27 September – Sts Cosmas and Damian – a visit to their tomb in Venice

Today is the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian… in the traditional calendar of the Roman Church.  I have a special affection for these saints as they are both my confirmation names.  We get to say their names in the Roman Canon, with a head bow today.

Here is the reading about them from Matins in the Breviarium Romanum:

Cosmas et Damiánus, fratres Arabes, in Ægéa urbe nati, nóbiles médici, imperatóribus Diocletiáno et Maximiáno, non magis medicínæ sciéntia quam Christi virtúte, morbis étiam insanabílibus medebántur. Quorum religiónem cum Lysias præféctus cognovísset, addúci eos ad se iubet, ac de vivéndi institúto et de fídei professióne interrogátos, cum se et Christiános esse, et christiánam fidem esse ad salútem necessáriam, líbere prædicárent, deos venerári ímperat; et, si id recúsent, minátur cruciátus et necem acerbíssimam. Verum, ut se frustra hæc illis propónere intélligit: Colligáte, inquit, manus et pedes istórum, eósque exquisítis torquéte supplíciis. Quibus iussa exsequéntibus, nihilóminus Cosmas et Damiánus in senténtia persistébant. Quare, ut erant vincti, in profúndum mare iaciúntur. Unde cum salvi ac solúti essent egréssi, mágicis ártibus præféctus factum assígnans, in cárcerem tradit, ac postrídie edúctos in ardéntem rogum ínici iubet; ubi, cum ab ipsis flamma refúgeret, várie et crudéliter tortos secúri pércuti vóluit. Itaque, in Iesu Christi confessióne, martýrii palmam accepérunt.

Who would like to tackle that today?

In the Novus Ordo calendar, these two medical saints were celebrated yesterday.  WHY MOVE THEM ONE DAY?

Here is the modern Martyrologium Romanum entry:

Sanctorum Cosmae et Damiani, martyrum, qui nullam mercedem petentes Cyrrhi in Euphrastesia medicinam exercuisse feruntur et multi gratuitis curis eorum sanati.

Meh.  Not nearly as fun at the traditional entry.

Let’s go visit the tomb of the saints in Venice!

Motoring out to San Giorgio on the Giudecca island in the Bacino.

It’s across from San Marco.



Church of San Giorgio on Giudecca island across from the main islands of Venice.


Inside we find their tomb in a side altar on the right side of the nave.


Note the inscription…



When you go to San Giorgio, be sure to ascend the bell tower for a great view.



On the way back to San Marco.


Visiting the tombs of saints can be hungry work.  So, to build up one’s fortitude for the next round of adventures, proper victuals must be consumed.

Sardine in saor.  (Yes, I recommend this restaurant… get the granseola.)


Spaghetti and squids in squid ink.  Yum.  Yes, it turns your teeth black for a while.  It’s great.


Some mudbug and mayo.


Afterwards, catching up on the day’s doings with friends over a drink and puff in the square in front of the Basilica.


Just in time for the bells.  Sorry, the video is a little dark because, well, it was a little dark.


Posted in On the road, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Wherein Fr. Z rants… about and to diocesan priests

12_12_06_priesthoodA while back, I posted a comment on the post of a young man who had, quite properly, praised the work of those orders, fraternities and institutes set up under the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“.  He left out diocesan priests.

A few days ago, I posted about the conference held in Rome for the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum.  There was, quite properly, fulsome praise for the same orders, fraternities and institutes.  They left out diocesan priests.

They also left out all of South and North America, but that’s another issue.

The orders, fraternities and institutes do great work.  However, the real gains will be made when the older, traditional form explodes out of those small settings into mainstream parish life.  That will happen when more diocesan priests take up their banners and run forward.

Priests of the orders, fraternities and institutes may experience a little local opposition from neighboring parishes and they may be watched carefully by the bishop.  However, they are where they are because the bishop said they could be.  Also, they have the full support from their own superiors.

Priests of dioceses, on the other hand, can face fierce opposition from their diocesan brethren as well as something akin to persecution from their bishops even for using a little Latin, preaching about Communion on the tongue, fostering only altar boys, making moves toward ad orientem worship even in the context of the Novus Ordo.  Let them implement Summorum Pontificum and… well….

The challenges of priests of orders, fraternities and institutes can be great, but, I submit, they are AA-Ball compared to the Major League obstacles faced by the garden variety, unsung diocesan priests who simply desire to be Roman Catholic in an increasingly hostile and volatile terrain.

Today I read a piece posted by Fr. Hunwicke at his fine and thoughtful page, Mutual Enrichment, which touches on the very points I’ve been making.

The aetiology and mechanics of Fear [Aetiology is the study of the origins and causes of things.]

I [Fr. H] have taken out a very moving Comment from the last thread; and I reproduce it here, with one or two personal details omitted, so that I can comment on it. My words express only my own views.

