anti-white supremacist, and other anti-oppression perspectives. Participants will engage questions of voice and power in pastoral, liturgical, theological, educational, and spiritual contexts. [Honestly, I just had a flashback to a particular course in my first year of seminary.  This could have been a description of the agenda of two of the members of the team that taught the nightmare called “Liturgy Colloquium”.  One of them even told our class that she wanted us to crawl around on the floor like cats and meow, to introduce ourselves to the chapel by shouting, “HELLOOOO CHAPELLLLL!”  A kind of hideous “hello kitty” moment.  That day I introduced myself to the door of the chapel and then the sidewalk outside the chapel, and then my car door….]

L 3020 Challenging the Liturgical Traditions, Postcolonial, and Queer Perspectives

A critical exploration of intersections between a cluster of contemporary theologies—for example, feminist, queer, postcolonial, “child theology”—and liturgical theology and practice.  [Yep… it’s a “cluster” alright.]

T PT 2165 Mission, Ministry, and Sacraments: Re-visioning the Church Inside-Out

This course seeks to construct a theology of the church the essential nature of which is its “inside-turned-outness” for the life of the world. In the light of this basic stance of a church as a people—externally focused and God’s- Reign oriented—a theological re-visioning of the central elements of the church’s sacramental life, worship, wit- ness, [sic – I’m sure they mean “wit-less”] and ministry is undertaken. [Putting “… is undertaken” at the end like that makes it sound smarter than it is.] A central question is how we can recover [get this…] the basic calling of the church to be a sign and instrument of a God-intended “alternative humanity” and an [George Soros style] agent of transformation in a world characterized by oppressive, exclusivist, and fragmenting forces. [Watch for code…] Faith-filled resistance, compassionate solidarity, and creative hope shall serve as significant categories in such a re-visioning. Participants will explore the practical and pastoral implications of such a re-visioning for the empowerment of local congregations [wait for it….] as change agents.


Go there for more descriptions of alluring courses.

And that, ladies and gentlemen… and undecided… is how it’s done.  That’s how to destroy a church… well… ecclesial community.  That’s what libs want to do to us.

That’s Reason #86774 for Summorum Pontificum and hard-identity Catholicism.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Lighter fare, Pò sì jiù, You must be joking! | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Jesuits and the Barque of Peter

Pius VIIMy good friend Fr. Finigan, aka His Hermeneuticalness, has a doozy of a post today about admirable Jesuits, on this the feast of their founder, St. Ignatius.  HERE

He names some great Jesuits, many of whom I know and one of whom was also one of my profs at the Augustinianum.  I studied St. Hillary of Poitier with him.  As a matter of fact, Fr. Giles Peland provided us with knock-out argument and quote against the dreadful proposals of Card. Kasper and Company.  HERE  Happily, it also applies to the quixotic suggestion that women should be ordained as deacons.

Father also mentions Fr. Paul Mankowski, one of the contributors to the extremely important book  Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (US HERE – UK link HERE – published by Ignatius Press founded by Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio).

Finigan also quotes from Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum of Pius VII, by which document that Pope restored the Society of Jesus in 1814.  To wit:

“We would believe ourselves guilty of a great crime in the presence of God, if, in these so grave necessities of the public interest, We were to neglect to put to work those salutary helps which God, with singular providence has provided Us, and if We, placed in the bark of Peter, tossed and buffeted by continual storms, were to reject the expert and valorous rowers who offer to break the waves of a sea which at every moment threatens Us with shipwreck and ruin.

For the text (Latin and English), HERE

If you want the Latin of that quote, above, get a load of this!

Gravissimi enim criminis in conspectu Dei reos Nos esse crederemus, si in tantis reipublicae necessitatibus ea salutaria auxilia adhibere negligeremus, quae singulari Providentia Deus Nobis suppeditat, et si Nos in Petri navicula assiduis turbinibus agitata et concussa collocati, expertos et validos qui sese Nobis offerunt remiges, ad frangendos pelagi naufragium Nobis et exitium quovis momento minitantis fluctus, respueremus.

Wow.  Those guys could really write.

Fr. Finigan observes:

This reminds me of the recent message of Pope Benedict for the funeral of Cardinal Meisner who, the Emeritus Holy Father said, had “learned to let go and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck.”

Be sure to check out Father’s good post, especially his final sagacious comment.

Meanwhile, more about the 1814 bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.  Pius VII had already recognized that the Jesuits were still in existence in Russia, where Clement XIV’s earlier suppression had not been implemented.  He also recognized them in Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1804.  So, Pius’ bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum did the same for the whole world, thus reversing Clement XIV’s suppression forty years before.  So, on 7 August 1814, the date of the bull,  Pope Pius went to the glorious baroque main church of the Jesuits in Rome, the Gesù, where, in the presence of prelates and nobility and a crowd of Jesuits, celebrated mass at the altar of of the tomb of St. Ignatius.  After the Mass the bull was read and handed over to the superior of the Jesuits in Italy.  More about all of that HERE.

Pius giving the bull to the Jesuits:


Posted in Mail from priests | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

31 July – St. Ignatius of Loyola: Jesuits and heretics… and tautology

ignatius_loyola_relicsMay I say from the onset that I have some spiffy Pope Clement XIV gear? HERE

Here is the Martyrologium Romanum entry for great saint, the founder of the Society of Jesus. (To the right is my first class relic of St. Ignatius).

Memoria sancti Ignatii de Loyola, presbyteri, qui, hispanus in Cantabria natus, in aula regia et militia vitam egit, donec, post grave vulnus acceptum ad Deum conversus, Lutetiae Parisiorum studia theologica complevit et primos socios sibi ascivit, quos postea in Societatem Iesu Romae constituit, ubi ipse fructuosum exercuit ministerium et in operis conscribendis et in discipulis instituendis, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

This morning Holy Mass was celebrated in the presence of a 1st class relic of the saint.

Here is the spiffy Collect from 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum:


Deus, qui ad maiorem tui nominis gloriam propagandam, novo per beatum Ignatium subsidio militantem Ecclesiam roborasti: concede; ut, eius auxilio et imitatione certantes in terris, coronari cum ipso mereamur in caelis.


O God, who strengthened the Church militant with a new reinforcement through blessed Ignatius, in order to spread widely the greater glory of Your Name, grant that we, who are contending on earth by his help and example, may deserve to be crowned with him in heaven.

The Novus Ordo Collect for Ignatius was weenied-down, I think:


Deus, qui ad maiorem tui nominis gloriam propagandam
beatum Ignatium in Ecclesia tua suscitasti,
concede, ut, eius auxilio et imitatione certantes in terris,
coronari cum ipso meramur in caelis.

