Daily Rome Shot 1055

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White to move and mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

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First, it’s “vi-gah-NO” and not “vig-GAH-no”.

Archbp. Viganò has been called into the former Holy Office for a extra-judicial penal process.

What is going on with this?  The former Nuncio to these USA has been issuing his thoughts right and left for a long time.  Why call him in now and not before?

It does take time to sift through texts/proofs and then determine what to do.  Then all the pieces need to be placed on the board for maximum effect.   Finally, the action is launched.

I suspect that the timing of this is, in part, a reflection of the aforementioned.

It also can’t be ruled out that l’affaire Viganò big shiny object at the ready for waving at the watching world when something else is going to go down.  Otherwise it is part and parcel of a related high visibility action, but still a big shiny object.

I foresee that this summons of Archbp. Viganò will raise more dust than it settles.  If you are going to bring to the dock someone who knows how the sausage is made, you better be ready for everyone to know how the sausage is made before he is .

This is a sad affaire.

Posted in What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged

ASK FATHER: Attacks on the Vetus Ordo… “Aren’t you worried?”

From a reader…


What on earth is going on with a new document that will ban the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass)?  You seem quiet.  Don’t you worry about this?

This question represents many notes I’ve received.   I’ll answer this.  I’ll tell you what I think could happen.  I’ll give advice to seminarians and potential seminarians, lay people in general, and priests.

Don’t I worry about this?  Yes, and no.

Yes, I worry about this, because the powers that be are going to hurt a great number of innocent people.

No, I don’t worry about this, because worrying won’t help.

All analogies limp, but this is a good reminder: a scene in the movie Bridge of Spies.

This analogy breaks down in that the cold war era Soviet spy on trial really is guilty of a crime and those who want to have traditional worship are not guilty of anything but reverence.   They are – as is more and more evident – far more sinned against than sinning.

Nevertheless the response from the Russian spy about “bosses” and about worrying seem apt in the Church today.  We have our “bosses” too, don’t we.

I have cited that movie clip before.  Freaking out and running around with your hair on fire because something might happen, even is going to happen is not helpful.

We must stay frosty and focused. 

If anything, ramp up your prayer life and mortifications.

Pray for those who have attacked you and who will attack you again.

I’ll repeat that.  They will attack you again.   In another of my vintage “classic” posts riffing on the “Laws of the House of God” (about a hospital in Boston), I cite the Laws of the legendary “Fat Man”.  Law 8: “They can always hurt you more.”

We have to get our heads into a place that will help us to maintain our cool and balance in a storm or wave of storms.

Mental and spiritual preparation beforehand is needed.

After the last stab at at the hearts of those attracted to Tradition, I said that it was probable that there would be another round of pogroms in the Church.

It’s the people they want to crush even more than the rites.  They fear and despise the people.

From where I sit and from what I read and hear, we must stay cool.   We must stay cool and we must plan.

I’ve written here before about house chapels.  You know what to do.  Get your “thing” together.

I say this because I firmly believe that, if and when another anti-Vetus Ordo edict is issued, the attack will be on diocesan priests with threats in the back channels against diocesan bishops.  Think of at least one bishop who was shot on the deck of his ship, “pour encourager les autres”.

To back up for a moment, I wrote for years and years and years that the true movement of reform would not start until the diocesan priests started saying the Vetus Ordo.  That would have a massive effect on their identity, their understanding of themselves as priests at the altar.   In turn that would have a knock on effect on the people in the pews, because their priests would be saying Mass, preaching and behaving differently.

So long as the Vetus Ordo was confined to a few places operated by specialist groups such as the FSSP and ICK – and there’s nothing wrong with them – the Vetus Ordo wasn’t much a a threat.  It was hated by the deep church but it was sort of like, in Star Trek, how the Borg didn’t activate and become hostile until they perceived you as a threat.   The Vetus Ordo grew.  The threat was that the Vetus Ordo would become mainstream in diocesan parishes.  From 2007 when Summorum Pontificum came out, there were some 50 places where the TLM was present.  Ten years later, there were 500.   The Borg activated.

I address myself to traditionally-minded young men thinking about the seminary.   