There is another territory to be heard; the diocesan clergy, and I can testify to the fear out there. I feel it myself; … I entered the diocesan priesthood from Lutheranism [As did I!] … my decision to sign may come with danger … Unfortunately, we live in times of great venality and danger for those who just express simple orthodoxy. Going this next step is necessary but fraught with peril. Cosmas and Damian, Cyprian and Justina, pray for our courage.”

Fear, my dear Father? You’ve certainly put your finger on it there. Perhaps you, like many of us, have spoken with brother priests who work in Rome, and who talk a great deal about the atmosphere of fear which pervades the clergy who serve the Holy See. [To which I can attest.] And, at the risk of breaking secrets, let me tell you about the most striking experience I personally had while we were preparing for the publication of the Correctio: clergy who agreed with it wholeheartedly but feared to take the risk. (But, thanks be to God, the signatories have now risen to 147.)  [One of the things that struck me about the sneering dismissals from the critics of the Correctio was that they, too, knew that thousands would have signed were it not for fear of the brutal lashback that would have come from their overlords.]

“Nobody spoke about him with boldness (parrhesia) because of fear …”(John 7:13). However, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”(I John 4:18).

Fear is quite beautiful, isn’t it, as a Satanic operational strategy? The Enemy disseminates Fear. He fills good honest men with guilt because they feel too fearful to do what they know they should do. And then, when the Correctio is published, his ministers sneer as they answer the journalists’ questions, and glibly point out how few signatories there are. As Marco Tossati has put it, “Belittle, label, marginalise”.

God, our most sweet Creator and Redeemer, works by Love, by the Blood of Christ which streams in the firmament. It is the Enemy who does his work by Fear. Since early in this pontificate, it is Fear, on wings of vituperation, that has cast its shadow.

As the Enemy realises that the Love of Christ is proving too powerful for him, his fury may very well urge him to even greater acts of violence. There may be more to endure before we are finished with it all. But it will be no match for the splendour which will radiate from the right hand of Mary (Fatima, Third Secret).

This is no time to lose our nerve.

Dear diocesan priests… dear brothers….

Do. Not. Lose. Your. Nerve.

We must be ready to take some hits now.

Learn the Traditional Form and begin catechizing your flocks about our patrimony and about the virtue of religion, about Mystery, about the Four Last Things.

The queue is ON.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Card. Müller: Let’s have the argument! Fr. Z POLL!

Cardinale-MullerHave you noticed that one side of the ongoing debates in the Church today want to close down dialogue and avoid having the arguments that are screaming to be had?  By avoiding real debate – just as nature abhors a vacuum – discourse is devolving into incivility.

Card. Müller has something to say about that.

But first, something fun and, surprisingly, appropriate!

The other day I systematically worked the Prado in Madrid, where I spotted wonderful canvases by Pedro Berruguete (+1504).  In one painting, we see a dramatic moment of a theological debate between Dominicans and heretical Cathars in which books are being put to the test… by fire.  Books are tossed into the flames.  The bad books burn.  The good books reveal their goodness by leaping out of the fire!

Note the book which has ejected itself from the flames in mid air.  Action shot!


There is a high res version HERE.

In the Middle Ages there were organized theological debates, called Disputationes, with strict rules, intended to get at the Truth of disputed questions.

This, from the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller as reported by the best English language correspondent working in Rome right now, Ed Pentin of the National Catholic Register.  Some excerpts to get you thinking…

Cardinal Müller Suggests Pope Francis Appoint Group of Cardinals to Debate His Critics [I like it.]

The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says the Pope deserves ‘full respect’ and his ‘honest critics deserve a convincing answer’ as the Vatican declines to comment on a filial correction of the Holy Father, made public on Sunday.

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation”[growing more serious by the day] could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics[It should be PUBLIC, right?  Fat chance.  Fat chance that it will happen, too.]

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family. [It sounds positively medieval, like the debates between Franciscans and Dominicans.]

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said.

[…]Vatican: Response Unwarranted

The Register has learned that senior officials believe a response is not warranted, partly because they say it has been signed by only a relatively small number of Catholics they consider not to be major names, and because one of them is Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, whom they view as a renegade in charge of a priestly fraternity not in full communion with Rome.  [They’ll dialogue with the likes of Paul Ehrlich.  They’ll put a pro-abortion Anglican on the Pontifical Academy for LIFE.  But… SSPX Bishop Fellay?  Nope.  That’s a bridge too far.]



Check out the rest there.

It’s a great idea.

I just had the flash of Pope BENEDICT presiding over the Disputation!

Let’s have a POLL.

Choose your best answer.  Anyone can vote.

Explain in the combox, if you wish.  You have to be registered and approved to post a comment.

Should Pope Francis hold a formal Theological Dispute about Amoris Laetitia, etc.?

View Results

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Posted in The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 62 Comments

Today’s provocative reading

Provocative reading met my eyes this morning, fresh from Mass, office, coffee and two of those little biscuit things which I like, not to sweet, not too dull.

