Daily Rome Shot 646 with Friday appropriate fare

Minestra de Broccoli Romaneschi ed Arzilla with a glass of Malvasia puntinata.

Photo by The Great Roman™

Broccoli Romaneschi, by the way, are an entirely different critter from regular Broccoli.

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

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Meanwhile, chess.com is blazing fast this morning.  They must have integrated new servers and gotten the scaling and writing problems worked out.

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Responses to Card. McElroy’s essay in Jesuit-run Amerika

Jesuit-run (who else?) Amerika ran a piece by – and this still has me shaking my head – Card. McElroy of that key See of San Diego, suffragan to Los Angeles.  The Amerika piece is a dreadful obfuscation of Catholic moral teaching and defined doctrine, wrapped in a fog of cliches about synodality (“walking together”) and buzz words like “inclusion”, “dialogue”, “pastoral”.

In effect, McElroy wants to change the Church’s teachings on homosexual acts, sexual activity outside of marriage and admission to Communion and the ordination of women.  The real basis of his arguments?  “Because!  Spirit!”

At The Catholic Thing there is concise unmasking of McElroy’s essay, which I warmly recommend that you look at.  “A Road To Nowhere” by Stephen P. White.  HERE

Somewhat less diplomatic is Rod Dreher at American Conservative who penned a note called Cardinal ScrewtapeHERE

One of McElroy’s premises deserves special recognition.  He will go on to claim that those who hate homosexual acts that a sinful really hate the sinners, not the sins.  That’s, of course, a plain lie that we reject with scorn.  Here’s McElroy:

It is a demonic mystery of the human soul why so many men and women have a profound and visceral animus toward members of the L.G.B.T. communities. The church’s primary witness in the face of this bigotry must be one of embrace rather than distance or condemnation. The distinction between orientation and activity cannot be the principal focus for such a pastoral embrace because it inevitably suggests dividing the L.G.B.T. community into those who refrain from sexual activity and those who do not. Rather, the dignity of every person as a child of God struggling in this world, and the loving outreach of God, must be the heart, soul, face and substance of the church’s stance and pastoral action.

It is a “demonic mystery”.  Since McElroy brought up demonic, which he pins on those who think homosexual acts are sinful, let’s bring in another voice.

In her Dialogues (ch 124), St. Catherine of Siena’s conversations with God, the Doctrix of the Church writes that the Enemy, demons, incite people to unnatural sins (homosexual acts) but that they don’t stick around to see it happen, because those acts  are too repulsive even for them.

Those acts are so contrary to nature that they offend their angelic intellect, even though they are fallen and apostate.   They want the sin to take place and they incite it, but it is so offensive to them that they absent themselves when it is happening.

Here she describes demons inciting men to these acts.  GOD is talking at this point.

“I wish thee to know, dearest daughter, that I require in this Sacrament from you and from them as great purity as it is possible for man to have in this life. On your side you ought to endeavour to acquire it continually. You should think that were it possible that the angelic nature should be purified, such purification would be necessary with regard to this mystery, but this is not possible, for angels need no purification, since the poison of sin cannot infect them. I say this to thee in order that thou mayest see how great a purity I require from you and from them in this Sacrament, and particularly from them. But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of your weak nature, you are all naturally inclined (although reason when free-will permits, can quiet the rebellion of nature), but these wretches not only do not bridle this fragility, but do worse, committing that accursed sin against nature, and as blind and fools with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before Me, Who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease Me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a Divine judgment, My Divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin not only displeases Me as I have said, [NB:] but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin. They truly enough hurl the arrow poisoned with the venom of concupiscence, but when their victim proceeds to the actual commission of the sin, they depart for the reason and in the manner that I have said. Thou rememberest that I manifested to thee before the plague how displeasing this sin was to Me, and how deeply the world was corrupted by it; so I lifted thee with holy desire and elevation of mind above thyself, and showed thee the whole world and, as it were, the nations thereof, and thou sawest this terrible sin and the devils fleeing as I have told thee, and thou rememberest that so great was the pain that thou didst receive, and the stench of this sin, that thou didst seem to thyself to see no refuge on this side of death, in which thou and My other servants could hide so as not to be attacked by this leprosy. Thou didst see that thou couldest not remain among men, for neither small nor great, nor old nor young, nor clerics nor religious, nor prelates, nor lords, nor subjects, were uncontaminated in body or mind by this curse.

God made it pretty clear to St. Catherine what the truth is about sodomy and all the other unnatural acts that fall into that fell category.   So hideous, so offensive are those sins that even demons who provoke them won’t stick around while they are being committed.  Demons can, however, and will, stick around the places where those acts were committed.

This is clear, charitable talk.  It is not the vague and slippery lulling of certain homosexualist activists who are so very popular with those who have given into the wisdom of the world.