Notice anything missing?

Let’s have your perfect renderings of the prayers.

Here is a shot of the altar and tomb of the saint in the Church called the Gesù in the heart of Rome.

Now that’s an altar.  Church architecture reflects the Church’s understanding of her own identity.  Each era has a different expression.  Compare and contrast.

To the right of the altar … by the way the dopey Jesuits removed the Communion rail while leaving the decorative metalwork, thus destroying the integrity of the design…. to the right of the altar is a marble group depiction of Truth beating the stuffing out of Heresy.

Heresy, in this case, means the works of Calvin and Luther.  The little angel is tearing up a bad book.   The ugly heretical bad guys shrink from the Cross and the light that Truth holds.

Under the lower heretic, there is a book with a visible spine that says MARTIN LUTHER.  If memory serves there used to be – some time back – bronze letters which were quite legible, but the Jesuits, who now probably idolize Luther, took them out.  For shame.  You have to know they are there to make out the letters now.  Calvin and Zwingli are on other books.

And then there’s this.  No, this is not a rendering of a Jesuit.

Were these statues to have experienced a true aggiornamento, they’d be tearing up a book by James Martin, though I admit there are many other candidates.


I’ve been looking around on my hard drive for old pics, before the cleaned up the lettering on the spines of the heretical books to make them illegible.

Here are a few.  I might find more.







Meanwhile, since our church architecture tells present and future generation about our Catholic identity at the time it was built, let’s have a few shots from inside the church.

The cupola:


The Holy Name of Jesus (which in its iteration at Georgetown the Jesuits covered over when Obama spoke there):


A glimpse of me, shooting the photo of the ceiling of the nave in a mirror angled just so for viewing ease.


The altar with the arm of St. Francis Xavier



My favorite version of the Sacred Heart, which you can find repeated all over Rome, in a small chapel to the Epistle side of the sanctuary.


In the same chapel, St. Francis preaching to the birds



And it wouldn’t be a visit to Rome without supper…




Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Saints: Stories & Symbols, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

WDTPRS – 8th Sunday after Pentecost: Be yourself… more

This Sunday’s Collect in the Extraordinary Form is from the ancient Veronese Sacramentary and the Gelasian and the so-called Gregorian. It survived the liturgical tailors with their scissors and thread to live on in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum on Thursday of the 1st week of Lent. However, there is a minor adjustment in the Novus Ordo version.

Let’s drill into what our prayer really says.


Largire nobis, quaesumus, Domine, semper spiritum cogitandi quae recta sunt, propitius et agendi: ut, qui sine te esse non possumus, secundum te vivere valeamus.

In the Novus Ordo version that oddly placed propitius (“propitiously”) is replaced by promptius (“more readily/openly”). In the critical edition of the ancient Veronese Sacramentary, you find promptius. The reformers preferred the version that pre-dated the “Tridentine” editio princeps of 1570. What happened? Probably some ancient copyist made a mistake in reading an old manuscript’s ink squiggles in – mpt – and – pit -. Easy to do.

One meaning of secundum in the prestigious Lewis & Short Dictionary is “agreeably to, in accordance with, according to”. Remember that largire is an imperative of a deponent verb, not an infinitive. The famous verb cogito is more than simply “to think”. It reflects deeper reflection, true pursuit in the mind: “to consider thoroughly, to ponder, to weigh, reflect upon, think”.


We beg you, O Lord, bestow upon us propitiously the spirit of thinking always things which are correct, and of carrying them out, so that we who are not able to exist without You may be able to live according to Your will.

In my peregrinations though the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) I found a text which harks to at least part of the content of this prayer (In io. eu. tr. 51,3):

“For Christ, who humbled Himself, made obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, is the teacher of humility. When He teaches us humility He doesn’t thus let go of His divinity: for in it (His divinity) He is the equal of the Father, while in this (His humility) He is like unto us; and in that He is the Father’s equal He created us in order that we might exist; and in that He is like to us, He redeemed us so that we would not perish.”

In Acts 17:28, we read about our God, “in whom we live and move and have our being”, a concept perhaps influenced by the legendary Epimenides of Knossos (6th c?).

We are made to act as God acts: to know, will and love.

When we cleave to God, seeking what is good and true and beautiful through the tangle of our wounded intellect, we are really seeking God.

Once we know what is good, true and beautiful, either because we reasoned to it or perhaps an authority helped us, then we must act in accordance with the good, truth and beauty we found.

Today we pray to God in our Collect to give us the actual graces we need in order to live properly according to His image within us.

We are even more ourselves, even freer when, eschewing our own errant wills, we embrace the One who is Goodness, Truth and Beauty.

Yet there are times when we purposely (and thereafter habitually) choose against what reason and authority point to as the Good, True and Beautiful. We make the choice to stray and sin. In doing so we diminish ourselves. After all, we have our very existence from the One whom we choose to defy. We must return to the correct path, as Dante did in his Divine Comedy. His fictional self strayed into the dark woods after leaving the path of the right reason.

We could so often avoid sin if we would just act readily on those impulses of our minds and consciences toward what is good and true and beautiful. In a way, the phrase of the old Nike commercial (níke means “victory” in ancient Greek) sums it up: Just Do It.

We have many helps in discerning the good, especially in the authoritative teachings of the Church. Over time we build up good habits of acting at the right time and measure, so that we have the habits that are virtues.

A problem rises when circumstances and our passions confuse us and we must ponder to discern the correct path. Most of the time we get ourselves into trouble by hesitating about doing what we know is right. We mull, dawdle, pick and get ourselves into a hornet nest of problems.

Strive, in accord with a conscience formed by the Church’s teachings and according to common sense, after the good, true and beautiful, which are ultimately reflects of God.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard during the Holy Mass in fulfillment your of Sunday Obligation? Let us know.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 15 Comments

My View For Awhile: Northward Bound

Time to head home. In other words, it’s time for another bout with Delta.

On my computer screen in that photo, is the text of a comment posted under my last travel post extravagantly defending Delta!  HERE.   To which I respond: HA!

In any event, it was a successful visit.  A successful visit includes at least a couple dozen oysters.


So far it’s a smooth boarding, probably less complicated because it’s a Saturday.

I’m into Peter Kwasniewski’s new book.  Outstanding.   More HERE!


We made it.  There were a few serious, attention getting bumps along the way, the sort that pitch liquids out of glasses.  The real problem, however, was the lack of AC before, during and after the flight.  Hence, it was incredibly hot inside that plane, drenched-hair hot.

