First “ineffable” sighting of 2010

I am told that seminarians of the Diocese of Erie, headed by His Excellency Most Rev. Donald Trautman, served Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Holy Father. 

I am sure would have been a thrill for them.

Or it would have been, …. had the Holy Father not spoiled everything.

In his sermon, the Holy Father said, in my quick translation:

The Child looks at the Mother, and she looks at us, almost so as to reflect towards one who is observing, and praying, the tenderness of God, descended in Her from Heaven and incarnated in that Son of man whom she carries in her arms.  In this Marian icon we are able to contemplate something of God Himself: a sign of ineffable love ("amore ineffabile") that spurred Him to "give His only-begotten Son" (John 3:16).


Imagine the confusion as the servers from Erie milled around, confused, wounded, groping to understand.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wanda says:

    Oh, the humanity!

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Actually, if we count First Vespers as it was chanted in Latin at St. Peter’s Basilica, perhaps the very first sighting was in the antiphon for the second psalm:

    Ant. 2: Quando natus es ineffabiliter es Virgine, tunc impletae sunt Scripturae: …..

    Whereas, as I recall, those listening to the Vatican radio English feed heard ICEL’s rather effable version:

    Ant. 2: By your miraculous birth of the Virgin you have fulfilled the Scriptures: …..

    The British Divine Office translation is a bit more interesting:

    Ant. 2: You were born of the Virgin in a mysterious manner of which no man can speak; you fulfilled the scriptures: …..

  3. medievalist says:

    Clearly, Pope Benedict knows all, hears all, and sees all that goes on with his bishops.

  4. TNCath says:

    I wonder what happened when they sang the Credo and got to “consubstantialem Patri”?

  5. amont says:

    I cannot stop chuckling over this.If EVER there was a sign that Benedict XVI has a sense of humour; then THIS is it ! Excellent !

  6. Haec Dies says:

    I thought it appropriate to show the extent of Bishop Trautman’s influence in the “battle for the language”. There is a website which, I do not advocate, titled; What If We Just Said Wait. It is an online petition intended to slow down the implemtation of the changes to the Roman Missal which were approved at the last USCCB meeting. From the Erie Diocese 35 priests have signed including the Vicar for the Diocese,4 Deacons,22 Religious which includes all the Prioresses. and 40 lay people.

  7. An American Mother says:

    Oh the Huge Manatee!

    Haec Dies, the “What If . . .” website was featured here awhile back, along with an alternative website that had considerably more signatures at the time. How many total has the “What if . . .” site managed to get up to? Anybody besides the Erieites?

    amont, not only is it a sign that Benedict XVI has a sense of humor, it’s a strong indication that he has somebody taking a peek at this blog from time to time . . . [ waves and smiles, hi y’all ]

  8. An American Mother says:

    The Erieites are way ahead at the moment.

  9. gloriainexcelsis says:

    In my Roman Catholic (1962) Daily Missal the Antiphons for First Vespers of the Blessed Virgin come at the end of the Mass for the Octave Day of the Nativity. I, too, noticed immediately the second antiphon, “Quando natus es ineffabiliter ex Virgine….,” translation in the Missal, “When Thou wast born in an ineffable manner of a Virgin….” Check out the “Thou wast,” as well. I love the whole antiphon translation. “When Thou wast born in an ineffable manner of a Virgin, then were the Scriptures fulfilled: Thou camest down like rain upon the fleece to save the human race: we praise Thee, O our God.” It’s sheer poetry.

  10. mrsmontoya says:

    I read C.S. Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain” recently. He spends half a chapter at the beginning explaining the word “Numinous” and how necessary it is to an understanding of faith in/awareness of God.

  11. dtb says:

    I recently played the video game Resident Evil 5. Among other flaws in the script, I stumbled across the word “ineffable.” Don’t the people at Capcom know that people are stooopid?

    “Big words: aaaggghh!!!” :(

  12. wanda says:

    American Mother – Oh the Huge Manatee!
    Big LOL – good one!

    Happy and Holy New Year!

  13. puma19 says:

    Just an interesting note that no media outlet has commented on after the ‘attack’ on BXVI the other night in the basilica.
    The MAIN CENTRE AISLE was much wider for the Vespers of New Year’s Eve. This was much smaller in width on Christmas Eve when he was set upon.
    The security have obviously thought that widening the aisle will mean any attacker has more distance to cover should they want to attack the pope.
    Little else has changed, but this matter of the aisle width. It also means less people will be able to be seated now, should the change continue.
    It is very obvious that this has been done.
    But I think the security need to be far more observant than before for such unforeseen attacks on the person of the pontiff. They need to be totally vigilant so this does not happen again. Using the Sedia Ges. may help, but ‘elevating’ the pope may not be the best solution. The next pontiff may well be younger and more active, and would not like it as did JP’s I and II.

  14. An American Mother says:


    I must confess, I stole it. It is a standard throwaway line on several blogs.

  15. An American Mother says:

    Mrs. Montoya,

    C.S. Lewis had a gift for explaining the difficult in sensible language, without abandoning words that one doesn’t encounter every day.

    Rather than dumbing down the language, good pastors should take a page from his book and explain. That’s what homilies are for, isn’t it?

  16. BenFischer says:

    American Mother, the current total on “we’ve waited long enough” is 2448. The “what if we just said wait” petition has 8558. Neither is hardly a massive grass-roots movement, but neither can you say that the orthodox side is winning.