Gentlemen, it could be a good idea before the really bad times start to learn a trade.  I don’t know if this might entail night school or crash courses or whatever.  Don’t be dreamy about this.  Consider plumbing, electrical work, technical positions, EMT, etc.  Be practical. (Learning Chinese might be practical too, if you think about it.)

I write to lay people who might be in a position to help in what I am about to suggest.

Progroms against tradition and traditionally-minded Catholics strike at the heart of the Church herself.  The knock-on effects of these cruel measures, present and future, will only result in negative ripple-effects that accelerate the widening of the demographic sink hole into which swathes of Catholics are falling.

I write to priests. 

Fathers, it might not be a bad idea to acquire some property where you can live.   Believe me. Something you own, where no one (you know who I mean) can throw you out.  You can always sell it or pass it on.

A key to this is to stay cool and to plan.  Do not fret.  We are not without means and without creativity.  Slamming doors in the faces of those who love Tradition will result in the opening of windows in another part of the house.

Let no one freak out about this new slate of bad news.   BE WARY of the videos of the Johnny-come-lately pundits.   Just because they are newcomers doesn’t mean that they are wrong.  But some of us have already been there.

We must stay calm and soldier on.

I’ll return to a theme I hammer at.  Prepare home chapels.  It might be realistic project to network and buy a church.  After all, they are being closed everywhere.   It can always be used just for catechesis, recitation of the Rosary, and other devotions.  No one would ever suggest that it be set up as a counterpoint to the few diocesan parishes remaining after the powers that be crush the Vetus Ordo in parishes.

Do I think that things will be this bad?  I  think we are better off prepared, than not.  You will, moever, never regret having acquired those practical skills, having that home chapel, that church, or that private property.

Finally, before any other shoe drops, for the love of all that is holy, do all that you can to augment the numbers of people frequenting the Traditional Latin Mass whenever and wherever it is celebrated.  Be inviting.  Coax, urge, cajole.  Smile and offer to ride.  It is very important that everyone sees that TLMs are well-attended and growing.  If you are not doing something, every week, to try to help this, then if something bad happens where you are, you had best not utter a word.  We are in this together and we need you.

If the pogrom doesn’t come?  GOOD.  You will have maintained your cool and have benefited in the meantime, spiritually and temporally, without having made foolish mistakes.

Also, the Enemy’s hand in this.  Go to confession.  Be sure you are clean, that you mind is clear, and that your actions are meritorious.

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

Daily Rome Shot 1054

From The World’s Best Sacristan™.

This is clearly breakfast at the usual post Mass haunt up the street from The Parish™.   The aforementioned breakfast this time consists of “er saccottino”, which the French foreigner refers to as “pain au chocolat”.     I saw this just after reading of an apartment available on the very piazza next to The Parish™ which made me gulp.  Alas, it was a little too much for my imagination unless I were to go full Neil Simon with a priestly Odd Couple in the place.     It would be perfect.  Sigh.

In Rome today, the sun rose at 05:33 and it will set at 20:51, the longest day of the year.  This is the Summer Solstice.   In Rome the Solstice is precisely at 20:50.

The Ave Maria ought to ring in its 21:15 cycle.

It is the Feast of St. Silverius today, though the 62 calendar allows for Votives.

It is the 172nd day of the year.

On this day in 1840 Samuel Morse, who spent time in Rome – there’s a plaque in the Via dei Prefetti – received a patent for the telegraph.

Lord, thank you for this day.

The first World Corporate Chess Championship has been decided in New York.  Chessify defeated Chess Moods.   At the closing ceremony there was a performance by the Rockettes.  Card. Dolan was not in sight.  In other news, we learn at Chess.com – I am an affiliate, btw, please sign up with my link – that British striker Harry Kane who plays for Bayern Munich, revealed that he is about a 1200 now in 10 minute Rapid.  He was inspired to play by The Queen’s Gambit.    A friend of mine and ham elmer will surely be distraught at the loss of this player from Tottenham to Munich.

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

White to move and mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

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Sign up with Chess.com. Maybe we can get a group going.

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I would very much like to see them overwhelmed with 20 year old participants.