Now, in the new lounge.  They are finally beginning to catch up with their European counterparts.

I have enough time here for my shirt to dry out a bit and to grab a bite before the bell rings for the next round.

They are trying new ways to channel people into boarding at the proper time and not block the corridor.


Seated. The boarding is going on… not water boarding, but there’s still time for that.

I just read on Twitter:

29 July 1941 | During selection for starvation death Father Maksymilian Kolbe asked SS to take him instead of Franciszek Gajowniczek. https://t.co/dLTiiPmOpw

Today his cause would surely be on the new path, oblatio vitae.


Here is a great quote from my book:


We are being told that the boarding process went so smoothly that we can leave early but… the taxi will be longer than usual. It’s a wash.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 14 Comments

ASK FATHER: Was St. Michael Prayer after Mass suppressed by Vatican II?

St. Michael by Daniel Mitsui. Click for more.

From a reader…


I recently heard a priest announce to his congregation that the St. Michael Prayer had been “suppressed” by Vatican II. [No.] People could still pray it privately, but it could not be recited in congregation after mass. Is this correct? This was at a Novus Ordo mass, not the Extraordinary Form.

Interesting.  I was just talking about this issue not long ago with a priest friend.

Vatican II did not suppress the St. Michael Prayer.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites, in the 1964 instruction on the implementation of  Sacrosanctum Concilium called Inter Oecumenicisaid:

j. The last gospel is omitted; the Leonine Prayers are suppressed.

Of course the St. Michael Prayer, by itself, is not the sum and total of the Leonine Prayers. It is only one of the Leonine Prayers.  So, that 1964 suppression is irrelevant to the recitation of the St. Michael Prayer by itself.

Also, I think we can say about Inter Oecumenici, who cares?  We have had several editions of the Roman Missal since then, including massive overhauls in 1965 and 1969 and an edition that had to be immediately withdrawn because it had heresy in the introduction. We now also have a desirable process of “mutual enrichment” underway with Summorum Pontificum.

Moreover, in 2013, the Bishops Conference of the Philippines authorized the St. Michael Prayer for use in all churches nationwide and recommended its use especially in troubled regions. HERE  I am not sure that they had to authorize it for it to be used after Mass.  It’s after Mass, after all.  However, they put their official stamp of approval on the practice.

In these USA, the great Bp. Thomas Paprocki of Springfield did the same for his diocese in 2011.  HERE

In a 1994 Regina Caeli Address, St. John Paul II – who should be named Doctor of the Church – recommended that people pray the St. Michael prayer for the Church.

This prayer is coming back far and wide.  I’ll bet readers here know parishes where it is a regular feature after Mass.

If people are moved to pray such a prayer after Mass, why should they be stopped?   Is there some other important official business that has to be conducted at that very moment?  Other than the fact that Father wants to leave?

It isn’t as if people are attempting glossalalia.  They aren’t babbling incoherently.

The St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII who had a frightening vision the battle between the Church and Satan. He wrote the prayer and ordered that it be added to the prayers Pius IX had commanded to be recited after Low Masses (Pius X added the three-fold invocation of the Sacred Heart), which continued until 1964.

One must ask: Does anyone think that Satan has stopped waging war on the Church?   We still need to say prayers precisely like this.  Is there a better time than when people are together in church?

It doesn’t take very long to say it.  People can have their moment of silent prayer and say their thanksgiving prayers directly after.

If once the Leonine Prayers, with the St. Michael Prayer, were associated with the conversion of Russia, couldn’t they be used nowfor the conversion of these USA?   How about for defense of our Christian brethren in the Middle East and Africa from the hellish attacks by Islamic terrorists?  Is that a good enough reason?  How about for an end to abortion?

Specific intentions come and go.  The prayers we recite can be reapplied for other intentions.  You could have a different intention each day of the week.

I think that people should pray not only the St. Michael Prayer, but the whole of the so-called Leonine Prayers, including the collect:

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

What’s wrong with that prayer?  It even mentions mercy, which is quite fashionable these days.  It mentions mercy twice.

We need prayers like these now more than ever.

Bishops and pastors everywhere, and the Holy Father too, should reinstate the Leonine Prayers after Masses.

There are urgent and burning intentions to pray for and these prayers are just the thing.

So, circling back to the question.  No. The priest is wrong.  Vatican II did not suppress the St. Michael Prayer.   The SCR suppress the Leonine Prayers (which were mandatory after Low Masses).  However, it the pastor doesn’t want this, he must be respected.

It is, however, entirely reasonable to to keep working on him, perhaps with the St. Michael Prayer!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 48 Comments

NLM: Useful study of creation of the Novus Ordo Lectionary

Have you followed the tennis match back and forth that has resulted since Card. Sarah’s suggestion in La Nef that the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Forms of Mass should have a coordinated Lectionary?

Some were cool about that suggestion and others were more enthusiastic.  Those who were enthusiastic tend to argue that more pericopes (selections) of Scripture for Mass, as in the Novus Ordo v. the TLM, is better, mostly because there’s more.  Those who are cool tend to argue that the introduction of more to the TLM isn’t automatically better and would, in fact, be disruptive in a harmful way.

You can follow this debate HERE.

Now I see that at NLM,  Matthew Hazell has started a 3 part series about the creation of the Novus Ordo Lectionary.  He has posted Part 1 and it is not to be missed.

Hazell holds that the integration of the Novus Ordo Lectionary into the older, traditional form of Mass would do irreparable damage to the traditional form.  He is qualified to have a position about this question, inter alia he assembled the useful and instructive:

Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite (Lectionary Study Aids) (Volume 1)


Every priest, at least, should have this useful book.   It compares, side by side, the use of Scripture selections in the Novus Ordo and the TLM, going through the Bible in order.  So, if you want to find out on what days a specific verse of Scripture is used in the Novus Ordo and the TLM, this is your book.

Hazell says:

[T]he integration of one lectionary into the other form is simply impossiblewithout irreparable damage is, in my opinion, quite correct. So, if some sort of “convergence” of the two lectionaries is to happen, it cannot be on done on this basis. [1Furthermore, in this author’s opinion, it is an open question as to whether or not the specific, practical reforms mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium, such as the readings being intra praestitutum annorum spatium in SC 51 or the abolition of Prime in SC 89, should still be part of any potential future liturgical reform.] A comprehensive examination of their strengths and shortcomings is required—and, for the Ordinary Form lectionary in particular, this will involve a detailed critique of the rationale and work of Group 11 of the Consilium. [There’s the infamous Consilium!  I am reminded of my post on BUGNINICARE!]

