MAIL FROM A PRIEST: “We have more time to do PRIESTLY things!” ACTION ITEM!

What priests must be!

I want to pass along to my brother priests and bishops this great email.  Dear readers, would you consider printing it out and giving it to your local priests or sending them an email with a link to this post?

From a priest with my emphases and comments:

I”m sure this has crossed your mind, and that you’ll be saying a bit on this anyway, but I wanted to reinforce: Without public Masses, it seems to me that now is the time for priests to ramp up saying their daily Missa solitaria. [Private Mass… alone.]

I live in a monastic community with a daily Conventual Mass; even for priests who celebrate only the Ordinary Form and think  [wrongly] that canon 906 limits their ability to celebrate Mass alone, the requisite conditions of a “just and reasonable cause” is more than satisfied in our present situation. I hope we can encourage our brother priests to do just this.  [Count on me!  I’ll do my part.]

For my part, I think that the prayers of the Extraordinary Form–since they are far more robust and ‘in-your-face’–more than meets the meaning of “approach[ing] with boldness the throne of grace…” (Heb 4:16).

And, while we’re at it, how about the Seven Penitential Psalms? [OORAH!] We would be derelict as priests to not allow the Lord to search our hearts in revealing to us why His permissive Providence has given reign to Wuhan virus. After all, Hebrews 12:5-13, yes? With cancelled meetings and suspended parish functions, we have more time to do PRIESTLY things. I dare to say we ought even to pray the minor exorcisms–at least against those who have hardened their hearts against the Lord on account of the pandemic.

If I may rant just a little, one piece of Modernism is a ‘scepticism about the immanence of the supernatural‘ and many priests who are reluctant to think that frequent celebrations of the Mass are unwittingly falling prey to the Modernist heresy.

Now’s the time for serious spiritual combat and an abundance of GRACE, not squishy Pelagian assuaging.

Father, you are right!

Let’s recap:

  1. Daily Mass, even alone.  YES, WE CAN!
  2. The Extraordinary Form is far more robust.  Believe me, it’s true.
  3. Seven Penitential Psalms.    Since the time of Innocent III these were designated to be prayed during Lent!  They have their own section in traditional Breviaries and hand missals.   So, they were important.   But, today… who knows about this tradition?
  4. Use minor exorcisms.  Also, priests can – privately – privately – use Title XI Ch. 3 of the Rituale Romanum, the longer St. Michael Prayer, as an exorcism of a place.  Fathers, exorcise your rectories, parish buildings, and grounds, and then BLESS them.  Yes, use LATIN.  I have recordings of exorcism prayers.
  5. Don’t be SQUISHY.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Has anyone considered the possibility of temporarily relaxing the canonical restrictions on the number of Masses (public or private) that a priest may offer in one day? I understand the rationale behind keeping a priest from becoming nothing more than a “Mass machine,” but under these circumstances maybe even four or five Masses a day might be appropriate, and I am all for the “more Masses rather than fewer” line of reasoning.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. Diana says:

    You guys are awesome. May God bless you.

  3. CasaSanBruno says:

    St. Peter Damian’s Liber Dominus Vobiscum addresses the legitimacy and virtues of private Mass.

  4. APX says:

    From the sound of things, our priests in our Diocese aren’t even offering Masses alone privately. Goodbye Holy Week. Masses were cancelled because elderly people won’t stay home.

  5. robtbrown says:


    During my Roman years I became aware that there were student priests who would not celebrate mass unless it was concelebrated.

    The Dominican (moral theologian) who was our Spiritual Director once said: Rome is very important for a priest because he learns to say mass along–if he hadn’t already. Some never learned that lesson.

  6. Hb says:

    I think these are great ideas.
    Many thx

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