At The Pillar I read…

TLMS as part of the scheduled Masses for the Eucharistic Congress? Not just coincidental?

I would very much like to see them overwhelmed with 20 year old participants.

TMLS… part of the schedule…

Now that The Pillar has written about them… CANCELLED? In 5… 4… 3… 2… 1!

Posted in Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged ,

Mala tempora currunt!

I saw a pipiatio on Pipiatum (X) about Cicero’s oration against Cataline.  It brought back many memories.  Not that I was there… but I was, sort of.  I studied it in school.  Also, there is an inscription from the consulship of Cicero above the Forum and behind the Campidoglio where the “she wolf” is.  I always give it a good look when I am there.  In any event, the oration – this oration, mind you – of Cicero against Cataline is magnificent.  Cicero certainly at stenographers, but he certain also polished his speeches later.  But it is hardly to be doubted that Cicero railed against Cataline.

What am I talking about?

In an incredibly brief summation, in the throes of the Republic there are massive socio-economic problems in Rome and Pompey was looming in the distance with his legions.  The Senate and the Roman People (SPQR) were modern day republicans, in a sense, unable to get their caca together and solve problems.  Relatively lower family status Cicero defeated Cataline, from an ancient clan, for the consulship in 64 BC.  Cataline organized a group to commit coup.  Cicero got wind of it and there were bitter public exchanges.  Conspirators were arrested, Cataline fled with troops eventually to be run down.

The most famous of Cicero’s four Catalinarian Orations, given while he was consul (polished later),  is the first.  It is a web of rhetorical devices and invective.  It is in this speech that we have the famous phrase – often uttered in my own circle of friends when we are in our Latin mode – “O tempora! O mores!  … O what times these are!  O what dreadful conduct!”   He had used the phrase also against the fabulously corrupt governor of Sicily, Verres.    The first part of the speech is in the “tweet” I mentioned…

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?

I am reminded of an interview I recently read… “he takes part in public debate, he notes and marks out with his eyes each one of us for slaughter!”

Ah dear readers… as we find in another place…

Mala tempora currunt!

To which we respond…

Sed peiora parantur.

Posted in Be The Maquis, Latin, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice |

ASK FATHER: Our choir is scheduled to sing something that seems blasphemous

From a reader…


You’re probably the only priest who can properly help me navigate this, given your knowledge of the fine arts, particularly classical music, as well as being solid on Catholic morality. You’re also the only priest whom I know is familiar with Carmina Burana (I saw you mention it in very old posts).

I’m slated to perform Carmina Burana along side my city’s philharmonic orchestra in its chorus. I’m feeling uneasy because of the subject matter and the piece that parodies the Ave Maria.  I want to sing it because it’s a major piece of the Canon of Western Music, but I also don’t want to sin and blaspheme Our Lady or anything else sacred. Frankly, the subject matter makes me want to vomit.

Navigating the arts, particularly secular choral music that is questionable, has proven to be difficult and anxiety provoking for me because I don’t know when it becomes sinful. Can you give me some pastoral guidance on this subject matter?

Thanks for the front-loaded kind words.  I am sure there are many priests out there who could help you out with this.  As a matter of fact, I bounced this off a priest friend just to be sure I was not drifting.

Firstly, it has been a long time since I looked at the texts of the Carmina Burana used by Orff.  And it is Cármina, not Carmína.

However, the work by Orff is part of a set of three pieces often performed together.  The other two are poems from the ancient Neoteric author Catullus, famous for some raunchy stuff.   I assume that you may be asking about those.

You mention the canon of western music.  There are works in the accepted canon which respect the rules of beauty and thus reflect reason and truth.  They certainly can be played and heard by conscientious Catholics.   On the other hand, there are works which do not respect these rules and our involvement with them becomes murkier.

Moreover, St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that all art and science should lead to adoration.

Hence, the guiding questions for all art and science, is whether or not it pleases God and whether or not it can be offered to Him.  We may not act on an uncertain conscience.

If the texts you are being asked to sing parody what is sacred, then it can hardly be a worthy offering to God.

