ASK FATHER: Why didn’t the Assistant Deacons wear surplices during the Pontifical Mass at the Shrine? #MassoftheAmericas Wherein Fr. Z analyzes and then rants.

The other day, His Excellency Most Rev. Salvatore Cordilone of San Francisco celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the Throne at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  It was televised.  A new musical Mass setting was used and new vestments were designed.  All in all it was wonderful and all involved are to be thanked and congratulated.

That said, under the post in which I wrote about the Mass (HERE – VIDEO!) some one asked…


Father, why are the two “deacons” with him not wearing surplices?

Yes, I found that a little puzzling.

What is this about?  At these Pontifical Masses, the bishop can be accompanied by two Assistant Deacons, who help put the miter on and off, etc.  They wear dalmatics, as deacons, though they can be ordained priests.  They wear their choir dress with the dalmatic over.  Thus, you expect them to wear also the surplice under the dalmatic.  When that is done, they were also the amice over the surplice before putting on the dalmatic.

What happened at this last Mass?

A little strange.

Let’s check out what happened at other televised Pontifical Masses at the same Shrine.

When Bp. Slattery celebrated…

When Archbishop Sample celebrated.

Elsewhere, here in Madison, the Extraordinary Ordinary of happy memory (almost one year ago…), often celebrated these Masses.   Here’s a shot.   Yes.  Surplices.  In this small space we did what I’ve seen done in narrow spaces in Rome and I, as MC, put the sacred ministers on the altar steps.

Card. Burke in Minneapolis.  Yup.  Surplices on the Assistant Deacons.

What do manuals say?

Stehle says that, before Mass, the Assistant Deacons wear their choir dress – cassock, surplice and biretta – to accompany the bishop to visit the Blessed Sacrament and then take him to where the bishop will vest. Then they go apart and put on the amice and dalmatic. They are not instructed to remove their surplice. Instead, it seems as if they are to put the amice on over the surplice and then the dalmatic over all. However, Stehle says that, at the end of Mass, the Assistant Deacons accompany the bishop to the throne and then “go to resume their surplices”. That sounds like they might remove their dalmatics and amices and then put on surplices that they had previously removed. Otherwise, it could be interpreted as simply removing their dalmatics and amices and then going back to the bishop in the surplices they were wearing beneath the amices. In other words, they resumed the dress in which they began, “resume” not necessarily meaning putting on something removed.  The Assistant Priest is described by Stehle at the beginning of Mass wearing “amice and cope over his surplice”.

In processions with the Blessed Sacrament, priests and deacons wear their proper vestment over the surplice and amice.

In one commentary I saw – contra Trimeloni – in some places Assistant Deacons could wear albs.  If albs, then surely surplices.

Collins says that the Assistant Deacons vest in the amice and dalmatic over the surplice (Vol 2, p. 53).

Reworking Fortescue O’Connell (silent on Pontifical Masses), Reid says that the Assistant Deacons put the amice and dalmatic on over the surplice (p. 200).

Trimeloni says that, for a Pontifical Mass, there is prepared in the sacristy (or wherever the bishop vests), surplices, amices and dalmatics for two Assistant Deacons.  That means that they put them on (p. 756).  Also, after the recitation of Terce, Trimeloni says that the Assistant Deacons, “go to put on over the surplice (sopra la cotta), the amice and dalmatic” (p. 771).  Not much doubt there.

So, is this a case of auctores scinduntur?  No.  I don’t think so.  I am going with an interpretation of Stehle that is consistent with the others.   “Resume” means returning to being only in cassock and surplice.

It seems to me that the Assistant Deacons ought to have been vested in the surplice, with the amice and then dalmatic over all.   I won’t hazard a guess as to why this choice was made other than, perhaps, they opted for a strict reading of Stehle without checking other sources.

We had better go back to the Shrine and do the whole thing over again with surplices on those Assistant Deacons!  Let’s repeat it often!

Lastly, a note about these ceremonial manuals.

