Satanic woman attacks Card. Meisner, Cathedral during Christmas Mass

From Der Spiegel (biretta tip to a reader) we read that an idiot woman who, apart from being deeply stupid, surely is doing Satan’s will disrupted the Christmas Mass of Card. Meisner in Cologne, Germany.  It was also his Eminence’s 80th Birthday.

The idiot jumped up onto the altar, mostly unclad, with “I am God” scrawled across her gut.

The Cardinal rededicated the altar afterward.

This is going to happen more and more often.

Pastors, rectors, bishops… you have to start thinking about this sort of demonic activity.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gregg the Obscure says:

    May this woman be granted the grace of repentance.

  2. Imrahil says:


    And kudos to Cardinal Meisner that he remembered to do a rededication.

  3. Mike says:

    Might not all the aspects of this incident be of a piece? That is, might not the woman literally be an idiot, and/or her idiocy (literal or figurative) be a manifestation of demonic possession?

    Satan will no doubt laugh cruelly — and continue to seize souls either directly or via his minions — if we answer either of those questions too quickly in one direction or the other.

  4. Carolina Geo says:

    These things are certainly of Satan. These type of people need radical conversion.

    I am curious about one thing: Why is it that, in Germany, she wrote the words on her body in English?

  5. Muv says:

    Carolina, She wrote in English knowing that there would be photographs published around the world. Think of the number of English speakers and those who readily understand written English. German just hasn’t got the same impact. For the congregation it might have been a crumb of comfort for them that the words weren’t in German.

  6. StJude says:

    How incredibly bizarre.

  7. Hidden One says:

    I see a new argument for the return of rood screens.

    Carolina and Muv, many – I would even say most – Germans can speak English. And hers was not a terribly complicated sentence.

  8. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I thought the Cardinal behaved with admirable presence of mind and unshakeable aplomb. As he said, ‘I include her in my blessing: she certainly needs it most.’

  9. Priam1184 says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that the number of unbaptized souls in the United States (Europe was probably far ahead of us on this one) has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past couple decades? These are the ones who are vulnerable to demonic possession, right Father? A troubling fact to think about as the ancient darkness is trying to return with a vengeance.

  10. mamajen says:

    I guess Satan didn’t care for his recent chat with Pope Francis.

  11. Uxixu says:

    Perhaps it’s time to bring back the exorcists. If not renew the duty of the deacon to be vigilant and guard the celebrant and sanctuary during the Mass. [The minor order of Porter or Doorkeeper could be usefully updated with training for CCW licenses.]

  12. Eric says:

    I’m quite convinced English would be the native language of Satan’s minions.

  13. pelerin says:

    I understand that these attacks by ‘femen’ are being stepped up. About a week ago a femen went into the Church of la Madeleine in Paris. She bared her chest and mimed an abortion using pieces of veal liver before urinating in front of the altar. One report said that on her back was written ‘Christmas is aborted’ also in English. So very shocking.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    Excuse me, why did not anyone try to stop her? If I saw someone rush up to the altar I would get up and try to tackle that person. Why not?

    I am always thinking of such possibilities.

    Why can’t men in the parish organize guards to sit in the front pews, even in the cruciform cathedrals?

    This is the time now to get prepared. Jesus Christ was attacked, not just the Cardinal.

    We need more men in the Church to wake up to the signs of the times.

    Yesterday, at the TLM, which was a scheduled Mass in the morning time, as the pastor says both, and it was highly advertised ahead of time, two people behind me, especially the woman, complained and whinned from the beginning of the Mass of how much she hated the TLM and no one was going to make her say Latin. She purposefully said all the prayers in English, out loud, and she finally said, after Father announced how Communion was to be given, “They are going to deny me the cup.” She finally got up right before Communion, with her companion and left.

    I could feel the nasty vibes all through Mass and prayed that God would touch her heart with the beauty of the Mass and open her up to it. I felt badly that she left before Communion. She was about 67.

    Obviously, there are many disturbed people out there.

  15. Muv says:

    Hidden One,
    I am well aware that many Germans speak excellent English, as do, for example, many Dutch and Scandinavians. The point I was making was not that the congregation would not have understood what was written, but that it was not in their native language.

    The language of Satan’s minions is lies and hatred. Whether the mendacity and odium is expressed in ancient Norse, Greek or Farsi makes no odds. I am heartily tired of seeing English used by publicity-seeking heathens in all corners of the world. Being English and very attached to my own language, I find the notion you have expressed a touch fatuous.

    Please listen to the second song on this video and serve yourself a large helping of humble pie.

  16. Nan says:

    @Supertradmum, my parish makes a point of not offering communion in both species at every Sunday Mass so people don’t feel an entitlement; shouldn’t make any difference as Body and Blood are both present in Host.

  17. Angie Mcs says:

    Supertradmum, I am sorry your Christmas mass was disturbed by this woman. Why o to a TLM mass if she wants something else? And if she had to go to a certain mass because of timing or other reasons, why can’y she just adapt? Instead, she bothered those around her. No caring for her fellow Christians, and no respect for the mass. But these are reasonable questions for reasonable people. You felt badly that she left before Communion. Yet what kind of mental and emotional state would she have been in? It seems a wall of anger was building higher as the mass went on.

    I totally agree about having men in the parish posted, to keep guard against things like these attacks mentioned here. I believe we have a couple that I know of, perhaps others whom I dont know. I feel it will become worse, And I am always expecting some nasty outburst. We will not be left alone .Yet this abortion demonstration on the altar goes beyond protest to all out evil. These half dressed pro- abortion women are everywhere, not really a central location and hierarchy to control them, (unless I don’t know about it )except of course, Satan himself. This is the worst of what I have seen or heard of lately – how strange that it is women, the bearers of life, and at a time when we are celebrating His birth.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Nan, that was not the point…the point was that the woman expected it. Of course, I do not. The woman was just unhappy with the TLM, that is all, and a liberal Catholic, obviously.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Angie Mcs, “my” Mass was not spoiled. And, it gave me a chance to pray for a troubled soul. The point of my mentioning it is that angry and disturbed people are there and some will become violent.