That said, I recall an amusing video which provides the most famous of the Orff Carmina Burana (which is used in snippets all over the place – very drammmmatic!).   The video has “misheard” lyrics.   I’m sure everyone here knows the idea: the lyrics of some song are a little garbled and we mishear them, get them wrong, and pretty soon they are the words we remember.  You might remember the Monkey’s singing “Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her.” A related phenomenon is mis-learned prayers by phonetics, as in “O God, I am hardly sorry for having offended Thee”. Here’s the video with the misheard lyrics of O Fortuna from Orff’s riff on some medieval poet or other. Orff… not my fav, but this made me laugh a couple of times. I’d pay to go to a concert with these lyrics.


O Fortunavelut lunastatu variabilis
O Fortune
like the Moon
you are changeable
Gopher tuna!
bring more tuna!
Statue of a big dog with fleas
semper crescisaut decrescisvita detestabilis always growing
always shrinking
detestable life
Some men like cheese
hot temperate cheese
green chalk can taste like hippies
nunc obduratet tunc curatludo mentis aciem,egestatem,potestatemdissolvit ut glaciem.


now oppresses
and then heals
as the fancy games it
poverty or power
she melts them like ice[…]
You caught two rocks?
Pet two cool rocks!
You don’t get cheese or chicken.Play chess all day.
Hold his sock tip.
She sold me good hot chicken.[…]
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box | Tagged

Daily Rome Shot 1053

Photo from The World’s Best Sacristan™.

Meanwhile, it is black’s move.  What to do?  How would you proceed?

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This interview underscores their unbounded contempt for you.

At the Italian site Messa in Latino there is an English translation of an interview about matters concerning the Vetus Ordo and – especially – the people who desire it, with Andrea Grillo (aka Mister Cricket).     HERE

As MiL says:

“In the view of many in the Roman Curia, for Pope Francis, Prof. Grillo is on liturgy what Fr James Martin, S.J., is on homosexuality.”

You should read this.

Virtually everything he says is false, including “and” and “the”.  That’s not the point.  This fellow is a key influencer right now.

I’ve been saying for eons that the people who want to destroy the Vetus Ordo don’t hate and fear just the Vetus Ordo, they hate and fear the people who want it.  They don’t like the people.

This interview underscores their animus in spades.  You can sense the hostility pouring out.  His contempt for you is unbounded.


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Yes, I’ve seen the assertions about rumors, etc.

I have seen them.  You don’t need to send me links.

It is no surprise that the Vatican’s liturgical Einsatzgruppe is flecked with spittle about the Vetus Ordo.  It’s summer and they need to hurt someone.  That’s how they roll.

Remember, it is not just about the content of the prayers of the Vetus Ordo, which is the real issue.  It reminds people of the eternal consequences of their actions and it tells us how to attain Heaven, not just to long for it.   The real problem, as they see it, are the people who want the Vetus Ordo.  They don’t like the people.

However, be cool.   Resist the temptation to run after every doom and gloom YouTube video which will whip this into a click bait froth.  “Look at MEEEEEE!  MEEEE!”

The best things you can do are


Be sure your good works and prayers are meritorious.

2.Get down on your knees, literally, and pray. 

Rosary is good.  Fast.  Give alms.  These work effectively against demons.

3. If you can, start organizing/networking with laypeople and priests about when and where the TLM will be celebrated.

4. Start approaching bishops, perhaps with spiritual bouquets in hand.

Yes, a lot of these guys have ice in their veins, but not all of them. It is said that it takes 3-4% of a population which is activated to make real changes. Be the change.

5. Home altars and Mass items.

Have you gotten everything together?

6. Ask yourself if you really care.


Amusing choice in The Chosen

I watched the most recent episode of controversial The Chosen.  A recurring Pharisee character has on his robe braiding/trim which you can get at Gammarelli in Rome for your Roman (and other) style vestments.   I sure some Smarticus Pantsicus will come up with a witty remark.


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Daily Rome Shot 1052 – St. Benedict Medal info

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

I received an advance copy of a book to be released tomorrow, 18 June: The Cross and Medal of Saint Benedict: A Mystical Sign of Divine Power edited by Fr. Robert Nixon, OSB.   You can “pre-order”.