However, another important part of this study is the following question: what sort of reform did the Council Fathers and the periti envisage? Looking at the liturgy constitution in itself, it would seem difficult to answer this question. On the one hand, “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (SC 23); on the other hand, the stated desire for some sort of multi-year cycle of readings in SC 51 is an innovation without precedent in the liturgical tradition. [Incoherent, no?]

So, in this short series, I hope to provide some of the background material necessary for a deeper examination of this question—not just from the Second Vatican Council itself, but also from the preparatory work done before the Council.

“But Father! But Father!”, some libs sputter, “How dare you post about this?!?  It is clear to everyone who agrees with us that more Scripture is better, especially when all the bits we don’t like are edited out.  All that stuff about sin is such a downer… a pre-Conciliar downer!  You just want to disturb people with these texts from the Council and … and… facts.   Why?  Because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

Is that so?  Let’s learn what the Council really said, learn with the Council Fathers really initiated, before we come to conclusions.

Posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

WDTPRS – 17th Ordinary Sunday: Demon-Kevlar, Sin Teflon


Shall we look at the Collect for this Sunday’s Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form?


Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur, ut iam possimus inhaerere mansuris.

The traditional Roman Missal, 1962MR, places today’s Collect at the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost though it is a little different from the newer version, to wit: sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus aeterna.

Historically the prayer has roots in the ancient “Leonine” or better the Veronese Sacramentary used during the month of July in which we find: sic bonis praetereuntibus nunc utimur, ut iam possimus inherere perpetuis. This historical digging shows us that the Novus Ordo version returned to a more ancient form of the prayer.

That inherere for the more regular inhaerere shows how the ae was pronounced when the manuscript was made.  The eminent paleographer E.A. Lowe dated the earliest manuscript of the Veronese to the first quarter of the 7th century.

There is a pleasant humming “m” alliteration in lines 2-3.  A nice pair of pairs present themselves: nihil validum, nihil sanctum and some exemplary ablative absolutes te rectore, te duce.

Protector is from protego fundamentally meaning “to cover before, or in front, cover over” and obviously also “to shield from danger” as well as things like “put a protecting roof over”.  A protector is also “one of the lifeguard or body – guard”.

Last week in the Collect we heard “vigili custodia … vigilant restraint/guarding.”  Both words refer to protection.

In last week’s Collect the priest prayed to God: clementer gratiae tuae super eos dona multiplica, (indulgently multiply upon/over them the gifts of Your grace) while this week we ask multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam.

In this and last week’s prayer we have the image of a people asking to cover them over abundantly, last week with the theological virtues, this week with mercy.

God is our shield.  In His mercy He guards us from the attacks we face as soldiers in the Church Militant.

Validus, a, um (from the verb valeo) is “strong, stout, able, powerful, robust, vigorous” and also “well in body, in good health, sound, healthy”.  “Vale!” is one Latin way to say “Farewell!”

The verb inhaereo means “to stick in, to stick, hang, or cleave to, to adhere to, inhere in”.  Inhaereo is construed with either dative or ablative and it is very hard to know which case is mansuris, the future participle from maneo, “to remain, last, endure, continue”.   Without going into details, St. Augustine (+430) used a similar combination of words, but to different effect, in a sermon about the love of God and love of the world (s. 344.2 in PL 39:1512).


O God, protector of those hoping in you, without whom nothing is efficacious, nothing holy, multiply your mercy upon us, so that, you being our helmsman, our commander, we may so make use of things that pass away as to be able to cleave to those that will endure.

We can also render rector and dux respectively as “guide” and “leader” but I think in our times we need a bolder tone.  A rector is also a “helmsman” and “commander of the army”.  In honor of World Youth Day, rector can be the “master of youth, teacher”.  On the other hand, dux is also a military term for a “general” or “chief”.


God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world


O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.

We are members of the Church Militant and we must never forget it.

We must not permit ourselves complacency.  We must not be softened into spiritual acedia by the coos and lullabies of those who deny the existence of evil and the devil and personal sin.

Some people today think that any “evil”, if it is really evil after all and not merely a difference of perspective, can be reduced to mere social ills stemming from a societal lack of tolerance and diversity.

This is a deception of the enemy of the soul, the devil.

In reality, our personal sins are the foundation of every societal ill.  When people do not believe in the devil and in sin, then the enemy has already won.   Our enemy Satan and his fallen angels desire our everlasting damnation and agony with them in hell.  This world has a fell prince, a spiritual being, a mighty fallen angel (cf. John 14:30).

Jesus Christ is our King, our great Captain in our battle against all that is wicked in this world.  Christ Jesus has broken hell’s power over us, but for a time we are still in this world and the devil dominates it – but only to the extent that omnipotent God permits in His providence.  We are living in a state of “already, but not yet.”

As soldiers traveling through enemy territory we need strong shields, a sure leader to set our feet on the right path out of the danger zone, a sturdy roof over us when we rest, some way to identify what is holy and what is deception.

Without God nothing is worthwhile or holy.   He must pour out and multiply upon us all that we need simply in order to live.

Today we are asking for a protection, sin-Teflon, so that the passing things of this world can’t stick to us, distract us, and hold us back from heaven.

May God give us demon-Kevlar, so that the enemy cannot penetrate our minds and hearts with the darts of temptation and the provocations of doubts.

We beg God to make us “sticky” only for the things that endure forever and not the things that are under control of this world’s prince, who from the beginning is a liar, a murderer (cf. John 8:44).

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wisdom from Hugh of St. Victor

Hugh of St. Victor addressing listeners.  One of them seems to have had an "Ah ha!" moment.

Hugh of St. Victor addressing listeners. One of them seems to have had an “Ah ha!” moment.

I picked up this great quote on Sententiae AntiquaeMy emphases and comments:

Hugo of St. Victor, Didascalion

On the Study of Reading – Preface (Part I)

“There are many whom nature has left so destitute of intellect that they are unable to grasp even those things which are easiest to understand; of these people, there seem to be two types. There are certain people who, granting that they are not ignorant of their own dullness, eagerly strive for knowledge with whatever effort they can, and apply themselves to the task with unremitting zeal; though they achieve little from the realization of the work, they seem to deserve something for their efforts. But there are other people who understand that they will never be able to understand the highest things, so they neglect even the smallest ones, and resting secure in their own indolence, we find that the more they waste the light of truth in the most important things, the more they flee from learning the smallest things, which they are actually able to understand. For this reason, the Psalm has it, ‘They did not wish to understand how they could do well.’ Not knowing is, indeed, a far different thing from not wanting to know. Indeed, ignorance is a kind of weakness, but the detestation of knowledge is the sign of a depraved will.

