At the blog Laetificat, run by a sharp gal in Madison (who comments here), there are some marvelous images juxtaposed.

First, pictures by kids from last Palm Sunday.  Go there for the back story.

Some of Matisse to this…

Oh my, is this not perfect?  Could an Italian master get it better?

Bishop Morlino blessing palms.

Nice vestment. Notice the maniple.

The tank has only one gear.

Friends… if you are feeling down and don’t know what to do, if you are discouraged because Pope Francis is doing different things, remember that Pope Benedict left juridical provisions.

If you don’t know what to do…

… take the training wheels off and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE.

Get something going.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eugene says:

    God bless the good Bishop, absolutely love the vestments, brings me back to my childhood!
    I have the pleasure of travelling to Madison a couple of times a year on business and the firs thing I do is tune on Catholic Radio and sometimes hear the good Bishop. I deeply respect this man, plus he is a fellow Italian!

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    Hey, Cathy,

    I just had a really cool idea. I’m making a computer game for my class (I know it’s college, but you’ve got to meet students where they are at and its fun for me). It’s in the style of those old text-based games of the 1980’s where you type in North to go north and Take the Goblet to take the goblet all the while moving from one room in a castle to another or walking in a forest or a cave, etc. Why not make a game centered on the Mass or other aspects of Catholic life (maybe, The Search for St. Francis, or St. Joan and the King of France)? The coding is so simple that a fifth-grader can do it with all of the modern aids available. That might be an effective means of evangelization for young kids.

    If you want some information on various software and how to construct the games, let me know.

    If anyone would be interested in playing such a game, I could make one for here (a really nasty difficult version, mwahahaha), or better, we could all pitch in and make one for the general public.

    Anyone interested?

    The Chicken

  3. Liz says:

    I love the “camo” one! Boys and girls ARE so different!

    I feel encouraged by a lot of brick-by-brick things lately. It used to be when I went to our (ugly) cathredal for mass we would often have that momentary panic of “where will Holy Communion be and would it be possible to kneel?” Last week, when we went for daily mass, I was pleasantly surprised to see two kneelers set up in front of the priest so people could have the option of kneeling. I guess that is perhaps a small thing, but it seemed huge to me (and it’s way easier to get back up again when there is a kneeler or communion rail!)

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    Good Grief!

    I meant, Elizabeth D, not Cathy. Arrrgh. Epic fail. I hang my beak in shame.

    The Chicken

  5. They are way better than the work churned out by so many “artists,” whether those hired by churches, or by the taxpayer, which tends to look like squiggles and lumps and twisted metal. I was in a Catholic church recently, which had a stained-glass image of our Lord; simple, but clear enough; except as my eye moved from his head down his torso, the lines simply went off in opposite directions, making our Lord look sort of like some sort of human-jellyfish hybrid. Setting aside both the comedy and grotesquery of that, I thought: why? I guess it’s supposed to be cute? Affecting? I wondered how much the parish paid for it.

  6. persyn says:

    That style of Chasuble is called Semi-Gothic, I believe. [Or not.] Retains the shape of the classic Roman “Fiddleback” with the drape of a gothic. [There is no such thing as a Roman fiddleback. Yes, I saw the “”.]

    Of course, it takes away the beauty of a Bishop wearing a Tunicle and Dalmatic (or even just a Dalmatic) under the Chasuble, as their Excellencies are allowed to do as Bishops exercising the fullness of the Priesthood… Gothic and semi-Gothic chasubles cover up the sleeves of the Dalmatic, making that “moot” at least for the viewer (perhaps not for the wearer)!

  7. OrthodoxChick says:

    Masked Chicken,

    I have been dreaming of making some Catholic computer games, even a website of them for my own kids and others. I don’t know how to write code yet but I’m tinkering with the idea of teaching myself. Through online research, I’m getting the impression that all it takes is a good book about C++ and a free download of a compiler. My first road block is trying to figure out which compiler to get.

    I would love to take this on if you’re up to dealing with tutoring a total newbie. My kids and I would also be happy to test your games for you. How do I get in touch with you?

  8. iPadre says:

    “RIDE THE DAMN BIKE” LOL, I almost fell of my chair!