Posted in Liberals, Sin That Cries To Heaven, Synod, The Drill | Tagged

Daily Rome Shot 645 and an Action Item!

Photo by The Great Roman™

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Christine Rose

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

Interested in learning?  Try THIS.

Meanwhile, at Tata Steel, Magnus Carlsen has climbed back to 3rd at 6/10 with  He is behind Nordibek and Anish.    There are three rounds left.  Can he pull it off?

Meanwhile, chess.com is undergoing a serious evolution.  Their servers are overwhelmed with the numbers of new subscribers.  502 pages are common. The numbers are astonishing.  From a couple of days ago, chess.com put out an article explaining that they had 300K new subscribers in a single day.  31.7 million games were played on 20 January alone.    The databases can’t write fast enough.

Chess is exploding.

With that in mind, I’d like to mobilize the readership in an ACTION ITEM.

Does anyone know a Catholic Grand Master who practices not just chess but the Faith (preferably in a traditional way).  If so, I have a proposal.  Write to me HERE with “Catholic Grand Master” in the subject line.


Posted in Chess |

ASK FATHER: How do you argue with extreme fringe trads that the Novus Ordo is valid?

From a reader…


I am asking advice that you’d think you’d never be asked to do – how to defend the Novus Ordo.  No, I don’t mean to defend it as being superior to the TLM – trust me, I’d never do that either.  What I’m trying to do is defend it as legitimate – from a TLM point of view.  One of the things I’ve experienced in the TLM community is the stereotypical vitriol from the extreme fringe that declares the NO as completely illegitimate, even heretical – something I know is not true and also gives the other 99.9% of the TLM community a bad name.  I know that there’s a way to express the validity of the NO while being true to the true faith of the TLM – but I don’t know how to express it without looking like a V2 sellout without any authority behind the defense.
I think that’s what I’m more concerned about – that those fringe extremists who have a public platform make the rest of the TLM faithful look no better than the “Happy Clappy” bunch who think TLM adherents are schismatic.  Thank you for any advice and wisdom.

I’ll keep this short.

The Novus Ordo, like it or not, is a valid rite for Mass.  Period.  It is a waste of time to argue with anyone about this.   Don’t fritter valuable minutes of your life tangled up in the chattering Id of that kind of Traddydom.

Just be polite to them and move on.

One can spend time discussing the merits of certain aspects of the Novus Ordo, of course.  Examples: Was it what the Council Fathers wanted? (A: No)  Has it helped to usher in the great post-Conciliar Springtime? (A: No)  Is it artificially cobble-together (Ratzinger’s view) in such a way that it almost by itself invites liturgical abuses? (A: Yes).   Has it done more harm than good to the identity of Catholics across generational and geographical divides since it was implemented and in the way it was implemented?  (A: Yes) Is it worthwhile to compare the two different Rites? (A: Yes)    Is the Novus Ordo completely without any merits at all? (A: No)

Brush the assertions made by those who say that it is invalid off of your cuff and do something more worthwhile, like reading the Fishwrap or Jesuit-run Amerika or one of Francis’ airplane pressers.

Yes, even looking at those is time better spent than arguing with someone over the validity of the Novus Ordo.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Id of Traddydom | Tagged

Daily Rome Shot 645 – Obsculta, O fili, praecepta magistri!

Photo by The Great Roman™

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance. US HERE – UK HERE  These links take you to a generic “catholic” search in Amazon, but, once in and browsing or searching, Amazon remembers that you used my link and I get the credit. Even if you use SMILE, don’t worry! SMILE still gets the donation.

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Meanwhile, …

White to move.

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

I recently received a copy of Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster’s Commentary on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict by Angelico Press, originally printed in 1945

Those of you who followed my podcasts during Advent will recall the insights of this great Benedictine Abbot who became the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.  He was a commentator on liturgy and is also a Blessed, beatified by John Paul II in 1996.


As the preface says:

For Schuster, however, the Rule is not simply a document meant for sixth-century Italy. He argues repeatedly that St Benedict composed the Rule as part of a conscious strategy on the part of the Roman See to bring unity and discipline to Latin monasticism and thereby harness its energy for the sake of the evangelization of the new peoples of Europe. Schuster believes, therefore, that the Rule was always intended to be universal in its application, and he makes a point of describing how its provisions were lived in the Benedictine tradition throughout the succeeding centuries.

Our various societies are falling to pieces under the constant hammer blows of the left and the crushing juggernaut of perversion. With the Church, as well. Add to these the attack on sacred liturgical worship and the result is a vision of the future that begs a) a large destructive comet and/or b) the Parousia. Both would be fine. Meanwhile, here we are.

The Rule of Benedict was a graced and inspired source of light in troubled times. Perhaps it can give us some direction also today.

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Little Flower of St. Therese


Daily Rome Shot 644 with overload

Photo by The Great Roman™

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Black to move and win material.