    She did not, but others will.

  20. NBW says:

    Many prayers should be said for this woman and all who are being used by the devil. They are like Judas doing the devil’s will and one day they will be aware of what they did, and despair. May God have mercy on them.

  21. Has it occurred to anybody in the Church that maybe this uptick in satanic activity is a direct result of certain changes in liturgy and ritual? For example:

    — Dumping the Rituale Romanum in favor of the Book of Blessings, and generally not taking things out of Satan’s dominion by having them blessed.
    — Making holy water without exorcised salt and without exorcisms.
    — Watering down the Rite of Exorcism (I understand most exoricsts prefer to use the old one).
    — Getting rid of the exorcisms at Baptism.
    — Getting rid of Rogation Days and with them, the Litany of Saints that contains prayers for deliverance from specific types of demonic activity.
    — Eliminating the prayer Vísita, quæsumus, Dómine, habitatiónem istam from the office of Compline except on solemnities not falling on a Sunday.
    — Dumping the St. Michael prayer after (Low) Mass.
    — Scaling back or ceasing the ringing of church bells.

    The Church, in her public prayers and her rituals, has largely ceased to wage war on devils and to beg divine protection from devils. This failure extends into the private realm where, I fear, very many Catholics are not keeping themselves in the state of grace. We have, in effect, ceded vast tracts of territory to the forces of hell. Then, having done that, we wonder why we are getting stomped.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    Anita, great comment…agree 100%. Maybe Fr. Z. can encourage the return of these things, or Father Chad Ripperger.

  23. Robbie says:

    Rather than dwell on some disturbed lunatic, my parents and I attended the TLM at noon yesterday and it was an amazing experience. Rather than just the smaller group who normally performs for the weekly TLM, the entire choir performed along with a string quartet. They played music Mozart had written for the Mass. Even my mother, who’s rather indifferent to the TLM, thought the music and the singing were stunning. It was certainly something I won’t forget for a long time.

  24. LadyMarchmain says:

    Mamajen: Exactly! The enemy was abroad with a vengeance this Christmas.

    Anita, Supertradmum: Yes. I would also add, loss of the brown scapular (minimal opportunities for being invested). I didn’t realize that about “Visita” being removed from Compline which I consider one of the most beautiful prayers of the church. We could talk about some of the prayers that were in the TLM (and are not in the NO) as well.

    Robbie, I am so happy to read about your experience and especially the graces your mother received. I have taken Protestant/Buddhist friends to masses such as you describe and have seen for myself the deep impression they received.

  25. Angie Mcs says:


    I am sorry you seem to have needed to correct me. I know it is not ” your” mass. It was the mass you attended- is that better? And I didnt say it was spoiled, I said it was disturbed. Considering you mentioned it at all and with detail, one might have thought it disturbed you, as people disturb me who talk loudy enough throughout the mass to be heard by others all around. One tries to tune it out,but sometimes one cannot completely, even with the highest patience level.

    Why did you take a sincere comment towards you and feel the need to respond this way? I am truly confused and sad. But I do wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

  26. JaneC says:

    Anita–the priests at my parish are very tradition-minded and often use the older forms of blessings, the traditional rite for baptism, etc. Unfortunately, they still had to hire security guards after more than one incidence of disturbed or intoxicated people interrupting the Mass or frightening parishioners. Such is the lot of downtown parishes. Personally, I believe much of this kind of activity is attributable to the decline of institutional care for the mentally ill.

  27. Kathleen10 says:

    @Supertradmum, I so identify with your conviction you would tackle whoever was causing the disturbance. So would I.
    @MissAnitaMoore, all great points. We need those protections more than ever, and will need them even more.
    @Fr. Z. I agree. The minor order of Doorkeeper or Porter is something the larger cathedrals at least need to consider, since they are probably the most vulnerable to these kinds of publicity seeking attacks for the time being. At least one near the door and one near the altar is preferable. At least. Specialized training in quick removal, as one would a rodent, is ideal. I’ve said this before but if any of these unfortunate scenes occur in your or my vicinity, pull out your cell phone if you have it, turn it ON, and record everything as best you can. Anyone responding needs to know how to remove someone as “gently” (but quickly and firmly) as they can. A lawsuit would make activists very happy so we want to deprive them of that.
    Speaking of the position of doorkeeper and porter reminds me of one of my favorite people ever, Fr. Solanus Casey of happy memory. What an inspiring priest he was! I’m sure you are all familiar with him, but just in case you aren’t, Fr. Solanus was an American of Irish descent who came from a large and happy family. He became a seminarian but had great difficulty learning in German (I believe it was German) and so was considered unfit for certain priestly duties and was told he could only be a porter. He consented to that finding in perfect humility and according to God’s plan he became much closer to the people who visited the church since he would be at the door. He became the most popular priest, with the waiting room filled with people who needed to talk to Fr. Solanus. He was gifted with supernatural insights into people’s lives and became so popular that he had to be moved to other parishes to give him some relief from the incessant visitors! It wouldn’t matter though. He would be “found” and busloads of people would show up at his new location even in other states. He had a “Padre Pio” kind of charisma for many people, and his books demonstrate a man who certainly was devoted to Jesus and he devoted his life to serving him, despite his earlier disappointments. His video “Solanus Casey: Priest, Porter, Prophet” is very enjoyable and inspiring! When someone came to him with a problem he would say something like “Let’s see what our Good Lord wants” and then pray. He often seemed to know the eventual outcome. Our spiritual discernment is necessary here because that can be interpreted in a less than positive way, but such insights can of course also be due to an advanced prayer life and a charism given us by God. Fr. Solanus had an advanced prayer life and clearly was aligned to Jesus Christ. He is a model of the kind of relationship we all can have with Jesus if we are so inclined to develop it. I find his life so inspiring. He played the violin, loved to play it but was not considered “good” at it. He was found at the altar often, serenading Jesus with his poor violin tunes.
    Sorry to go on so long, but I just love Solanus Casey and rarely see anything written about him today.
    I am sometimes out of the loop on things, so if anyone writes anything negative about Solanus Casey I am going to go jump out of a window.
    I’m kidding, I live in a ranch house anyway.