There is interplay between the manualists, each pinging off the others.  However, each manual seeks to describe what is done to follow the written rubrics and solve the problems of what is not written within their spaces and with their personnel available.   Some MCs solve their particular problems with a little creativity, but also within the “genius” of the rubrics, of the rite.  For example, a Pontifical Mass in a cramped space might require that we place sacred ministers on the altar steps rather than with a chair for the Assistant Priest and sedilia for the Deacon and Subdeacon.  This isn’t wrong.  It’s a variation that is well founded within the rites.   Hence, in Madison, where we have had probably more Masses at the Throne in recent years than anywhere else, we made choices according to which church we are in (there is no cathedral).

The Roman Rite has strong bones and structures and strictures.  It is also flexible.  We mustn’t be inflexible when it comes to the rites.  One manual doesn’t solve all issues.  One manual is not the be all and end all for our rites.   Reading widely and then doing it slowly but surely teaches those doing it how it is to be done.  Fabricando fabri fimus!  You become a carpenter by doing carpentry.  By immersing in the rites, reading the experiences of those in the past, you get a sense of the “genius” of the rite.  “Genius” is a Roman concept which I am borrowing and baptizing.  The ancient Roman “genius” was a tutelary spirit that accompanied a person from birth to death, fate-like, or spirits that went with offices.  I don’t mean that pagan thing, which was demonic and to which Christians were forced to sacrifice or suffer.  I mean something more like Romanitas when it comes to the Roman Rite.  I mean something more like Gesamtkunstwerk, a vision that integrates all the elements of texts, music, architecture, movement, ornament, etc.  This isn’t something that springs Athena-like from forth a single head.  It is rooted in generation upon generation of shared experience around a singular purpose.  And in liturgical worship that focus rests in the virtue of Religion, giving to God what is His due and doing so, incarnationally, in the Roman way.

We are our rites.  To know ourselves – which is necessary – we have to know our rites.   And the way the rites are known and used has a simultaneous interplay with our environment and exigencies.

Enough for now.

Suffice to say that Roman Catholic priests really ought to know their Roman Rite.  Really know it, be in it, resound with it.

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ACTION ITEM! Seminarians are waiting for BIRETTAS! Priests are waiting for SATURNOS!

I had a note from John in Church Goods at Leaflet Missal in St. Paul.  John is at the action center of the Birettas for Seminarians Project and the Saturnos for Priests Project.

John reports:


Priests waiting for Saturnos – 23

Seminarians waiting for birettas – 31

Okay, folks… do you thing!

For more information click


And let’s not forget those saturnos for priests.  The more, the merrier.

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Ultra-dissident “Voice of the Faithful” to host an online meeting about deaconettes. Anyone can register!

This is interesting.

Voice of the Faithful – which is neither – is sponsoring an online meeting about the ordination of woman to the diaconate.   It is hosted through the super-liberal Hofstra University.

Anyone can register!  HERE

Women Deacons Now [That‘s objective!]

Women Deacons Now that the Synod is Over

Dec 4, 2019 07:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

To learn more about Voice of the Faithful try HERE.  This group is the very paradigm of dissident.

There are real problems with the suggestion that women can be ordained.

First, we don’t know enough about what female deacons were in the ancient Church.

Second, the Sacrament of Orders is one sacrament, not three.  The one sacrament confers three orders, diaconate, priesthood, episcopate – that is, deacons, priests and bishops.   Only men can be ordained as priests and bishops.  It is by divine appointment that men only can be ordained with this sacrament as bishops and priests.  Hence, women cannot be ordained as deacons with Sacrament of Orders.  Cf. Lumen gentium 20 ff.


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For some lighter reading

If you are looking for some lighter reading today, zip over the Sandro Magister’s page.   He has a post about how the semi-official journal of the Holy See La Civiltà Cattolica (edited by Jesuits, ), promotes Francis as a master of eloquence.   It’s director is the great fan of  Pier Vittorio Tondelli, Fr Antonio (“2+2=5”) Spadaro, SJ.

I promise you that this is not from The Onion.  It is from the other “Onion”, La Civiltà Cattolica (edited by Jesuits).



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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard at the Mass that fulfilled your Sunday Obligation?

What was it?

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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 10 Comments

VIDEO – Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Here is the video of the Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which I attended last Saturday. There was a new composition for the Mass. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco was the celebrant.  Check out in particular 2:16:55, toward the end at the Salve Regina.

Liturgically, they did a good job. However, at some point we have to make choices about what “solemn” means. It doesn’t necessarily have mean “slow”. Also, one of the great aspects of the traditional Rite, is that things can happen at the same time, rather than the CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) CHUNK (pause) of the Novus Ordo.

One of the musical pieces I liked was the new Ave Maria which was in the indigenous language of Juan Diego.   This is the language in which Our Lady would have spoken with Juan Diego!   Surely with divine assistance for those words. Here’s a shot of the text.  In the video, start at about 2:06:30.

The vestments were by Altarworthy.  After the Mass I spoke with the gal who made them.  Very nice.   They had interesting elements you can’t easily see.  On dalmatics, etc., on both sides there are shields surrounded by golden roses and on each are titles of Mary from the Litany of Loreto.   I’d like to work with them.

It is important that we support these large scale and highly visible Pontifical Masses.  It is important that we support also composition of new liturgical music.

What we are doing is NOT locked in amber.

Remember:  WE ARE OUR RITES.  If that is true, then there is a dynamic between us and the rites that is simultaneous and continuous.   Inculturation.  There is an authentic inculturation.  It is authentic when what the Church has to give has logical priority over what the world has to offer.   We are our rites and our rites are us.  If we are not locked on amber, then neither are they.  They have been in continual development since the Church’s beginning.  Very slow.  Organic.  This is what was so violently interdicted in the 60s and 70s through the sudden imposition of an artificially composed rite.    But we are our rites!   Consider the damage that has been done to our Catholic identity because of that rupture of continuity.   We must reestablish continuity and we must also maintain dynamism.   The rites must be stable.  However, music can be new and renewing.  Music is pars integrans in our rites, an integrating part.  So, we should foster truly sacred music.   Music for sacred liturgical music must be 1) sacred and 2) artistic.   It must be in a sacred idiom or an idiom at least that is not in conflict with the sacred and it must be of high quality composition and performance.  I like the distinction made by Ratzinger about music that is for the People and music that comes from the People.  The first is more entertainment which the later conveys something deeply united to their culture, their “who”.   This is important in considering inculturation as well.

But I am running long.

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My View For Awhile: Domum

My time in the District has been great. I pretty much unplugged from the mass of email and did some recreational reading. I met friends, and enjoyed the Mass today.

If you are near DC go to the Verrocchio exhibit at the National Gallery.  It isn’t huge but it is very good, worth the effort.

There is also an exhibit of a Spanish sculptor and maker of retablos, Alonso Berruguete.   This guy’s got game.

Today I was at the chapel at the chancery of the Archdiocese for Military Services.   Who can name this saint chaplain, depicted in the painting?

Dominicans on the way to Mass.   It reminds me of an old Roman joke which I won’t tell now.

One of the symbols of the basilica.

Still some colorful leaves.  I missed all the color in Wisconsin.

Speaking of color, which drink is mine?

Time to head home.

Many thanks to the wonderful people who stopped me after Mass to chat for a bit.


Someone sent this.

“On the way out!”

Meanwhile, I also got this. Ever have problems with autocorrect?

Lorenzo de Medici thought that was hilarious.

He got it too.

That’s by Moroni, by the way. Innovative composition for a portrait. Way ahead of time!

Here’s a fascinating offering by Paolo Veronese. The Martyrdom and Last Communion of St Lucy. Her martyrdom is underway. Look at how she looks at the Host. Remember what they do to her eyes? And her’s is an important feast in December.

Really interesting painting.

And a jaunt into mannerism and Raphael Sanzio. I think he is playing with earlier Italian Madonna and Child, wherein Jesus grasps was he Virgins veil or robe, which I take to be a symbol of Him taking from her our humanity.

His tomb in Rome where I was a couple weeks ago.

I think I’ve written about the Latin on his tomb elsewhere. ILLE HIC EST RAPHAEL…

But wait… they are closing the aircraft doors.



This here guy is Raphael. While he was alive Mother Nature was afraid that she would be defeated (by him painting nature more beautifully than she could) and while he was dying (she was afraid) that she would die (because he wouldn’t be around to paint her so beautifully anymore)!

There’s a lot in those words, but that’s Latin, friends. That’s Latin.

The flight attendants on this flight probably don’t know Latin but they are funny. “That’s Brittany in the back. Wave Brittany. She is Delta’s Worst Attendant of the Year and we’re glad to have her with us tonight.”


From the last flight. I’d have to agree. All in all.

I was just asked if I was a Jesuit. If she only knew.

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Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 38 Comments

They pretend it’s about language, but in reality it’s about content.

My good friend of many years, Msgr. Hans Feichtinger, has an excellent piece today at Crisis.   He puts his finger directly on the problems flowing from Germany and on the whole environment that spawned the Amazon Synod (“walking together”).

Many of the problems we face today have their tendrils back into the notions of Karl Rahner, SJ.

Here is a salient slice:

The paradigm of adapting faith and the language of faith to conform with the ways in which people already speak, think, and live can easily become misleading. It is true that we need to speak the language that people speak “where they are”; otherwise, there cannot be any communication at all. But as the process of evangelization unfolds, it must be turned around—which is another aspect of “conversion”: we need to change and adapt our lives and language to the Faith, and not vice versa.

As a theoretical distinction this may seem obvious. In reality, however, this distinction has not been maintained. Rahner left us a theology with internal tensions that often cannot be reconciled, and with a fundamental ambivalence when it comes to how the faith relates to modernity. The “balance of Rahner’s vision,” as Patrick Burke notes, has not been maintained by his heirs and followers. As a consequence, the Church in Germany today is in adaptation mode. Its bishops are convinced that, in order to be “relevant,” they need to reform her doctrines and practices so that they are less removed from “the reality of people’s lives”. Many theological discussions today are deceptive: they pretend to be about language, whereas they are about content. They claim to call for development, whereas they demand a revolution.

This is exactly right.   They pretend it’s about language, but in reality it’s about content.

You can also see the immediate results of this in our sacred liturgical worship since the Council and the disastrous reforms perpetrated under the Rahnerian “spirit” of the Council.

You must read the whole thing.


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There will be a Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday. Archbp Cordileone is the celebrant. There is a newly composed musical setting. However, it’s more important that a Pontifical Mass at the Throne be celebrated at the Shrine.

This trip also gives me the chance to see some friends and an exhibit of interest at the National Gallery.

I am counting down the last trips of this calendar year, aeronautical and automobilistic.

I am told that there are still some lovely trees and leaves in the DC area. I missed autumn this year having been in Rome for October. I’m looking forward to a couple of good days of weather and a couple of good walks.

I’ll be into town and my digs early enough to have a brief nap and to get my cassock squared away after it’s incarceration.

Sunset in DC will be at 1647. In Rome the Ave Maria will not sound, but should, still at 1715.


It is an incontrovertible cosmic rule that one of my flights will be at the farthest possible gate.

Surprise upgrades are nice.

Thanks to reader ML for the headphones. I always use them on domestic flights.

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Some reading for the road

As I prepare to make a trip, I find good reading is available.

First, from The Catholic Thing:

Drawing Bright Lines
by David Carlin

I’m an old man, and though I hope, and on certain days even go so far as to expect, that the Catholic Church in America will eventually recover from the very bad slump it has been in for the past few decades, I fear that I won’t live long enough to see this recovery.

When I’m on my deathbed (a piece of furniture I hope to avoid for at least a few more years), in order that I may die with a smile on my face, I will ask my grandchildren to bring me news of any signs of Catholic recovery. “Report to me,” I’ll ask them, “any bishop who has been brave enough to excommunicate a Catholic pro-abortion politician. And tell me about any diocese in which it has been discovered that there is not a single example of a homosexual priest.”


Next, something sent by a friend. At Church Life Journal:

When a Pope Writes and the Church Rebels
by Richard Yoder

A papal document seems to change Church teaching, dividing the Catholic world. Much of the controversy depends upon divergent disciplines around the reception of Holy Communion and different ideas of sin and grace. What seemed pious and holy yesterday is now condemned as heresy. Much confusion ensues. When asked to clarify what he means, the Pope refuses. Resistant bishops are threatened and punished. Invoking the Tradition of the Church, four bishops mount an ecclesiastical challenge of the document, with others soon joining. They become popular heroes, especially after their leader is publicly humiliated and demoted by Church authorities. Their partisans think of themselves as a remnant of the faithful, holding carefully to the Truth of Christ in a time of general darkness. They find their own positions foreshadowed in prophecy. They blame the Jesuits and the hierarchy for this period of widespread apostasy and confusion. They claim to discover the Jesuits teaching idolatry and compromising with paganism in their missionary efforts. They circulate their ideas through samizdat, popular polemics, and oppositional journalism. They become increasingly skeptical of Papal power.

Is this the Church of today, under Pope Francis? No, it is the Church of the early 18th century, in the tumultuous years after the Papal Bull Unigenitus. This landmark document of 1713 wrought a major trauma in the life of the Church when it first emerged. Unigenitus, like the wider Jansenist crisis to which it contributed, is mostly forgotten among the faithful today.


I am reminded of my own reminder that Popes come and go. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are significant and some aren’t. The same is to be said for Councils and for the decades we live in.

Whatever our situation is, this is the time that God wanted us to be here. Hence, it is an honor to serve in in this set of circumstances, no matter what they may bring. This is our time to make a difference.

Also, my friend Fr. Lang of the London Oratory has a good offering at Adoremus Bulletin. Fr James Bradley of the UK Ordinariate commented on Twitter that this helps fend off the reification of sacraments. His argument might be a touch subtle. However, this caught my eye. Remember… We Are Our Rites.

Newman’s love for the Divine Office illumined his path towards the Catholic Church. When in spring 1842, beset by doubts in the theory of the Via Media, he retired to Littlemore for a period of prayer and study, joined by a number of like-minded friends, the daily recitation of the Roman Breviary (with some omissions, such as the Marian antiphons) became a staple of their community life. After Newman and two of his companions were received into the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845 by Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), a small but significant change occurred in the community’s daily prayer. While they had recited the Latin text in the Anglicizing manner familiar from school and university, after that momentous day they adopted the Italianate pronunciation known as “Church Latin.”

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The demonic Pachamama idol mess isn’t going to go away

The constant veneration and display of the demon Pachamama during the Amazon Synod must not be simply waved aside.

Two things for the record.

Card. Cupich of Chicago has defended the veneration of this demon idol, though that is not what he thinks it is.  Lifesite HERE  Chicago Catholic HERE on 6 November. He writes with anger about how “statues” were taken from Santa Maria in Traspontina and thrown into the river.  He write:

The artwork from the Amazon region depicted a pregnant woman, a symbol of motherhood and the sacredness of life, that represents for indigenous peoples the bond humanity has with our “mother earth,” much as St. Francis of Assisi portrayed in his Canticle of the Creatures.

He then admits that the statues were from a “pagan” culture.   But he then defends the … respect?… they were shown threw his understanding of inculturation.   The argument is… remarkable.  It’s not convincing, however.

Moving overseas, we find a defense of Pachamama veneration the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel in, of all places, the Vatican’s daily L’Osservatore Romano of 12 November!

?È una divinità la Pachamama?

Is Pachama a diety?

You won’t be surprised to learn that, NO!, indeed not. She is really a manifestation of our respect for the love of God through our respect for “mother nature” which God created. See?

Anni fa, durante un incontro del Celam che ho coordinato a Cochabamba, in Bolivia, sui diversi nomi di Dio nelle culture originarie del Cono Sud, ho chiesto a un indigeno aymara se, per la sua gente, la pachamama (la madre terra) e l’inti (il padre sole) erano dei e lui mi ha risposto: «Chi non ha ricevuto l’evangelizzazione li considera dei; per noi che siamo stati evangelizzati, non sono dei, ma i doni migliori di Dio». Risposta stupenda! Questo sono! Sono manifestazioni dell’amore di Dio, non dei.

Years ago, during a meeting of the CELAM which I coordinated in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on the different names of God in the original cultures of the Southern Cone, I asked an indigenous Aymara if, for his people, pachamama (mother earth) and the inti (the sun father) were gods and he replied: ‘Those who have not received evangelization consider them gods; for us who have been evangelized, they are not gods, but God’s best gifts ». Wonderful answer! This is it! They are manifestations of God’s love, not gods.

So there it is.

I guess that if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then its a prairie dog.


Meanwhile, the woman who was the “priestess” in the Vatican Gardens idol fiasco at the beginning of October, said what it was all about.  HERE

The female indigenous leader who planted a tree alongside Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens ahead of the Amazon Synod was clear from the beginning about the syncretistic and pagan meaning of the act which, she explains, was intended to “satisfy the hunger of Mother Earth” and reconnect with “the divinity present in the Amazonian soil.”

In an October 4 statement that went under the radar during the Synod itself, Ednamar de Oliveira Viana, of the Maués region in Brazil, says of the Vatican Garden tree-planting ceremony: “To plant … is believing in a growing and fruitful life to satisfy the hunger of Mother Earth’s creation. This brings us to our origin by reconnecting divine energy and teaching us the way back to the Creator Father.”

I dunno.  That doesn’t sound good to me.

There are a lot of kabuki dances going on to explain away what sure looked like demonic idol veneration.

No… correction… kabuki is quite beautiful.  Nothing about the idol or the explanations is beautiful.  It is more like Three Card Monte with all the teamwork.  We got a dealer (also called a “tosser”… ya, I know…) and some shills in the crowd who place bets to give punters the idea they could win.  And their muscle will eventually manifest, who takes out some of the naysayers.

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When life gives you lemons, you can help seminarians

Did you know that in the Roman Rite we use liturgical lemons?

Whenever the celebrant has to clean something off his hands, such as chrism or ash, he uses pieces of bread and slices of lemons.  Water isn’t enough cut the oil, of course.   Thus, when there are ordinations to the priesthood or confirmations, you will often see a salver with bread and lemons on the credence table.

That brings me to my next piece of news.  I received an email today, which intrigued me.

The life of the Christian is initiated with Baptism— and, believe it or not, with the help of LEMONS.

In addition to water and the word, which are essential, other sacramentals such as beeswax candles, exorcised salt, and sacred oils are employed for this ancient Rite. But when all is said and done, lemons serve a crucial role in “clean up” and assist the priest “purify” his fingers which are covered in Sacred Chrism and the Oil of the Catechumens. Lemons, with their natural dose of citric acid, help dissolve the “oiliness.” More than just primitive dish soap, their presence and use spoke of the dignity of the ceremonies. You see, lemons were neither inexpensive or easy to come by in Rome and ancient Europe, but when possible their help was employed. Centuries later this noble custom has been handed down and extended to three other Sacraments which likewise involve sacred anointings—Confirmations, Holy Orders and Extreme Unction.

So, sour lemons assist the sweet sublimity of the liturgy? Absolutely!

Lemons and Priestly vocations

As these fruits have helped Christians and the Church for centuries, a new Catholic company has emerged selling Lemons, along with witty Greeting Cards. Playing on the adage, “When life gives you lemons” any customer can do just that; Now you can send a card, with your custom note—and a real lemon—to family, friends, coworkers and more. Your lemon and message—a.k.a “Lem-Message”—is truly better than a greeting card. More than ensuring a laugh, the company CEO and founder, Joseph Janidlo, tithes proceeds from all lemon sales Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. As for the other 90%, this will help him and his friends pursue their vocation as they save funds to enter seminary and, God-willing, become priests. With your help—when you purchase a Lem-Message— lemons will continue to assist the sacred liturgy and bring men to the Altar of God.

For more information, visit their website at

Get into this one along with the


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Some interesting reading for this morning

Today you will want to read about Card. Sarah at Crisis.

Cardinal Sarah Marshals the Church Militant

And read his book. The Day Is Now Far Spent is now available in English. HERE

Some time ago, there was an unhinged piece at Fishwrap against the people who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass. HERE. Now there is another opinion piece strongly in favor of the TLM… at Fishwrap. HERE It is as if… as if… Fishwrap was trying to be balanced.  But that’s probably not the case.  I am not sure what their game is.  Perhaps they merely want to provide a chance for their usual readers to pile on with negative letters to the editor, which they will publish.  I suspect that’s what will happen.

I didn’t watch any of the pointless USCCB meeting.  It is pointless because they will talk and talk and talk about all sorts of things that need to be fixed without talking about the one thing that has to be done before they can be fixed.  Revitalization of Sacred Worship.  And THIS doesn’t count.  Anyway, I saw this note about the reaction of the bishops to the suggestion from Cupich and McElroy that one of their documents stresses abortion too much.  HERE  Not a good moment for those guys.   And HERE

Mother Jones is baffled. First, the Trump administration is giving funds to clinics that don’t promote abortion.  Imagine!  Also, it seems that there are people in the world who think that if you don’t want to be pregnant you might try not having sex.  Imagine!  HERE.  I took away from this piece also the news of an organization called Obria, which I didn’t know about.  It was founded by a Catholic as an alternative to big business abortion Planned Parenthood.


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@FatherTF good explanation of “Perfect Contrition”

Sometimes we Catholics use technical terms which, over time, have become a little confusing.  For example, recently I wrote a clarification about what praying for the “Pope’s intentions” really means.

My good friend Fr. Tim Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness, has a good post at his place about “Perfect Contrition”.  You should go there and have a good look.

In a nutshell, Fr. Finigan explains that “Perfect Contrition” involves hatred of sin because one loves God, whereas “Imperfect Contrition” comes from hatred of sin because of fear of Hell.  This is much like the distinction between “contrition” and “attrition”.

It is helpful to make these distinctions.

Priests are not to give absolution unless and until he knows the penitent is truly sorrow for this sins and has a firm purpose of amendment.  That is one of the functions – the most important in that moment – of your speaking aloud an “Act of Contrition”.  That is also why some confessors will begin the Form of Absolution after you say the part expressing the (less perfect, or “imperfect”) expression of sorrow for sin because of potential punishments.   The priest may say Form even while you are saying the Act of Contrition because he was taught that he shouldn’t delay at all absolving you once he had heard your expression of sorrow for sin.

Do check out Fr Finigan’s excellent blog.  He was one of the first big priest bloggers out of the gate.

And… I owe him a visit!

And… as I write… I have on the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance!


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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 7 Comments

BEER OPPORTUNITY from the traditional Benedictine Monks of Norcia! Think: Thanksgiving and gifts

Here’s a refresher about a good opportunity news!   The wonderful, traditional Benedictine monks in Norcia (Benedict’s place of birth) have a great deal on their beer just in time for the holiday season.  How about beer with your savory Thanksgiving meals?

As you will remember, these monks have had to scramble for years after the earthquakes devastated that part of Italy.   I was in Rome at that time, and we felt the quakes Rome.  The quakes destroyed their church and digs in Norcia and they have had to move up into the hills and rebuild everything.

The Norcia monks have been brewing terrific beer to finance their community.  They developed a “club” through which you can receive beer by monthly subscription.

This is very important for their income, especially as they have to rebuild so much that was destroyed.

They’ve taken over an old Capuchin church which will be the new monastic church once it is rebuilt.

You can help them and help yourselves at the same time!

The Norcia monks have a plan which allows them to lower costs of shipping and expand.

You can now get FLAT-RATE SHIPPING at$14.99 for a case to anywhere in these USA.  If you order 3 or more cases, you get FREE shipping.  Also, all subscribers to the Brewmonks’ Club get FREE shipping.

NB:  Also, they monks reached out to me and said that for every FIVE new Club members who sign up and reference “Father Z” in the “Notes about your Order” line, I will get a free case of beer to share with my priest friends and the bishop.


Their beers are available in both in .75 liter bottles in cases of 6 and of 12.  You can get 1 case per month or 1 case every other month.

Here are a couple idea.

Pastors of parishes and priests: I’m sure you have to entertain once in a while, perhaps fellow priests, perhaps some parish event like a fundraising supper.  Think about providing BIRRA NURSIA from these great monks.

Parish organizations, Knights of Columbus, etc.: Ditto!  This beer is as Catholic as it gets and you would be providing support to the monks in Norcia.

This beer is terrific with savory foods, such as sausages and roasted meets, robust cheeses and the like.   Think of serving Norcia beer at Thanksgiving.

In any event, would all of you reading this, STOP, and say a prayer for the monks?  They need support of all kinds.

New readers here might not know who these Benedictines are.


Help these monks, enjoy great beer and make people around you impressed and happy!

Help the monks.
Help Tradition.
Help Fr. Z.
Help yourselves.


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Posted in Just Too Cool, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 11 Comments