PODCAzT 147: Fulton Sheen on Patriotism

Sheen on RadioAt The Catholic Thing I saw excerpts of a piece by Fulton Sheen on Patriotism. As I have done in the past, I’ll read the whole thing for  you.  Recently, I read for you his essay on how we have to be intolerant (yes, you read that right).  HERE

Sheen spoke out this essay on his radio program the The Catholic Hour on 20 February 1938.

My interest today, on this Independence Day 2016, the 4th of July, is to  hear Sheen’s thoughts on Patriotism and to see how they impact us today, in our present circumstances.  I think there are some parallels.

Furthermore, today we are revving up for the true battle against the major threat of our day (other than the stupidity deepening with the help of public education and other than the twisting of morals with social “gender” re-engineering, which is from Hell), that is, Islamic Terror Jihad.  I am reading Sebastian Gorka’s book right now.  Sheen’s essay was in interesting counterpoise (a little ham radio jargon for you there).

How do we fight this threat?   We need to take pages from our past.

As usual I try to give some historic context (with audio cues), and I prime you for what to listen for.  I rant a little, too.

BTW… years later Sheen would talk about “Patriotism” on his TV show in an episode called “Quo Vadis, America?”

Quo vadis, indeed.

And also… The Glory of Being an American

Happy Independence Day 2016!


As part of my own Independence Day observance (quiet… at home), I watched a couple movies.

First, I saw Coming Home, a Chinese movie directed by a favorite of mine Zhang Yimou with the incomparable Gong Li.

This epitomizes poignant.  If there was ever a movie about charity, sacrifice, in the context of MARRIAGE, it is this.  It is beautifully upliftingly sad.

What better way to celebrate our hard won freedom than to watch something about the breaking of a woman’s mind because the Cultural Revolution (et al.), and the decades long diligence of the man who loves her.

Next, on this We are Not Canada Day, I saw Patriot with Mel Gibson.  Here you find some great scenes that capture the era… in spite of a few historical infelicities.   For my friends across the water, think… BREXIT.

And I am following JUNO!


Don’t forget this car magnet and/or sticker:

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Posted in Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, PODCAzT, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

Fathers, you might want to have everyone pray this after Mass on 4 July and other major public holidays.  This, and other prayers, are deeply needed today.

The following prayer was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese. John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I became familiar with this moving prayer at my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul (MN) where it was recited after all Masses on civic holidays of the USA, such as 4 July and Thanksgiving.

Americans among the readership might print it and bring it to your parish priests and ask them to use it after Mass on national holidays.

This needs no translation for Catholics who love their country!


We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

firstcontcongresslarge (1)

Continental Congress at Prayer

The opening prayer session of the 1st Continental Congress was about 3 hours long.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 7 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two during the sermon at the Holy Mass you heard for your Sunday obligation?

Let us know what it was!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 21 Comments

BOOK: Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War

As we approach Independence Day, I am reading …

Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

Many thanks to the reader who sent me the Kindle version from my wishlist.   Get a Kindle!  US HERE – UK HERE

This is gripping right from the Prologue, in which Gorka describes his family’s struggle against and torment by the totalitarian Communist regime in Hungary after WWII.  He then concludes his Prologue (my emphases and comments):

Today, as a nation we face a new totalitarianism, one that is potentially even more dangerous than fascism or communism.  [Unlike the Nazis and Commies, jihadists are willing to die.]

Today’s threat is hybrid totalitarianism that goes beyond man-made justifications for perfecting society along politically defined lines and instead uses the religion of Islam and Allah to justify mass murder.

Our enemy today is again a totalitarian. I call it the global jihadist movement. The members of this movement, be they Al Qaeda, ISIS, or Hizbollah, have a vision of the future world that is exclusive and absolutist. Either the whole planet is under their control or they have lost. There is no middle ground. No peaceful coexistence is possible. Ever. The infidel must submit or be killed.

But the center of the enemy’s ideology today is not a state. In fact, the enemy totally rejects the idea of the state as an invention of the infidel West. Nor is its ideology concerned with class distinctions, economics, or “the means of production.” Today our enemy fights not for earthly reasons to serve a tangible here-and-now but to serve a transcendent reality, to serve Allah. But in their absolutist “them or us” attitude, they bear a great resemblance to the Nazis and communists of yesteryear, and that is why I am writing this book.

I grew up in freedom in the United Kingdom. Today I am a proud American, but I will never forget what my father taught me. Freedom is as precious as it is fragile. If you are complacent, there will always eventually come a group that will try to take your freedom away from you by violence and through the subversion of your values.