First, there is a great offering at Crisis by one Jason Morgan, once here in the Diocese of the Extraordinary Ordinary but now with ties in Japan.  Cool.  Anyway, he drills into the present – deeply stupid but oxygen consuming and yet symptomatic – controversy about standing or “taking a knee” in protest during the national anthem.  My personal view is that they who show decadence engendered disrespect to the flag and country for which men fought and died so that we could have a good life and liberties should be drafted… and not in the football way.  But I digress.  Morgan’s piece, which is about “virtue signalling” has a good paragraph:

Long before Tim Tebow was born, of course, the takeover of America’s institutions by cultural Marxists and dyed-in-the-wool atheistic communists was well underway. By now, no one should be surprised to hear that most mainline churches are in full, fawning thrall to homosexual “marriage,” for instance. Recently, to take just one example, Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit who has made a career out of bending his own knee to the idols of the age, published a book which surely charts a course toward the homosexualization of even the Catholic Church. But it isn’t just churches. Academia, print media, broadcast media, the armed forces, the courts, the intelligence services, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the medical profession, the public schools, charities, large corporations, and every last labor union in the country—all have been swamped by politics. And politics, for the cultural Marxists, is a way of freezing natural human interaction and paralyzing resistance to infiltration. The strategy has worked everywhere it has been tried.

Read the whole thing there.  That was well-written, wasn’t it?  That “freezing interaction” observation was dead on.  Who else describes that tool for the Left to neutralize opposition?  Yes, of course, that was too easy.  Saul Alinsky in his Satanically-dedicated Rules For Radicals [US HERE] recommends this technique:

  • RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

That’s what the Catholic Alt-Left is doing to, for example, me right now.  For example, the quacksalvers at RNS have this:

[M]artin was disinvited from speaking at Catholic University’s Theological College and a couple of other places, thanks to a campaign by what we might call the Catholic Alt-Right — specifically the websites Church Militant and Father Z.

One of the things that this shows is that I must be pretty powerful.  Right?  HAH!  This is pure Alinsky.



Marco Tossati touches on the point of “freezing” with a label. HERE in Italian.   I don’t often link to Rorate because of their seeming unwillingness to close ranks for the sake of unity but… over there you can find an adequate English rendering of Tosatti’s good remarks.  It’s time to stop fooling around, folks.  Divisions just keep us all weak.  Once again I apply the “Olive Branch” tag.


Another interesting piece comes, surprise, Jesuit-run Amerika Magazine.  While I don’t subscribe to everything that the writer offers, I do underwrite the general sense of the piece by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry entitled:

Do our fights over Pope Francis have to be this dumb?

Gobry sides with the libs… it’s Amerika after all… but he’s right, isn’t he.  I’ve read mind-annihilatingly dopey stuff lately on the interwebs on both sides.   

Please, people, do us all a favor and …


The old adage is “Sin makes you stupid.”  I am pushed to the conclusion that some otherwise bright people out there are in need of stepping back into their closed rooms, making an examination of conscience, and then seek to be shriven at the earliest possible opportunity, ideally before putting fingertips to keyboard again.

I know that I won’t miss my regular date with the confessor.

Back to Gobry.  Again, I am not signing off on everything he proposed.  However, he’s on to something when he says:

I am not being acidly sarcastic for its own sake. There is a serious theological point, which I will make despite my distinct lack of theological degrees, which is that nothing could be further from the spirit of the Christian faith than the idea that faith and morals are accessible only to the learned and or that the best way to divine them is to tally up the views of the powerful.

In the future we will hear more and more about the sensus fidei fidelium and about “reception” of doctrine.  The faithful have a sense of the Faith.  But remember that you have to be faithful to have that sense of the faithful.  Be wary of those who suggest that if you don’t have various degrees on your Ego Wall, you can’t have a clear-eyed view of faith and morals.

Having suggested these articles for your consideration, I’ll offer another point.

There is a fight going on, and the fight is worth the fighting.  The stakes involve the salvation or the damnation of souls.   Hence, the necessity of the fight.  But, please, can we smarten up?

ON is the moderation queue.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Cri de Coeur, Olive Branches, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Access to #FilialCorrection Crimethink webpage blocked in the Vatican

crimethink_posterUPDATE: See comments, below, for possible alternative explanations involving filters.

As reported by Corriere, the Vatican spokesman said: “nessun blocco, la notizia e falsa”… “ma figuratevi se facciano questo per una lettera di sessanta persone”.  Also the head of the Vatican Communications office denied the block.

The Italian news agency ANSA reports that the Vatican internet office has blocked access to the site with the Filial Correction from any devices provided by the Vatican City State.


The Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See has blocked access to the web page that adheres to an initiative that accuses the Pope of here, connected to what he wrote in “Amorislaetitia”.  From the Vatican’s computers you can no longer go to the page in question, in any language.  Outside the Vatican, however, the page is accessible.

“Access to the web page that you are trying to visit has been blocked in accord with institutional security policies.”

No Badthink or Crimethink!

It’s Doubleplusungood.

Be submissive. The speakwrite registers all your oldspeak and malquotes. You will be remanded to joycamp until you have been either rectified or your status changes to Unperson.