This is a handy volume.  There are quotes from famous saints and writers about Benedict, there’s a quite hagiographical account of the life of the great saint (miracle stories, etc., always fun and edifying), a brief account of the Order and then a detailed look at the St. Benedict Medal.

As a side note, whenever I bless a St. Benedict Medal or Cross (there is a Cross in the design), all sorts of nasty things happen to me.   This chapter describes the origin and variations.  However, the definitive – and I didn’t know this – design was approved by Pope Benedict XIV (a favorite of mine) in 1741.

What I also didn’t know is that the meaning of the letters, the abbreviation of the Latin poetic inscription with powerful content, faded from memory.  It was rediscovered in a centuries old manuscript in the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria.   I have a personal connection to Metten because this was the Abbey of my great friend and mentor the late great Augustine Card. Mayer, OSB, who had been Abbot there and then was in the Curia for a long while.  He was perhaps the holiest man I’ve ever met.   I still reflect on the object lessons he gave me in life.  Metten was also the Abbey of the monk who founded the huge St. John’s in me native Minnesota.

Here’s a taste from the book…

In the Year of Our Lord 1647, the cross of Saint Benedict, which was by then already in widespread use and had been revered for some centuries, began to shine forth with a new and radiant splendor. This came about in the following manner. In a certain town [in Bavaria] called Natternberg, a coven of wizards and witches had been discovered. Once these vile and viper-like malefactors were arrested by the authorities, they were placed in chains and carefully questioned as to their nefarious activities and practices. In the course of their confessions, they revealed that their black arts were utterly powerless wherever they encountered a particular type of cross or medal [i.e. that of Saint Benedict.] For, wherever it was painted or engraved, it served as an invincible shield against the forces of evil which they employed. They went on to say that they had found that their works had no effect in the monastery at Metten in Bavaria, for many such crosses were located there.


This story goes on to recount how by then no one knew the meaning of the Letters.  Then a manuscript was discovered in Metten’s magnificent library – and if you haven’t seen photos of this library… wow.   With this ancient parchment in hand, it was possible again to read the medal.

There’s a lot more too this, also.  But you can find that in the book when you get a copy!

There is also a section on the documented powers of the medal and how to use it.  A couple of them were a surprised to me.

When I would visit Card. Mayer when he was at his Abbey (away from Rome during the summer) I had a chance to wander about in the library and grounds.

Quite the place.

I don’t recall seeing chess puzzle books, however.

White to move and mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Right now, for a few days, there is a big sale for FATHER’S DAY at Remote Chess Academy. 75% on some things.
Interested in learning?  Try THIS.

Posted in Just Too Cool, REVIEWS, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged

R.I.P. Al Kresta

I was sorry to read today of the death of Michigan-based Catholic radio personality Al Kresta at the age of 72.  He succumbed to liver cancer.  Read of him at the National Catholic Register HERE.

He was a good fellow.  When I was in Detroit or at Acton University (in Grand Rapids) Al tried to have me on his program.  He was a good interviewer.

May he rest in peace.

Posted in Four Last Things | Tagged

Your Sunday Sermon Notes: 4th Sunday after Pentecost (N.O. 11th Ordinary) 2024

Too many people today are without good, strong preaching, to the detriment of all. Share the good stuff.

Was there a GOOD point made in the sermon you heard at your Mass of obligation for this 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, or the 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time?

Tell about attendance especially for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Any local changes or (hopefully good) news?

A couple thoughts about the sign of the cross: HERE  A taste…


Many of us surely resonate with Peter’s great cry of self-discovery, the recognition of unworthiness, our sins.  Yet, again and again, from nothing God makes marvels.  He created the physical cosmos and spiritual realm of angels when, before, there was nothingness.  He took dirt and made man.  He took dirt-made-man and made woman.  He took our Fall and made of it the felix culpa, the “happy fault”.  In the Epistle readings from Romans 8 Paul describes the groaning under the effect of Original Sin of all creation, which awaits release from that bondage.  In fact, we have a foretaste of the liberation of all creation in the sacraments.  In instituting the sacraments, Christ raised matter to a new dignity in view of our sanctification.  In our Gospel, Christ takes empty efforts of men on their own, laboring in the darkness, and fills their nets with superabundance.  This is accomplished, at Christ’s word: “at Your word I will let down the nets” (v. 5).  Christ’s word then led to another down-letting, that of Peter.  “He fell down at Jesus knees”.  The verb is prospípto, “to fall forward, prostrate one’s self, to rush upon or against”.  Peter threw himself to the ground and bent down towards the Lord’s knees.  This is truly the beginning of freedom.