Every generation must remain vigilant. Each generation must make a conscious decision to protect what we have achieved as a civilization and be prepared to fight— if necessary to the death— to save our loved ones and our children from enslavement to the newest dictatorial ideology, secular or religious.

I grew up knowing these truths in my bones, so as I watched the horrific events of 9/ 11 unfold live on a television screen, it did not take very long for me to understand one thing: the totalitarians are back. This time the dictatorship invokes the name of God, as opposed to the working class or the Führer, but they are back, and they will either kill us or enslave us.

This book is born out of the belief that we Americans can defeat the new totalitarians and that their defeat should be built on the secret plan that America used to defeat our last totalitarian enemy, communism. [cf The Long Telegram]

In fact, you can argue that our current enemy predates even fascism and communism and that we have been at war with the jihadists since at least the Barbary Wars of the eighteenth century.

Perhaps now is the time for us to have a strategy to defeat them. This book is the first cut of that plan.

Sebastian Gorka’s father had been a member of a Catholic underground which worked against the Soviet regime in Hungary.  Gorka is often a commentator on FNC.  You read at his Wikipedia entry:

Sebastian L.v. Gorka is an American writer focusing on irregular warfare, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. He is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University [Oorah] and the Chairman of Threat Knowledge Group. He is a founding member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs and served as the Associate Dean for Congressional Affairs and Relations to the Special Operations Community at the National Defense University. Gorka is also currently affiliated with USSOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University and the Institute of World Politics, is a regular instructor for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, as well as the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. He has testified before Congress on the threat of ISIS and Global Jihadism, and briefed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Intelligence Council, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Born in the United Kingdom to Hungarian parents, Dr. Gorka became an American citizen in 2012.

So, he has chops.

I warmly recommend that you read this, to help you stay up to speed with our latest, deadly threat.



Posted in REVIEWS, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

WDTPRS – 14th Ordinary Sunday: From dust to freedom

On the verge of Independence Day, our Collect for the 14th Ordinary Sunday offers the image of material creation as an enervated body, weakened by sin, lying in the dust whence it came.

In the Original Sin all creation was wounded.  This is evident daily. There ought be harmony between us and the rest of material creation, but our role as nature’s steward has been damaged.  Material creation (including us) is in a way captive to an enemy who has beaten us down.

But Christ came as liberator.

Here’s some “liberation theology” for you.

Christ rouses us, grasps us, pulls us upward out of sin and death.  If we cooperate and get back to our feet, Our Lord aims us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and in the next, definitively.

Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti, fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam, ut, quos eripuisti a servitute peccati, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.

This prayer is similar to one in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the 2nd Sunday after Easter.  The ancient Gelasian Sacramentary has an even earlier version.

Perfruor (“to enjoy fully”) is one of a handful of deponent verbs usually having its “object” (which is actually more of an instrument) in the ablative: e.g., fruor, “I get fruit/benefit from…”).  Gaudium and laetitia both can be translated with “joy”.  The Lewis & Short Dictionary says gaudium refers mostly to interior joy whereas laetitia suggests outward expression.  That said, gaudium in the plural (as it is in our prayer) can also be “outward expressions of joy”.  Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (a supplement to L&S) says gaudium is “everlasting blessedness”, while laetitia is simply “prosperity”.  This recalls the spiritual/material distinction.  We shouldn’t overtax these nuances. The dictates of ancient rhetoric (and this prayer is pretty old) required a richness of vocabulary, so as to avoid boring repetition.

Erigo is “to raise up, set up, erect” and also “to arouse, excite” while iaceo (in L&S under jaceo) is “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” or “to be cast down, fixed on the ground”.  In his dictionary of liturgical Latin, A. Blaise says that humilitas,lowness”, can have a more theological meaning, namely, the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf Philippians 2:7).  Blaise cites this Collect under his headword “humilitas”.  And remember that humilitas comes from humus, “dirt, earth, ground”.


O God, who by the abasement of Your Son raised up the fallen world, grant holy joy to Your faithful, so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the servitude of sin to enjoy delights unending.

The last phrase reminds me of other well-known Latin prayers.  For instance, after the Salve Regina we conclude: “…may we be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness (aeterna perfrui laetitia).” Note the shift from sorrow to joy.  Furthermore, when a priest vests for Mass he traditionally says special prayers as he put on each vestment.  For the alb he prays: “Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart, so that having been made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may enjoy everlasting joys (gaudiis perfruar sempiternis).”

Sacrifice first.  Then joy.

We have seen before in our prayers a pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return.   Before the Resurrection, comes the Passion.  Before exaltation, there is humiliation.  Descent, Passion and humiliation bring the rising, return and joy which will embrace both the interior and the outward, the whole human person.