Commentmodqueue is listening.


I was out tonight with a Polish priest.  He quipped, “What is this? North Korea?”


This is a screenshot.


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Throwing a Nutty, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

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


A couple requests came in.  Are there priests out there who can do this?

Also, in Rome recently I met one of the priests who contacted me about this.  Nifty.


People sometimes write to me to request Gregorian Masses (i.e., the same Mass intention for 30 straight, uninterrupted days).  Many priests have parish Masses, so they cannot do this, but some priests can!  Therefore, I have put on my yenta cap to ask if there are priests out there who can take such a request.

I then forward your requests to those priests.

I have nothing to do with the stipend, which the parties work out for themselves.


Petitioners/Gregorian Mass seekers:

Drop me a note (HERE) and I will forward your request to a priest on my list. I won’t have anything to do with setting the stipend. Period.  In the subject line of the email put: GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST.  Put just that, and only that in the subject line so that I will be able to find you in my email:  GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST  [UPDATE: It is amazing that people write and put something else in the subject line!  It’s as if you want me to miss your email. When I try to match people, I search for that title in the email Subject line. Put something else and you are out, unless you are lucky.]


Put AVAILABLE FOR GREGORIAN MASS in the subject line.  Just that.  Not anything else.  Just that. Drop me a note (HERE)

Finally, I am not obliged to do this.

Folks, think about this.  

Are you looking for a truly spiritual gift to give?  How about having Gregorian Masses said for the deceased priests who served you?

Don’t necessarily pick the priests who were holy or kind or good.  How about picking priests who were troubled or who were liberal and, therefore, probably not exactly faithful?   Have Masses said for the priests who really need your spiritual care?

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

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged | Comments Off on FOLLOW UP: Requests for GREGORIAN MASSES and priests who can say them

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Theology of Prayer

One of you readers sent a book from my Amazon wishlist (thanks, S).  I have started to dig in and it is great.

Joseph Clifford Fenton’s The Theology of Prayer


I was immediately struck by the different style of language than that which we often see these days.  This book was written in 1939 in happier days of clarity and charity.  Msgr. Fenton was a profession of theology at Catholic University of America between 1944-1963.  This volume updates some notes, etc.

Fenton was a peritus for Cardinal Ottaviani at the Second Vatican Council.  That should give you an idea of his reliability.

Here are shots of a couple of pages,to give you an idea of how crisp this book is.

This is a keeper.


Posted in REVIEWS, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | 9 Comments

For the record…

There have been lots of stories about the meanies who caused homosexualist activist Jesuit Fr. James Martin to be dis-invited from certain speaking gigs.   Inevitably, as these liberal catholic sources – in the spirit of Proverbs 26:11 – recycle and recycle the same talking points, they convey factual errors through sloppiness and innuendo.

Here is an example from the National Sodomitic Reporter (aka Fishwrap):

A focus on Jesus was also scheduled for Martin’s now-canceled Oct. 4 talk at Theological College, and was the topic on Tuesday when he addressed 2,500 principals and teachers of the New York archdiocese. Jesus was also the theme set for the Jesuit’s talks late in October during a dinner of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City, and at a lecture in London for Cafod, the official overseas aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

All three of those gigs were called off amid a wave of protests from far-right Catholic groups, including Church Militant, LifeSiteNews and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (“Fr. Z”), [I guess I’m a “group”.] who opposed Martin’s appearances at those events due to objections with his recent book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.

That description gives the impression that I was involved in getting Martin disinvited from the Holy Sepulcher event in NYC and the Cafod event in England.   I was not.  I didn’t even know about the Cafod thing or the Holy Sepulcher thing until after he was disinvited.

did write about the gig at Theological College.  However, I didn’t mount a campaign.  I asked sincere questions.

Apparently I asked the right questions.

My main concern was that Theological College is a major seminary celebrating its 100th anniversary.  Martin being there … meant something.  I wanted to know what it meant.  I asked questions that I would ask again.

However, I am being lumped together with Martin’s dismissal from other events.  I didn’t have anything to do with those, not that I’m disappointed that those organizations made their own choices.  But they made those choices without my help.

Also, I have never been contacted by any of the “news outlets” to verify anything or ask me any questions.

They are unprofessional ideologues with biases.

But, given the stakes they have, you wouldn’t expect them to be fair.

In any event, we just have to keep – in the spirit of Proverbs 27:22 – chipping away, little by little, relentlessly.


Posted in Biased Media Coverage, Green Inkers | 1 Comment

ASK FATHER: How early can seminarians start learning to say Traditional Latin Mass

Gernetzke practice MassFrom a seminarian…


I recently read your post encouraging priests to learn the TLM. It made me think, how early should a seminarian begin to learn it? Would it be jumping the gun for someone in 1st Theology to begin watching the videos and practicing? I won’t be able to learn it from the seminary … , so I will have to learn on my own.