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

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance. US HERE – UK HERE  These links take you to a generic “catholic” search in Amazon, but, once in and browsing or searching, Amazon remembers that you used my link and I get the credit. Even if you use SMILE, don’t worry! SMILE still gets the donation.

The traditional Benedictine monks of Le Barroux make great wine! Help them out.

Also, chess is growing leaps and bounds. Today I encountered this…

Also, on about the only network TV show I follow, Blue Bloods, park chess players were featured in the latest episode. They’ve been around forever, of course. But the makers of these shows follow trends and this show also deals with current issues.

And if you have never seen Searching For Bobby Fischer you should give it a try.

Right now at Tata Steel, Uzbeki Nodirbek Abdusattorov is in the lead with 6/8. Carlsen is in 7th place. As I right, Ding and Anish are battling back and forth.


You might be able to improve the preaching in your parish and change a priest’s life. Wherein Fr. Z suggests.

Sometimes I muse on the truly horrible formation we seminarians in the 80’s received in Sacred Scripture.  I broke through that deficit with my knowledge of classical languages and studying Patristic Theology at the best place to do so in Rome.

We tend to learn in plateaus.  We have break throughs and then settle in.  After a while we climb again.

This was my experience with Scripture, at least.  I have to give due credit for this especially to the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and the work of Scott Hahn.

I saw a sample video of a new course they are offering, in particular for priests, but for lay people as well, on the upcoming readings for Sunday Masses in the Novus Ordo.

The video left me thirsty.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  I simply wanted more and more.  Isn’t that how this is supposed to work?  What did the Emmaus disciples say after the Word broke open the Word?

I warmly recommend that you consider getting a gift subscription for your local priest.  Check with him first, perhaps, in case he already got it.

My suspicion is that you will note a change in his preaching, if he is sticking to the readings (which is pretty much de rigueur in the context of the Novus Ordo).


Do not hesitate to get a gift subscription for priests who say only or mostly the Vetus Ordo.  Scripture is Scripture is Scripture.  Contrary to popular belief there is quite a linkage between readings of the Vetus and the Novus, though sometimes that link is through parallel passages.

PRACTICAL NOTE: Once you are at the Word of the Lord page, scroll down to see “Purchase gift subscription”.  Once you do that, you receive information which you can pass on to the person for whom you bought it. It’s a bit clunky, but I suppose it works.

I’ve been making up over the years for lost opportunity from seminary, especially.  Give your guys a hand up.

And I self-interestedly wouldn’t mind a subscription for myself.  Really.  (As above, check in case someone else stepped up.) [NB: Thank you MF for the subscription!]

PS: At the bottom of the subscription order form there is an “Order notes” box.  Tell them Fr. Z sent you!

Here is their sample episode for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (yesterday, as I write).

BTW… at about 31:30 or so, there begins a fantastic part about the sanctification of our work, no matter what it is.

Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, Sermons, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged ,

Daily Rome Shot 643 & inspirational video

This might not have been recorded in Rome, but this is as Roman as it gets.

I can see them rotating roles, each taking a turn.

Think of the love of the parents for these boys.  Those are mighty fine kid vestments.  That’s a mighty fine altar.

And to those priests out there who think that the real Roman Rite is toooo haaaard… well… get over yourselves and get to work.

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Meanwhile, there is a puzzle to be solved…

Black is up a Rook. White’s knight is hanging. White has forking possibilities. Look at that open b file.

White to move.

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

I wonder if the parents of these boys… I assume they are brothers… have made sure they know how to play chess. This is the age that they should get into it.

If there is any chance that the parents see this, and they don’t have a chess set, contact me and I’ll send you one. Click HERE   And maybe some altar cards for that altar?

It’s a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance. US HERE – UK HERE  These links take you to a generic “catholic” search in Amazon, but, once in and browsing or searching, Amazon remembers that you used my link and I get the credit. Even if you use SMILE, don’t worry! SMILE still gets the donation.

And the monks of Norcia now have a third choice of beers! Triple!

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ASK FATHER: Am I cooperating with evil in my job by changing generic “he” on forms to gender neutral terms?

From a reader…


My job with a state agency includes reviewing proposed regulations of other state agencies. For many years, when we did this task we would change old references to the generic “he” or “him“ to “he or she“. Now we are changing all the “he or she” references to “gender neutral” nouns such as “the individual”, “the applicant”, “the licensee”, etc. We actually avoid using pronouns as much as possible now. By participating in this editing process, am I cooperating in evil or commiting sin? I worry about that sometimes – that I am helping to advance the transgender agenda – but I would be in dire financial straits if I had to quit my job.

Languages have trends.  The over-arching trend is to simplify.  There are ups and downs, but that’s the trajectory.

Some people are ideologues who want to erase sex and gender (not the same) distinctions.  They use language as the Ministry of Truth does: force a change and you force people to think differently, erase words and you erase concepts.  That’s mostly evil, because they use blunt force to inhibit thought and free will. That’s contrary to human nature.