As mentioned above, today’s Collect is similar to one in the 1962MR.  However, the post-Conciliar version says “whom You snatched from the servitude of sin”, and the 1962MR says “whom you have snatched from the perils of everlasting death”.

A polemical but intriguing booklet by Anthony Cekada, The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass (TAN 1991), compares pre-Conciliar versions of prayers with the post-Conciliar, Novus Ordo versions.  Cekada opines that the architects of the Novus Ordo intentionally eliminated – from the Latin mind you – concepts like sin, guilt and damnation in favor of the “less threatening idea of deliverance from the ‘slavery of sin’” (p. 14).  Cekada is probably right.  On the other hand, to be honest, for the spiritually aware “servitude of sin” is terrifying.  The wages of sin is death (cf Rom 6:23).

Even with the weakening of emphasis in the Latin, the newer Collect is a sound prayer.  It is also more clearly translated … now.


Father, through the obedience of Jesus, your servant and your Son, you raised a fallen world. Free us from sin and bring us the joy that lasts forever.


O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin you bestow eternal gladness.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

CQ CQ CQ #HamRadio Saturday: EXTRA!

ham radio percentWell, I went and did it. Or better yet, they came to me and I did it.

After obtaining my Technician license a couple summers ago, I set myself the goal of upgrading each summer.  Last summer, I obtained the General.  This was the summer for Extra.  This is also the summer when the question pool was to change (and it has, by the time I am writing this).

As you may recall from last week, I had asked my local Elmer to shake the tree a little to see if any VEs could administer an exam before the end of the month. He made some calls and subsequently assured me that it would be pretty hard to pull off. For that reason I was a bit bummed.  I then received a phone call from a local VE involved at that moment in Field Day, where there were several VEs. She asked around and we set up an appointment for my exam for the evening of Thursday, 30 June, in the common room at my place: the last day of the question pool.

I stepped up my review and took some online practice exams.  I carried around my book with all the possible questions (and the answers – which is handy – along with explanations).  I took the test.

My other two exams were perfect scores. The bad news is that, out of 50 questions for the Extra, I had one mistake.  The good news is that I had one mistake.

Therefore, I am now an Extra.

My local Elmer had come over for the exam (he knew the VEs and had originally shaken the tree, as it were).  On confirmation that I had passed, he gave me a nifty key!

Behold, an unused, lacquered brass Signal Electric key.

I am assured that this is quite something.  Sometimes you can tell by hefting a thing and examining it closely that it is exceptional.  I shall have to have this mounted on something and then get to work assiduously on my Morse Code.  It is time to get into CW, and may QRP.   I’d also like to do something with PSK31.

In any event, I’ve done it.

I am very grateful to the nice folks, the VEs, who helped me out in a pinch.

Now if I only had a stable station!


I created a page for the List of YOUR callsigns.  HERE  Chime in or drop me a note if your call doesn’t appear in the list.


Looking at the entry again, and the math that I had to refamiliarize myself with after 25 years of neglect since college physics, I was reminded of scenes involving spherical trigonometry.

And there’s this from Fortune of War (UK HERE).