First, you are to applauded as loudly as the seminary is to be booed and hissed.  Shame on them for not preparing seminarians adequately in the knowledge of their Rite!

Second, it is NOT too early to start working on this.   The sooner the better.

I started to learn the TLM in the summer before my 3rd year of seminary.  I had moved to Rome by then and a priest friend coached me as I did “dry Mass” walk-throughs, correcting and offering suggestions.  I had already read through the rubrics, etc., since my Latin was great.  The Latin wasn’t anywhere on the horizon as a problem. At the time I was speaking rather comfortably and writing with ease.

Also, these days, there are many many more resources to help you than there were back in my day.

However, be discreet… discreet… discreet!

Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing.  If there is a priest whom you can trust completely where you are, get to work on it.  However, don’t tell anyone else, even seminarian friends.  Go about your work quietly.

I would say the same, by the way, about your private initiatives to learn Japanese or Calculus or small-engine repair.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Seminarians and Seminaries, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 5 Comments

ASK FATHER: Congregation during Traditional Missa Cantata

José Gallegos y Arnosa faithful at massFrom a reader…


While at Missa Cantata yesterday there was clearly some confusion on the part of the servers and consequently the congregation as to when they should stand rather than kneel.

The MC said the servers should be standing for the orations, Gloria & Creed, Preface, Pater Noster and last Gospel.  A video at St John Cantius has acolytes kneeling throughout like a low mass!  It seems like there is various opinion about this.

Is there flexibility, or a standard?

This is a good question.  However, I don’t have time to answer it.

Can you good people help this questioner.



Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 19 Comments

Usher stops shooting attack in church

From the Possenti Society.

“The St. Gabriel Possenti Society commends Robert Engle of the Burdette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee for stopping with his handgun a mass murder of congregants during services on Sunday, September 24,” Society chairman John M. Snyder said here today.

“Sunday’s handgun rescue action by Robert ‘Caleb’ Engle, called a ‘hero’ by Nashville police chief Steve Anderson, reflects the 1860 handgun rescue action by St. Gabriel Possenti in Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy,” noted Snyder.


[…]During that event, Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, wearing a ski mask, allegedly rampaged through the church, carrying two handguns.  He allegedly shot seven people, including the pastor, Joey Spann, and one woman, Melanie Smith, who died.  Samson attacked Engle by “pistol-whipping” him and causing him “significant injuries,” including “injury to the head.”  Samson accidentally may have shot himself.

Engle, an usher at the church who has a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm, went to his car and retrieved his handgun. [Pretty far away!]  He trained it on Samson and forced him to desist from his murder spree until police arrived.

Samson has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

Dan Aaron, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, said of Samson, “It would appear he was not expecting to encounter a brave individual like the church usher.

Chief Anderson praised Engle for intervening, according to The Washington Post, saying, “We believe he is the hero today.”

“Engle truly is a hero,” said Snyder.  “His action underscores scholarly estimates that there are two to four million defensive gun uses in the United States each year.


Coverage also at CNN, CBS, JS, etc.

Comment moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Going Ballistic, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 8 Comments

A veritable banquet of rich and useful reading: @RobertSRoyal and Kwasniewski

This morning I awoke to a veritable banquet of rich and useful reading.

First, I direct your attention to a post at The Catholic Thing by Robert Royal, who never disappoints.  (He also writes about Dante. YAY! US HERE – UK HERE)

He begins with brief and laudatory comments about the recent Correctio Filialis. Then he drills in and hits gold.

Pope Francis, Fr. Martin, and Faith without Reason


And there’s an even deeper problem, of which the seven false teachings are examples, [elencated in the Correctio] that’s beginning to characterize wide swaths of the Church.

We’re witnessing a period in which the Church is trying to have Faith without the full benefits of Reason. [In 1998 Pope St. John Paul issued an Encyclical entitled Fides et Ratio. It’s title harked to a homonymous Encyclical of the great Leo XIII.  These days we are witnessing concerted attempts to snuff out the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II.] This is odd, in a way, because it’s usually thought that the only Christians who forsake reason are impossible-to-reason-with fundamentalists. In the current moment, we have a progressive group in Rome and beyond that seems to think that Reason in any strong sense distorts or even blocks Faith.

They know the outcomes they want and aren’t about to let the logical contradictions theologians, philosophers, or ordinary believers notice, stop them.  [When questioned, they tend to respond with the classics, such as, “Don’t bother us with facts!” or issue explanations amounting to, “Shut up.”]

It’s an old philosophical truth that that once you abandon the principle of non-contradiction, you can prove anything. And here is proof positive.

For example, Father Antonio [“2+2=5”] Spadaro, S.J., of La Civiltà Cattolica has argued [NB:] that, as a good Jesuit, the Holy Father does not take something and explore its logical consequences, but instead looks directly at it and seeks inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps so (we can’t be sure that anyone really speaks the Holy Father’s mind).  [Spadaro, is really into Pier Vittorio Tondelli – he created his own website about him (HERE)]

But behold the confusions this leads to in the Church:

In Amoris Laetitia, as we’ve been told by various interpreters, sexual relations between the divorced/remarried are sometimes the best that can be done in the circumstances. That ceasing sexual relations may harm the family and the good of children.