Other people are carried along in the prevailing trends and mostly unconsciously take on the prevailing styles of speaking, such as using “they” for “he”.

Unless one is morally culpable (he ought to know better because of his position, etc.) and cannot plead ignorance (there’s no excuse for a surgeon not to know how to suture) then most people who follow the trends are doing so without guilt.  In order for something to be sinful it has to be understood to be such and then willed and done anyway.

I don’t see anything wrong with changing a “he” to “the applicant”.  Wouldn’t applicant, in a sense, be more accurate?    These terms sound a little bloated, but they are at least accurate.

I would be more concerned… and who knows when this will be imposed… were you forced to allow the “applicant” to determine what pronouns are to be used on their forms (see… I just did it).


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices |

Daily Rome Shot 642

Photo by The Great Roman™

Welcome registrants:
Cynthia Berenger

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance. US HERE – UK HERE  These links take you to a generic “catholic” search in Amazon, but, once in and browsing or searching, Amazon remembers that you used my link and I get the credit. NB: You can both use my links AND contribute through “Smile”! BOTH! It is not one or the other. Use my link and Smile still gets the contribution!


White to move.

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


3rd Sunday after Epiphany: “‘Vengeance is YOURS’, saith the Lord!” No… wait… that’s not how it goes. CROSS-POSTED

Cross-Posted from One Peter Five:

We are looking at the Epistle readings for the Vetus Ordo on Sundays. This week we continue what we prayed last week. I say, “what we prayed,” because the readings themselves are part of a sacrificial offering, the Word being raised to the Father, as the Word made flesh was raised on the Cross, as incense, bread, wine and hearts go upsursum. Because Mass is sacrificial and not primarily didactic, it is proper for the priest ritually to read the Scripture at Mass, even if it is sung in Latin by other sacred ministers or perhaps read by lay people in the vernacular. This is something lost in the Novus Ordo, which is one of the changes to the Roman Rite that lends to it, along with the addition of a reading, the feel of a didactic moment.

As mentioned last week and above, today’s Epistle, written by Paul in Corinth in the 50s AD, a cutting from Romans 12, forms with last week’s Epistle a whole block: vv. 9-16a, 16b-21. In this section of the letter, Paul is telling the Romans what the marks are of Christian life. They are to be harmonious, charitable, and patient in suffering. They are asked by Paul to bless rather than curse their persecutors. The reading is short:

Brethren: never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (RSV)

Let’s linger over that image: “heap burning coals upon his head.” This seems to be a fairly gruesome suggestion.

Does it not sound as if the Apostle is recommending to be good to those with whom we are not getting along precisely so that we can hurt them even more? Isn’t that to make a deeply Christian act and work of mercy into something profoundly antithetical to Christ? Isn’t it tantamount to wishing upon our persecutors eternal fire of punishment?

While that phrase could be interpreted in a sinister way, we can turn to Scripture itself for some help. Firstly, the image itself comes from Proverbs 25:21-22: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) commenting on this passage reminds us that in the amazing and difficult Song of Songs 8:6-7 about love, charity, that “its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” The Doctor of Grace, St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) remarks in De doctrina christiana 3,16, 24:

Do not doubt, then, that the expression is figurative; and, while it is possible to interpret it in two ways, one pointing to the doing of an injury, the other to a display of superiority, let charity on the contrary call you back to benevolence, and interpret the coals of fire as the burning groans of penitence by which a man’s pride is cured who bewails that he has been the enemy of one who came to his assistance in distress. In the same way, when our Lord says, “He who loveth his life shall lose it,” we are not to think that He forbids the prudence with which it is a man’s duty to care for his life, but that He says in a figurative sense, “Let him lose his life”—that is, let him destroy and lose that perverted and unnatural use which he now makes of his life, and through which his desires are fixed on temporal things so that he gives no heed to eternal.

The idea is that by heaping charity upon your wrongdoer, you are working in cooperation with grace to melt a stone-cold heart.

Frozen hearts do not beat. They must be thawed, healed of their coldness. In the Gospel reading today, from Matthew 8:1-13, we have the powerful meeting of Christ with the Centurion whose servant was dying, whence comes our three-fold, “Domine, non sum dignus…” before Communion. In the beginning of the reading, the Lord heals a leper who came before Him. Then he heals the servant from a distance. Close or distant, the Lord is a healer. He is, as Augustine often referred to Him as Christus Medicus, the physician of the soul.

In terms of ancient medicine, and also in newer techniques, sometimes we burn to heal and we sear to save. We cauterize. A red-hot needle can pierce a fingernail that has been slammed with a hammer to relieve the bloody pressure. Heat is applied to those who have hypothermia. In each case the application of the heat can be painful, but the relief and healing begin after the shock.