There is, however, yet another group of people whom nature has so enriched that she has offered them a clear approach to the truth. For these people, even if the strength of their mind is not equal to the task, there is not the same virtue or will for cultivating the senses through exercise and natural instruction. For, there are many people who, wrapped up in the business and concerns of this age more than is really necessary, are entirely given to the vices and pleasures of the body, and they bury the treasure of God in the ground; they neither seek the fruit of wisdom, nor the use of good work – these people are on the whole rather detestable. Again, for some people, family poverty or their slender means diminishes the opportunity of learning. Yet, I think that these people can hardly be excused on this account, since we see so many people laboring under famine, thirst, and even want of clothes, who yet attain the fruit of knowledge. Indeed, it is one thing when you are not able (or, I should say, are not easily able) to learn, and it is an entirely different thing when you are able to learn but unwilling to do so. Just as it is more glorious to attain wisdom by virtue alone, when no other opportunities rush to assist you, so too it is much more shameful to have a vigorous intellect and to overflow with wealth while wasting away in idleness.”

For those of you who enjoy the Latin:

[770C] Multi sunt quos ipsa adeo natura ingenio destitutos reliquit ut ea etiam quae facilia sunt intellectu vix capere possint, et horum duo genera mihi esse videntur. [770D] nam sunt quidam, qui, licet suam hebetudinem non ignorent, eo tamen quo valent conamine ad scientiam anhelant, et indesinenter studio insistentes, quod minus habent effectu operis, obtinere merentur effectu voluntatis. ast alii quoniam summa se comprehendere nequaquam posse sentiunt, minima etiam negligunt, et quasi in suo torpore securi quiescentes eo amplius in maximis lumen veritatis perdunt, quo minima quae intelligere possent discere fugiunt. unde psalmista: Noluerunt, inquit, intelligere ut bene agerent. longe enim aliud est nescire atque aliud nolle scire. nescire siquidem infirmitatis est, scientiam vero detestari, pravae voluntatis. est aliud hominum genus quos admodum natura ingenio ditavit et facilem ad veritatem veniendi aditum praestitit, quibus, [771A] etsi impar sit valitudo ingenii, non eadem tamen omnibus virtus aut voluntas est per exercitia et doctrinam naturalem sensum excolendi. nam sunt plerique qui negotiis huius saeculi et curis super quam necesse sit impliciti aut vitiis et voluptatibus corporis dediti, talentum Dei terra obruunt, et ex eo nec fructum sapientiae, nec usuram boni operis quaerunt, qui profecto valde detestabiles sunt. rursus aliis rei familiaris inopia et tenuis census discendi facultatem minuit. quos tamen plene per hoc excusari minime posse credimus, cum plerosque fame siti nuditate laborantes ad scientiae fructum pertingere videamus. [771B] et tamen aliud est cum non possis, aut ut verius dicam, facile non possis discere, atque aliud posse et nolle scire. sicut enim gloriosius est, cum nullae suppetant facultates, sola virtute sapientiam apprehendere, sic profecto turpius est vigere ingenio, divitiis affluere, et torpere otio.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Lighter fare | Tagged , | 4 Comments

ASK FATHER: Msgr. Mannion supports ordination of deaconettes. Fail.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 14.53.57From a reader…


One of our Diocesan (Salt Lake City) Priests [Msgr. M. Francis Mannion] wrote an op-ed for our local Diocese Newspaper entitled “Some Items That Caught My Attention Recently”. In this piece, (HERE) he talks about how the Eastern Rite has ordained numerous Deaconesses (Africa). He then goes on to opine how he agrees with women Deacons and see this move by our Eastern friends as a boon and boost to the cause for women Deacons in the Roman Rite.

First, is it true that women have been ordained in the Eastern Church Rite as Deaconesses?

If so, is there merit to it lending support to the same in our beloved Rite?

Let’s drill down in what the good Monsignor posted concerning deaconesses (aka deaconettes).

What did Msgr. Mannion publish?  He has several topics, but eventually gets down to the issue of deaconettes.  He wrote (with my numbers):

On Deaconesses: [1] The Catholic Church is always concerned never to do anything that would offend the theology and practice of the Orthodox Churches. [2] On the matter of the ordination of deaconesses, however, the Orthodox Churches might be ahead of us.
[3] Recently, the Patriarch of Alexandria appointed six deaconesses. [4] The Patriarch is no minor ecclesiastic; he is, in fact, the head of the entire Orthodox Church in Africa.
[5] The move follows years of discussion within the various branches of Orthodoxy on whether to reinstate the office of women deacons. [6] Closer to home, this comes at a time when the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas is studying the matter.
As one who favors the institution of the diaconate for women in the Catholic Church, I think the decision of the Patriarch of Alexandria should give a boost to the current Vatican study about the diaconate for Catholic women.

There is not a single sentence in what Msgr. Mannion wrote that is correct.

Let’s break it down… in a moment

Some of you might be saying, “Who?”  Msgr. Mannion is pastor emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul parish in Salt Lake City. He was founding president of The Society for Catholic Liturgy in 1995 and the founding editor of the Society’s journal, Antiphon, which I really like. He founded the Mundelein Liturgical Institute in 2000.  So, he is is considered to have some chops.  However, he took a position against Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum.  HERE

That aside, let’s drill into Msgr. Mannion’s claims about deaconettes and Orthodoxy.

First sentence: “The Catholic Church is always concerned never to do anything that would offend the theology and practice of the Orthodox Churches.”

No, the Catholic Church isn’t concerned never to do anything that would offend, etc.  Is he kidding? True, the Catholic Church would prefer not to offend the theology and practice of the Orthodox Churches, but, no, the Catholic Church does not let that preference stop it from contradicting Orthodox Church theology and practice.

For example, the Catholic Church continues to elect Popes who claim universal jurisdiction (Lumen gentium 22; CCC 882: “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered”, a claim that the Orthodox Churches reject out of hand.  Might I add that Pope Francis has not shown himself reluctant to exercise this power?

Other examples are the infallible proclamations of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which the Orthodox Churches reject completely.

So, no. WRONG.  Let’s move on.

Second sentence: “On the matter of the ordination of deaconesses, however, the Orthodox Churches might be ahead of us.”

