Omnium Gatherum – Of deaconettes, shoes and consecrations


I just saw reports that the lib Left had a meltdown over 1st Lady Melania Trump’s shoes when she was on her way to Houston.  I can’t help but wonder about a connection between the Left’s obsessions and their amazing ability to hate.


There are several things I want to address, but separate posts would be too much.  So here is an omnium gatherum, just for fun.

1) The best Catholic weekly in the UK, the Catholic Herald has, astonishingly, a piece about our ol’pal and perennial crusader (crusadrix?) for the ordination of women, Phyllis Zagano.   She was appointed last y17_08_29_CH_Zaganoear to a panel that meets in Rome a couple times a year to look into the historical and theological questions about deaconesses (aka female deacons, deaconettes).  The panel doesn’t have the task or competence to make recommendations to the Pope on the topic, but rather to drill into some of the thorny issues.  And they are both thorny and fraught with obscurity.  In any event, Zagano, who generally says that her main interest to promote only the ordination of deaconettes, let her deeper agenda show through in a talk at Yale as reported by the Catholic Herald: the ordination of women as priests.  Here is what she said, with my emphases:

During the question-and-answer session after her talk, Zagano was asked [warning: that’s links a video]: “Why do you not promote the ordination of women as both deacons and priests?”

She replied that these were “two separate ministries”, before adding: “That’s part of it. The other part of it is, I don’t know. I just don’t see it at this point. I think that the priest, when we look at the priest, it’s not the ‘icon of Christ’ problem, it’s the icon of what we’ve made of the priest. So I just don’t think that if I walked down the centre aisle of St Patrick’s Cathedral, waving my – this is my Yale ID card, but waving my “I’m a priest” card … I think I’d be stoned. I just don’t think our Church is ready for that.”

In the talk, which took place in 2013 at Yale’s Thomas E. Golden Jr. Center, Zagano said: “I cannot find evidence that women have been ordained as priests. And the historical argument seems to carry the day right now.”

“At this point… ready… right now….”

Phyllis has a deft pen and uses words well.  She has answered these questions, no doubt, quite a few times.  She said what she thinks.

One of the problems with the ordination of women as deacons is that the Church says that the ordination to the diaconate is the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Only men can receive that sacrament.

Another problem, going way back into ancient times, is that – while we do know that there were women called deacons – we don’t know who ordained them or why or what they were supposed to do.  It wasn’t a universal practice.  Also, the fact that they disappeared early on suggests that they weren’t main-stream at all.  So, which heretical sects might have had them?  Moreover, over the centuries it has always been possible to find some bishop who would try just about anything.  Saying that a bishop “ordained” women isn’t much of a case.  And there are problems with terminology, too.  What did “ordain” mean to them?  So, anyway, I don’t see anything coming out of this deaconette panel, except, perhaps, some scholarly papers when it is finally disbanded.  That’s not nothing.

2) Over at Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter), the Wile E. Coyote of the liberal catholic Left took a laughably cheap shot at me and at the Extraordinary Ordinary, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison.  Wile E., (aka Michael Sean Winters) often posts a daily round up of links to internet stuff that he wants people to see, and he often posts comments about the link.  That is the format in which Wile E. attacked converts and kindly said that (when he doesn’t agree with them) they should not be allowed an opinion.

In any event, this time Wile E. linked to the fundraising campaign I posted for the 501(c)(3) organization of which I am the prez, the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (TMSM), and made reference to the fact that, in photos I posted, the Bishop, as celebrant of the Mass, is wearing white shoes.

White shoes!  Well, that’s newsworthy!   Clearly he wanted to stir his readers up to their usual spittle-fleck nutty of uncharitable comments in the fever-swamp that is their combox.  And the commentators, true to form, posted their customary fare of inuendos and falsehoods.

However, if you do go to look – which is sort of like examining roadkill rotting in the sun – bring with you the irony that Winters pays soooo much attention to the bishop’s shoes.

His readers might not sense the humor in that right away.20659940_1502041256.0894_funddescription

BTW… take note of what the Fishwrap posts above its combox: “National Catholic Reporter uses Civil Comments. Please keep your comments on-topic, focus on the issue and avoid personal insults, harassment and abuse.”  But personal insults is about all they have.

In any event, this gives me the opportunity to explain something about those shoes.

When a bishop vests for a Solemn Mass in the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite, to be celebrated at the throne/cathedra or at the faldstool, he wears some additional vestments.  All the vestments, the pontificalia, have symbolic meanings.

The first thing the bishop puts on, or rather endures to have put on him as he patiently sits, are the buskins.  These are sort of half boots of cloth which are laced or tied on.  They have their origin in ancient Greek and Roman footwear.  The churchy buskin usually consists of a kind of sandal encased inside a stocking-like affair that gets laced or tied up the lower leg.  They can entirely enclose the shoe portion of the gizmo.  However, I have to admit that these are a bit of a pain.  Bishops I have put these things on will bear that out.  So, Bp. Morlino has buskins which are open on the bottom so that he can wear regular shoes.  Since buskins are supposed to be the color of the vestments (except black… no black buskins).  If the Mass is in white vestments, the buskins should be white.  Hence, when the bishop vested for Mass, he had white buskins over white shoes.  This really isn’t that hard.  The TMSM had made white, green, red and violet buskins for the pontificalia.

We haven’t had yet a Pontifical Mass in Red when we also had the red buskins.  However, the next one is on 14 September for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  

Perhaps we should get some red shoes for the bishop.  Red shoes will without question bring MSW swiftly to his fainting couch and get his readers all a-titter.

So, here is the prayer which the bishop says at the buskins are put on him.

Calcea, Domine, pedes meos in praeparationem evangelii pacis, et protege me in velamento alarum tuarum.

Shod my feet, Lord, unto the preparation of the gospel of peace, and protect me under the cover of thy wings.

This prayer echoes Ephesians 6:15 and Psalm 60:5.

Compare the sentiment of that prayer with the nastiness of Bp. Morlino’s detractors.   It makes me think of the prayer that all priests say when putting on the amice: “Impose, O Lord, the helmet of salvation upon my head, to overthrow all diabolic deceits, overcoming the savagery of all my enemies.”

These vesting prayers are of great service for a priest and his identity.  They remind him of who he is and what he is up against.  They put his life and role into perspective.  They keep him mindful of his complete dependence on the true Priest.  They ground him in the knowledge that he is both priest and, simultaneously, the victim offered up.

So, here I’ll make a pitch for the fundraiser which the seriously nasty libs at Fishwrap are mocking and insulting.  You can make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation to help us with our many projects…


Also you can send generous checks to:

Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison
733 Struck St.
PO BOX 44603
Madison, WI 53744-4603

This is another one of those instances when they insult us over at Fishwrap, I gain a chance to raise more money!  Please!  Insult us some more!


Thanks to SV and JL for their new donations!  Sticking it to the libs one donation at a time.

3) Next, a friend of mine in KC has sent, back to back, a couple of fascinating links.

First, there was an ordination for a tiny splinter group called the The North American Old Roman Catholic Church.  Yep.

An ordination in Downtown St. Joseph Friday has helped launch a local mission of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, a valid, [?] autonomous and canonically independent Roman Catholic denomination.

“It’s been a real historical factor for over 1,000 years. [Such a factor that I’ll bet many of you haven’t heard of it.] Informed Catholics are aware of a number of independent Catholic groups — the Society of St. Pius X and other churches that fall under the Roman Catholic purview,” said the Rev. David L. Jones. “But it’s probably not well known here in Northwest Missouri, and that’s sort of why I’m trying to help people understand who we are and why we exist.”

Jones was ordained as a priest in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church on Friday evening at Christ Episcopal Church in Downtown St. Joseph. He plans to establish the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Mission, a mission of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, in St. Joseph. A similar mission is located in Atchison, Kansas.

“Many folks that I’ve talked to are very interested,” Jones said. “I think it’s fresh air now that’s coming into St. Joseph. Once they see it as an alternative, I think they will be attracted to it.”


The North American Old Roman Catholic Church is a valid, autonomous and canonical American expression of the worldwide Old Roman Catholic Church, which grew out of the Church of Utrecht, established around 1100 AD. [Ummmm…. ?!?] It follows the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.

“We were granted our freedom, our independence from the Holy Father, from the Pope himself,” Jones said. “We don’t fall directly under the Pope, but we pray for the Holy Father at Mass. Our sacraments, our apostolic succession, our lineage, our ministries, actually come from Roman Catholic history.”

They are “very conservative theologically and liberal sacramental-ly,” said the Rev. Joseph Vellone, [contradicting himself within the same utterance] presiding archbishop of the Archdiocese of California. Priests can be married, and there are fewer requirements for the sacraments, he said.

“We don’t have a vow of celibacy,” he said. “We are not quite so strict as sometimes the Catholic church is. We follow the Pope and reverence him, and acknowledge his position, but we really feel called by the Lord to do stuff that they can’t do or won’t do.”


Stuff, indeed.

But wait! There’s more.

My friend at the same time sent another link, to the Progressive Catholic Church, which had a consecration!  The PCC seems to be an offshoot of the Old Catholics (above).  They made one guy into a bishop and another into a deacon and then (scroll down) they went to a favorite spot The Hungry Drover:


Sounds pretty good, though I’m puzzled at the placement of the “tea”.  Any thoughts?

I like some of the titles of their clergy.  For example, they have a “Metropolitan of the Deep South”.  Their clergy page is really interesting.

Either one of these groups would be thrilled to welcome Wile E. and Phyllis into their burgeoning ranks.

The more I read about them the more it seems that their goals and ambitions coincide.

4) Lastly, be sure to go back to the UK’s best catholic weekly and read this delightful piece about an amazing woman.  HERE  It’s about Anna Margaret Haycraft and it’s entitled:

The Catholic bohemian who mocked feminists

It includes the great line:

“I believe that if forced to choose with whom I would prefer to spend a few hours, I would opt for football hooligans rather than face the malignant ferocity of a roomful of would-be lady priests and discontented nuns”.

And also…

For Anna, the new Mass and the “renewal” (a word she loathed) of the Church demeaned all Catholics, but especially the priest who, as he fussed around the altar preparing the Eucharist in both kinds for the congregation, looked “more like a napkin-flapping maître d’ than someone communicating with God”.

The first translation of the Mass into English, with its obsequious gestures to Protestantism, rendered the Latin description of transubstantiated wine, potus spiritális, to “spiritual drink”. For Anna, the “housewife”, the word “drink” was deeply suspicious, a “word that manufacturers use when they want to put one over on you … it is not the real thing”. But the purveyors of this new spiritual cuisine weren’t listening. For decades Anna took her fight to the closed doors of the liberal hierarchy, demanding: “Is it the Blood of Christ or not?”

You won’t stop once you start.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Nan says:

    Re: White shoes, they’re proper for anyone between memorial day and labor day.

    No idea what sect he belonged to but I once met a man who claimed to be an Old Catholic priest (not to be confused with an old Catholic priest), whose bunch wad fine with women’s ordination and same sex marriage. Tactful, as always, I asked why he identified himself as a Catholic priest when it was clear he wasn’t.

  2. Lisieux says:

    Anna Haycraft wrote as ‘Alice Thomas Ellis’, and her book ‘The Serpent on the Rock’ is a superb take-down of modernism in the Church, and ‘God has not Changed’, a collection of essays, is almost as good. They’re out of print, but easily available secondhand.

    She was also a convert, so presumably Mr Ivereigh and his chums would see her as suffering from convert neurosis and dismiss her.

  3. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Bring on my buskins, of violet or blue.
    For kicking coyotes, either will do.

  4. tho says:

    As a young boy (1940s) I remember an Old Catholic church three blocks from my house. It was explained to me that this was a sect that was Polish in origin and that they did not go along with Pope Pius IX declaring that the Pope, in matters of faith and morals, was infallible. After the city riots in the 1960s, they along with many others moved to the suburbs. Now I wouldn’t bet that what I heard those many years ago was correct, but at the time it sounded plausible.
    They were not in communion with Rome because I asked Sister if I could go to mass there on Sundays, as it was much closer to my house. She gave me a hard look and replied with an emphatic no.

  5. Eric says:

    Big fan of the Catholic Herald. The online subscription with the app is very affordable.

  6. KateD says:

    Poor Ms. Zagano. Think how disappointing it would be to spend a lifetime fighting for something that would never be. What a waste of time and talent.

    I never donate to anything ever. (Jaded). But if it moves the demonic to such outbursts of vitriol? Ya must be doin’ something very good and worthy. COUNT ME IN!

  7. Norah says:

    If the Catholic Church permits women deacons the very next step will be women priests.
    Think Lambeth Conference of 1930 when the Anglican Church permitted contraception only to married couples in extreme circumstances. I think it was in five years that all Protestant communities permitted contraception and well, we know what happens today. The good old slippery slope.


  9. BTW…. I just watched a show which described how the liberal Left MSM went nuts over 1st Lady Melania Trump’s shoes.


  10. pelerin says:

    It is not just the ‘lib left’ who think that the Trumps were dressed highly unsuitably to visit a flood zone. At least Mrs Trump changed her ridiculous shoes later (to white sneakers?) although I don’t think either of them will actually be wading through flood water. [You have fallen into the same trap. Alas.]

  11. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “I like some of the titles of their clergy. For example, they have a ‘Metropolitan of the Deep South.’”

    So (apparently) insouciant. But (really) so dry! Thanks for the early morning laugh!