When we treat with charity those who do us wrong, we apply the heat of Christ’s cauterizing, pierced and piercing, warming furnace Heart, to closed and stony ice hearts. This is the essence of charity: to act even at cost to oneself for the sake of the true good of the other.

As individuals we encounter those who have or would do us harm, to one degree or another, perhaps physical, perhaps, moral, social or emotional. We have to make choices about the best thing not only for our own circumstances as, for example, when their mistreatments would have repercussions for, say, our charges, such as wife and children, a priest for his parishioners. Even then, we thread the needle also by considering the best act in charity for that wrongdoer. Why? The Lord has given us numerous lines, such as, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

We also encounter those who persecute us as a group, for example, … well, they abound. How shall we look upon them and remain clean of their malice? We must pray for them and offer reparation to God for their actions.

What sort of “love” do you think the Lord requires from us in the face of mistreatment? He’s saying that when people harm you, be superficial and channel your inner Richard III. Smile at those who harm you all the while imagining and harboring grim thoughts of vengeance, right?

Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‘Content’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions. (cf. Henry VI, Part III, III, ii, 1671ff.)

What does it avail us in the end to harbor ill will or, worse, plot revenge? After all, the Lord himself says, “Vengeance is yours!” Oops. No. Wait. God says, “Vengeance is MINE.” If it is His, then it isn’t ours.

Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).


Posted in Sermons |

Your Sunday Sermon Notes – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (N.O.: 3rd Ord) 2023

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

It is the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Novus Ordo and the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany in the Vetus Ordo.

Was there a GOOD point made in the sermon you heard at your Sunday Mass of obligation?

Tell about attendance especially for the Traditional Latin Mass.  I hear that it is growing.  Of COURSE.

Any local changes or (hopefully good) news?

I have a few thoughts about the orations in the Vetus Ordo for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany: HERE


Posted in Sermons | Tagged

ASK FATHER: I don’t believe Francis is really the Pope. Is it a sin to go to Mass where his name is mentioned?

From a reader…


I have read your blog on and off for years but recently began reading regularly. I always find your writing edifying and informative. I will try to keep my question/concern short and to the point. I do not believe that the man who calls himself Pope Francis is actually the Pope. I have not believed it for many years, perhaps even since he was ‘elected’. With the death of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI I am troubled and conflicted. Is it a mortal sin to attend a Mass and receive Communion at that Mass if it is said in communion with a false pope? If it is even within the realm of possibility that Francis is an antipope, which I believe it is, what is a faithful Catholic who deeply loves our Lord and has real reverence for Him in the Holy Eucharist to do? I am the mother of 7 children and my husband has said to me thus far that it is more important that we attend Mass and continue to raise our children with the faith as best we can. I trust his authority as the head of our family. Personally, I do not wish to offend my Lord and savior and it greatly pains me to think I might be doing so.

Thank you for considering my question and, if you are unable to answer, please say a prayer for me in my inner turmoil,

I am sorry for your plight. You are not alone in your dilemma. I know for a fact that quite a few people have the same doubts (even to the point of certainty) about Francis. They, also, wonder about Masses wherein his name is pronounced in the Canon (or Eucharistic Prayer).

Leaving aside the issues of the validity of Francis’ election or anything having to do with the legitimacy of his office, No!, participating at Mass in which Francis’ name is said would not – in itself – be matter for grave or mortal sin. We have an obligation to participate at Holy Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of obligation. That obligation is relaxed or is voided because of physical or moral impossibility.

The mentioning of the name of the Bishop of Rome in the Canon (or some Eucharistic Prayer) is not insignificant in the Mass but it is also not of of the essence of Mass. Saying his name, or some other name, or no name at all for whatever reason does not affect the validity of Mass. It is a detail. Being a detail doesn’t make it meaningless. The person who holds the office of the Bishop of Rome, and Vicar of Christ, is supposed to be the visible point of unity in the Church. Therefore, being in union with that person and his office is important for our identity as Catholics. During the long history of the Church, however, there were times when people had no idea who the present Pope was. News travelled at about 5 miles an hour and even slower to some places. And yet, through no fault of their own, priests were saying this name or that name in the Canon. That’s not quite the situation we have today, of course. With means of communication as they are, news gets around pretty fast… even faster than the truth, at times.

If I were you, I would leave the issue of the name of the Pope in the Canon to the judgment and conscience of the priest saying the Mass. You have no control over what name he says or omits. If your discomfort about Francis’ name in the Canon rises to the point of such animus that you can’t stand it – which would be pretty drastic – then there could be some possibility of moral impossibility affecting your obligation. However, you have to ask yourself about the negative consequences of not attending Mass, the massive, gaping hole in your life that not attending Mass would cause, the effects of your example on those who are close to you.

Your instinct to follow your husband’s lead in this is good.