[… Then he looks at Jesuit “celebrity priest” Fr. James Martin… ]

And is any teaching universally binding and Catholic if someone hasn’t “received” it? [Which is what Martin claims.] Once we go down this path, we’re very close to some form of radical Protestantism.

I do not know whether Pope Francis or Fr. Martin wish such an outcome. I do know that beyond the short radius of their ideas lie consequences they may find unwelcome.

Because neither is a serious theologian nor even a serious thinker, they regard anyone who raises questions about consequences as an irrational enemy (rigid, homophobic, etc.) rather than – as we’ve always had in the Church – someone trying to develop a deep and consistently rational way of understanding what Our Lord asks.


I think Royal is on to something.

But now something completely different and wondrous in its own way.  As a matter of fact, I am going to print out the post I am about to name and tuck it into the cover of a book by the same writer.

After absorbing Royal’s piece, go to NLM and take in Peter Kwasniewski’s post, in which he responds to a question raised by his recent book Noble Simplicity  [US HERE – UK HERE] which I can’t recommend highly enough.

A questioner raised the idea that perhaps the greatest challenge to a reclamation of Tradition is not, in fact, heterodoxy, but rather doctrinally acceptable but anti-intellectual, amotionally enthusiastic Life Teen stuff.  The questioner then raised the “Benedictine–Jesuit divide in terms of liturgy”, in  light of St. Augustine and contrast of pride and humility, “objective” and “subjective” spirituality.  In a nutshell: For Benedictines, “Salvation comes through conforming yourself to the mediated image” whereas for Jesuits, experience becomes the ground of prayer and rubrics, etc.,  “put a damper on experience.”

Peter K responds masterfully.

WHY, I must ask, was Peter Kwasniewski not invited to speak at the Summorum Pontificum conference in Rome for the 10th anniversary of the Motu Proprio?  People need to ask that question.  The organizers of that good conference neglected to include a single Anglophone or American – North or South – speaker or liturgical actor, as far as I could tell, even though in the first talk of the conference we heard that the greatest growth of the use of traditional forms were in the Americas.  WHY the blinkered Eurocentrism?  But I digress.

Back to it.

Peter makes a good point, which echos what I have been writing for 10 years now, as a matter of fact, I first raised it on 14 September 2007, the very say Summorum Pontificum went into effect.


Now let us consider worship as an action, and religious experience as a pleasure. [Or even “play”, which, like worship, Aquinas describes as something done for its own sake.]Liturgical action, when pursued for its own sake, i.e., in adoration and praise of God, is accompanied by the best religious experience. But if we seek the experience as our goal, we will be denied the experience at its best, which comes only from pursuing something nobler than a mere experience. Hence, the person who will be most delighted in worship is the one whose motto is: “I want to find God” — not the one whose motto is “I want to have an experience of God.[The deep point of sacred liturgical is to encounter transforming Mystery.  Hence, worship must stress the transcendent and not exclude the apophatic elements which are hard and challenging.]

One may draw a parallel here with marriage. [This is good…] If a partner begins with the attitude: “I want an experience of a deep relationship,” the marriage is doomed. If he or she begins with the attitude: “I want to do right by this person, no matter what,” the marriage can flourish. What is vitally important is that the aim be not some experience gained by using another, but simply the other himself or herself: he or she is the aim.[2] It is the same with having children. For a parent to think “I want to have the experience of being a parent/having a child” is a subtle form of selfishness. The parent who thinks instead: “I want to bring a child into the world for his or her own happiness” is focused on the good of the other and willing to sacrifice himself/herself to accomplish it.

The result of this analysis is that we should not set form or objectivity over against experience, as if they are in opposition. Rather, form, or a formal action, will always come with an experience. A higher form will come with a higher experience. A lower form will be accompanied by a lower experience.[3] This, I believe, is exactly what Augustine is saying throughout the Confessions and other works.  [This is a more sophisticated way of saying what I write and say in a jocular way: The newer form of Holy Mass and the Traditional form can be likened to the kiddie Mass and the adult Mass, or baby food and grown up food.  Before you freak out, consider that baby food is exactly what the young need!  It is great for them.  They don’t have to “work” to benefit from it.  As they get older, children need more and adults need more than that to satisfy.  Richer and more complex nourishment requires more and more work to prepare and then to consume and absorb.  It’s hard.  It is precisely in the hard elements and the work they cause that we have a preparation for the goal.  Catholics are now at widely differing stages of readiness to approach the encounter with Mystery which worship should propose, an encounter which is tremendum et fascinans, alluring and terrifying, precisely because the encounter makes us face our fear of death.  Hopefully they mature, sense the need for more, and seek it out.  Hopefully there will be bishops and priests ready and apt to provide what they sense they need!]

