Wherein Fr. Z responds cordially to a non-provocation and writes about Hard-Identity Catholicism

Over at his facebook page, my friend Fr. Richard Heilman (very cool priest) of the Diocese of Madison, has posted something that absolutely demands a response.

He caught my attention by sharing a pic with the caption “Daily Battle Strategy”.

Oh yah?

Respondeo dicendum:

By the way, Fr. Heilman had the Rosaries you see in the photo made in signifcant numbers and, I think, they are obtainable.  While I do not want you to forget about the beautiful Queen of Peace Rosaries (HERE), these are faithful copies of the rosaries that were issued by the U.S. government to the troops serving in WWI and WWII.  “Service Rosaries”.   They are made from steel pull-chain.  You can find out more at churchmilitant.com

If that were not enough, Fr. Heilman was able to touch many of these Rosaries to over 160 relics of saints which another friend, Fr. Carlos Martins recently brought to the Madison area in his Treasures of the Church initiative.  The Enemy must really writhe when someone uses one of these.

You may remember that I posted about how Fr. Heilman returned his parish to ad orientem worship and then moved the table altar into the rectory to create a chapel.  Then he created, in the entrance vestibule of the rectory, a confession window in the door to his office directly across from the chapel and set up a electronic entrance switch for the door to the outside so that, pretty 24/7 (so long as Father is around the place), people would be able to visit the Blessed Sacrament and GO TO CONFESSION.  He then created a smart phone app so that people could see his availability.  HERE  Since I first posted about it, many news outlets picked up on the story.

Friends, this is HARD-IDENTITY CATHOLICISM and it is exactly what we need in this soft-identity Church.

But because Fr. Heilman is supposed to be learning the older form of Mass and is supposed to be learning his prayers and rubrics, I thought I post this as some encouragement to him and to other priests out there: HARD-IDENTITY CATHOLICISM, men!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ClavesCoelorum says:

    The US government issued Rosaries to the armed forces? Try asking for that today… Those were the days!

  2. Lisa Graas says:

    I endorse “Hard-Identity Catholicism.” Just sayin’…..

    Father, we’re homeschooling so I won’t be blogging as much. I’d like to encourage all faithful Catholics who are not currently blogging, who have been considering blogging, please, if you can…blog. Even if you only get a few readers, every faithful Catholic blog counts.

  3. lmgilbert says:

    Vescovo subito!

    In further pursuit of hard identity Catholicism, wouldn’t it also be possible to convert many of the new, large confessionals designed for face-to-face confession into confessional/offices? It wouldn’t have to be Father’s only office, but with a desk and a phone he could get a lot done while making himself available for confession. Just a thought.

  4. Bob B. says:

    I remember the MACV compound in Da Nang having plastic rosaries available (I still have mine). But that was another war.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I think Christ endorses your remarks, Father Z., in Revelation 3:16

    “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth”.

    Do we have a choice except to be hard identity Catholics?

  6. Supertradmum says: Do we have a choice …

    Yes, we always have a choice. Lots of people have made the choice to be lukewarm.

    I am reminded of Dante’s view of the Fore-Hell in Canto III:

    “These people have no hope of again dying,
    And so deformed has their blind life become
    That they must envy every other fate.

    50 “The world will not allow a word about them;
    Mercy and justice hold them in disdain.
    Let us not discuss them. Look and pass on.”

    And I, looking again, observed a banner
    Which, as it circled, raced on with such speed
    It did not seem ever to want to stop.

    55 And there, behind it, marched so long a file
    Of people, I would never have believed
    That death could have undone so many souls.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Z., Amazing–I am re-reading the Inferno this very day. I had a great class in Italian and English at Notre Dame from an inspired teacher on the entire Divina Commedia, but have not re-read it for about ten years. Yes, we do have a choice, I guess, and how sad that so many do not take the opportunity for grace. God bless you.

  8. tonyfernandez says:

    How do we influence our local community to do the same if the influence that they’re getting from the local parish is that this “soft-identity Catholicism” is the acceptable and laudable?