Yet in the new, smoother, more scientific Navy that was coming into being this was not enough: his youngsters must add a powerful dose of Gregory to their Robinson. He made them read The Present State of Europe, Impartially Considered; he saw that the journals they were required to keep would meet the inspection of the severest board of examiners; he stood by while his coxswain taught them the finer points of knotting and splicing. It was a pity that his material was so indifferent, so refractory to anything but the knots and splices; for his intentions were of the best. In some commissions he had had midshipmen who loved the mathematics too, who doted upon spherical trigonometry, so that it was a pleasure to teach them navigation; it was not the case at present.
‘Mr Forshaw,’ he said. ‘What is a sine?’
‘A sine, sir,’ said Forshaw, speaking very fast, ‘is when you draw a right line from one end of an arc perpendicular upon the radius from the centre to the other end of the arc.’
‘And what is its relation to the chord of that arc?’
Mr Forshaw looked wild, gazed about the day-cabin that Captain Yorke had given over to his guest, but found no help in its neat fittings, its skylight, nor in the nine-pounder gun that took up so much of its space, nor in the blank and hideous face of his companion, Holles, nor in the title of the novel The Vicissitudes of Genteel Life: life aboard La Flèche might not be particularly genteel but it was certainly full of vicissitudes. After a long pause he still had no views to offer, other than that the relationship was no doubt pretty close.
‘Well, well,’ said Jack, ‘you must read page seventeen again, I see. But that is not what I sent for you for – that is not the reason for which I sent for you. There was a great deal of correspondence for me to attend to at Pulo Batang, and I have only now reached this letter from your mother. She begs me to take great care that when you brush your teeth you will brush them up and down, and not only sideways. Do you understand me, Mr Forshaw?’
Forshaw loved his mother dearly, but at this moment he wished she might be deprived of the power of holding a pen for ever. ‘Yes, sir,’ he said. ‘Up and down it is, not only sideways, sir.’
‘What are you tittering at, Mr Holles?’ asked Captain Aubrey.
‘Nothing, sir.’
‘Now I come to think of it, I have a letter from your guardian, Mr Holles. He wishes to be assured that your moral welfare is well in hand, and that you do not neglect your Bible. You do not neglect your Bibles, any of you, I dare say?’
‘Oh, no, sir.’
‘I am glad to hear it. Where the Devil would you be, if you neglected your Bible? Tell me, Mr Holles, who was Abraham?’ Jack was particularly well up in this part of sacred history, having checked Admiral Drury’s remarks on Sodom: ‘Abraham, sir,’ said Holles, his pasty, spotted face turning a nasty variegated purple. ‘Why, Abraham was…’
But no more emerged, other than a murmur of ‘bosom’.
‘Mr Peters?’
Mr Peters expressed his conviction that Abraham was a very good man; perhaps a corn-chandler, since one said ‘Abraham and his seed for ever’.
‘Mr Forshaw?’
‘Abraham, sir?’ said Forshaw, whose spirits had recovered with their usual speed. ‘Oh, he was only an ordinary wicked Jew.’
Jack fixed him with his eye. Was Forshaw making game of him? Probably, judging from the extreme innocence of his face. ‘Bonden,’ he called, and his coxswain, who was waiting outside the door with sailcloth and rope-yarn to learn the young gentlemen to make foxes, walked in. ‘Bonden, seize Mr Forshaw to the gun, and knot me that rope’s end.’

There were no rope’s ends for me while studying for my exam.

For those of you not in the know, sometimes you have to figure things out in rectangular and sometimes in polar coordinates.  Phase angles of circuits containing resistance, inductive and/or capacitive reactance mean using polar coordinates, which means using trig.

Then there was this from The Yellow Admiral:

But for the time being he was to attend to the young gentlemen. They were gathering there on the quarterdeck behind him, accompanied by the schoolmaster, and although some were furtively giggling, treading on one another’s toes, most were decently apprehensive.
‘Very well, gentlemen, let us begin,’ said Jack in their direction, and he led the way into the fore-cabin. Here they showed up their day’s workings, which, as there had been no noon observation the day before, were necessarily the product of dead reckoning, and they differed little, except in neatness.
Both Walkinshaw and Jack were perfectly at home with the mathematics of navigation and it was difficult for either to understand how very deeply ignorant it was possible for the young and feather-brained to be, particularly those young men who had spent most of their school-time ashore learning Latin and in some cases Greek and even a little Hebrew – possibly some French. This occurred to Jack with some force in the silence that followed his commendation of the neat and his giving back the workings; and out of this silence he said to a dwarfish twelve-year-old, the son of one of his former lieutenants, ‘Mr Thomson, what is meant by a sine?’
He glanced round the general blankness and went on, ‘Each of you take a piece of paper and write down what is meant by a sine. Mr Weller’ – this to a boy who had been to a nautical academy at Wapping – ‘you are whispering to your neighbour. Jump up to the masthead and stay there until you are told to come down. But before you go, gather the papers and show them to me.’
It was difficult to tell whether the schoolmaster or his pupils felt the more distressed as the Captain looked through the undeniable proof of such very complete ignorance of the first elements. ‘Very well,’ he said at last, ‘we shall have to start again with the ABC. Pass the word for my joiner.’ The joiner appeared, brushing chips from his apron. ‘Hemmings,’ said Jack, ‘run me up a blackboard, will you? A flat dead paint that will take chalk handsomely, and let me have it by this time tomorrow.’ To the youngsters he said, ‘I shall write definitions and draw diagrams, and you will get them by heart.’ He was not in the best of moods, and his absolute determination, together with his bulk and his immense authority on board, was singularly impressive. They filed out in silence, looking grave.
The next morning the blackboard was present, fixed by thumbscrews within easy reach of the Captain’s hand, and from it the boys were taught, with words and diagrams, the nature of sine, cosine, tangent, cotangent, secant and cosecant, the relations between them, and their value in helping to find your position in a prodigious ocean, no shore, no landmark for ten thousand miles. All these things were to be found in Robinson’s Elements of Navigation which, together with the Requisite Tables and Nautical Almanac, lay in their sea-chests, a necessary part of their equipment; and Mr Walkinshaw had tried to lead the youngsters through them. But nothing came anywhere near the concentrated forceful instructions of Jove himself; and after what seemed an anxious eternity to the midshipmen’s berth but which in fact lasted no more than a few of the Bellona’s usual patrols from Douarnenez Bay to the Black Rocks in hazy, sometimes foggy weather in which they saw nothing at all and sometimes with such light airs that on occasion they lacked even steerage-way and the Captain had all the time in the world for trigonometry.