Apart from the assumption in this statement that ordination of deaconettees would represent some kind of theological progress, the statement errs by implying that all of the many Orthodox Churches ordain women to the diaconate. In fact, only 1 out of 14 does.

This is not a matter of what the Roman Catholic Church does versus what the Orthodox Churches do. But if the Roman Catholic Church were to ordain women to the diaconate, then the Catholic Church and the vast majority (and certainly the largest) of Orthodox Churches would be at odds!

WRONG.  Next.

Third sentence:

“Recently, the Patriarch of Alexandria appointed six deaconesses.”

Technically speaking, this statement can be read as true. But it is also somewhat incomplete and could be misleading.

Firstly, there are three Patriarchs of Alexandria, two “Orthodox” and one Catholic. Msgr. Mannion referred to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.  However, there is also a Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and a Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, the latter of whom is in communion with the Pope of Rome.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria today numbers only 300,000 members, mostly in Egypt and East Africa, though its jurisdiction includes the entire African continent.  The Coptic Orthodox Church claims millions of followers.

Folks, there are American Catholic dioceses with more members than some Orthodox Churches, for example the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, just to put matters in perspective. It doesn’t take an ecclesiologist to recognize that in Eastern Orthodoxy it is certainly easier for a Synod of a small autocephalous Church to arrive at a major decision that involves significant change than it would be, say, for the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece, or the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, let alone for a Pan-Orthodox Council.  It’s a matter of scale.

The other troubling detail is Monsignor’s word “appointed”.

We are told by Mannion that the Patriarch “appointed” six deaconesses.  So, were these women “appointed” or were they “ordained”?  That’s unclear.  Some reports of the ceremony claim that the Patriarch “blessed” the women, a technical term which introduces a distinction that is NOT without a difference.

In antiquity there is a difference between the “ordination” of deaconettes and the “blessing” of deaconettes. The different understandings of the nature and intent of the ritual act and the specific functions it authorized remains today a matter of scholarly debate.

Nor does the use of the title “deaconess” add clarity.  It is not prima facie apparent whether a claim is being made that the women were sacramentally ordained to holy orders or, instead, instituted into a public ecclesial ministry that does not entail a sacrament, an ordination, or an order.

It is also not clear how the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa understands the relation between these six “deaconesses”, on the one hand, and ordained male deacons within its Church.  Nor is it clear how the 13 other autocephalous Orthodox Churches understand the ecclesial status of these women. They are an anomaly within Orthodoxy. Most likely they could not exercise their ministry outside of their own autocephalous Orthodox Church.

So it is patently false to claim, as Msgr. Mannion does, that the Orthodox Churches recognize the ordination of women to the diaconate.

WRONG.  Next?

Fourth sentence:

“The Patriarch is no minor ecclesiastic; he is, in fact, the head of the entire Orthodox Church in Africa.”

This, again, is erroneous to the point of being risible.

First of all, there is no such thing as “the entire Orthodox Church in Africa”. The Coptic Orthodox Church in Africa claims to be Orthodox as much as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. The two Churches trace their divergence back to the sixth century schism that finalized the break between the Chalcedonian (Melkite or Greek) patriarchs or popes and the the Non-Chalcedonian (Coptic) patriarchs or popes. There are estimated to be between 10 and 14 million Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt alone, and hundreds of thousands elsewhere in Africa (though these are not called Copts because they are not Egyptian). And let’s be clear: the Coptic Orthodox Christians are NOT the subjects of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, which, as I said before, has about 300,000 members total. Moreover, there are millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians currently living in Ethiopia. Hence, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria is in no way the head of the entire Orthodox Church in Africa; in fact, he is the leader of the smallest.

None of the others ordain women to the diaconate.

Ergo… WRONG.  Moving on.

Fifth and Sixth sentences:

“The move follows years of discussion within the various branches of Orthodoxy on whether to reinstate the office of women deacons. Closer to home, this comes at a time when the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas is studying the matter.”

This statement is true.  But … it misleads by making it appear that the issue is a more important one for the Orthodox Churches than it really is.

Ordination of women deaconettes was nowhere near the agenda of the Pan-Orthodox Council held in June 2016 in Crete. Discussions between bishops and theologians in the Orthodox Church rarely have the kind of official significance that they can have in the Roman Catholic Church because of vast differences in ecclesiology and Church governance. Hence, the actions of individual bishops within any Orthodox Church has far less significance than an action of a bishop within the Roman Catholic Church, because of the relation of the Catholic bishop to the Pope (papal primacy).

Need I say… WRONG?

So much for Msgr. Mannion’s support of deaconettes in the Catholic Church based on this Orthodox aberration.

Finally, don’t be confused about “Eastern” Churches.  There is no attempt in any of the Eastern Catholic Churches to ordain women to the diaconate. Nor could there be, given the current state of the question.

I hope this helps.

Posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Deaconettes, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 47 Comments

@MichaelSWinters nasty remark about converts. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

wile e coyote knife forkToday there is a “Defense of Converts” in First Things.  

There is a defense because there was an attack.

A couple days back, at the Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter), the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left, Michael Sean Winters, attacked converts.

At Al Jazeera, Austen Ivereigh debates Matthew Schmitz from First Things. I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic.

What a snotty thing to say. Typical Fishwrap.  Liberals have a streak of moral superiority which leads them to all sorts of  humorless, condescending lapses.

Leaving aside whether or not any converts really are saying that Pope is or is not Catholic, why should converts not have the right to respect from cradle Catholics?

WINTERS: They can’t say anything because they’re converts.

Guess what.  I know a heck of a lot of cradle Catholics who couldn’t tell you what a sacrament is. And some of them would then object to its definition if you told them.  What’s so automatically great about being a cradle Catholic if the majority of them have only a vague notion of the tenets of the Faith, neglected as they have been for decades by their cradle Catholic non-observant, contracepting, parents, their cradle Catholic priests, their cradle Catholic bishops?  Let’s compare Mass attendance of converts and cradle Catholics.  Let’s compare rates of marrying in the Church and of divorce and remarriage.  Name your category.  How about the number of cradle Catholics who are going to “mega-Churches” compared to coverts?