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Daily Rome Shot 1051

Hey ad************38@twc.com! My email notifications to you have been blocked. New email?

Welcome registrant:


Procession for St Anthony’s feast at Santa Dorotea in Trastevere.  The Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity is there for solidarity.  The Archcon has been inspiring other old confraternities to get going again.

The confraternities played a huge role in daily life in Rome for a long time.  Now people think the “state” is everything.  It was not always so.

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

Meanwhile, what would you do? White to move.

This was my position in OTB the other day.  The engine says we are equal, though it didn’t feel that was at the time.

No spoiler warning today.  Jump in.

Interested in learning?  Try THIS. Right now, for Fathers Day, there are discounts.


Daily Rome Shot 1050

Some of you have sent donations for my travel to the conference for priests to be held by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.  Many thanks to: WH, LD, MM, BMR, JK, DC, AR, DM, JMcG, KM and today, MH, BF, and GG.  I have my expenses covered now.  That doesn’t mean that you have to stop!    o{]:¬)   This afternoon I will offer Holy Mass (BVM Sabbato) for the intention of my conference donors, to whom I am grateful.

UPDATE: Also thanks to MF, RM (73!), and LP (I couldn’t find an email address for you).

UPDATE: A link to the sermon from today’s Mass, offered for my kind conference donors.  It is excerpted from the live stream and then slightly edited, to cut out some comments about votive masses on certain days of the week.  The Mass today was of the Blessed Virgin on Saturday.

Hey s******b31@gmail.com! My thank you note was kicked back. New email? Let me know!

White to move. Mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

In chessy news, I finished today an OTB game I started yesterday against the club president.  I prevailed, digging myself out of a jam.  Plugging all the moves into an engine for analysis is sobering.

At the St. Louis Chess Club the Cairns Cup is ongoing, a tournament for women, named for Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield. Dr. Cairns, wife of Rex Sinquefield, also announced an award of $100K, to be awarded each year for five years to US women who achieve the title of Grand Master. Incentive! I’m rooting for Alice Lee. World wide there are only 42 female GMs, 2% of all GMs.

Remote Chess Academy has a Father’s Day sale going June 16th to June 20th, offering up to 75% OFF on our entire shop, including the “Super Pack.”

The Benedictine monks of Le Barroux live stream (and on demand) the singing of the hours. They also make great wine. Try some and support them.

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

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Daily Rome Shot 1049

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m trying to raise some money to cover my fee and travel to a conference for priests held by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Thanks to: WH, LD, MM, and today, BMR, JK, DC, AR.  Moreover, DM and JMcG, and KM.

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

Nice people! Great service!

Today I read about an annual open tournament on a Greek island, the ‘Ikaros’ tournament, every July. It seems relaxed and is intended also to be a kind of chess vacation. Sounds fun. Maybe next year.

I’m nearly done with the ominously entitled novel…

The Death’s Head Chess Club by John Donoghue.


The premise:  An SS officer, wounded on the Eastern front, is transferred to Auschwitz to work on morale and efficiency.  He starts a chess club for the officers at a nearby luxury resort.  Meanwhile, a French Jew who is a prisoner, a watchmaker by trade, is in the camp.  A guard recruits him to play chess.  You can see where this is going.  Anyway, decades later they are pitted against each other in a tournament.  However, by now the former SS officer is now a Catholic bishop.  This is what really caught my eye and prompted me to start.   Each chapter is named after a term or opening.

It could be interesting were others to read this now and we could have some comments.

Just as I don’t post solutions to the puzzles right away, I won’t post plot updates on this book.