It is right after this, if you will recall, that Stephen laments that the marsupials he brought on board, namely, wombats, were pining because they missed their filth.

But I digress.


Before you ask, were I to have had my rig aboard Capt. Aubrey’s ship in international waters, I would have had to obtain his authorization to operate.

Posted in Ham Radio, O'Brian Tags | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

PHOTOS: 1 July – Pontifical Mass at the Throne for Persecuted Christians @MadisonDiocese

On 1 July, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, by the grace of God and the Apostolic See Bishop of Madison (aka The Extraordinary Ordinary), sang a Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the Roman Rite’s traditional form.

Holy Mass was offered for the intention of Persecuted Christians around the globe.  In addition to the orations for the Most Precious Blood, orations were added from the beautiful Mass “in tempore belli… in time of war”.

His Excellency granted a plenary indulgence, under the normal conditions, to all those who participated.

This Mass occasioned the use, for the first time, of the red silk damask vestments obtained by the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (501(c)(3)).

Here are some photos, to give you a taste.








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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

ASK FATHER: Would using birth control to delay children invalidate marriage?

From a reader…


Would the use of birth control to delay children for a time invalidate marriage? Likewise, would the intention to divorce IF the spouse committed adultery invalidate the marriage?

Two questions… I normally don’t take twofers, but I’ll make an exception.

The use of artificial birth control, – even for a time, would be gravely sinful. It would give rise to legitimate questions about the intentions of the parties with regards to marriage: are they truly intent on sharing in a partnership of the WHOLE of life, if they chose to withhold this natural activity? If they’re using a barrier method of birth control, are they truly intent to share human intimacy with each other? If they’re using abortifacient methods, how do they understand the good of the spouse? Have they enticed their spouse into sin, or do they willingly cooperate with their spouses sinful intention?

The use of artificial contraception, sinful as it is, would not automatically invalidate matrimonial consent in and of itself.  It would give rise to serious questions.

Marriage is intended to be open to life. In the marriage rite one says to one’s partner (and to the whole Church), “I give you my whole self. I am open to give you not only my life, but my potential children as well.” To withhold part of one’s life is to make that profession of marriage consent a lie.

Couples who marry can agree, mutually, to use natural means of avoiding childbirth for a time, for a legitimate reason. For example, a married couple who are studying overseas in a three-year program might choose to wait until they return home to have children.  Or, a couple who just had a child who has special needs might want to wait a bit before giving the child a sibling.

I caution couples to avoid the mistaken notion that, after getting married, they should wait a few years before having children so they can, “have some time to just get to know each other.” That can easily play in to selfishness.

Think about it.  Here are a couple scenarios.

Within the first few years of marriage even the most “in love” couples will have moments where they don’t particularly care for each other. Perhaps they have a vicious argument. The husband, at work, dreads going home to face his wife and to merely dive back into the argument. He can hardly stand to look at her. So, he goes out for a beer with his work colleagues. Then a second. Then a third. It becomes easy to avoid each other, the argument never gets resolved, and Satan has his way – he has driven a couple apart from each other.  [CUT TO BLACK – ABRUPT MINOR CHORD]

A second scenario. The husband is at work and dreads going home to face his wife, but he knows that she is home with his infant son. He may not want to see his wife, but he is still in love with, and fascinated by his baby boy. So he goes home, perhaps grudgingly, but he goes home. He avoids his wife, but goes into the room where his baby is sleeping. He picks up this child and the emotional and psychological feelings of love – the ineffable parental bond – fill his heart. As he looks at the child whom he loves, the baby wakes up and smiles. He has his mothers dimples. He is reminded of the commitment of love he has for his wife. He takes the child into the living room and holds him out to his mother. He has his fathers eyes. The two resolve to sit down and work on their disagreement.  [THE MUSIC SWELLS]

A little florid?  Sure.  But don’t kid yourselves.  This is how life works.  It is how the Enemy of the Soul works and it is now we are hard wired to work.

As to the second part of the question, for Latin Church Catholics marriage is invalid if one or both spouses enter into marriage while placing a condition concerning the future (e.g., “I marry you as long as you become the King of England,” or “I marry you as long as you stop smoking,” or “I marry you as long as you remain faithful to me.”) One should certainly expect certain things of one’s spouse, and one of those things has to be fidelity, right?  But there is a categorical difference between conditional consent (“If you cheat on me, that makes our marriage invalid and I’m therefore free to marry another.”) and legitimate expectations (“If you ever cheat on me, I’m moving out and might even consider divorce.”)