  9. Supertradmum says:

    ditto on the bike reference–what I have been encouraging lay people to do…so many want to stay with the training wheels, which are SO limiting

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Hah! :-D I will tell the kids they and their art hit the big time and people really liked it! I completely agree with Fr Fox these are much better than a lot of “art” by grownups. The world would be a better place if everyone of every age would get more interested in drawing things of this nature that are beautiful and use recognizable imagery and have so much sincerity, devotion and love in them.

  11. Mary T says:

    Bishop Morlino is one of the kindest, most brilliant, faithful, apostolic, evangelistic, humorous, and may I repeat kindest men I have ever met.

  12. Bea says:

    I did a double take on the altar boy with the “spiked hair-do” till I realized it was a plant standing on the shelving behind him.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:


    You don’t really need to know C++ coding. Interactive fiction engines like Inform7 and Tads3 have almost natural-language parsers (these are the big-boys and well worth downloading. The documentation is excellent). Choicescript is even easier and requires almost no knowledge of coding. I am writing my game in Twine, which is an up-and-coming IF engine that produces its results in native html, so you can automatically open it with a browser. Rather than learn code, I would recommend downloading either Gargoyle or Frotz (winFrotz for Windows, Frotz for Apple and Linux) and then go to the IF database or BAF’s reviews and download some games and start learning the feel for the games. Most of the people writing Twine games I cannot recommend as they seem to be written by children with the mouths of sailors on leave. If there ever were a place for Christian mindset to displace the world, it would be on sites like these.

    Most of the Inform7 (Frotz-like) games are written to much higher standards by literate people with advanced skills in computers who have tried to bring IF creation to the masses. Andrew Plotkin and Emily Short are two of the big names in the field and their games are morally pretty neutral or even positive, so I can recommend them. There are some moral numbskulls among the IF database game creators, but not many.

    I would play games for a while, learn the lingo, and then try your hand at a Twine game for starters. If you want to get your kids involved, Twine will take all of two minutes to learn, but that doesn’t mean you will be writing excellent games. That comes with practice.


    Google, Inform7, Tads3, Interactive Fiction Database, Baf’s reviews, Emily Short, and Andrew Plotkin to get you started. These sorts of games were the go-to games on the original Apples.

    If you need more help or want to do a project, together, do you have an e-mail address you don’t mind publishing in the combox? If not, I’ll see if I can think of someway to get in touch.

    The Chicken

  14. majuscule says:

    I hope this isn’t only for chicks and chickens…

    “If anyone would be interested in playing such a game, I could make one for here (a really nasty difficult version, mwahahaha), or better, we could all pitch in and make one for the general public.

    Anyone interested?”

    This sounds fun! I was never a gamer but I participated in several MOOs back in the day. (just checked and vestiges of them remain!) I might be good at writing description if a collaborative effort materializes.

    I have always been interested in interactive fiction but never pursued it. I’m going to investigate your links.

  15. laurazim says:

    Bea–that altar boy with the pseudo-spiked hair is the elder of my two boys! :) He is among the crew who serves every Sunday, whether Bishop Morlino is with us or not. He turned 15 just last week. Our younger son, who’s just 7, bides his time in the pew until he can be up there with the big guys…it’s a common goal for the young men of our parish. (Many of the older girls help with the Altar Society, and the eldest of our five daughters also sings with the choir!)

  16. Matt R says:

    I’m with Fr Finelli on this one: “Ride the damn bike” was perfect. Thanks for the encouragement, Pater!

  17. future_sister says:

    The Masked Chicken,

    Could I get in on game stuff somehow? I’m a Computer Science and Engineering major and I love programming though I have little experience since the only course I’ve taken so far was in MatLab… the WORST programming language in history. I think I will be learning Java or C++ next, and I have books to teach my self but no clue where to start!! Any advice for a beginning programmer who needs to learn all the intricacies? Also I can get either (or both) Microsoft visual Studio 2012, (2010, or 2008) or I could get Microsoft XNA Game studio 4 (or 3) for free through my school because I’m an engineering major. Any advice on either of these?

    I love the idea of great Catholic video games. I literally just had a friend burn some of my video games (I do believe Old Rite Holy Water was involved knowing him as an epically awesome future priest) because that’s how bad the content of them was.