  12. Ellen says:

    A few years ago, we had some people come into the Church in the RCIA program. When we looked into their baptism, we found that they had been baptized by a splinter group of Old Catholics and they had not used the Tridentine formula. So they had to be baptized in the correct form.
    PS. I am a devout foe of high heels, but they are Melania’s shoes and her feet and really none of our business.

  13. hwriggles4 says:

    About the “Old Catholic” or “Independent Catholic” Church:

    I didn’t know these existed until a co-worker (now retired) told me he attended a small one weekly. The congregation was small, and the minister had a 9-to-5 job outside his congregation. It was not until about five years ago when our bishop circulated a letter saying that these “Independent Catholic” churches are not valid Masses. I am glad he did that, because 20 years ago I may not have known.

    When I have explained these “Independent Catholic” churches to others, these are basically a Protestant church, almost like a non-denominational church.

    By the way, I do have a friend who was hired to play piano at one of these “Independent Catholic” churches. He treated it like a job, would play for the service, and not go to communion. He would tell me the average Sunday attendance was about 20. After about a year, he stopped playing because the church closed.

  14. Knight from 13904 says:

    does anyone remember the name Billy “White Shoes” Johnson?
    Sorry Fr. Z, totally off topic but had to through that out there.

  15. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    During the Blitz of London, the king and queen (the parents of the present queen) used to go out to visit the residents and tour the bombed-out areas. Someone asked whether it was appropriate of “the Queen Mum” always to wear her Sunday best – hat and dressy shoes that matched her outfit, gloves, and pearl necklaces – on these forays. “Why ever not?” the queen replied when told of the question, “People put on their best things to visit me in my home; why wouldn’t I dress my best to visit them in theirs?”

    Most neighborhoods in London suffered during the Blitz, but the East End, one of the poorer neighborhoods, seemed a favorite target, and sustained a tremendous amount of damage. At last, Buckingham Palace – the London residence of the royals – was damaged by a German bomb, prompting the Queen Mum to quip, “Now I feel I can look the East End in the face.”

  16. teomatteo says:

    RE Zagano and the diaconette/priest setup, ” I just don’t see it at this point.” Yeah, and remember when we heard, “We just want to do in our bedrooms what we want without anyone judging us”. And then there was the, “we just want civil unions that will make us equal, that is all we are asking for.” and then, “We demand to get married and you are a bigot if you disagree!” I know how that works.

  17. ajf1984 says:

    I’ve been aware of the Old Catholics since my high school days; one of our math teachers was an adherent.

    The PCC website is an interesting (in the fullest, Wisconsinite meaning of that word) one…their liturgical calendar is stuck in Lent 2016, but their link to the New American Bible points back to the old National Conference of Catholic Bishops/US Catholic Conference bible website…and the nccb-uscc site hasn’t been active in 16 years or so…

  18. oklip955 says:

    First let me say that there is a difference between the deaconesses of old (mainly in the eastern church and not the west) and what the liberals want. (women deacons). The deaconesses of old assisted in the baptism of women and the seating of women in the women’s section. They guarded the doors to the women section. They provided the aid to women. They were drawn from the consecrated virgins and consecrated widows. Baptism took place in the nude or with little clothing so it was one of appropriate for the deaconesses to assist. Seating in those days was a bit more complicated then today. The doors were guarded so that unbelievers and penitents were not allowed in. (not sure that anyone would want to go back to those days when you were excluded for certain sins for many years and came only to beg for the prayers of those attending mass. Now those liberal sisters pushing for the return of deaconesses or rather female deacons, do they also want seperate seating for men and women in the church? Do they want a return to public penences for certain sins??? So they they want to be “ordained a deaconesses “female deacon”. What about there community. Only the Cistercian and Benidictines (cloistered ) have use of the Rite of Consecration of Virgins for religious. Currently the Vatican has not released a Rite for the consecration of Widows. Hummm. I don’t know of any consecrated virgins living in the world who are pushing for this. Only liberal sisters. Doesn’t seem like there are any cadidates for this. Oh and the only use I can see for a deaconess in todays church is in eastern rites that would not have any active religious ( just monastics) so that they could serve in works of charity.

  19. Semper Gumby says:

    That is interesting about the NAORCC and PCC.

    As for the items about the Left and their flying squadron of Shoe Police, perhaps that kind of reaction will backfire.

    Speaking of backfire, just saw an emailed article describing some pushback against two colleges, Univ. of Missouri and Evergreen State, which allowed leftist students to, er, “express themselves.” These two colleges are now experiencing falling enrollment, declining contributions, and even layoffs. Unfortunate about the layoffs, but hopefully many Leftist college administrations will learn something from this.

    Then there is this welcome news from another college. Last summer the University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming freshmen which said in part:

    “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”


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