  9. Liz says:

    We also just had Treasures of the Church here in Lincoln, NE and it was SO amazing and SO moving. The children all found at least one of their patrons and my son who was about to go on a mission trip to Peru found several saints associated with the trip and/or Peru. We didn’t want to leave. Thank you Fr. Martins for doing this wonderful work!

  10. Liz says:

    God bless Fr. Heilman too, by the way!

  11. Supertradmum says:

    tonyfernandez, by your good example, by prayer and fasting, by accepting suffering. Love makes us choose for Him. Americans always want to DO something when really, holiness is about BEING first, then doing.

  12. votefassino24 says:

    Father Heilman is a great priest who is really pouring himself out for his flock and all here in the Diocese of Madison — we are so thankful for his priestly heart!

    *NB: The rosaries are currently listed as “unavailable” if you go through the Church Militant website…. BUT if you contact the parish directly I am almost positive you can purchase them and have them sent by mail. We were just there and I could have sworn there was a nice pile of them available for sale next to copies of Father’s books.*

    Also, there is front page coverage of his 24/7 confessional and app in the Catholic Herald today! Check it out: http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/news/around-diocese/4243-confession-app.html

    Contact info for the Father Heilman’s parish:
    Telephone — (MADISON) 798-2111
    Office E-mail — catholic THE USUAL AT SIGN tds dot net
    Fr. Rick E-mail — rheilman THE USUAL AT SIGN yahoo dot com

  13. David Zampino says:

    I would love to see “Treasures of the Church” come to the parish where I work!

  14. votefassino24 says:

    Additionally, it should be mentioned again that Father Heilman is doing this 24/7 confessional *on his own personal dime.*

    He has done so much to create this little parish shine like a bright lamp of “hard identity Catholicism”…. examples are detailed here: http://blog.yankehome.com/index.php/catholic-disneyland-st-marys-pine-bluff/

    Perhaps all of your readers could join us in donating to Fr. Rick’s efforts at creating the 24/7 confessional? We are doing this by way of thanks and also to give him the means to polish his web/app interface, etc, in the future.

  15. I wonder . . . . Does HARD-IDENTITY CATHOLICISM have a slightly different connotation than HARD-CORE CATHOLICISM?

  16. StWinefride says:

    The Roman Missal (1962) + Breviarium Romanum: you must be a Traditional Catholic, Father!

  17. Sodalis says:

    Pull-chain rosaries are fantastic. I have acquired three original issue rosaries and have bought auctions containing parts of them for several years in the case that a repair was warranted.

    I’d considered in the past having replicas made but had no idea where to begin. I am so happy to see that Fr. Heilman has and I will definitely be buying a couple of these.

    Thanks for bringing them to our attention, Father!

  18. Mercyknight says:

    Hi All … Fr. Heilman here.

    Thanks, Fr. Z for putting this up AND for all of the kind words. And, YES, I am working on learning the older form of the Mass ;-) (he reminds me of Sr. Ignatius ;-) … no ruler though).

    I am REALLY excited about these rosaries!! I couldn’t believe the first time I discovered the 1916 “government issue” pull chain rosaries. Inspired by the originals, these Church Militant rosaries are really nice … there’s a nice weight to them and they are VERY strong. And I just see a “nobility” about them.

    I have some folks helping me get these produced, so we just went live with a direct page for ordering at a little bit more of a discounted price.

    Please, everyone, let me know how you like them.

    Order them here: http://churchmilitant.com/church-militant-combat-rosary/

  19. acardnal says:

    Fr. Heilman, I just now purchased one of your “militant” rosaries per Fr. Z’s suggestion above in order to “encourage” you to learn the TLM/EF soon!

  20. acardnal says:

    Fr. Heilman, if Fr. Sasse can learn it, I know you can too! Sursum Corda. ;-)

  21. Hank Igitur says:

    This rosary appears to include the Pope St Pius X Pardon crucifix, the St Benedict medal and the Miraculous medal. Three very powerful sacramentals.