  28. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    The decline in available treatment and care for the mentally ill is indeed a likely factor in any rise in the incidence of liturgical vandalism, as it were, if in truth there is such a rise. Quality medical care for the mentally ill would go a long way in defending against such occurrences, likely more than armed guards (clerical or otherwise).

  29. MAJ Tony says:

    German and English are not that far apart when it comes to saying something as simple as “I am God./Ich bin Gott.”

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Angie Mcs , no offense taken or given-one can always use opportunities for praying for those who are disturbed.

    As to the devil using someone, we give the devil permission to use us or not. It is clear that many people are in deep darkness, but the light will get brighter and the darkness darker.

    We need bouncers….

  31. Confitemini Domino says:

    Immediately after the woman had been carried out of the church, everyone standing still in shock, the organ having stopped long before, so, into this silence, Card. Meisner said: “I thought we wanted to sing! We have reason for joy. We have reason to celebrate. We have reason to rejoice. So let us sing, and, of course, sometimes we have to shake our heads a little while we are singing.” Then the organ started again.
    Watch his reaction here.

    I knew he is cool, Card. Meisner.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z. do not know where to comment on this, but I LOVE the November 1st 2013 Angelus from the Pope on the side of the blog. Thanks…

  33. Uxixu says:

    I love that idea of CCW by the appropriate parties, if not ornamented open carry… but didn’t the Porters exercise their office outside of the Mass when the deacon and subdeacon took over?

    I do wish the Porters were still in use, to keep churches open for adoration as well for general security of course. Ams looking to advance to serve as Acolytes bearing the crucifix and candles.

    Which brings to mind my biggest concern over the whole minor orders and their… psuedosuppression: giving them the office of doing tasks outside of seminary that remain necessary instead of eliminating them

  34. Priam1184 says:

    I’m sorry Father but I have to comment on your “The minor order of Porter or Doorkeeper could be usefully updated with training for CCW licenses’ to Uxixu: does that mean that we are now supposed to shoot the demonically possessed?

  35. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    What this young woman did is madness. Attempting to address the sort of thing she did by having people armed (and thus, by implication, ready to use said arms) is madness of a different sort. But madness all the same.

  36. Uxixu says:

    I wouldn’t presume to speak for Fr Z but armed guards are all that’s capable of dealing with an armed threat. Lesser threats should generally be met with appropriately lesser response. In other words, it’s more about preparation than predetermined outcome

  37. frjim4321 says:

    Certainly a bad act by a disturbed person.

    That having been said I think the prelate overreacted by rededicating the altar. Not unlike the unfortunate Springfield exorcism when a rite that is held to be sacred by many Catholics was misappropriated to make a political point.

    When we dedicate an altar we dedicate the altar forever. Our act of dedication is not frivolous, it has deep and powerful meaning. If we are to admit that the act of a poor, demented person jumping up and down on an altar can unconsecrated it, well then we don’t think very highly of the solemnity of it’s initial dedication now do we?

    Yes, of course I know there are some extremely serious instances when an altar or a church may be reconsecrated. For example if a full-blown “black mass” with the associated desecration of the sacred species were proven to have happened on an altar, I could see rededication. Also I have heard of churches being rededicated after a murder had been committed within. But this was simply a political protest carried out by a rather pathetic person.

    The prelate in question empowered the woman’s statement by going overboard with the unnecessary rededication ritual. I think we have to be careful not to abuse sacred rites of the church in the service of various agendas.

    [What an agenda that Cardinal must have: non-profaned altars for Mass? Sheesh! The next thing you know we’ll be telling people that they should receive Communion in the state of grace! Profanation? Pffft! A thing of the past. Oh… you mean things can be profaned? Okay, let’s try this. Holy Communion is the most serious thing of all! I guess that means it should be rare. Let’s receive Communion only in the most important times, such as once a year at Easter and just before death. No, but, wait! That’s not what you mean, either? How about this? Profanation of the Blessed Sacrament is practically institutionalized at some place now. If we don’t insist that people receive Communion in the state of grace, why would we want an altar that has not been profaned by the strutting feet of a naked weirdo during Mass? I’m confused.]

  38. Supertradmum says:

    Madness can be a result of years of serious sin, as sin erodes reason. We cannot judge whether the person was evil, mad or on drugs, but the result is the same. Each church should have men to protect the priest and Jesus. Why not?

  39. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Something, I know not what, tells me that when the Christians gathered in the Roman catacombs for the Mysteries, armed guards were not in the assembly to guard against the very real threat of interruption and profanation. I vaguely recall a passage in a Father to this effect about the example of Christ with Peter and putting away the sword/Malchus’ ear.

    In any case, the answer to the crazed young woman in Cologne is not having men with gun permits armed in the pews, ready to show off the ability of the ammo and hardware they are packing alongside their rosaries.

  40. dominic1955 says:

    “When we dedicate an altar we dedicate the altar forever. Our act of dedication is not frivolous, it has deep and powerful meaning. If we are to admit that the act of a poor, demented person jumping up and down on an altar can unconsecrated it, well then we don’t think very highly of the solemnity of it’s initial dedication now do we?”

    According to the 1983 CIC (Can. 1211), it would be up to the Cardinal if this would be called for and he decided it was.