  18. OrthodoxChick says:

    Masked Chicken,

    I’m googling what you have given me so far. Thank you! I won’t put my regular email address in the combox for fear of spammers, but I’ll go open a new email account just for you (and anyone else interested in this). Then I’ll come back here and post it in the combox.

  19. An American Mother says:

    Dear Chicken,

    As somebody who played the old “Adventure” on the mainframe at GA Tech back in the 1970s . . . and continued to play it when it metamorphosed into “Zork I-III” . . . and who also played ALL the Wizardry games all the way through . . .

    Not only yes but HECK YES! Happy to assist in formulating monsters, mazes, HPs, items, etc. :-)

  20. An American Mother says:

    Can we have an Evil Jesuit? And name him Eustace ( /Charles Kingsley snark ) ?

  21. The Masked Chicken says:

    Another great text-based engine is Ren’py. It’s a Python-based game engine that also uses natural language-like scripts. It even comes with a really cute demo that explains how to program in the language using an actual game. Ren’py can use interactive pictures and sound which might be a hit with the little ones.


    Inform7 and Tads3 are the big-boys and produce very sophisticated text-based games. Twine, Choicescript, Ren’py are much easier to use and require almost no programming language skill.


    If you want to make 3d shooter games (kill the albino monks!), that requires a 3d rendering engine and a knowledge of c++ coding, although there are some free programs that make most of that even unnecessary (I’ve looked into some of the freeware programs, but haven’t tried them out). The hard part is making the 3d characters. The best open source program for doing that is Blender. They used this program to make portions of Spider-man I. If that is too hard (it does have a steep learning curve), then Linux has a really cool 3d rendering engine that will let you make any kind of human by starting with a 3d model and varying every feature from the feet to the head. These models can then be imported to blender.

    In theory, you can make 3d games in almost any language. The most popular languages are C++ and perl, although Java is coming on strong. Since I work in the sciences I do, primarily, procedural coding, so I know Matlab, Mathematica, Maple, etc., very well, as well as basic, pascal, fortran, algol, etc. I haven’t done any real coding in object-oriented languages, which is what most 3d games use, so I would be learning the art along with you, although I do finite element modeling, so much of the 3d principles are familiar (I, once, made a 3d reconstruction of a 2 million year old fern from a fossil a paleobotanist acquaintance found while on a dig in Antartica).

    The Chicken

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Just one more comment and a question.

    A better site than the Interactive Fiction database is the interactive Fiction Archives, which has copies of almost every text-based game made. Also, the Brass Lantern site has a wealth of material on the theory of IF.

    My question: are there any Catholic computer games out there for adults or kids other than quiz games or modified board games? I don’t know anything about this area.

    The Chicken

  23. OrthodoxChick says:


    There’s very little that I know of in the arena of gaming that is geared toward Catholic kids. Some non-Catholic Christian sites have online versions of word searches, crossword puzzles and the like, but they’re so boring, it’s ridiculous. There are some older PC versions of Catholic games available for purchase. But these days, the craze among secular kids in our local public schools is to go to their own online gaming sites that are geared for kids. The sites that seem to be most popular right now are put up by big names. Disney is behind Club Penguin. That online (kid) gaming community has a huge following. The plush/stuffed animal company Ganz runs the site “webkinz” where kids have an online virtual pet and take it around town (“Kinzville”) with an interactive map of destinations. Club Penguin is similar. The child registers for a free account that has basic features and a deluxe membership with advanced features and special missions for members only can be purchased. But for free registration, a child adopts a penguin and chooses its color and names it. Then their penguin navigates the online penguin world going on quests and adventures and playing games. There are other popular sites along these lines. “Moshi Monsters” and the Nick-sponsored “Monkey Quest” also come to mind. I feel there’s a need for a Catholic site (or several) because some of these secular sites have some benign stuff (games/activites), but most of them also have some pagan stuff mixed in with the benign stuff.

    Here’s my contact info: sweetpeaboobootweetandsisi(at)gmail(dot)com. A good kids’ gaming site defintely HAS to have arcade style games as part of the repertoire, IMHO.