  17. An American Mother says:

    Ben –

    The Erieites are NOT the side I’m cheering for. Their bishop is the one who thinks that Catholics are semi-literate third-graders.

    Sadly, they ARE ahead, but given the number of deacons, priests, and religious (not to mention lay liturgists) who signed on from that diocese, it sounds like a diocesan-wide campaign.

  18. Don Marco says:

    I translated the whole homily on Vultus Christi.

  19. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “From the Erie Diocese 35 priests have signed including the Vicar for the Diocese,4 Deacons,22 Religious which includes all the Prioresses. and 40 lay people.”

    See? Wonders of ineffable wonders never cease!

  20. DisturbedMary says:

    Another Regensberg moment for Benedict, God love him.

  21. gloriainexcelsis says:

    During my years as a children’s librarian I often had parents tell me that I should simplify language during storytimes, especially when I told folk tales without a book. I always answered that the children would get the gist of the story, the words would lodge somewhere in their little brains and be well understood as they read them themselves. I refused to dumb down stories. That’s our problem these days. We seem to think that everything must be “simplified.”

  22. An American Mother says:

    Gloria, amen!

    And it always surprises me what the little minds grasp. My daughter (now 21) told me recently that she still remembers the Brothers Grimm tales that I told her as a very small child. I cobbled my versions together from the original German or Plattdeutsch, and the Zipes and Manheim translations (both of which are scholarly, not dumbed down for kids).

    Naturally she remembered the REALLY gruesome ones, which my kids always loved. That, and the saints’ tales out of the Golden Legend. The kids usually did saints for Hallowe’en, and the bloodier and more gruesome the martyrdom, the better, as far as they were concerned. My daughter was charming as St. Lucy, with a spare pair of eyes on a plate.

  23. emily13 says:

    I am originally from the Diocese of Erie, although I went through RCIA here in Pittsburgh. I have little patience for the inclusive language and the dumbing down of texts that Bishop Trautman pushes for. However, there are some very good priests in Erie including those working in vocations. I didn’t know them at the time I was living there but have met them since. Pray for them and for the seminarians in that Diocese. Pray also for vocations to the Carmelite monastery in Erie which, while I don’t know the nuns, I have found to be one bright spot in the diocese.

    The Erie Diocese is also quite a large territory although I do not know off hand how many priests are active in the diocese. Keep in mind with the number of religious that have signed that Erie is home to Joan Chittister and the Erie “Benedictines”.

  24. Please forgive me for this variation on an old joke: ‘I met some seminarians from Pennsylvania the other day’. ‘Erie?’ ‘Well, they were a little weird’.

    Seriously, there’s no barb whatever in that.

    Emily13, there were 210 priests in the Diocese of Erie in 2006, all but eight of them diocesan priests. There were 230,000 Catholics out of a population of 890,000. (From ). is a marvelous source for factual information about the Church throughout the world.

  25. emily13 says:

    I’ve thrown enough jabs at my old diocese that no offense was taken! Sorry if my previous post came off stern. I know that things are generally not good in the diocese of Erie. That is why whenever I am home, I travel to attend Mass at the Carmelite monastery and through a priest here in Pittsburgh, I have met the priests who celebrate Mass at the monastery. I guess I just felt the need to defend those good priests that I have met!

    Believe me, I wait for the day when Bishop Trautman reaches retirement age. The next Bishop to be appointed there has his work cut out for him. First order of business in my mind is to deal with the Benedictines…

  26. irishgirl says:

    gloriainexcelsis-I see the antiphon you referred to in my copy of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin that I ordered through the Fraternity of St. Peter.

    Yes, it’s sheer poetry-and I don’t care if Trautman doesn’t like the word-the words are INEFFABLE!

    Hoo boy, emily13-yep, the next Bishop of Erie is going to have a handful with the Benedictines….

  27. Haec Dies says:

    My post concerning the number of signatures from Erie indicates that Bishop Trautman has an agenda to push which is at odds with the Bishop’s Conference. I believe that his actions do irreperable harm to the “sensus catholicus” in the Erie area. Most of the priests who have signed the petition reside in the Erie metropolitan area. One was the former editor of the Lake shore Visitor, many are Monsignors with high level positions in the diocese and who have much influence among the faithful. The nuns are members of the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Joseph and the Erie Benedictines. Many priest of the Erie Diocese are good men but there is a handful that have consederable negative influence.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    Haec Dies,

    Yours is not the first evidence that Bp. Trautman has an agenda in this area. Not the first evidence by far. Did you see the video of him during the voting on translations in November? *That* is the funniest church video so far this century, hands down. He whines & wheedles like a 3-year old who doesn’t want to eat his vegetables, no offense intended to 3-year olds. (At least they have an excuse.) I halfway expected him to pee his pants in an effort to convince anyone else in the room to do his bidding. Watching Bp. Seratelli and Cdl George was excellent too. It was so sad, but so funny.

    Rome (CDW, Vox Clara, the new reconstituted ICEL) did a great job of twisting their arms, IMO. Bravo, Benedict XVI (and PJP2, who laid the groundwork). Deadlines, the key is deadlines. =)

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, it’s no wonder they didn’t want the USCCB meeting on EWTN. I wouldn’t have wanted that scene posted all over multiple continents and beamed into millions of houses either, if I was trying to cover my ***. Someone must have known it was coming…..funny, funny, funny.

Comments are closed.