    “Yes, of course I know there are some extremely serious instances when an altar or a church may be reconsecrated. For example if a full-blown “black mass” with the associated desecration of the sacred species were proven to have happened on an altar, I could see rededication. Also I have heard of churches being rededicated after a murder had been committed within. But this was simply a political protest carried out by a rather pathetic person.”

    Who has the say here, again, according to the CIC? Fr. Jim? Nope. Keep guessing…

    “The prelate in question empowered the woman’s statement by going overboard with the unnecessary rededication ritual. I think we have to be careful not to abuse sacred rites of the church in the service of various agendas.”

    Me thinks thou dost protest too much…

  41. dominic1955 says:

    “Something, I know not what, tells me that when the Christians gathered in the Roman catacombs for the Mysteries, armed guards were not in the assembly to guard against the very real threat of interruption and profanation. I vaguely recall a passage in a Father to this effect about the example of Christ with Peter and putting away the sword/Malchus’ ear.”

    Sheesh…someone get the fainting couch and the salts-he’s laying it on thick!

  42. Muv says:


    “… But this was simply a political protest carried out by a rather pathetic person.”

    Oh silly me, I thought it was a half naked woman with blasphemy scrawled across her body leaping onto an altar during Christmas Day Mass. Perhaps Cardinal Meisner should have just let her finish making her political point, and then invited her and her fellow harpies round to his place for cake and political chit chat after Mass.

  43. I thought part of the point of rededicating a sacred space that has been profaned was to make reparation for the sacrilege. What this woman did was objectively sacrilegious, and justice and charity demanded a response.

    I think we are rather too desensitized to the horror of sin. We are desensitized because we simply do not love God. Outrages against His majesty do not bother us nearly as much as they should. I do not exclude myself from this.

    Dr. Lee Fratantuono says: Something, I know not what, tells me that when the Christians gathered in the Roman catacombs for the Mysteries, armed guards were not in the assembly to guard against the very real threat of interruption and profanation.

    I know not what, either.

  44. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I think the Cardinal Archbishop was absolutely right to do what we he did in response to the desecration of his cathedral’s altar.

    Nor would I for a moment minimize the gravity of what the young woman did, regardless of her inspiration (narcotic; mental; demonic).

    But the idea that such an event is a reminder of how churches need men with “concealed carry” permits arrayed strategically around the place…sorry, that’s madness.

  45. LadyMarchmain says:

    Miss Anita Moore, thank you for pointing out the role of reparation in the act of reconsecrating an altar.

    FrJim: the Cardinal acted correctly according to Canon law:
    “Can. 1211 Sacred places are violated by gravely injurious actions done in them with scandal to the faithful, actions which, in the judgment of the local ordinary, are so grave and contrary to the holiness of the place that it is not permitted to carry on worship in them until the damage is repaired by a penitential rite according to the norm of the liturgical books.”
    [A desecration is caused by actions which] “do grave dishonor to sacred mysteries, especially to the eucharistic species, and are committed to show contempt for the Church, or are crimes that are serious offenses against the dignity of the person and society. A church, therefore, is desecrated by actions that are gravely injurious in themselves and a cause of scandal to the faithful. Reparation for the desecration is to be carried out with a penitential rite celebrated as soon as possible. Until that time, no sacred rite may be celebrated in the church.”

  46. Supertradmum says:

    Anita, you are spot on about the lack of sensitivity but can we point to the media love of violence, and the fact that sin desensitizes people?

    There are millions of people without a framework for making moral decisions, and, perhaps, millions of Catholics with badly or non-formed consciences. Of course, this type of attack was a sacrilege.

  47. frjim4321 says:

    ” . . . in the judgment of the local ordinary . . . ”

    He could have used greater discretion and still operated in accord with the law.

  48. Muv says:


    “He could have used greater discretion…”

    How? Done nothing? Let her carry on? Pretend nothing had happened??

    Get a grip, Fr. Jim. This was obscene exhibitionist sacrilegious blasphemy during Mass on the altar in front of a large congregation, many of whom are probably still reeling in shock.

    You are underplaying the gravity of what this woman did, and you are insulting the Cardinal with the nauseating final paragraph of your earlier comment.

  49. dominic1955 says:

    Greater discretion *according to you*. Let’s get that straight, why don’t we.

    It was his call. He obviously thought some satanically inspired blaspheming “femen”-azi doing what she did was enough. I would agree. We don’t usually consider such nasty people hell bent on blaspheming and desecrating something (Mass) we as Catholics should hold in the highest awe and respect as just another ho-hum if somewhat interesting happening. Satan knows better than most of us the gravity of such an attack. Its not merely political or avante garde.

    Back in the old days, IF (and that’s a big if) she managed not to get skewered on a halberd, they would have done something along the same lines in exorcising or rededicating an altar and/or church. Prelates and clergy (of all people) should not treat such an affront against God, against the Church, against the Sacraments, against sacred things and sacred places as if its crazy theater at departure time in a train station.

    Get a grip, man. Its not like he decided to reconsecrate the place because one of the concelebrators broke wind up there.

  50. dominic1955 says:

    “But the idea that such an event is a reminder of how churches need men with “concealed carry” permits arrayed strategically around the place…sorry, that’s madness.”

    You do realize (I hope) that not all of the Swiss Guards stand around in those Renaissance outfits and look spify, don’t you?

    Anyone who uses a gun for self-defense also knows that different levels of threats call for different responses. Crazed progressivists trying to do some sort of performance art blasphemy protest won’t get blasted because that’s not what that calls for.

    I do wish, however, they would get caned and left in the stocks for a while to think on what a foolish stunt that was. People like that need some sort very visceral and immediate response. Expecting people to maintain some basic level of civility and respect is obviously too hard for some folks…

  51. frjim4321 says:

    “How? Done nothing? Let her carry on? Pretend nothing had happened??”

    Of course not. Security should have and did removed her.

    My only point was that rededication was not called for. It undermined the validity of the original dedication.

