ADVENTCAzT 08: “No representation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass.”

Here is a 5-minute, daily podcast to help you prepare for the upcoming feast as well as for your personal meeting with the Lord.

These podcasts are a token of gratitude to my benefactors who donate and send items from my wishlist.  Thank you!

Here is ADVENTCAzT 08, for 2nd Sunday of Advent.

The music used today: HERE These are the wonderful Benedictine nuns in Kansas from their album of music for Advent.

Have some Mystic Monk Coffee and have a listen!

PS: The wavy flag is how I’m trying to get to Rome for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy meeting in January.  This one’s on me.

Today I give you something from Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth. in if you listened.

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




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Posted in ADVENTCAzT, ADVENTCAzT, Benedict XVI, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

WDTPRS 2nd Sunday of Advent: “we escape neither the Enemy lion nor the glorious Lion of Judah”

LISTEN also!

Our Collect (once called the “Opening Prayer”) for the 2nd Sunday of Advent was not in the pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum but it was in the so-called Rotulus (“scroll”) of Ravenna, dated perhaps as early as the 5th century.

Omnipotens et misericors Deus,
in tui occursum Filii festinantes
nulla opera terreni actus impediant,
sed sapientiae caelestis eruditio
nos faciat eius esse consortes

Impedio (built from the word pes, pedis, “foot”), at the core of this prayer, is “to snare or tangle the feet”.   A consors is someone with (con-) whom you share your lot (sors).   The phrase “faciat eius esse consortes” recalls both the Collect for Christmas Day and the priest’s preparation of the chalice during the offertory.  Deus, “God”, is declined irregularly. In solemn discourse the nominative is used as the vocative form (e.g. cf. Livy 1, 24, 7).  Sapientia (“wisdom”) and eruditio (“learning”) are packed, technical terms from ancient rhetoric and philosophy.

Almighty and merciful God,
let no works of worldly impulse impede
those hurrying to the meeting of Your Son,
but rather let the learning of heavenly wisdom
make us to be His co-heirs.

God of power and mercy,
open our hearts in welcome.
Remove the things that hinder us
from receiving Christ with joy,
so that we may share his wisdom
and become one with him
when he comes in glory,…

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.

Last week in our Collect we rushed to meet the Coming Lord while striving for our reward through works made meritorious by Him alone.  During Advent, as the Baptist warns us, we are to make ready the path for the coming of the Lord.  This week we are still rushing but perhaps we are wiser after the first rush of excitement.

This week we are wary of obstacles which could impede us, snare our feet.  These impediments are merely worldly ways and works, not meritorious for salvation since they are not performed in Christ.  Worldly ways entangles us.  St. Paul contrasts the wisdom of this world with the Wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 1:20;  3:19; 2 Cor 3:19).  In Romans 12:2 Paul admonishes, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  This is not just a Pauline concept.  Compare today’s Collect with 2 Peter 1:3-4: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (cognitio: cf. eruditio) of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature (efficiamini divinae consortes).”

St. Augustine of Hippo (d 430) dismantled Donatist arguments that all clerics ordained by a sinful bishop would automatically be stained by the same guilt. He used imagery reminiscent of today’s prayer: “The mire (lutum) their feet are stuck in is so thick and dense that, trying in vain to tear themselves out of it, they get their hands and head stuck in it too, and lingering in that muck they get more tightly enveloped” (c. Don. 25).  The Donatist argument was based on worldly, not heavenly, wisdom.  Sticky lutum is a metaphor for a worldly, sinful life. Augustine contrasts being lutum with being children of God. “Noli esse lutum …Don’t be muck, but become (efficere) a child of God through His mercy!” (diu. qu. 68.3).

If we neglect God, we weak sinners can eventually convince ourselves of anything: down becomes up, back becomes front, black is white, wrong is right, and muddy is clean.  We excuse away our sins.  Once self-justification becomes a habit, it is a vice in more than one sense of that word.  Our consciences may occasionally struggle against the vice of self-deception, but the proverbial “Struggle” supplies permission: “I really ‘struggled’ with this, … before I did it.”

If we go off the true path into the sticky mire of error, we escape neither the Enemy lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8), nor the glorious Lion of Judah who will open the seals and read the Book of Life (Rev 5:5).

During Advent, let us make straight Christ’s path and watch our step.  Nevertheless, no matter how sticky may be the mess we have gotten ourselves into, Christ’s loving mercy washes its stain away in a good, complete confession before Christmas.

Posted in ADVENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

ADVENTCAzT 07: The “nada”… nothing

Here is a 5-minute, daily podcast to help you prepare for the upcoming feast as well as for your personal meeting with the Lord.

These podcasts are a token of gratitude to my benefactors who donate and send items from my wishlist.  Thank you!

Here is ADVENTCAzT 07, for Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent.

The music used today: HERE These are the wonderful Benedictine nuns in Kansas from their album of music for Advent.

Have some Mystic Monk Coffee and have a listen!

PS: The wavy flag is how I’m trying to get to Rome for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy meeting in January.  This one’s on me.

Today I give you a reflection from Divine Intimacy and Thomas of Celano.

Chime in if you listened.

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



Posted in ADVENTCAzT, ADVENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

FEEDBACK: “This morning at seminary we were discussing….”

I am glad when I get feedback about how this blog has been useful for someone, especially in important matters having to do with the life of faith.

Today I received a note about something that happened in a seminary class room about a really important matter that someday could (please God!) affect us all!

I am a transitional deacon and would especially like to thank you for your post of 8th June 2011 on the Apostolic Pardon. I remember reading it at the time. This morning at seminary we were discussing the sacrament of anointing of the sick and the question of the Apostolic Pardon came up. The priest leading the discussion was not especially clued up as to it’s significance, so afterwards I e-mailed your post to our class and a number of them said how helpful it was. I just thought you would like to know that. Thanks for your continued good work.

We should all pray often that God will preserve us from a sudden and unprovided death, that is, death without the opportunity of the Last Sacraments, Penance, Anointing, Eucharist as viaticum, and, with them, the Apostolic Pardon.

I can’t tell you what what a grace and consolation it is for a priest to be able to administer these rites along with the Apostolic Pardon.  Surely it is also a great consolation to family members and to the dying person when they know what is taking place.

As I having written before, the Apostolic Pardon, or Benediction, forgives temporal punishment due to our sins, not the sins themselves.

If anything remains from our lives, provided we die in the state of grace, for which we have not done adequate penance, the temporal punishment due to those sins, if we have not done adequate penance in life, is forgiven us through the Apostolic Pardon.  This is why the Apostolic Pardon is often given after the Last Rites of sacraments of penance, anointing, and Viaticum.

This is a marvelous faculty, given by Holy Church to the priest so that he can grant this remission of temporal punishment and forgive sins.  Used in conjunction with the Last Rites a soul is well prepared to go on to judgment.  Well prepared.  We cannot force God and force souls, but we have confidence that God’s promises to the Church and the Church’s teaching to us are all true.

I am glad that this blog played a part in a classroom full of men to be ordained.  These are your future priests!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Si vis pacem para bellum! | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Another gift idea: help the Monks of Norcia!

One of the best monastic communities of men that I know are the outstanding Benedictine Monks in Norcia, the presumed birthplace of St. Benedict in Umbria.

These are the monks who put their sung hours and Masses online on demand HERE

These are the monks who make spectacular beer… truly spectacular beer HERE

They have the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and, just as happened for centuries now, they are helping to revive a dormant town into new life.  They’ve put Norcia back on the map.

They have, once again, a nice calendar for 2015 with images of their monastic life.  You can help the monks by buying some of their calendars and giving them as gifts.  Quick!  Before Christmas is upon us and you have to rush to get things done!


Here are some snaps of mine:



Each day as indications for the liturgical calendar in both Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms, as well as abstinence or fast symbols.  Note that under each day of the week there is an theme which is traditionally observed.


Some spiritual direction about fasting.


Yes, friends, it looks like this.


And then there is the brewery.


You get great calendars, you take care of some gift ideas, the monks benefit… everyone wins.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

ASK FATHER: Fulfilling the Mass Requirement for December 8 2014

In these USA Monday, 8 December, is a Holy Day of Obligation because Our Lady under the title of Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of our nation.

So, several readers have asked about fulfilling the Mass obligation.  Here’s is one:

If I have already fulfilled my Sunday mass obligation for December 7, if I go to mass again on the evening of December 7, will that fulfill my obligation for December 8th even if it is not the “official”
anticipated mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception?

Ah… my old nemesis!

I posted on this scenario in the past and differing opinions were offered. I find in this instance that the otherwise brilliant and distinguished Dr. Ed Peters, canonist extraordinaire is wrong about this one. At least I think there is a doubt to be raised about this situation. A principle of interpretation of law in our Church is that when an obligation or burden is imposed, then we have to interpret the law strictly, that is, in such a way as we favor the people upon whom the burden is placed.

And so, for Sunday and Monday one has two obligations. The obligation to hear Holy Mass for Sunday (every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation), and the obligation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Can one Mass satisfy two obligations?  I think so.  Others don’t.  The situation is at least doubtful, so I think we get the benefit of the doubt.   At least I don’t remember ever seeing an official clarification about this point from the Pont. Comm. for Legislative Texts of from the Cong. for Divine Worship.  I hope that, if there is one, someone will send it to me.

And so, I answer that one fulfills one’s Sunday obligation anytime from the evening of Saturday, 6 December, through midnight on Sunday, 7/8 December.

The obligation for the Monday, 8 December, Immaculate Conception, is fulfilled anytime from Sunday evening through Monday, 8/9 December at midnight.

Therefore, if one attended Mass at 5:00 PM on Sunday, 7 December, in order to fulfill one’s Sunday obligation, I think one would also fulfill the Monday Obligation.

However, just to introduce a wrinkle into this reckoning, if one went to the 5:00 PM Mass and then stuck around for the 7:00 PM Mass also, then there is NO QUESTION that one has fulfilled both obligations. Rigid canonists might say that 2 obligations require 2 Masses. That is not, however, what Canon Law says.

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

A person who has gone to Mass on Sunday evening has simultaneously gone on the day itself and in the evening of the preceding day.  It happens to have been one Mass.

That said… I am NOT advocating slithering out of going to Mass on Monday.  I want each and everyone of you to make plans to find a Mass on Monday for this beautiful feast.  My fellow Americans… we are obliged to hear Mass.  Make that plan!  Do more, not less.  And do more love, even if it’s hard.

And, remember, people in a state of grace may receive Holy Communion at both Masses, in the course of one day. You can receive twice a day, provided that the second time in in the context of Holy Mass. Danger of death, of course, changes everything.

In Madison, we have an Extraordinary Form Pontifical Mass at the Throne at 7 PM at the Bishop O’Connor Center.


Distinguished canonist Ed Peters has chimed in with a really interesting response at his fine blog In The Light Of The Law.  He takes me to task to educate me on my point about “doubt”.  We may be talking past each other here, but I am glad he drilled into what I wrote.  This is how the blogosphere ought to work!  Why?  Because we want the truth!  And… we can handle the truth!

Check out Dr. Peters.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Linking Back | Tagged , , | 56 Comments

ACTION ITEM! POLL ALERT! – Crux poll on recent Synod of Bishops

I have stopped looking at Crux as often as I did when it first entered the fray.

Why?  They say they want “balance”.  I don’t see much balance.

Today an email blurb arrived with teases about the fare they are proffering today.  Leaving aside the subject matter:

Cathy Lynn Grossman
Margery Eagan
David Gibson
Nicole Winfield
Lisa Miller

Sapienti pauca.

That said…

One of you readers brought to my attention that Crux has a POLL today about the last Synod. I wouldn’t ordinarily pay much attention to this either but I was irritated at the blatant distortion in the questions.  Scroll down from the top, it’s a way down on the left side.

Here is a screen shot… NB: It’s not like I’m trying influence your vote or anything…
UPDATE: The poll questions are, I hear, now rearranged.  Don’t just click the choice at the bottom.  Read them first.

First… how do I “feel”?  Second, “not more mercy shown”?  Really?

The implication is that since the Synod participants did not simply endorse Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, they didn’t show “mercy”.  I respond that it is NOT MERCIFUL to tell people who are objectively living in a bad state can go to Communion, it is NOT MERCIFUL simply to jettison the clear words of Christ in the Gospel.

Also, note how they pit “mercy” against “doctrine”.  Grrrrr.

So, I think that you readers ought to go over there and help them with their poll. Scroll down, watching the left side.

Right now here are the results.

Get out and vote… Chicago style or not… and get your friends to vote too.  Maybe even guide the mouse for them.  CLICK HERE and scroll down, watching the left side.


I posted this just over 3 hours ago.  Now just look what you have gone and done!

It’s nice to be helpful.  Please make sure their poll is a great success! Get the vote out!


And where are we now?

UPDATE 7 Dec 2045 GMT:

It seems that you are still working on this.  Good!  Vote!

Posted in Biased Media Coverage, CRUX WATCH, Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, POLLS | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Benedict XVI reviews his life’s work. He changed his mind about something important.

It is important that you know about this.  I first touched on this HERE

Given the orchestrations of the last, controversial Synod of Bishops which met to discuss issues concerning the family, and given the hot issues raised, when the former POPE says something touching the issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, we should pay attention.

In essence, Benedict XVI is doing what St. Augustine did late in life in his Retractations: he is looking back at his life’s work to make evaluations and corrections.  In the 1970’s Ratzinger mused about Communion for the remarried.  He has, since, changed his mind.

Sandro Magisterhas the texts of the His Holiness Pope Benedict’s forward to the newest volume of his collected works.  The first volume, put out in German and edited by Card. Müller of the CDF, was of Benedict’s liturgical writings.  Ignatius Press has the English version: Joseph Ratzinger-Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy – UK link HERE.

Now a volume of theological writings is out in German.   Moreover, we also have an English translation of the forward in which Benedict reviews his position on the hot question back in 1972 and what he thinks about it now.

Thus, Magister:

ROME, December 3, 2014 – Joseph Ratzinger’s position on communion for the divorced and remarried is well known. He has formulated it a number of times, as cardinal prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith and then as pope.

But now he is returning to the argument with a new text, just released in Germany in the collection of his Opera Omnia.

This text is reproduced in its entirely further below. But its origin demands an explanation.

In the Opera Omnia, Ratzinger is republishing – with the help of the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller – all of his theological writings, grouped according to theme. In the latest of the nine volumes published so far in German by Herder, numbering almost 1,000 pages and entitled “Introduction to Christianity. Profession, baptism, discipleship,” there is a 1972 article on the question of the indissolubility of marriage, published that year in Germany in a multi-author book on marriage and divorce.

That 1972 article by Ratzinger was dusted off last February by Cardinal Walter Kasper in the talk with which he introduced the consistory of cardinals convened by Pope Francis to discuss the issue of the family, in view of the synod of bishops scheduled for October:

In cheering for the admission of the divorced and remarried to Eucharistic communion, Kasper said:

“The early Church gives us a guideline that can serve as a means of escape from the dilemma, to which Professor Joseph Ratzinger referred in 1972. [. . .] Ratzinger suggested that Basil’s position should be taken up again in a new way. It would seem to be an appropriate solution, one that is also at the basis of these reflections of mine.” [The Five Cardinals Book™ exploded the Basil point. If you haven’t obtained and read it… what are you waiting for?]

In effect, in that 1972 article the then 45-year-old professor of theology in Regensburg maintained that giving communion to the divorced and remarried, under particular conditions, appeared “fully in line with the tradition of the Church” and in particular with “that type of indulgence which emerges in Basil, where, after a protracted period of penance, the ‘digamus’ (meaning someone living in a second marriage) is granted communion without the annulment of the second marriage: with trust in the mercy of God, who does not let penance go unanswered.”

That 1972 article was the first and last time in which Ratzinger “opened up” to communion for the divorced and remarried. Afterward, in fact, he not only fully adhered to the rigorist [no… not rigorist… faithful…] position of the ban on communion, reaffirmed by the magisterium of the Church during the pontificate of John Paul II, but he also contributed in a decisive way to the argumentation on behalf of this ban as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. [Did everyone get that?  So, what Kasper did is doubly dodgy.]

He contributed to it in particular by signing the letter to bishops of September 14, 1994, in which the Holy See rejected the theses in favor of communion for the divorced and remarried supported in previous years by some German bishops, including Kasper:

And then again with a 1998 text published by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith and republished by “L’Osservatore Romano” of November 30, 2011:

Without counting that subsequently, as pope, he reconfirmed and explained the ban on communion a number of times in the context of pastoral care for the divorced and remarried.

[NB] It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Ratzinger should have maintained that it was inappropriate for Kasper to cite his 1972 article in support of his own theses, as if nothing had happened after that year.

This is what led to Ratzinger’s decision, in republishing the 1972 article in the Opera Omnia, to rewrite and expand its final part, bringing it into line with his subsequent and current thinking. [Did you get that?]

What follows is a translation of the new final part of the article as it appears in the volume of the Opera Omnia just out in bookstores, released for publication by pope emeritus Benedict XVI in March of 2014. [Ergo… several months before the October Synod but still within the Synod’s penumbra.  The debate was already escalating.]

Followed immediately by a reproduction of the part replaced, the one cited by Kasper in his own support at the consistory last February. [Compare and contrast.]

In the new 2014 edition, it is specified that “the contribution has been completely revised by the author.”

What follows in Magister’s piece are the actual texts.

Keep in mind that, even as we speak, powers-that-be are working behind the scene to engineer a desired outcome when the next Synod meets in October 2015.

Posted in Benedict XVI, One Man & One Woman | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

When ‘experts’ interpret the wishes of the laity: What could go wrong?

Over at NLM my friend Gregory DiPippo has a fine essay with reflections on the imposition of the vernacular for Holy Mass back in 1969/70.  This topic has been on my mind lately, given that we have been at this now for some 45 years and the mighty fruits of the vernacular are yet to enter the germination stage.

A sample:

In a letter to the Tablet published on March 14, 1964, Dom Gregory Murray, O.S.B., of Downside Abbey in England, wrote:

The plea that the laity as a body do not want liturgical change, whether in rite or in language, is, I submit, quite beside the point. … (it is) not a question of what people want; it is a question of what is good for them.Michael Davies quotes this in his book “Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II”, and rightly observes that it reflects the same mentality as that of the Soviet Communist Party. [Or Democrats] Just as the Party “ ‘interpreted the will of the people,’ so the ‘experts’ interpret the wishes of the laity,” and were willing to inflict any amount of suffering on them to make them accept what they, the experts, had determined was for the people’s good. And so I find myself reminded of two stories from those troubled days.

I think this is what emerged in those PODCAzTs I did on the 40th anniversary of the imposition of the Novus Ordo.  HERE

Another sample from DiPippo.  Amusing and strikingly sad at the same time:

The second concerns this commemorative plaque from the church of All Saints in Rome,

which reads in part:

His Holiness Paul VI, as the liturgical reform decreed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was beginning, was pleased to celebrate in this church the first Mass in Italian, amid the excited exultation of an entire people…A Roman friend of mine explained to me this is actually the third version of this plaque, because, in fact, not quite all of the people were excitedly exulting about Mass in the vernacular. After the first two plaques were badly vandalized, the third was placed well out of reach, and above a statue that no one would dare climb on. (The current plaque seems however to have a stain on it, of unknown origin, not visible in the photograph.)

Go read the rest there.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

5 Dec 1945 – Air squadron lost in the Bermuda Triangle

From comes this portentous story:

At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.

Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.

By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m.

The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.

Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.


Posted in Events | Tagged | 5 Comments