Let’s see the piece at First Things with my usual:

by Stephen Bullivant

Over at the National Catholic [sic] Reporter blog, Michael Sean Winters [aka Wile E.] is pointing readers to a recent Al-Jazeera clip discussing Pope Francis’s record as a reformer. The clip itself I’ve yet to watch; it’s Winters’s gloss on it that I wish to discuss: “I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic. ”

The convert in question is, I presume, First Things literary editor Matthew Schmitz. Of the two pundits featured in the clip, Schmitz is, I believe, the only convert. (The other is British Catholic commentator Austen Ivereigh. We had a very nice chat at a wedding once, but I didn’t think to ask.) Schmitz also regularly contributes to Europe’s finest Catholic magazine, The Catholic Herald—which, let’s face it, probably also implies that he’s an all-round good egg. What really interests me, though, is Winters’s slight against converts.

He is by no means alone in casting such aspersions. Massimo [“Beanie Baby”] Faggioli, a US-based theologian and Church historian, retweeted Winters’s remark and added, “I am so tired too.” Earlier this year, Faggioli had tweeted, somewhat gnomically: “One could teach an entire course on fact that in top US universities the course on Vatican II is taught by recent converts to Catholicism.” [It may be that, percentage-wise, more converts have read the V2 documents than have cradle Catholics.]

Nor is such sniffiness towards converts an exclusively American phenomenon. The day after Anglicanorum Coetibus was issued, providing personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into communion with the Catholic Church, I recall a Jesuit friend remarking: “Yes, but they’re the wrong sort of Anglicans.” One wonders, of course, who the “right” ones would be. [I don’t.]

According to the “regulars” commenting on my own forays in blogging, chief among my own failings is my being a Johnny-come-lately “neo-Catholic.” (Though to be fair, I did once teach a course on Vatican II at a top UK university, after having been Catholic for only two years. So I guess it’s a fair cop.)

Maybe I’m being preciously oversensitive here. Lord knows, it wouldn’t be the first time. Nevertheless, I do find such condescension strange in an avowedly missionary religion. [RIGHT!  Make more Catholics, as Christ commanded.  Converts are therefore something to be grateful for, not to abuse.] A Church whose very raison d’être is to “go and make disciples of all nations” should, one might imagine, be a little gladder to have them. Not least since, as a group, converts tend to be more knowledgeable, more committed, more active, and more generous than cradle Catholics in general.

Don’t get me wrong, we “baby Catholics” give our older siblings plenty to criticize. [Perhaps impatience with heterodoxy is one of them.] What else would you expect in a faith proclaiming “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3.10)? But the sneering at converts, qua converts, is a bit much. I have a great many faults and failings as a Catholic (and indeed as a human being); but having become a Catholic, however poor a one I might be, is surely one of the few points in my favor.

Furthermore, at the risk, in my arriviste enthusiasm and naïveté, of sounding a little gauche . . . I seem to recall from my catechumenal days that Jesus himself had something to say on the matter.  [The perfect passage about the laborers coming at different times of the day.]

Stephen Bullivant is professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University, London, and directs the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society.

Really sad, isn’t it.  It is pathetically sad.

“OMG aren’t converts stooopid?  They’re too stoooopid to have an opinion.”
“Yeah!  I know, right?  I’m sooo tired of them.”
“Yeah!  Me too! They’re soooo conservative.
“I said they were stoooopid already!”

Full disclosure: I am a convert to the Catholic Church.  As such, I made a choice, after a long period of study and liturgical frequency, to become a Catholic based on my conviction that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ – who is GOD and man.  Since He founded it, there is no other place to be.  Furthermore, I accept Holy Mother Church’s doctrines because, as the Act of Faith concludes: “I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou, O God, hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.”  I made these choices as an adult convert and I have not looked back.

I sense myself, as a convert, to have been the recipient of particular graces which have, along with a lot of decidedly anti-Pelagian elbow grease diluted with tears and sweat, brought me to where I am now, according to the will of the God who chose me, unworthy as I am, and who uses me, crooked, to write straight with my crooked lines.  God does not choose those who are worthy, as the TLM constantly reminds the priest.  He chooses those whom it pleaseth Him to choose.

On the other hand, …

My experience of being a convert – which is ongoing – is that time does make a difference, though perhaps not exactly in the sense of “time is greater than space” (whatever that means).  Certainly not in the sense that Wile E. and Beans would mean it.

Sticking with the “Beans” thing, in cooking, as in conversion, there is no substitute for “slow”.  Fast preparations can be spectacular, but slow preps satisfy in a different way.

In Italy, for example, you could put dry, hard beans into an empty wine bottle, give them some seasoning and oil and then put the bottle into the hot ashes and embers of the hearth before turning in to sleep, letting them slowly cook over night. They need time.  Spaghetti aglio, olio e pepperoncino comes swiftly from the fire and it is great.  True ragù alla bolognese takes hours to prepare properly.  They satisfy differently.

It takes time for the Catholic “thing” to get down into the marrow.  Speaking of marrow – not ossobuco – I am reminded of the scene in the Aubrey/Maturin novel by Patrick O’Brian‘s HMS Surprise.  (UK HERE) The ship’s surgeon, an eminent naturalist, Dr. Stephen Maturin was conducting an experiment on some rats.  He had been feeding them madder.  He intended eventually to dissect them to see if the red stuff had colored their bones and penetrated to the marrow.

Coverts often have an initial burning zeal which carries them rapidly apace.  However, as they cool down and begin to live the with cooler zeal, their experience of the Faith changes.  Converts need to learn to live with a different kind of zeal after that.  This is something that many cradle Catholics don’t experience, unless perhaps they are reverts or newly inspired.

Some converts take to it and settle in as if they’ve never been anything else.  Others, however, I’d guess the large majority, need years, maybe even decades.  That’s something a new convert – a zealous convert (nearly a tautology, I know) might have a hard time understanding until he’s been inside for a long time.

Frankly, all Catholics should foster the zeal of conversion.  If conversion is a constant feature of our Catholic identity, shouldn’t we be constantly zealous?  Zeal becomes tempered in time and travail but it shouldn’t rust and fail.

The experiences of cradle Catholics and of covert Catholics and of revert Catholics are not in competition.  They are complimentary… as the lives of the saints demonstrate.  These modes of living converge, merge, and un-ravel and re-ravel.

I said, above, that there are lots of Catholics who know hardly anything about the Faith.  At the same time, there are a lot of converts who don’t know about living the Faith for a long time… yet.

That said, the principle of non-contradiction is not, in itself, a Catholic truth.

Catholics at any stage, if they are honest and half-way intelligent, see the difference between clearly taught truths of the Faith and statements which run contrary to the same or undermine the truth.

Could it be that Wile E. and “Beans”  reacted from a scratched conscience?

Faithful Catholics who are converts are their constant reminder.


Posted in Green Inkers, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Did Pope Francis insult some young priests? Fr. Z opines and tells a story.

Francis scowl frown glareThis isn’t the sort of thing that should pull much of our attention or energy.  However, I have been asked about it in email by a surprising number of people, including priests.

It seems that the site Messa in latino picked up on an anecdote recounted by a French site Benoit etmoi.  Here’s my translation from the French, which seems to be the original of the anecdote.  I’m cutting out the first part, just to get at the core of the anecdote itself.   Mind you, we are dealing with something that happened recently, after this spring or early summers traditional round of diocesan ordinations to the priesthood.  However, we are also dealing with something that it second hand at best.

A group of young priests from the same diocese, who were just ordained, made a pilgrimage together to Rome. They were not traditionalists, but young priests of today, white shirt with discreet collar, [in some European countries you will see during the summer priests in a white clerical shirt with “tab” collar] classic, pious, normal, very happy with the gift of Christ they had just received. Naturally, they asked and obtained (the chance) to have dinner at Santa Marta and to be presented to the Pope, and also to concelebrate with him at Mass the next day.

They arrived at Santa Marta at the designated time, and went to the place indicated. A secretary pointed them out to the Pope who was approaching. The Pope: “Where are you from?” They, proudly: “Of the Diocese of X”.  And he, with a sour expression [avec la mine des mauvais jours]: “Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.” And he continues his journey.

The young priests, dismayed, looked at each other, conferred, and left without eating.  And the next day, they spared themselves the concelebration at Santa Marta.

Okay… what to do with this.  And, mind you, I’m doing this here because I’ve had a lot of requests.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s expression.  Some people’s default face isn’t always cheerful looking.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s words.  There could be a language difference.

However, since there were a few of them, they probably were not all mistaken in their interpretation and it drove them to leave and not come back.

Popes kid around with seminarians and priests.  John Paul II sure did.  Here is one of my own anecdotes with John Paul.  I’ve never told this one here before.

Since my seminary in Rome was named after JPII, we seminarians were often called to serve his Masses.  Hence, I had quite a few opportunities as a seminarian and as a deacon.  I was a deacon often enough that the Holy Father got to know me.  One day, as deacon, I brought the thurible into the small sacristy tucked away near the altar of the Pietà (they laid our our dalmatics, etc., on the altar beneath the Pietà – that wasn’t cool or anything…) for the Pope, as celebrant, to “charge”.  As I approached he said in Italian, “You again!”  As I held it up he said, “Which seminary are you from?”  Of course he knew.  He asked every time.  “The John Paul the Second International Seminary, Your Holiness.”  With clearly mock dismay, he almost bellowed, “Terribile! Terribile!”  Everyone was amused, including myself.  Then he became very grave.  Leaning in almost nose to nose, he repeatedly pounded me hard on the chest with his finger and said, punctuating every word, “Tu… deve essere serio.  You… have to be serious.”  “Serio” means “serious”, but also “focused, earnest”.

That experience was a little frightening, to be frank.  First, that was the POPE.  Also, that was Pope Wojtyla.  It is a bit cliché to speak of what it felt like when he came into a room, but I guarantee you he was like no one else I’ve seen.  Seeing him come in or meeting him briefly is one thing.  Having him pound you repeatedly on the chest nose to nose is another.

Clearly the saint was trying in an extremely personal moment to inspire a man to something more than mediocrity.  After all, my seminary had his name.  Ergo, we reflected him, in a way.  We had to live up to that.

Let’s just say that I have not forgotten that moment.

It could be that Pope Francis was trying to do something similar with these young priests, but missed the mark.

“Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.”

It could be a kind of joking, “Is this the best they can do in X?”

Hah! Hah! Hah!… or not.

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that priests – men in general, but priests and military especially – often show affection through hard ribbing.  And it can get a little sharp.

Another thing that this anecdote can teach us is that pebbles, when dropped from a great height, even when small can, do damage.  Fathers… bishops… be careful out there.

Yet another thing that this anecdote can teach us is that we mustn’t allow ourselves to melt like snowflakes when something rough comes along.

We priests especially have to have a thick hide.  I’m concerned that the young men who have grown up in the relative peace of the JPII and BXVI years of aspiration to priesthood and then then beginning seminary, are not – how to say this – acquainted with battle yet.  They don’t have the slightest idea what seminary was like a couple decades ago, or what the majority of lib pastors did to new priests – and can do – who are of faithful Catholic disposition.  Those days are returning, I’m afraid.  We have to buckle it on and get ready.

In any event, I am not entirely sure what happened between the Pope and those young priests.  It seems to have left them with a less than optimal impression.

If any of them every read this, my reaction to a second hand anecdote, I would just say:

  • Don’t let this get you down.
  • You have a lot of time ahead as priests.
  • Stick together.
  • Be serious.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests, Pope Francis, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, The Drill | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

A timely review, including the ULTIMATE priest gift.


From a priest, just now:

Just a note to let you know that I bought a portable altar from St. Joseph’s Apprentice a few months back. I couldn’t be happier with it — it is absolutely beautiful! And Rick was a pleasure to work with — a personified blessing!

Thanks for mentioning his work and business from time to time.

And congratulations on your 25th! As I will likely not make a 50th (ordained at 38), I am taking a cue from you and will design a challenge coin for 2021, when I will be ordained 25 years. I already have a crest, so it shouldn’t be too hard, but I wouldn’t have thought of it were it not for you.

If priests out there have their own challenge coins, I’d be open to an exchange… same for military and LEOs.

If you need help with a coat of arms, you might consider the fellow who did mine… on the side bar.


One year ago, I posted three posts, each one has some review value.

First, this gets my special attention.  I have been readying for a trip for which I will bring the portable altar “St Joseph’s Apprentice” made for my 25th (… which reminds me that I have I to send him a challenge coin).  I need a Pelican case for it (… I really want him to build an altar directly into the case itself).   A couple days ago I got an email from a chaplain who going to Afghanistan.  He ordered one of these portable altars before he is to be deployed.

The ULTIMATE GIFT for a priest revisited: Portable altar from St. Joseph’s Apprentice

In the wake of the martyrdom of the French priest Fr. Hamel…

“Sandwiched between two forms of dhimmitude: Koran or Agenda-driven”

And we can always derive some inspiration from Card. Burke!

Card. Burke’s new book: Hope for the World – To Unite All Things in Christ

And, even though it is not Lent, you might choose to say the Stations of the Cross, or listen to them, as a good Friday devotion.  HERE

Pray today.

Examine your consciences.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  You might…


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