    This is not unlike my objection to the renewal of wedding vows on an anniversary. Didn’t they mean what they said the first time? If they said it’s for life, it’s for life; the act of renewal of a vow is a absurdity. Same with the renewal of priestly vows at the Chrism Mass. I meant them when I said them the first time, thank you very much.

    I allowed at the outset that this was “certainly a bad act by a disturbed person.” I think we’d have less difficulty here is people would actually read what I wrote rather than jump to the conclusion that I said something objectionably. I don’t agree with the woman, I don’t think she did a good thing, I don’t think she should have been allowed to continue. She presented a danger to herself and others and needed to be removed. All that I agree with.

    But the rededication did nothing but to validate this woman.

  52. Muv says:

    “But the rededication did nothing but to validate this woman.”

    The rededication was an act of reparation to Our Lord and an act of great charity to the congregation who had witnessed the profanation of the altar, and by extension to all of us who hold Our Lord dear in the Blessed Sacrament and who have subsequently heard of this . How you twist that into “validating this woman” is beyond me, and I dare say beyond many others who have read what you have written.

  53. LadyMarchmain says:

    Yes, Fr. Jim, I must say I am perplexed also. I can see your point that sometimes it’s better to minimize what was done so as to demonstrate its smallness, but this was not just a streaker. She got up on the altar….etc

    Also, I don’t see that a re-dedication in any way detracts from the original dedication? It means that someone or something tried to and/or succeeded in tampering with the purpose for which the altar was dedicated in such a way as to “do grave dishonor to sacred mysteries, especially to the eucharistic species, … to show contempt for the Church…”

    If we agree that a church or altar needs to be reconsecrated following a desecration, what follows is clear: “A church, therefore, is desecrated by actions that are gravely injurious in themselves and a cause of scandal to the faithful.”

    From the account, it does not seem that the Cardinal was over reacting. He immediately led the congregation back to their singing of carols, and affirmed their purpose in being there. This sounds calm, cool, and collected to me. He made a pastoral and professional judgement to offer the penitential rite of the rededication.

  54. Uxixu says:

    I’m not sure I would have considered the altar as desecrated by such a fool as a vulgar femen activist, so get what Fr Jim is saying here… similarly, the Cardinal’s rededication seems nowhere near as elaborate or ceremonial a ritual as a “full” dedication. Well within his canonical rights and doesn’t hurt. Such blasphemy sure doesn’t dignify the sanctuary or altar.

  55. dominic1955 says:

    “My only point was that rededication was not called for. It undermined the validity of the original dedication.”

    If that is the case, then to take your point to its logically conclusion, nothing of the sort could ever be done even though it has legal backing (CIC) and the long standing of tradition to back it up. Many “rededications” because of renovations would also be pointless. It wouldn’t matter if someone was murdered on the altar, the dedication is forever, no?

    Plus, and this is a bit of a tangent, if we are going to be so gung-ho about the “permanence” of dedication, why don’t we do it up like the old days in which an altar had its foundation in the ground itself? The silly little chopping blocks and ironing tables that pass for altars these days need to go.

  56. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Fr. Jim,

    My old home parish church was desecrated at one point, and believe me, you could tell that something bad had happened to the building even from outside, where no damage was visible. And no, I’m not someone who’s particularly sensitive or psychic or given to seeing ghosts. It was just not right, and it was not at all like a deconsecrated building or a building that has never been consecrated. Everybody in the parish was super upset, especially including people who normally were not particularly churchy.

    At that point, nobody in the archdiocese had a copy of the reconsecration reparation rites in English, and also Father had to get permission from the archbishop, who ended up calling up the Curia to get permission to do a translation in English. So this very bad thing was sitting around for almost a week. When the place was reconsecrated, it felt so fresh and wonderful!

    So yes, what the cardinal was extremely pastoral and practical. I have no doubt that he could tell that the place was desecrated, and that everybody in the pews were freaking out and needed to know there’d been a reconsecration.

    I really hope that you never have to deal with this kind of desecration nightmare (albeit it’s not nearly as bad as desecrations caused by somebody getting murdered or the like, still, it’s plenty bad enough). But there’s a reason the Church has this ritual, and it’s not to insult the original consecration of the altar. It’s dealing with objective spiritual reality.

    (Also see Jewish traditions and Bible passages about various rebuildings of the Temple, etc., and Chanukah being plenty good enough for Jesus to celebrate in the Gospels.)

  57. I am glad that they thought to rededicate the altar, and take care of things there, but it is sad that no one (there or even in these comments – except for one or two brief mentions) thought it might have been a good idea to “rededicate” this woman.

    Obviously, whoever she may be, she is downright troubled. But she is still a human soul – and I would think that it would perhaps be even more important to focus on reclaiming and “rededicating” her to God than even the altar. (Although I am not saying that should not have been done. That is fine too.)

    It is sad in our world that people who are clearly in a very (emphasis on VERY) bad place, are, instead of being seen as souls in need of “rededication” – are called names and dismissed as unimportant. These are precisely the people who need reached out to, despite how terrible their behavior may be. I hope that they got her to someone who can help her – maybe diagnose if she needs prayer – and not call HER an idiot (even if her behavior was idiotic) if she is suffering from something very deep along the way. That is true Christianity in action, in my book.

  58. Mike says:

    Hmm. Not that anyone here is saying exactly this but: I just don’t see how “rededication” is like “re-baptism”. The latter, of course, is forbidden as that sacrament leaves a character on the soul forever. An altar is a thing, which may be so misused that a rededication to its original purpose is both wise and instructive.