That a lower form will be accompanied by a lower experience is what we see in a phenomenon like like Life Teen.[4] It’s easy to get the immediate emotional experience; it requires so little in the way of form or action. But it is correspondingly shallow and unsatisfying for that reason, and must be repeatedly sought, perhaps with attempts made at intensifying the same experience. In this way it is somewhat like drugs, where people start with small doses and eventually try bigger doses or move to more potent drugs, because they are seeking more of that experience, more of that pleasure.  [Eventually, those who have the enthusiastic experience may grow up and need more.]

With traditional worship, it is quite different. At first, the form is lofty and remote, the action difficult for our nature. We may feel dry, at a loss, perplexed, even offended at the lack of consideration for our feelings and (what we think to be) our needs. We are confronted with the otherness, the strangeness of God. [YES!] But if we stick it out, something calls to us in our remoteness from Him. As we dwell with it more, it slowly seizes hold of us and lifts us up to a higher level, to higher perceptions of the truth of what we are doing and Whom we are dealing with. As this worship becomes more connatural, we experience more delight. [And we are dealing properly with timor mortis.] The delight does not grow stale or cloying but, in fact, builds upon itself without limit, because it is of a spiritual or intellectual order (although not separated from the physical domain). At the limit, beyond this life, we enjoy the beatific vision, where the experience and the objective reality, the form, are utterly at one.


Okay, do you see what I mean?  A veritable banquet of rich reading today.

Also… BUY THIS BOOK.  Don’t hesitate, get a few copies if you can and spread them around.  Perhaps start a reading group and invite a few people who are not interested in the Traditional Roman Rite!  Reading this might move them towards a desire for richer fare.


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“Se mi sbaglio mi corrigerete!”

From 16 October 1978:

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WDTPRS – 16th Sunday after Pentecost: good works bound up in grace

NADAL_16_post_Pent-lrThis Sunday’s dense Collect survived the scissors and paste-pots of the Consilium during the 1960’s and lived on in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum as the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (next week). This prayer, used for centuries, is in the Sacramentarium Hadrianum, a form of the ancient Gregorian Sacramentary.


Tua nos, quaesumus, Domine, gratia semper et praeveniat et sequatur, ac bonis operibus iugiter praestet esse intentos.

This is elegance.

This is a lovely prayer to sing. Latin’s flexibility, made possible by the inflection of the word endings, allows for amazing possibilities of word order. Latin permits rich variations in rhythm and conceptual nuances. For example, the wide separation of tua from gratia in the first line is a good example of the figure of speech called hyperbaton: unusual word order to produce a dramatic effect. It helps the prayer’s rhythm and emphasizes tua gratia. The use of conjunctions et and ac is very effective, as we shall see below.

The juxtaposition of praeveniat with sequatur reminds me of a prayer I used to hear at my home parish, greatly missed. The Tuesday night devotions there, which featured the Novena of Our Mother of Perpetual Help by St. Alphonsus Liguori (+1787), always included:

“May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you that He may defend you, within you that He may sustain you, before you that He may lead you, behind you that He may protect you, above you that He may bless you. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s drill into vocabulary.

The adjective intentus, means “to stretch out or forth, extend” as well as “to strain or stretch towards, to extend.” Think of English “tend towards”. The action packed Lewis & Short Dictionary states that intentus is also “to direct one’s thoughts or attention to.”

Looking at a word like this should convince any of you with children that they must study Latin. A firm grip on Latin will give shape to their ability to reason and provide insights into the meaning of our English words. Roughly 80 percent of the entries in an English dictionary reveal roots in Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. Over 90 percent in the sciences and technology. Some 10 percent of Latin vocabulary merged into English without an intermediary language such as French. Words from Greek origin often entered English indirectly through Latin.

Give your children, and yourselves, this splendid tool.

Latin has several particles that join parts of sentences and concepts together: et, – que, atque or (ac), etiam, and quoque. These little words all basically mean “and” but they have their nuances. For example, et simply means “and” while – que (always “enclitic”, i.e., tacked onto the end of a word) joins elements that are closely enough associated that the second member completes or extends the first. Another conjunction, atque (a compound of ad and – que) often adds something more important to a less important thing. The useful Gildersleeve & Lodge Latin Grammar points out that “the second member often owes its importance to the necessity of having the complement (- que).” Ac, a shorter form of atque, does not stand before a vowel or the letter “h” and is “fainter” than atque. Ac is much like et. Briefly, etiam means “even (now), yet, still”. Etiam exaggerates and precedes the words to which it belongs while quoque is “so, also” and complements and follows the words it goes with. There are some other copulative particles or joining words, but that is enough for now.

Let’s nitpick some more.

Our Collect has two adverbs, semper and iugiter. Semper is always “always”. Iugiter, however, means “always” in the sense of “continuously.” A iugum is a “yoke”, like that which yokes animals together. Iugum (English “juger”, a Roman unit for land measuring 28,800 square feet or 240 by 120 feet), is probably so named because it was plowed by yoked oxen. Moreover, Iugum was the name of the constellation Libra, the Latin for “scale, balance”. Ancient scales had a yoke-shaped bar. Thus, libra is also the Roman the weight measure for “pound”. Ever wonder why the English abbreviation for a pound is “lbs”?