In looking at specific situations, rather than merely at hypotheticals, it is best to entrust these questions to the legitimately authorized Church authorities at the diocesan tribunal.  They can make the determination. They are trained to examine the necessary details and contingent circumstances.

Armchair diagnoses of specific marriages – especially by the untrained layman – without having all the facts and testimony at hand is generally unhelpful.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Canon Law, One Man & One Woman | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

1 July – Most Precious Blood and …

Today is the Feast of the Most Precious Blood… in the older, traditional calendar of the Roman Rite.  Thus we inaugurate the month of July, during which in a special way, fire up our devotion to the Most Precious Blood of the Lord.

Every even tiny drop is worth the salvation of the souls of everyone who has ever lived.   While many have and will accept the gift Christ won by the pouring out of His Precious Blood, not all will.

Here is the Collect:

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui unigénitum Fílium tuum mundi Redemptórem constituísti, ac eius Sánguine placári voluísti: concéde, quaesumus, salútis nostræ prétium sollémni cultu ita venerári, atque a præséntis vitæ malis eius virtúte deféndi in terris; ut fructu perpétuo lætémur in coelis.

Here is someone else’s translation:

Almighty, eternal God, Who made Your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be reconciled by His Blood, grant us, we beseech You, so to worship in this sacred rite the price of our salvation, and to be so protected by its power against the evils of the present life on earth, that we may enjoy its everlasting fruit in heaven.

And… by the way… today is also the feast of St. Aaron, brother of Moses.

Some people may not realize that many great figures of the Old Testament are considered saints and are listed in the Roman Martyrology.

Here is his entry in the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum:

1. Commemoratio sancti Aaron, de tribu Levi, qui a Moyse fratre oleo sacro unctus est sacerdos Veteris Testamenti et in monte Hor depositus.

Who wants to translate this for the readers?

Posted in WDTPRS | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: Reading Gospel from the right, symbol of preaching to pagan barbarians

From a reader…


Father, I have read that the reason the Gospel was read on the altar’s right was a symbol of the priest preaching to the north where lived the pagan barbarians. Do you know if this is true? Thank you

I’ve, too, have heard that.

First, just so we have our compass bearing, if Mass is celebrated ad orientem (facing liturgical East), then the left side of the altar (as you face it) is North.

Some of the things we do and we and wear during Holy Mass started out with practical origins and then, later, developed symbolic meanings.  There’s nothing wrong with maintaining something because of the symbolism that was acquired later.

As far as the shifting of the Gospel book from the right (as you view the altar) to the left is concerned, there are various explanations.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori explained the shifting of the book is really about the movement of the priest from the Jews (right-side as you view the altar), who rejected the Gospel, to the Gentiles (left-side), who accepted it.

Adrian Fortescue thought believed that chanting the Gospel to the North was a carry over into the Low Mass from the Solemn Mass.  In Solemn Mass there is a procession of the deacon and the subdeacon away from the altar to some place either in the sanctuary (if large enough) where the Gospel is sung to the North.  Sometimes the procession goes out the gates into the nave.  Ancient ambos, tall triangular structures with stairs on each side, were away from the altar on the South side of the nave or choir area.  The deacon would ascend and sing the Gospel to the North (from the South side).

The liturgical scholar Joseph Jungmann, writing in Missarum Sollemnia, thought the move to a new place was influenced by the position of the bishop’s cathedra or throne.  Also, he suggests that perhaps the change came from the desire that the deacon to face the men, rather than the women, in the days when they sat on different sides of the church.

In any event, this is what we do in the older, traditional form of Holy Mass.

Finally, I’ll note that preaching to the LEFT is indeed preaching to barbarians.  So, maybe our symbol-hungry forebears were on to something.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Griccia and gricia

Over HERE (and in my email) some people are confused about my reference to a camicia griccia.  The sacristans of St. Peter’s Basilica used to dress Arnulfo di Cambio’s statue of St. Peter also with the camicia griccia on 29 June and 22 February.

A camicia is an alb.  Griccia (not to be confused with gricia) is a technique of ironing into tight pleats in two, perpendicular directions.

My friend John Sonnen has a good photo at his blog of what the result is.  HERE


And…  Enrico Dante in one…

They are extremely rare now, because a) Paul VI abolished it and b) well… they were thrown away and c) people forgot how to do it.

Once in many many years ago I met an old nun who showed me how to do it.  She used an interesting scissor-like ironing-clamp with lots of zigzags.   I believe that she and every other nun who did that stuff venerated Paul VI for the rest of their lives.   The cynic in me says that Paul abolished griccia to secure the nun vote forever,

And gricia is a pre-Columban Roman method of preparing pasta (one of my favorites).


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 7 Comments

MADISON 1 July: Pontifical Mass at Throne for Suffering and Persecuted Christians Around the Globe


I’ll pass this along…

From the Chancellor of the Diocese of Madison:

With this email I convey the dispensation of the Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, granted to any of those who assist piously in the Pontifical Mass for the Feast of the Precious Blood (this Friday) from their observance of Friday penances.


The Extraordinary Ordinary, His Excellency Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, by the grace of God Bishop of Madison, regularly celebrates Holy Mass also in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

The next Solemn Pontifical Mass will be offered by Bishop Morlino “at the Throne” (with the help of an assisting priest, deacon, subdeacon and two deacons at the Throne), on the evening of 1 July 2016, Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, at 7:00 PM, at the chapel of Holy Name Heights (aka Bishop O’Connor Center).

This Mass will be celebrated offered for the intention of Suffering and Persecuted Christians Around the Globe.

The Mass is organized by the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison.

We will be using the beautiful RED vestments we had made.

All are welcome.

Catholic clergy are cordially invited to participate in in choir dress.

The Mass will be sung in the Church’s global language, Latin, of course.  The music will be Gregorian chant and polyphony.  For more information see http://latinmassmadison.org/

Pontifical Dalmatic and Gloves

Posted in Events, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, SESSIUNCULA, The Campus Telephone Pole, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Of Islamic Terror, Anniversaries and You

LepantoYesterday, the Vigil of Peter and Paul, was the 2nd anniversary of ISIS (which Pres. Obama  – what a guy – called the “JV team”) declaring a “caliphate”.

Dates are important to Christians.  Dates are important to Islamic terrorists.  They attack on anniversaries.  Attack are also up since this years “Holy Month” of Ramadan began.  “Holy”…? The “Bloody Month” of Ramadan.  So far the count is 181 attacks, nearly 1,300 people dead. HERE

Today I read the Letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to Pope Francis for Peter and Paul. He wrote: “In concelebrating with You the venerable memory of the Chief among the Apostles Peter and the Apostle to the Gentiles Paul, who were martyred in Your See and honored greatly by the Elder as well as the New Rome, ….”

Yesterday, ISIS terrorist practitioners of the Religion of Peace murdered innocent people in Istanbul, aka Constantinople, aka the Second Rome or New Rome.

There may be, probably are, other reasons for these whack-jobs to attack in an Islamic nation Turkey, where their leader is pushing toward sharia law.  That makes sense, right?

ISIS has said that it will attack Rome.  Do we believe them? Think about it.  They must attack Rome.  It’s symbolic of everything they are about.

Moreover, today there met the “leaders” of these USA, Canada and Mexico (whence are rushing into these USA who knows who).  Brexit took place a few days ago.  The EU is shredding.  Istanbul was attacked.  These brain-trusts led off with global warming and butterflies.

Meanwhile, the Bloody Month of Ramadan continues until 5 July, a day after an important anniversary in these USA.

Dear readers, this is coming to a town near you.  Don’t brush this off with a shrug, saying, “It’ll never happen here.”   Bad things always happen to someone else … until they happen to you.

But don’t worry!   The Obama Administration says that ISIS is on the run!  HERE

Finally, another important date is 13 October 2017.


Attacks have me thinking.

I often beg you to be aware of your surroundings.

There came into my mind one of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, Gone Tomorrow (UK HERE).


If you want to read what I am talking about, click HERE.  ABC posted the first chapter, free to read.

They posted it on 29 June 2009.

WARNING: If you get hooked on Jack Reacher novels, blame Lee Child, not Fr. Z.

Here is the first part of the excerpt:

Chapter One

Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they’re nervous. By definition they’re all first-timers.

Israeli counterintelligence wrote the defensive playbook. They told us what to look for. They used pragmatic observation and psychological insight and came up with a list of behavioral indicators. I learned the list from an Israeli amy captain twenty years ago. He swore by it. Therefore I swore by it too, because at the time I was on three weeks’ detached duty mostly about a yard from his shoulder, in Israel itself, in Jerusalem, on the West Bank, in Leb anon, sometimes in Syria, sometimes in Jordan, on buses, in stores, on crowded sidewalks. I kept my eyes moving and my mind running free down the bullet points.

Twenty years later I still know the list. And my eyes still move. Pure habit. From another bunch of guys I learned another mantra: Look, don’t see, listen, don’t hear. The more you engage, the longer you survive.