  22. DebbieInCT says:

    Thank you very much, Fr. Z. and Fr. Heilman. I’m so glad that you responded with info about ordering this rosary. It looks so beautiful but when I went looking for it earlier at churchmilitant.com I couldn’t find it. Now I’ve ordered one! God bless you, Fathers, and thank you for all you do!

  23. Gaetano says:

    I’ve worn through three rosaries by carrying them in my pocket everywhere, so this was a welcome item. I bought two just in case.
    I’m familiar with the Ranger Rosary, but like the look of the vintage metal ones.

  24. tioedong says:

    For those interested in making rosaries, check out Our Lady’s Rosary Makers in Kentucky: link….
    My mother made rosaries for years for the missions, and they used to sell supplies for fancy rosaries for gifts too. Two years ago, I had them send some supplies to some semi cloistered sisters in Africa, so that their retired sisters could make them and the younger sisters could give them out in catechism classes.
    But here in the Philippines, the cheap rosaries from China (plastic dots pasted on thread or plastic beads on thread) are used by the poor…they fall apart easily, so I usually use the one my mother made.

  25. Sodalis says:

    “I have some folks helping me get these produced, so we just went live with a direct page for ordering at a little bit more of a discounted price.

    Please, everyone, let me know how you like them.”

    Ah, shucks. Somewhere between my last post and yours, I ordered two from the other site. The discount would’ve been nice but I don’t think I’ll bother canceling to reorder.

    I cherish the one I carry daily but I’ve thought more than once , “I’ve got no business walking around with a century old rosary in my pocket. What would I do if I broke it or lost it, etc…” Thank you, again, for getting this design out there.

    I’ll be sure to post my thoughts when they arrive.

  26. Giuseppe says:

    My grandfather: “I don’t need a rosary to count to 10 – I got my fingers for that.”

  27. Sonshine135 says:

    I would have loved to have had one of those rosaries in the Air Force. Upon deployment, we only could get the cheap, plastic ones from the Military Archdiocese.

    Love and prayers both Fr. Heilman, Fr. Z , and vocations in general. I call you both warrior priests. We need more warriors like you to lead the flock.

  28. SonofMonica says:

    I just ordered 2 combat rosaries, one for myself and one for my dad. Hopefully they will hold up with daily carrying and use.

    My previous 2 rosaries that I kept in my pocket have broken. Both were blessed by Pope Benedict, and there was some poetic sadness whenever they broke. They are reparable, but clearly not up to the task of staying in my pocket on a daily basis…

  29. kelleyb says:

    I just ordered a combat rosary. I carry a rosary in my pocket all the time. I guess I should use a case or a pouch but I like being able to reach into my pocket and hold my rosary when I am ill at ease or upset or whatever because it is like holding Mary’s hand. I know I am never alone. But I destroy more rosaries than I care to mention. Even the rosary my parents gave me when I married 44 years ago is once again in pieces. I hope the combat rosary will with stand the abuse I seem to heap on my others.
    I do have a question. When I ask to have the rosary blessed, should I supply the St Benedict blessing to the secretary for our priest to use? I had to do that when I brought my St. Benedict Crucifix to be blessed. Or are these rosaries already blessed?

  30. PCali says:

    I have an original combat rosary. It’s very simple, however, and lacks the Miraculous and St. Benedict medals which are on the replicas. The center piece on mine has the Sacred Heart on one side, and an image of Mary holding baby Jesus on the other. (I can’t tell what title of Mary’s it is, as it’s pretty worn, thought it may be our Mother of Perpetual Help)

  31. acardnal says:

    I just received this rosary in today’s mail. It comes with a pouch for carrying it and a pamphlet explaining the rosary and attached medals. It looks to be very durable!

  32. Ulla says:

    Please watch Lady, Father Heilman’s dog – the worlds First Confession dog-


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