  59. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Tim Graham (Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center) in a report at earlier today (26 Dec.) quotes a news agency report that on 19 December, “FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko […] ran through the Vatican City yelling ‘Christmas is cancelled,’ with the words ‘Jesus is aborted’ written across her bare chest.”
    He also quotes from the Femen wdbsite this statement:

    “Sextremist of FEMEN Germany Josephine foiled Christmas mass in the main cathedral Kölner Dom of Cologne. In the presence of thousands of audience activist climbed onto the altar of the cathedral, protesting against the Vatican propaganda about criminalization of abortion. FEMEN requires the Vatican elders and their fanatical followers to stop producing medieval chimeras and edit their rotten dogma in accordance with the modern world and human rights. Maniacal desire to control fertility ability of women have in common religion with national socialism , nationalism and other antediluvian anti-humanist ideologies.

    “Europe, wake up, you have to be an idiot to take seriously these sermons parody inquisitors. Everything smells of rot should be buried immediately! Long live woman! Long live the science!
    MY [on the presumption she is not referring obscurely to her pet, an impolite word for the female genitalia] MY RULES! I AM GOD!”

    How appropriate technical psychiatric/psychological terms might be in their cases would presumably require ‘professional’ examination of them, as would technical demonological terms, but Eric Voegelin’s term (which he says he derives from Schelling), ‘pneumopathology’, which can include reference to self-conscious revolt against Divine order and natural justice, where the use of violence is not eschewed, would seem appilcable. (So might ‘self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism’ properly so called!)

    Some of those campaigning for abortion in Canada in the 1980s carried signs saying, “Abort God”, here we have the one assertion that “Jesus is aborted” combined with another that the ideological thug is herself “GOD”. All these fit together (in a ‘promethean’ way if one imagines Prometheus one of the ‘Titans’ and God as Zeus) – declare God dead, ‘abort’ anything which stands in the way of the ‘triumph of the ideologue’s will’, eclipse any- and everything in the interest of ‘their rules’, them ruling everyone – in the name of “science” and ‘human rights”, of course.

  60. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I was wondering along the same lines – whether rededication is closer to the use of Holy Water and the Sacrament of Penance than to rebaptism.

  61. To refrain from responding to a public act of sacrilege in order to avoid “validating” the malefactor is a recipe for impotence and, finally, indifference, in the face of evil.

  62. benedetta says:

    I agree with Fr. Z., it’s satanic. Organized satanic, not mental illness. This organization targets Catholics at worship. It’s obviously hate crime. What is the “political” statement? Again, satanic. And there is apparently a male charismatic figurehead who directs these women to “target” Catholics, worshippers, churches, sacred places, and sacraments. What form of “political” protest authorizes abuse towards a particular faith in worship? Anyone who argues this is legitimate political protest needs to have their head examined. This is criminal, and fits the bill for a hate crime. The fact that there are series of this attacking and assaulting clerics and Catholics also establishes that it is hate crime. Plain and simple. They should be prosecuted as a gang organized for the purpose of assaulting Catholics and disrupting the sacraments.

  63. pelerin says:

    Various commenters have called the woman in question crazed, satanic, disturbed mental etc. As far as I can see she was none of these. Wikipedia has a page on Femen activists which it describes as ‘Anti-Christian, anti Muslim exhibitionist feminist protest group.’ They originated in the Ukraine and their headquarters and so called training centre is in Paris.

    In February this year several topless activists went into Notre Dame Cathedral whilst the new bells were in the aisle. They were of course ejected but they did receive the publicity they crave. The bishop of Brussels has been ‘attacked’ twice once with water being poured over him and another time with a custard pie in his face. However churches and clerics are not their only targets but because they are pro abortion and regard ‘choice’ as a women’s right the Church is being targeted in this way. They are not inspired by Satan and probably don’t believe he exists anyway just as they don’t believe in God. I don’t think they would understand what sacrilege means – they wish to shock by their actions and they certainly shocked many people in Cologne Cathedral that night.

  64. mrshopey says:

    Following Fr. Jim’s train of thought regarding re -dedication similar to renewing vows I have to ask the following:
    Do you renew your baptismal promises at Easter? If so, did that take away from your original dedication (baptism)?
    I can think of several reasons a couple would need to renew their wedding vows. One being adultery or a very serious offense in the marriage.
    After repentance, therapy, etc, and proven there exists some promise to not break the vows again, a private ceremony would seem appropriate and healing in my book.
    But, there need not be scandalous behavior for that to happen either, renewing vows.
    Also, I thought every year, priests renew their promises to their Bishops – protect/teach/etc faithful? this happens, or so I read, during the Triduum. Did that take away the original promise the priest took?
    Everyday, when we get up and say our prayers – not my will but your will be done – we are making a re-commitment to God.
    I hope you allow your parishioners to renew their vows.

  65. Muv says:


    “… They are not inspired by Satan and probably don’t believe he exists anyway just as they don’t believe in God …”

    Pelerin, ALL sin is inspired by Satan, no matter who commits it. Belief in the existence of Satan and God (it pains me to put Satan before God in a sentence, but I am following the order in which you refer to them) is immaterial, and to Satan, an advantage.

    Reclaiming the Sacred

    The very first comment, from Gregg the Obscure, “May this woman be granted the grace of repentance” said it all. The rededication of the altar had to take place there and then. It is not something you or I can do from where we are, whereas we can pray (and no doubt many commentators already have) for the intention as expressed by Gregg.
    Please also see the request I am putting to Fr. Z below. The prayer I have quoted is a most succinct way of combining reparation with a plea for our own salvation and that of others.


    Thank you for the nugget about the charismatic male figurehead. If this person does indeed exist it would be nice to see him flushed out of his lair.

    Father Z,

    Any chance please that you can put a prayer of reparation on your sidebar for us to refer to when you have to put up posts such as this one?

    Last night I went to sleep repeating the prayer of Sr. Consolata Betrone – “Jesus and Mary I love You. Save Souls.” It fitted the bill for me last night, when I was too tired for anything longer.