The list is twelve points long if you’re looking at a male suspect. Eleven, if you’re looking at a woman. The difference is a fresh shave. Male bombers take off their beards. It helps them blend in. Makes them less suspicious. The result is paler skin on the lower half of the face. No recent exposure to the sun.

But I wasn’t interested in shaves.

I was working on the eleven-point list.

I was looking at a woman.

I was riding the subway, in New York City. The 6 train, the Lexington Avenue local, heading uptown, two o’clock in the morning.



Posted in Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

UPDATE Road Warrior Tips: Appreciating soft landings and cheaper data abroad (KeepGo)

UPDATE 29 June:

Some of you have availed yourselves of getting a KeepGo through the link I provided, below.   Thanks!  I have received some additional data. HERE

I was very satisfied with how my KeepGo kept me connected in both Rome and in Spain.  Great gizmo.

I’ve also tested it in these USA.  No joy.


ORIGINAL Published on: Jun 20, 2016

I fly a lot. More than most. Less than some. But still, a lot.

These videos, sent by a priest friend, reminds me of how amazing is the technology that gets us from point A to point B safely.

First, landing in incredible fog at Malpensa. You’ll hear them counting off the feet from the runway. Keep in mind that the plane is at an angle, tip nose up.

Next, landing in New Zealand, skirting mountains, narrow swirvy approach. He wrote:

It’s an RNP (Required Navigation Performance) Approach, and its track is a 3D path, which before technology allowed it was limited to straight-line approaches. This kind of instrument approach (fully automatic) seems out of a sci-fi movie, but this is more and more common in commercial aviation.

keepgoFinally, a hint to those of you who travel out of these USA and who want to use your phones abroad. Buying a data package for your international travel can be pretty spendy. During this last trip I used a KeepGo portable wifi hot-spot gizmo. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than, for the example the blood-drainers of ATT, and the data is usable for a year, rather than 30 days. ATT will provide 800MB for something like $120 that expires in 30 days. KeepGo provides 1GB for $49 and it expires in 1 year. 5GB for $194 ($39/GB). I used this during my last trip to Rome and in Spain and it functioned admirably. Also, you can easily monitor your data usage and top up.  You can connect multiple devices to the same little unit, that looks a little like a thin bar of white soap.  It fits in your pocket easily, charges quickly, and operates on a charge for a long time (depending on how heavily you use it, of course).

And have you stayed at a hotel that charges you to use wifi and… to add insult to injury… it’s lousy?

Or via Amazon

It works in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain UK, Greece, Guatemala, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Vatican City, Venezuela.

Note: If you use my link to get a KeepGo, I will get some complimentary data added to my account because of the referral. HERE

I was really pleased with my gizmo.  It is going to save me a lot of money in the future when I travel abroad.

Posted in Just Too Cool, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

WDTPRS – Collect Sts. Peter & Paul (2002MR): “holy and venerable joy”

The Collect for the Novus Ordo the the Mass of the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul is in part inspired by that of the parallel prayer in the 1962 Missale Romanum.  However, it seems also to be a new creation, though not entirely new.


Deus, qui huius diei venerandam
sanctamque laetitiam in apostolorum
Petri et Pauli sollemnitate tribuisti,
da Ecclesiae tuae
eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum,
per quos religionis sumpsit exordium.

The last part, “eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum, per quos religionis sumpsit exordium” is in the 1962MR Collect. But the first part is a new composition, based on some ancient patterns of prayers for feasts of other apostles.

I think what we have going on here has little to do with continuity. The architects of the Novus Ordo wanted to express something quite different from what the 1962 Collect expressed. The first part of the 1962MR prayer speaks of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.

There is a usage in late Latin of sumo and exordium, which is surely at work here: “to make a beginning”.  

Since this seems to be a fairly new prayer we have a little flexibility with very complex religio.

Let’s refer to the great Lewis & Short Dictionary: “Reverence for God (the gods), the fear of God, connected with a careful pondering of divine things; piety, religion, both pure inward piety and that which is manifested in religious rites and ceremonies; hence the rites and ceremonies, as well as the entire system of religion and worship, the res divinae or sacrae, were frequently called religio or religiones“.

On the other hand, the French source for liturigcal Latin Blaise/Dumas suggests merely: “piete” and “religion”.  Religio in our context needs a word or phrase that gets at the external express or our interior attitude.


O God, who for the solemnity of the
apostles Peter and Paul
bestowed the holy and venerable joy of this day,
grant to Your Church
to follow in all things their instruction
through whom she made a beginning of the life of faith.

You decide.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 4 Comments