  24. jflare says:


    Interesting that such a notion would come up right now. While in the process of commenting on an online article not so different from that of Mr. Winters, I wound up with an invitation to come visit another parish in the area. Hadn’t precisely expected that one.
    I had been thinking that it made little sense to begin attending EF Mass at a second parish while remaining a registered parishioner–and choir member–at a first. I think though, that when we don’t sing each weekend and I’d like to become better acquainted with the traditional form, maybe it’d be worth trying.

    (I actually considered speaking with the choir director about joining them on Sunday morning. I’m not so confident about that idea though. I’m thinking that a decent choir director likely won’t take kindly to a Sunday morning addition and my choir-rehearsal options already have a booking, so to speak.)

  25. PA mom says:

    “Evil Jesuit”…. I was thinking secretive monk in hooded robe (a good guy, but mysterious), and occasional directions on scrolls or in giant leather books with decorative Book of Kells style lettering and decoration.
    Mine keep bugging me to let them join some online something mine something and so far it’s no from me. Especially if I don’t know what is in it.

  26. Gus Barbarigo says:

    @ The Chicken & Co., re: Catholic Gaming

    I’ve tried some game-making with HTML2 and Flash (old by now, I know); clunky, but people loved it! Great music and sound effects are sometimes free online for use on games and really get people interested. Sergio Leone said sound is 50% of cinema! Sometimes you can get images of ships, explosions, etc. for free to put on 3D mock-ups (it’s called “skin”, so be careful how you search!)

    The saga of Joan of Arc, the battles, the visits to the king, the trial, would make a dramatic game experience. So would games about Lepanto (you sunk my battleship, er, galleon!), and other pivotal battles, like that of the Milvian Bridge, or Vienna. St. Helena searching for relics could be a game universe with different skill levels, etc.

    I would love to get involved in this in some way. HTML5 is big obviously but I might still have some moves left. Certainly I’d love to help at least with writing, research etc.

    Hollyweird has hurt the Church so much, but the movies are taking a back seat to gaming, so let’s have at it and get the Church back on the offensive!!!

  27. OrthodoxChick says:

    Masked Chicken et al.,

    I was not familiar with the IF before you gave me all the info to google yesterday. I like it! I think interactive story adventures would be a great platform for kids. I definitely like the ren’py best so far. A key component for kids will be as Gus points out above – sound and graphics. I think that any IF story aimed at kids of all ages/reading abilities needs to have the option of turning on an audio of the story transcript. In other words, there will need to be a way for older kids (or even younger kids with stronger reading skills) to read the story boards themselves and make their decisions throughout the story. But we need to make that same story accessible to younger kids too by giving them a way to click on a tab and have the story read to them, as well as any directions/decisions/navigation options. This would be in addition to sound effects and character/scenery graphics.

    I’m very excited about this! I posted my email above and I hope all of those interested will use it. Once I get everyone’s email addresses, I can form an email group so we can kick around ideas and develop more concrete plans.

    Future Sister, I think the Chicken is giving us good advice about using freeware to develop our ideas. I’m no copyright lawyer, but my guess is that if we ever want to consider monetizing a portion of such a site down the road, we can’t do that using licensed software platforms like Visual C because our original content would be based on proprietary software. I think if we go freeware all the way through the development stage, then that leaves us more options to copyright our own original work and market it however we collectively determine to be best.

  28. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Gus,

    Yes, Flash is on the way out to be replaced by the open source (yea!) Canvas in html5.


    You can do sound and video in Twine and Choicescript, as well. No reason not to vary the platforms.

    In any case, there are many possibilities for back door evangelization with games. How about, “Tommy goes to Mass,” or, “What’s so Extraordinary about the Extraordinary Form Mass,” or, “The Quest,” or, “So, you think you’re a Catholic. Try this quiz,” or, “The Further Adventures of Catholic Mouse,” or, “An Interactive Introduction to the Breviary,” etc.

    How about we move this conversation to Orthodoxchick’s e-mail so as to not clog up the combox?
    Anyone interested (especially artists or voice readers), come on over.

    The Chicken

    P. S. I hope we haven’t abused the combox with this. When I saw the encouragement to get something going, this is what came to mind.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    Do any of the commenter above or anyone else want to join the e-mail exchange about making Catholic computer games?

    Send an e-mail to:


    There seem to be very few Catholic games available, on-line, and if we don’t make them, who will?

    The Chicken

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