The iugum was the infamous ancient symbol of defeat. The Romans would force the vanquished to pass under a yoke to symbolize that they had been subjugated. Variously, iugum also means a connection between mountains or the beam of a weaver’s loom or even the marriage bond.

Today’s adverb iugiter means “always”, in the continuous sense, because of the concept of yoking things together, bridging them, one after another in a unending chain. We get this same word in the famous prayer written by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament which is the Collect for Corpus Christi:

“O God, who bequeathed to us a memorial of Thy Passion under a wondrous sacrament, grant, we implore, that we may venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, in such a way as to sense within us constantly (iugiter) the fruit of Thy redemption.”


We beg, O Lord, that Your grace may always both go before us and follow after, and hence continuously grant us to be intent on good works.


our help and guide,
make your love the foundation of our lives.
May our love for you express itself
in our eagerness to do good for others

Yes… I did a double-take too.  It is a nice little prayer for use on a grade school playground.


May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry out good works.

Back to happier things: copulative particles!

It is important not to get overly picky about particles or exaggerate their nuances. Still, today these conjunctions could be important. That et…et is a classic “both…and” construction. But our Collect has et…et…ac…. The et…et joins praeveniat and sequatur. That pair of verbs is followed by an ac. The author was providing more than a simply change of pace. While ac is not a very strong conjunction, the variation leads to a logical climax of ideas. This is why I add “hence” to my literal version.

As you read or, better yet, listen to the prayer being sung, attend to that tua gratia (“your grace”), underscored by means of hyperbaton. First, that “tua gratia” can be an ancient form of honorific address, as used today in some countries for nobility and certain prelates: “Your Grace”. So, in speaking of the gift, we speak of God Himself. Moreover, tua gratia is the subject of all the verbs. We beg God, by His grace, always to be both before us and behind us. We pray for this in order that we may always be attentive to good works. Our good works bound up in His grace.

We rely on grace so as not to fail in the vocations God entrusts to us.

God gives all of us something to do in this life.

If we attend to our work with devotion He will give us every actual grace we need to accomplish our tasks. He knew us and our vocations from before the creation of the cosmos, and thus will help us to complete our part of His plan, so long as we cooperate. Living and acting in the state of grace and according to our vocations we come to merit, through Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice, to enjoy the happiness of the heaven for which God made us.

In our prayer we recognize that all good initiatives come from God. When we embrace them and cooperate, it is He who ultimately brings them to completion. He goes before. He follows after. Our good works have merit for heaven only because God inspires them, informs them, and brings them to a good completion. He works through us, His knowing, willing, loving servants. The good deeds are truly ours, of course, and therefore the reward for them is ours. But God freely shares with us His merits so that our works are meritorious.

Today’s Collect stresses how important our good works are for our salvation. They are manifestations of God’s grace, indeed, of God’s presence.

We pray God will lavish His graces on us. In turn, we should be generous with our good works.

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How a priest was changed by learning the Traditional Latin Mass

My friend Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, whom I just saw in Rome during the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage, with some of the wonderful Sisters in Santa Rosa, has this at his place.  HERE

He talks about learning the Traditional Form of Holy Mass, the Usus Antiquior.

I, personally, had no desire to learn how to do the Extraordinary Form.  My intention was to celebrate the Ordinary Form in the manner that Sacrosanctum Concilium imagined it: In Latin, with English readings and orations.  If it stayed the same Mass after Mass it would be in Latin.  If it was for this mass only it would be in English.  Of course, Mass would be celebrated “ad orientem.”

I learned the Extraordinary Form because a Bishop asked me to, telling me that there were 100 families in the region asking for it.  So in 2012 I celebrate my first Extraordinary Form Mass.  On a two week vacation I celebrated in the Extraordinary Form every day so that I could really learn it and be comfortable with it.

Three things happenedFirst, it completely transformed my priesthood and it affected the way I celebrated the Ordinary Form.  Every Mass became completely Christocentric.  Many people recognized this and it caused a greater spirit of prayer in believers. [THERE IT IS!  That’s the “knock on effect” I keep talking about!]Secondly, boys who served the mass began to think of vocations to the priesthood[Of course!] Ordinary boys who would play and roughhouse with great abandon became little soldiers of Christ with great seriousness in the celebration of the Mass.

Thirdly, it caused a reaction of visceral anger and anguish on the part of liberals who were now convinced that I was completely nuts. [I’ve written about this reaction before. Lately, HERE (scroll down).] Their angry letters caused my provincial superior to judge me in a manner that had little relation to reality. So from 3000 miles away he made decisions which changed the nature of the parish and disrupted my life.  And I am grateful.  Because I landed in a place that appreciates the Extraordinary form, that loves reverent prayer and even has 24/7 adoration.  And I am no longer subject to that provincial.

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Keyes.

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