Clearly this is an issue that bothers you. Perhaps in your goodness you would, while at Mass, offer your doubts and pain to the Lord at the time of the offertory, with the hands of your heart placing them on the altar, putting them into the chalice as it is prepared. It would be a work of mercy also to pray for Francis, that he be given and that he accept the graces which God know he needs. Offer some penances in reparation for anything that might be unworthy or uncharitable in your view of Francis, no matter what you think about the legitimacy of his office. Catholic Christians owe that in charity, which in a sacrificial spirit desires the genuine good of others, no matter how difficult, odious, or hurtful they may be. It is a soft path and easy to pray for those who are in line with our desires and preferences. It is harder to pray for those who aren’t. However, it is also difficult to hate or feel improper anger towards one for whom you are sincerely praying and offering mortifications.

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

Diocese of Cheyenne: “Welcome!”

In case someone didn’t see it.

From Messa in Latino… an Italian site:

Da Facebook del 7 gennaio scorso.

Interpret this for me?

What Does the Oppressor Really Say?

How about:

Please note that in the Diocese of Cheyenne NOVUS ORDO Mass may be celebrated in our parish churches.

Good news, right? In Cheyenne there is an attempt to adhere to the universal law of the Church! Novus Ordo in Latin is how the Novus Ordo ought to be, after all.

That’s what it means, right?

Or is it that the person who wrote this has a poor command of the English language and doesn’t know how to write a clear act of oppression?

ALWAYS REMEMBER: While they might hate Mass in any form, their hatred for the TLM is really about hatred of the people who desire it. They don’t like the people.



Posted in Liberals | Tagged

Daily Rome Shot 641

This little video might not be from Rome, but it is certainly of Rome. It is as Roman as Roman can be.

Your daily Rome shot. The blessing of the lambs.

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White to move.

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

Interested in learning?  Try THIS. It’s a game that can last a lifetime!

Today at Tata Steel, Carlsen, Magnus v. Rapport, Richard. Should be crazy.


ASK FATHER: Pagan amulet for protection

From a reader…


I know a young couple. The man from indigenous descent who is converting to the faith and who will be baptized and confirmed this April.

She has asked about an amulet her husband never takes off except for x-rays and other medical reasons. The amulet signifies strength, leadership, and wisdom which are also congruent with the role of husband and father. He believes it to be a form of protection.

Her question, which I really couldn’t answer, is whether she should be worried about this and what to do about it. Can it be blessed? Should it be exorcised since prayers are said in the making of these amulets?

The worry is not primarily the pagan amulet, but in offending our Lord by breaking the 1st Commandment.

Belief that a pagan symbol can offer protection is the very definition of superstition.

Note the disproportion between cause and effect.

Hmmm… what about putting a pagan dirt bowl dedicated to a demon on an altar.  Breaking the 1st Commandment?

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

Daily Rome Shot 640 and MORE Requiem for Card. Pell in Rome

More from Cardinal Pell’s Requiem in Rome.

From Bree Dail.


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And… look at the Kings!

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

Interested in learning?  Try THIS. It’s a game that can last a lifetime!

Magnus Carlsen is astonishing people in the Tata Steel Tournament.  He is losing.

Today in Round 6 (of 13), Jordan v. Magnus.  Magnus still needs a haircut, but today the bird’s nest is at least somewhat under control with the help of “product”.

Not having a good day.

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Daily Rome Shot 639 and a Requiem for Card. Pell in Rome

From a Requiem Mass in Rome for Card. Pell.

From Bree Dail.

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Both Kings are in trouble, but it is white’s move.

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

At Tata Steel hostilities resume with Round 5. Anish Giri is leading and Magnus is behind in 8th followed by Ding.

Meanwhile, as Tata Steel resumes (it’s on as I write), chess.com servers might be overwhelmed.  We have on the 502 page a shot of them working on the problem

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Concerning the Antichrist, the End Times, the Restrainer, and YOU. Wherein Fr. Z rants: Save The Liturgy – Save The World

There is a good piece at The Catholic Thing today about the concept … and eventually person … of the Antichrist.

I’ll point out a couple things that caught my eye.

First, something on a liturgical note. The writer, Francis X. Maier, get’s something that I’ve spoken of for decades about the liturgical year, but he does it with poetic grace. I’ve often mentioned in my writings on liturgical translation that “Ordinary Time” or “Ordered Time” (the green seasons) are when we put into practical application both the mysteries we celebrate in the great cycles and also renew practical advice from Holy Church about Christian life. The writer says:

These weeks between Baptism of the Lord and Ash Wednesday belong to Ordinary Time on the Church calendar. They’re a kind of Great Plains on the Christian wagon train to our real home. They’re where everyday life happens; where the choices are made and the directions are set for our final destination.

Another thing that caught my eye was this:

[T]he Devil is not some sort of mythological boogeyman or impersonal principle of evil, but rather – in Guardini’s words – “a rebellious, fallen creature who frantically attempts to set up a kingdom of appearances and disorder.”