And speaking of spoilers…

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Thank you, Lord, for this day.


14 June – Elisha, Old Testament Prophet: This bears attention!

Today is the commemoration of St. Elisha, prophet, called also Eliseus.  He was the disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-21).  When Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven in the fiery chariot, Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit.  So great was God’s power to work miracles in him that even touching his corpse could heal (cf. Ecclesiasticus, 48, 152; Kings 13:20-21).

Think: relics!

Maybe some of you would like to take a shot at his entry in the Martyrologium Romanum:

Die 14 Junii
Decimo octavo Kalendas iulii.

1. Samariae seu Sebaste in Palestina, commemoratio sancti Elisei, qui, discipulus Eliae, propheta fuit in Israel tempore regis Ioram usque ad dies Ioas; etsi oracula non reliquit, tamen, miracula pro advenis patrando, salutem nuntiavit omnibus hominibus adfuturam.

Carmelites make much of St. Elisha, I suppose because of his connection to Elijah and that he sojourned on Mt. Carmel for a while.  They have celebrated his feast since 1399.  Here is Latin collect:

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus:
ut, sicut beatum Eliam Prophetam tuum et Patrem nostrum,
ante communem mortem,
curru igneo aereum elevasti ad caelum;
ita nos facias, eo interveniente, dum vivimus,
a terrenis semper ad caelestia spiritu sublevari,
et cum eo in resurrectione justorum pariter gaudere.
Per Dominum…

Translation from Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours,” Institutum Carmelitanum, Rome: 1993).

O God,
protector and redeemer of the human family,
whose wonders have been proclaimed through the wonders accomplished by your chosen prophets,
you have bestowed the spirit of Elijah on your prophet Elisha:
in your kindness grant us too
an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
so that, living as prophets,
we will bear constant witness to your abiding presence and providence.

One of the things I think about right away when Elisha is mentioned is the older form of blessing Holy Water.  Exorcised and blessed salt is used in the rite for blessing water.

Why Elisha?  In 2 Kings 2, Elisha pours salt into the waters of the Jericho which were poison, and caused deaths and miscarriages.  Also, in the rites of blessing water, the salt to be used is addressed personally as a creature of God when it is exorcised.  NB: adjuro is a great verb meaning basically in later Latin “to conjure or adjure, to beg or entreat earnestly”.  In the writings of North African Fathers such as Tertullian, Cyprian, and Lactantius it comes to mean “oblige by speaking” and is applied to exorcising demons and unclean spirits.

Exorcizo te, creatura salis, per Deum + vivum, per Deum + verum, per Deum + sanctum, per Deum, qui te per Eliseum Prophetam in aquam mitti jussit, ut sanaretur sterilitas aquae; ut efficiaris sal exorcizatum in salutem credentium; et sis omnibus sumentibus te sanitas animae et corporis; et effugiat, atque discedat a loco, in quo aspersum fueris, omnis phantasia et nequitia vel versutia diabolicae fraudis, omnisque spiritus immundus, adiuratus per eum qui venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos, et saeculum per ignem.  R. Amen.

O you creature of salt, I purge you of all evil by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, who commanded by the Prophet Elisha that you be put into water in order that the sterility of the water would be healed: so that you might be rendered a purified salt for the salvation of believers, and so that you might be a healthiness of soul and body to all who consume you, and so that you may put to flight and drive out from a place in which you will have been scattered every phantom and wickedness, and cunning trap of diabolical deceit, and every unclean spirit be solemnly banished by command through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.  R. Amen.

Priests ought to pray this way all the time.

Fathers! Elisha doesn’t want you to use wimpy prayers that are vague and uninteresting.

No joke! Mock Elisha and you might get mauled by bears. 

Ask those children in 2 Kings 2 what happens when you mock the prophet.  You may recall that a bunch of little kids started to razz Elisha.  He cursed them and a couple of female bears came out of the forest and tore them to bits.

Who can forget the famous stage direction at the end of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. III,iii.

“Exit, pursued by a bear.”

Apropos… one of you in regard to Elisha once posted a limerick in the comments. Antigonus is the pursued character in The Winter’s Tale.