  66. Jim Dorchak says:

    I thought this was part of the Mass in Germany!
    I mean really they have the “Cow Boy Mass”, the “Rock and Roll Mass”, the Mass that allows divorced to receive communion, the “Homosexual Mass”. Is this not the same country where the bishops have announced that the Instant Abortion pill would be offered at all Catholic hospitals?
    Is this not what you get when you ask for the new, new, “New” Mass? When you forget what the Mass is?
    Has it been proven that the Cardinal did not plan for this to be part of the Mass?
    I am almost tongue and cheek, but the sad truth is that this is the reality of the Catholic Church in Germany.
    Jim Dorchak

  67. pelerin says:

    I am confused here. Are we not responsible for our own sins? These political feminist activists have found out how to shock Catholics by invading cathedrals such as in Paris and Cologne. They hope to get over their points of view by shocking us with their disgusting behaviour but I cannot see how it can be regarded as satanic.

    Satanic actions are those in which Satan is worshipped through black magic. Candlesticks are overturned in churches, graffiti is daubed in sacred places, offerings made to the devil etc. Evil is called down. These women may look evil but I think they are very misguided members of this movement trying to shock. I have never seen any of them being interviewed but my guess is that they probably come from ‘good’ families and are going through this protest hippy phase which unfortunately includes hatred of the Church and all it stands for.

  68. benedetta says:

    Disruption of and “shock” of people at worship and in prayer indeed is demonic, satanic, no matter whether the people doing it “believe in” the devil or his agenda. Further, it is a mark of a civilized society when people of faith may worship freely and in peace and without fear of this sort of thing happening. When this becomes prevalent, we know the devil is at work and that civilization is in serious decline. Interestingly, the very thing this group wants more of, abortion, though it’s pretty much legal and consumed everywhere for decades, is the exact cause of the decline of civilization and the very thing that has undermined the peace.

    What pelerin does disrupting the sacraments, in front of families and innocent children gathered on Christmas (an assault on their faith and sensibility which will remain with them for their entire lives) have to do with their agenda for more abortion? Even Ireland now is into abortion. Certainly the “Vatican” or these innocent Christmas worshipers have nothing to do with whether people can have more abortion or not in the countries where they are assaulting people. (An “assault” doesn’t necessarily have to involve physical touching…all that is needed is that terrorist style, they place people in a state of fear).

    It would seem that “more abortion” or whatever their “excuse” is just that, an excuse for disrupting and showing their boobs at Catholic services or clerics and Catholic worshipers. It appears that their interest and agenda is only to target, hate crime style, Catholics. That they put forth some phony political cause is just in my opinion a smokescreen.

    Also we have seen disruption of Mass before. It seems this man who directs these women to do all these criminal and demonic actions has taken a page from a playbook used some time ago here in the states, again, targeting the Catholics in a hateful way with a political “excuse”.

    It is a rather odd “political” advocacy: Europe already has a ton (millions) of legal abortions. Clearly the Church has been relatively powerless to stop any of that or continue to oppose its ferocious appetite. This group wants, what, “more”? Like I said. Satanic all the way.

  69. Muv says:


    We receive grace from God. It is up to us to accept or reject it. Likewise, we receive temptation from Satan. It is up to us to either resist it or yield to it. Our responsibility is how we respond – yes or no to God, yes or no to Satan. A good deed is yes to God, a Godly act. Sin is yes to Satan, therefore all sin is therefore by definition a satanic act, though that is not generally a term that one would bandy about in relation to venial sin. By applying the word satanic only to actual ritual worship of Satan you are artificially restricting the natural meaning of the word, and thereby unwittingly falling into a nasty sticky little trap. Just as people who think abortion is just a political question have fallen into another of his nasty traps.

  70. At the church I attended while a kid, we actually did have a church bouncer.

    See, the church was in a truly horrible neighborhood. I mean *awful.* You did NOT want to be there after dark, and, frankly, as a woman I’d have to give serious thought as to whether I’d want to walk unaccompanied from my car to this church in broad daylight now–and I’m no shrinking violet.

    It was extremely common for members of the local homeless population to come into the church during Mass. Of course, that’s perfectly acceptable; the Church doesn’t care if you’re poor! However, a lot of this population were either insane or on drugs or both, to the point that parishioners would periodically get threatened by them after Mass if the parishioners wouldn’t give them enough money. More to the point, some of them would disrupt the Mass by screaming, ranting (in one memorable case, the guy was yelling “Praise Allah!” for quite some time), nagging the parishioners, and so on.

    These events significantly decreased, however, when a recently-retired Marine began serving Mass every Sunday. He was, I would guess, in his early 40s and in excellent shape. Served Mass very reverently and devoutly, too, but if the occasion called for it, he could exit the sanctuary (genuflecting appropriately, natch), march over to the offending person, and instruct him in quiet but firm tones to either cut it out or vacate the church. On one occasion, when the person refused and continued to yell blasphemies, the Marine simply picked him up by the scruff of the neck and seat of the pants, carried him gently outside, set him down, went back in, and continued serving Mass as though nothing had happened.

    Effective, to say the least…

    (If someone’s wondering why another man didn’t do the same thing, the simple answer is that this was a TLM, and the population at the Mass was very small indeed. There really weren’t any other men in attendance who were physically capable of doing this sort of thing, sadly.)

  71. robtbrown says:

    Muv says:
    We receive grace from God. It is up to us to accept or reject it.

    We need cooperating grace to accept it.

    Likewise, we receive temptation from Satan. It is up to us to either resist it or yield to it. Our responsibility is how we respond – yes or no to God, yes or no to Satan.

    Not all temptation comes directly from Satan. Sometimes we are tempted by our own nature.

  72. benedetta says:

    Yes it is a rather strange notion that pelerin puts forth namely that so long as one does not “believe” in the devil, one remains somehow wholly free and independent of his influences.

    Is pelerin trying to say that they do not appear to be “bona fide Satan worshippers”? Not sure how people may know this for certain. Dancing on the altar during the holy sacrifice at Christmas before a full cathedral with breasts exposed and ‘i am god’ written on one’s gut seems to fit the bill at any rate. Desecrating the Mass and pining publicly after lots more abortions than the tens of millions we’ve already got is demonic per se no matter what these folks’ “belief sets”.

    But more troubling is that some people are hardened to this happening and chalking it up to just regular “politics”. Abortion is a demonic craving for more and more innocent human life, and the desensitization of the masses towards it more and more. That people can just shrug if worship is disrupted is just another aspect of cultural decline and the complete failure of a secularist or humanist centered culture. I refer you to the recent incident where a young woman was apprehended whilst shopping on 5th Avenue in New York carrying her strangled child she had given birth to hours earlier in a Victoria’s Secret bag.

  73. benedetta says:

    N. B. Fr. Z, pelerin wishes you to refrain from calling out the “Satanic” unless you have first confirmed as official card carrying and press release institutional members of the Satanist, I don’t know, affiliation?? LOL…

  74. RJHighland says:

    Me thinks frjim2341 may be accustom to scantily clad dancing girls during mass, so this may not be that big deal to him. So lets try to understand where he is coming from and show some compassion and humility. Who am I to judge, right? Maybe this young lady had been studying Kant, who knows? She thinks therefore she is god, easy mistake. She just got very excited about this intellectual break through and acted out, could happen to anyone. No Satanic influence here no need to purify the altar just an enthusiastic German philosophy student.

  75. benedetta says:

    I guess Fr. Z will have to change this post to “Mean, not nice topless lady with her belly saying that she is god does a rude thing on a sacramental before throngs of Christmas worshippers at prayer. No explanation given. Some say she was just being political. No word on whether she was able to garner more votes for prochoice from the worshippers who packed the cathedral at Christmas. Awareness was duly raised. Nothing to see here. Go back to sleep Europe. Meanwhile prolife European Muslims worship peacefully and unscathed to date. Guy directing women to remove their tops towards Catholic clerics and worshipers enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home this year. No word on what number of abortions he will be satisfied with over and above the tens of millions achieved to date. After the holidays, he may or may not get around to issuing a press release enumerating his demands. If greater numbers of abortions are thus achieved by his political advocacy, will he then promise to permit Catholic children receive holy communion at Christmas in Europe or does that necessarily still have to happen…?

  76. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    benedatta & muv,

    Inna Shevchenko and cohorts allowed Kitty Green to make a documentary about them (Femen) which has been finished and shown – I am not sure how ‘ available’ it is. I see there are further details in the English Wikipedia article (as “last modified on 27 December 2013 at 03:47”) under “Notes”: “According to the 2013 Ukraine is not a Brothel documentary by Kitty Green FEMEN was founded by Viktor Sviatsky; in September 2013 Inna Shevchenko denied this but stated that Sviatsky ‘did lead the movement some time ago…We accepted this because we did not know how to resist and fight it….This is when I decided to leave Ukraine for France to build a new Femen’.” This is followed by two footnotes linking to two English newspaper articles.

    I cannot imagine that Fr. Z use of “Satanic”, “doing Satan’s will”, and “demonic activity” are anything but consistent with careful distinctions about self-conscious ‘ Satanism’, demonic possession, direct demonic temptation, and instances of human temptation and sin that are not the result of such direct acts of temptation by fallen angels while being consistent with their objectives.

  77. benedetta says:

    Even going by secular humanist/enlightenment ideals, disrupting religious worship in the pursuit of just about anything is a sign of overall corrosion of freedom and a serious decline of civilization. Even if you do not care to name this according to what this is, demonic, then by standards of international law this group is a criminal enterprise organized around harassment and terror towards Catholics. That this is done under the “veil” of abortion “awareness” in a region of the world where abortion is already very legal and very much committed without remorse to the tune of millions upon millions, is equally strange. What does it say about political discourse in the age of the dictatorship of relativism that where this is already permitted and encouraged people will carry out criminal activities targeting Catholics in the name of this vice? You don’t even have to name it to see that by secular standards the agenda that has captured Europe and America is and has failed as a means for ordering people’s lives peacefully and through freedom. This is a harbinger of hatred, terrorist criminal organization, and totalitarianism.

  78. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It is good to pray for such as these (as well as for one’s sinful self) – and think not only, for example, of someone like the plausibly penitent Satanist in Charles Williams’s novel, War in Heaven, but of Dr. Bernard Nathanson. But while thinking how much better a rededication of those lapsed Catholics, Hitler and Himmler, and that old Orthodox seminarian, Stalin, would have been, it is good to bear in mind what range of other sorts of interference and prevention may prove appropriate.

  79. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Well said (at “10:56 am”) – I hope my comment of yesterday (“9:14 pm”) will, in due time, come out of moderation for puposes of comparison. (I am not sure of the technicalities of the “standards of international law”: it seems to be criminal behaviour, organized internationally, by any commonsensical definition.) I, at any rate, would like to see it named “according to what [it] is” as precisely as possible, including “demonic” in exactly whatever sense(s) that is fitting.

  80. LadyMarchmain says:

    perelin: we need to understand the distinction between “Satanist” and “Satanic”. A Satanist would be someone who actively worships Satan. True, no black mass was celebrated, and apparently, the FEMEN have no religious orientation of any kind. But Fr. Z did not say the woman was a Satanist, he said she was “Satanic”.

    What makes something “Satanic”? The name, Satan, means “enemy”. “Satanic” means someone behaving like an enemy. So anyone who takes the stance of enemy and attacks the Church, and especially the altar where Christ is present, is behaving like an enemy.

    mrshopey: Thank you for your very good points about renewal and rededication.

  81. Femen was founded by a dude? How ironic.

  82. acricketchirps says:

    Femen was founded by a dude? How ironic.

    Not really. There are probably lots of dudes who dream of founding organizations that feature women walking around without their shirts on.

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