Exactly. And the Devil will always tell us what he is up to.

From the onset, Christian have felt themselves (ourselves) to be in “the end times”.  This is because we are.  We await the return of the Lord “in joyful hope”.  This ought to be reflected in our public liturgical worship, by which we express that hope and fulfill the virtue of Religion.  We also have a sense of what Paul wrote about a “Restrainer” who keeps fending off, as it were, the final acceleration into the end times, until all is “ready”.

Michael O’Brien in his book Father Elijah presents a rich view of the Christian sense of the “end times”.  In a sense we all, I believe, participate in “restraint” by our properly lived vocations and our faithful participation in the sacraments, especially our liturgical participation.

That is at the heart of the slogan flashed around here more often in years past, but also recently: Save The Liturgy – Save The World.

My musings on that are always available at that page, but I suspect that there are many newer readers who haven’t seen them.  So, after some time in the fridge, is the whole thing:


The Eucharist, its celebration and itself as the extraordinary Sacrament, is the “source and summit of Christian life”.

If we really believe that, then we must also hold that what we do in church, what we believe happens in a church, makes an enormous difference.

Do we believe the consecration really does something? Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?

If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.

So does our good or bad reception of Holy Communion.

So must violations of rubrics and irreverence.

Mass is not merely a “teaching moment” or a “celebration of unity” or a “tedious obligation”. Our choice of music, architecture, ceremonies and language affect more than one small congregation in one building. We are interconnected in both our common human nature and in baptism. When we sin we hurt the whole Body of Christ the Church.

If that is true for sin, it must also be true for our liturgical choices. They must also have personal and corporate impact. Any Mass can be offered for the intentions of the living or the dead.

Not even death is an obstacle to the efficacy of Holy Mass.

Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.

In each age since Christ’s Ascension, people have felt they were in the End Times. They were right. In any moment, when the conditions are right, the Lord could return.

Considering what is happening in the world now, I am pushed to think about the way Mass is being celebrated, even the number of Masses being celebrated. Once there were many communities of contemplatives, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament or in contemplation, in collective and in private prayer. There were many more Masses.

Many more people went to confession.

Who can know how they all lifted burdens from the world and turned large and small tides by their prayers to God for mercy and in reparation for sin?

A single droplet of Christ’s Precious Blood consecrated at Holy Mass is the price of every soul ever created in God’s unfathomable plan.

So I repeat:

Posted in Four Last Things, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices |

ASK FATHER: Francis said priests must NEVER deny absolution. True? Wherein Fr. Z rants.

I’m getting a lot of questions about something that Francis said to seminarians from Barcelona.  Story at the Catholic Herald HERE.

As the tale goes, Francis delivered profanity-studded “off the cuff” remarks to seminarians, including “not to be clerical, to forgive everything”, adding that … and this is the really sore point… “if we see that there is no intention to repent, we must forgive all”.

We can never deny absolution, because we become a vehicle for an evil, unjust, and moralistic judgment,” Francis reportedly told the seminarians, who were accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop Javier Vilanova Pellisa of Barcelona.

Priests who deny penitents absolution are “delinquents”, the Pontiff said, according to the Church Militant website.


We cannot agree with that.

Firstly, denial of absolution is more than likely, really more than likely, quite rare.

If it is clear that there is no intention to stop the sin which has been admitted to and confessed as a sin , a confessor has no choice but to deny absolution.  If he gives absolution to someone who has either a) no sorrow for  sin or b) no intention to stop a sin, then he would be simulating a sacrament.  He would knowingly be giving an absolution that was invalid.  That’s simulation of a sacrament.  The Seal would still apply, because it would be internal forum.  Simulation of a sacrament is punishable with censures.

One could turn the sock inside out and say that, “Priests who don’t deny absolution when it is clear that they ought to are the delinquents”.

Let’s be clear.  Denial of absolution and then saying, “Get out and don’t come back until you’re are sorry!” is NOT what I am talking about.

Is that the sort of priest Francis thinks is is sitting in confessionals?  If so, that would be another implicit insult of the already thoroughly bludgeoned rank and file priest.  Also, I wonder if this doesn’t have something to do with Amoris laetitia  and the infamous footnote #351.

Denial of absolution would have to be carefully and gently explained also with a sincere expression of hope that the (im)penitent will reconsider and with an invitation to return.  The confessor has to let that (im)penitent know that she can and should come back.

Perhaps it could be good to offer to talk to the person outside of the confessional, but still confidentially.

This sort of situation, which is rare but which can happen, underscores the need for good formation of priests in moral theology and the ability to explain why something is sinful.  It could be that the (im)penitent has been told falsehoods by priests or other Catholics about the sinfulness of some actions.  Through no fault of their own they are confused.