As Antigonus kept a fell mandate,
And the rude boys blasphemed against Baldpate,
The truth is the same:
To obey or defame
Without reference to God makes one bear bait.

If memory serves, one of the writers who defends Shakespeare’s Catholicism (hardly to be questioned) make much of his hints and codes in The Winter’s Tale.  It would be in one of these.

Clare Asquith’s Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare. She over plays her hand once in while, but in the main the book is engaging and convincing.

Also, Joseph Pearce, mentioned above, has The Quest for Shakespeare

Also, there is a possibility that Shakespeare was in Rome and that he studied for the priesthood at what is now the Venerable English College.

Let’s have some images of bears tearing kids apart for mocking the prophet.

French 1463 Ms Douce 336 Bodl. lib

How did they know he was bald if he had a hat on?

The Punishment of the Children who Mocked Elisha in Bethel; The Widow before Elisha; Unknown; Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany; about 1400 – 1410; Tempera colors, gold, silver paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 33.5 x 23.5 cm (13 3/16 x 9 1/4 in.); Ms. 33, fol. 229v

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged

13 June: St. Anthony of Padua, Confessor and Doctor

COLLECT (Novus Ordo):
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui populo tuo beatum Antonium
praedicatorem insignem dedisti,
eumque in necessitatibus intercessorem,
concede, ut, eius auxilio, christianae vitae documenta sectantes,
in omnibus adversitatibus te subvenientem sentiamus.

This prayer was of new composition for the 1970MR.

Subvenio and adversitates give us a military flavor to this prayer.  Subvenio means, “to come up or advance to one’s assistance (the figure taken from the advance of a military reserve; v. subsidium), to come to one’s assistance, to aid, assist, relieve, succor; to obviate, remedy, heal, cure a disease, an evil, etc.”

We also need to turn to our knowledge of ancient rhetoric for a glimpse into documentum.  This is a “pattern for imitation”, like exemplum, but also in some contexts having the meaning of “a proof”, a concrete demonstration that what is asserted is true: evidence.   In this case it is a paradigm after which we are to pattern and shape our own lives.  But this pattern or model itself actually has power to shape us.  Christ transforms us the baptized who are made in his image and likeness, after his perfect exemplum, and who imitate His exempla and documenta, His words and deeds.


Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:

Almighty eternal God,
who gave blessed Anthony to Your people
as an outstanding preacher,
and in times of need as an intercessor,
grant, that, by his help, following his examples of Christian life
we may sense You coming to aid us in every adversity.

I recall seeing statues of the famous Franciscan when I was in Lisbon, many years ago.  St. Anthony, a native of Portugal, is there depicted in his pre-Franciscan mode, indeed, as an Augustinian canon with long hair, not the corona we are used to seeing.

You know the old Italian phrase, “Chi fa per se, fa per tre”.  You also know the old rhyme of those in need:

Tony, Tony, look around.
Something’s lost and must be found.  

It might be consolation to many of you that St. Anthony was able to help himself when something important was lost.  Some years ago an important relic of St. Anthony (jaw, perhaps?) was stolen from his shrine in Italy.  It was recovered after not very long.


Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols |

Daily Rome Shot 1048

I must raise money so I can attend the conference for priests held by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (Scott Hahn).  I’ve been to this conference in years past. They have been terrific, both for the content and the opportunity to be with priests.  I’m working on my travel now.   The theme of the conference this year is “Prophecy and Typology”.  Donate via PayPal HERE. If you want to use Zelle (no fees) drop me a note if you don’t have my email already. HERE

UPDATE: Thanks to


Speaking of types, Moses was a type of Christ.

Please remember me when shopping online and use my affiliate links.  US HERE – UK HERE  WHY?  This helps to pay for health insurance (massively hiked for this new year of surprises), utilities, groceries, etc..  At no extra cost, you provide help for which I am grateful.

Chessbase has a story about a new chess table installed in the exercise yard of a prison in the Netherlands. Very cool. Elsewhere I’ve read about online tournaments between inmates in different places of incarceration. Very cool. Chess… everywhere.

White to move and mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Priestly chess players, drop me a line. HERE