The flip side of that coin is the ability to explain how something a person is anxious about is not a sin and put them at ease.    This is also why a strong knowledge of canon law is necessary for a confessor.  Canon law is not useful just for the ordering of the life of the Church as a whole, but also for putting penitents at ease in the confessional.   There are quite a few people who think that some things are sins, but they aren’t.

In any event, there are several criteria for a valid absolution under normal circumstances (it isn’t an emergency, the person is conscious and compos sui, etc.).    The first point among these criteria is contrition, sorrow for sins (either perfect or imperfect, contrition or attrition).

  1. Contrition (sorry for sins)
  2. Intention of amendment (not to sin again)
  3. Confession of sins (at least venial or something previously confessed and unless it is physically or morally impossible)
  4. Intention to do penance

On that last point, confessors should give penances that are quickly doable and the penitent knows she is done.  If a penitent forgets to do it, that doesn’t snap the person back into mortal sin.  And remember: ALL assigned penances are arbitrary.

As far as what Francis said, and there is no reason to think that he did not, given the number of people there, NO… if there is no intention to repent, absolution cannot be given.

Mind you: Sometimes people don’t know how to express well their sorrow for sin.  One can assume in most cases that the fact that the penitent is there in the first place, she is sorry for sins.   True sorrow doesn’t require rivers of tears and snuffling.  And sometimes people are businesslike and sound a little detached, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t truly sorry.  The same goes for firm purpose of amendment: sometimes it is hard to tell.  A gentle question or two can resolve this in the mind of confessor.  BUT… if even with a clarification there is no intention to repent, absolution cannot be given.

This is one of the great advantages to using the old-fashioned Act of Contrition: provided that the penitent isn’t lying about being sorry or intending to avoid sins (how wicked is that?) the confessor can be confident that he validly absolves.  And if YOU, the penitent, clearly means what the Act says, after confession of sins (which is the MATTER of the sacrament) YOU can be absolutely confident that your sins are forgiven.  After all, this is the way Jesus Himself wants us to be reconciled with Church, others and self.

A point about the traditional Act of Contrition.  Some versions end with “confess my sins, do my penance, and amend my life”.  Others end with “avoid the near occasion of sins” without explicit statement of about amendment.   That can be assumed in saying, “and I DETEST all my sins”.  If you detest something, you don’t want to do it.

I could ramble on about these elements, but we need some texts.

In the Roman Catechism we find:

That a sorrow for sin and a firm purpose of avoiding sin for the future are two conditions indispensable to contrition nature and reason clearly show. He who would be reconciled to a friend whom he has wronged must regret to have injured and offended him, and his future conduct must be such as to avoid offending in anything against friendship.

“… Likewise if, by word or deed he has injured his neighbor’s honor or reputation, he is under an obligation of repairing the injury by procuring him some advantage or rendering him some service. Well known to all is the maxim of St. Augustine: The sin is not forgiven unless what has been taken away is restored.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

CCC 1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.

1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.

1490 The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy.

1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.

Turning to a manual, because we are unreconstructed ossified manualists, Ott says:

1. Concept and Necessity
The Council of Trent defines contrition (contritio, compunctio) as : “Grief of the soul for and detestation of the sins committed, with the intention not to sin in future” : animi dolor ac detestatio de peccato commisso, aim proposito non peccandi de cetero. D 897. [See that “D”?  That means it is found in the handbook of the Church’s teachings called after one of the editors, Denziger.] Thus the act of contrition is composed of three acts of the will which converge to one unity : grief of soul, detestation, intention. It is neither necessary nor always possible that the grief of sorrow, which is a free act of the will, be expressed in sensory feelings of sorrow. The intention of sinning no more is virtually included in true sorrow for sins committed. Contrition, as is evident from the nature of justification, is the first and the most necessary constituent part of the Sacrament of Penance, and has been an indispensable precondition of the forgiveness of sins at all times (D 897). Subsequent to the institution of the Sacrament of Penance this contrition must also include the intention of confession and atonement. As contrition is an essential ingredient of the sacramental sign, it must be expressly awakened during the reception of the Sacrament of Penance (contritio formalis).

Lastly, as in the case of censures that people can incur because of intentional sins, denial of absolution is more medicinal than punitive.  Denial, hopefully, will stir an (im)penitent to true sorrow (even if it is just attrition). A confessor should never deny absolution with a spirit of punishment or harshness. Rather, with great gentleness and concern he must explain that he greatly desires to, and looks forward to, granting absolution as soon as possible, provided that the person has a change of heart and is willing to return.

Finally, everyone…


Never hide sins.  Don’t ramble, but tell everything.   Don’t ever think the priest thinks less of you.  There is no sin so terrible that Almighty God can’t forgive.  When it is forgiven, even if you still remember it, it is gone forever.  

I will carefully moderate the com box under this.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, SESSIUNCULA, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , ,