Monday, April 30, 2012

Prayer request

Please pray for the family of Pieter Vree, the editor of New Oxford Review. His wife just went into labor.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Papal Support of “Praying the Rosary During Mass”

Tridentine Community News (April 29, 2012):
One of the most commonly-heard clichés about the Traditional Latin Mass is that it does not “actively” involve the faithful as much as the Ordinary Form. Newer readers of this column might be interested in reading our previous essays debunking this assertion, namely our March 19, 2006 column defining Active Participation according to the mind of the Church; and the four-part series of columns from August-September, 2009 showing that there are actually more responses for the faithful in the Extraordinary Form than in the Ordinary Form. Like all of our back columns, those are posted on our web site. [See "Active Participation in the Mass: A Statistical Study" - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4; and "Congregational Responses in the Low Mass" - Part 1, and Part 2.]

A particularly frequently-heard comment is that prior to Vatican II, some of the faithful were praying the Rosary during Mass. This is oft stated in the sort of scornful tone one might use to describe people texting during Mass, as though one should never even think of doing such a thing. It might therefore surprise some people to learn that in paragraph 108 of the 1947 encyclical Mediátor Dei, Pope Pius XII acknowledges the legitimacy of such devotions, in truly pastoral language. This author has even seen a combination missal-prayer book from that era with a foreword recommending personal devotional prayer during Mass, citing this papal document. Additionally, in 1883 Pope Leo XIII issued Suprémi Apostolátus Offício, a document establishing October as the Month of the Rosary. In it, and in an 1886 clarification, he asks that the Rosary be prayed [during October] while Mass is being said or while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.

While most modern scholarship argues that “pray[ing] the Mass”, as Pope St. Pius X said, is a more complete ideal for the faithful, one cannot overlook the 1883 and 1947 papal endorsements, at least with regards to the Extraordinary Form. The subsequent document Mariális Cultus, from 1974, did recommend against praying the Rosary during Holy Mass, but rulings from that era strictly regarded the Ordinary Form. We thus present the section of Mediátor Dei which addresses the subject:
105. Therefore, they are to be praised who, with the idea of getting the Christian people to take part more easily and more fruitfully in the Mass, strive to make them familiar with the “Roman Missal,” so that the faithful, united with the priest, may pray together in the very words and sentiments of the Church. They also are to be commended who strive to make the liturgy even in an external way a sacred act in which all who are present may share. This can be done in more than one way, when, for instance, the whole congregation, in accordance with the rules of the liturgy, either answer the priest in an orderly and fitting manner, or sing hymns suitable to the different parts of the Mass, or do both, or finally in high Masses when they answer the prayers of the minister of Jesus Christ and also sing the liturgical chant.

106. These methods of participation in the Mass are to be approved and recommended when they are in complete agreement with the precepts of the Church and the rubrics of the liturgy. Their chief aim is to foster and promote the people’s piety and intimate union with Christ and His visible minister and to arouse those internal sentiments and dispositions which should make our hearts become like to that of the High Priest of the New Testament. However, though they show also in an outward manner that the very nature of the sacrifice, as offered by the Mediator between God and men,[102] must be regarded as the act of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, still they are by no means necessary to constitute it a public act or to give it a social character. And besides, a “dialogue” Mass of this kind cannot replace the high Mass, which, as a matter of fact, though it should be offered with only the sacred ministers present, possesses its own special dignity due to the impressive character of its ritual and the magnificence of its ceremonies. The splendor and grandeur of a high Mass, however, are very much increased if, as the Church desires, the people are present in great numbers and with devotion.

107. It is to be observed, also, that they have strayed from the path of truth and right reason who, led away by false opinions, make so much of these accidentals as to presume to assert that without them the Mass cannot fulfill its appointed end.

108. Many of the faithful are unable to use the Roman missal even though it is written in the vernacular; nor are all capable of understanding correctly the liturgical rites and formulas. So varied and diverse are men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them. [Emphasis our own]

109. Wherefore We exhort you, Venerable Brethren, that each in his diocese or ecclesiastical jurisdiction supervise and regulate the manner and method in which the people take part in the liturgy, according to the rubrics of the missal and in keeping with the injunctions which the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the Code of canon law have published. Let everything be done with due order and dignity, and let no one, not even a priest, make use of the sacred edifices according to his whim to try out experiments. It is also Our wish that in each diocese an advisory committee to promote the liturgical apostolate should be established, similar to that which cares for sacred music and art, so that with your watchful guidance everything may be carefully carried out in accordance with the prescriptions of the Apostolic See.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin)

Tue. 05/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (St. Joseph the Worker)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 29, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"The revolution inside the Catholic Church was on the part of the clergy"

Catholic News Service offers this "Vatican Report" video featuring Fr. Joseph Kramer FSSP, parish priest of SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini (the personal parish for the Traditional Latin Mass in Rome), speaking on the prospects of Tradition in the Catholic Church:

Catholic News Service's companion piece to this video: New generation, old rite: the enduring appeal of Catholic tradition (CNS, April 27, 2012).

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Imagine: no Roe v Wade

As the nine justices of the Supreme Court are currently preparing their briefs for their decision later this year on the Affordable Care Act and Mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services, it may be felicitous to consider another possibly similar scenario involving Roe v Wade (1973).

Christopher Ferrara, current president and Chief Council of the American Catholic Lawyers Association, in his much-neglected but highly-illuminating book, The Church and the Libertarian (2010), offers "A Thought Experiment" in changing history:
Let us suppose ... that tomorrow the five "conservative" Catholic justices of the United States Supreme Court (we will exclude Justic Sotomayor) come to their senses and join in a majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade. Let us suppose that this opinion holds that the Fifth Amendment protection against the deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law, applied to the several States via the Fourteenth Amendment, extends to life in the womb. Let us suppose further that the opinion also holds that the Fourteenth Amendment itself, which provides that no State shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" applies to persons in utero. And let us suppose that in support of this conclusion the Court notes that feticide is already a crime in 37 states and that even federal law recognizes a child in utero as a legal victim if injured or killed during the commission of specified violent crimes. (This is a perfect indication of the insane moral incoherence of modern, post-Christian legal codes.) Finally, let us suppose that the five Catholid justices end their opinion with this astonishing declaration:
The Constitution was not drafted and ratified in a moral or theological vacuum. The Framers lived in a society whose common law tradition still recognized the Law of God, and in particular the "divine positive law" of the Ten Commandments, as the ultimate source of human positive law. The classic commentaries of William Blackstone place this historical conclusion beyond serious dispute. The justices of this very Court take an oath to God, and we deliver our opinions while sitting beneath a frieze depicting Moses the Lawgiver holding the tablets containing the Commandments.

We recall here Dr. Martin Luther King's historic declaration in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in the midst of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'" For too long, the legal distortions created throughout the fabric of this nation by our unprecedented decision in Roe have placed conscientious Americans in the same position as Dr. King, writing from his jail cell. Indeed, Roe has given rise to a new civil rights movement and concomitant social turmoil that show no signs of abating nearly forty years after Roe divided this nation in a way not seen since the abolition movement that followed the everlasting embarrassment of our decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857).

But beyond a mere appeal to history, which provides the context for our textual interpretation, we hold today that the Consitution's morally freighted terms, "person," "life," and "liberty" cannot be considered apart from the same ultimate source of moral authority that Blackstone, our nation's common law tradition, and Dr. King had in view. As this Court observed in Zorach v. Clausen, 343 U.S. at 314, "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." Men are creatures of that Supreme Being, bound by His law and accountable to Him for any human law that contravenes the natural law He has written on our hearts. Roe is such a human law. We overrule it today, not only in the name of our nation's history and tradition, but in the name of God.
What would happen upon the issuance of such an opinion? The mass media would of course erupt in an unprecedented storm of outrage. There would be calls for impeachment hearings to remove all five Catholic justices. But then, how could such hearing be conducted? What would be the impeachable offense -- that the five justices had violated their oaths to God by citing God's law in their opinion? Who in the Senate would be foolhardy enough to lead a prosecution of five sitting Supreme Court justices based on their adherence to God's law, supported moreover by references to history, tradition, an Saint Martin Luther King?

Consider the galvanizing effect such a decision would have on a nation whose population is still overwhelmingly at least nominally Christian. Surely, in response to the liberal onslaught, conservative talk radio and TV would hail the justices as heroes, as would evangelical Christian leaders and even many members of the ordinarily craven United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Pope would hail the decision, emboldened by the courageous witness of the justices, and Catholics around the world would join the Pope. Even certain orthodox Jewish leaders who have long allied themselves with Christians on moral and social issues would lend support to the justices as they come under attack by the media jackals and Congress. And what could the President do? Order up a firing squad? Or would he not be reduced to denunciations having no legal effect on the life tenure of the five justices, getting no further than FDR when he tried to pack the Supreme Court in order to prevent it from declaring his New Deal programs unconstitutional? The justices would hold on to their seats and the "separation of powers" that was supposed to characterize the American Republic would receive a tremendous vindication.(Ferrara, pp. 271-273)
Imagine! Unlike John Lennon's silly 1971 song by that title, which portrays a wistful fantasy Laputa-land with no relation to historical reality, Ferrara's imagined world is one tangibly connected to reality, history, tradition and legal precedent.

Related: Richard Aleman, "The Church and the Libertarian: A Review," The Distributist Review (March 14, 2011).

Brilliant! Congressman grills Sebelius on HHS Mandate

Posted April 26, 2012, this is one of those 'teachable' moments, for anyone willing to hear some simple facts, which may be more than we are able to assume for Secretary Sebelius.

[Hat tip to E. Fitzmaurice]

The Culture War & the Catholic Church

By Tom Bethell

The contraception mandate and the furor surrounding it tell us just how much the culture is at odds with the Catholic Church today. Whereas other Christian communions have surrendered — Episcopalians, for example, who signed on to every detail of the sexual revolution, find themselves a dwindling force in American life — the war on Catholic doctrine has redoubled.

The phrase “culture war” as applied to the United States seems to have begun with Patrick J. Buchanan. It is a sign of our times that he was blamed for launching a war by noticing we were under attack. Those interested in the decline of the Church in America over the past fifty years should read his latest book, Suicide of a Superpower,particularly the chapter titled “The Crisis of Catholicism.”

In opening the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII said, “We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.” Maybe not the end of the world, but fifty years on it’s clear that the period after Vatican II has been a disaster for the Church. The 58,000 U.S. Catholic priests in 1965 are down to 41,000 today. The 1,575 ordinations are down to 467 today. All this while the U.S. population grew by 60 percent. Mass attendance, then three in four Catholics, has fallen to one in four today.

The U.S. bishops, as the Church leaders in the fight against the contraception mandate, are hamstrung by a Church in decline. They are especially burdened by a legacy of failure — poor decisions and uncertain leadership — left behind by their immediate predecessors and, more often, of their own doing.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., a dissenting theologian, said of the present moment that “the bishops have lost a lot of their clout.” The oft-quoted Reese is right about that.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Voris outs scandal of sanctioned "gay masses"

It is a sign of our times, wrote Tom Bethell recently, that Patrick J. Buchanan was blamed for launching a culture war by noticing that we were under attack. Similarly, Michael Voris has been and will be blamed for launching an insensitive war on gays by noticing that Catholic faith and morals are under attack from a culture of rampant indulgence towards gay activists. The more's the irony, because the stance Voris takes toward gays is actually as profoundly compassionate as it is faithful to Catholic faith and morals. But what will provoke hatred of Voris more than anything else on this score is his simple statement of the obvious, his naming of places, churches, bishops, events -- in short, the simple statement of facts. "How could he be so rude as to state facts?!"

Imagine Obama white

Throw in blue eyes, an Alabama accent, and light brown straight hair for good measure. Do you imagine he could get away with any of his disingenuous shenanigans in this election year if he were not a smooth-talkin' African-American Chicago-style politician? With the record he's making for himself -- from bankrupting the nation's treasury to threatening the Supreme Court -- he wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Political joke for the day

"Apparently, we're supposed to be more outraged by what Mitt Romney does with his money than by what Barack Obama does with ours."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obama quietly signs bill banning protests against himself

NO JOKE!! For a few minutes, I thought this was a SPOOF! It's NOT! HR-347, signed into law last week under a media white out.

Mother Assumpta comments on the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR

Sr. Maria Guadalupe, Principal of the burgeoning Spiritus Sanctus Academy (Plymouth), operated by the intrepid Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, recently sent out the following notice to parents, faculty and staff:
Many of you may have heard news stories in recent days about the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). There have been a wide range of reactions to this, and I thought I would share with you a brief piece written by Mother Assumpta [pictured left], for the National Catholic Register. You can find it at this link.
Mother Mary Assumpta Long is superior of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wow! MASS outside Planned Parenthood clinic!

"Denver priest 'pulls out the big guns': TLM outside Planned Parenthood" (WDTPRS, April 24, 2012).
I appreciate the drama. I've often imagined how AWESOME and Tolkien-esque it would be to watch our archbishop lead a Eucharistic procession, valiantly and Gandalf-like, to Gordon Park, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on Detroit's Near West Side, just a few blocks from Sacred Heart Seminary and Blessed Sacrament Cathedral -- the significance being that this was the precise site where, on July 23, 1967, the Detroit Riot broke out, precipitating the cultural collapse of Detroit. Let the spiritual battle be engaged and the healing of the city begin with renewed hope!

Hey, just an ebullient thought ...

Afraid to die? Watch this.

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

A little history of the Pope's "obsession" with the SSPX

"Benedict XVI: the last state," a guest-post by Côme de Prévigny (Rorate Caeli, April 23, 2012):
If there is a matter that seems to be an obsession in this pontificate begun seven years ago, it is the one related to the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX). Shortly following its outset, Benedict XVI met their Superior, Bp. Bernard Fellay, in his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. That was on August 29, 2005. At that time, two communiqués, one by Rome, the other by Menzingen, indicated in unison that it had been agreed to "proceed by stages" in the resolution of problems. And the most lengthily prepared, most keenly discussed, and most vigorously contested texts of this reign were those that constituted these famous stags: the motu proprio that freed the Traditional Mass, then the removal of the excommunications of the bishops consecrated by Abp. Lefebvre.

The 264th Successor of Peter has a rendez-vous with history, come what may. He wants to fix a legacy, half-century-old, one which undoubtedly led him to give up on the Johns and the Pauls to revive the Piuses and the Leos, the Gregories and the Clements, the Innocents, and the Benedicts.Several journalists have remarked on this.

This obsession is first based on a matter of personal conscience.

Bishop honors 53rd anniversary of Masonic founding in Brazil

"Luiz Demétrio Valentini, Bishop of the Diocese of Jales (Brazil) since 1982, known as one of Brazil's "Socialist Bishops", went on April 10 to the Masonic Lodge "Colonel Balthazar" in Jales, in honor of its 53rd anniversary. He was received with great honor ..." as you can see here. If you don't know why this is significant, you may have the same problem as the bishop.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When the crunch comes

From one of our readers, this:
Excerpted from the script of Three Days of the Condor, one of my favorite movies. Cliff Robertson plays a realpolitik CIA agent, and Robert Redford plays his usual morally superior sanctimonious geek role. (I’ve deleted a few lines that were not pertinent to the point I’m trying to make).
RR: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

CR: No. Absolutely not. We have games. That's all. We play games-- What if? How many men? What would it take? Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime? That's what we're paid to do.

. . . . RR: Boy, what is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?

CR: No. It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In a few years-- food, plutonium, and maybe even sooner. What do you think the people are going to want us to do then?

RR: Ask them.

CR: Not now. Then. Ask them when they're running out. Ask them when there's no heat and they're cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. Want to know something? They won't want us to ask them. They’ll want us to get it for them.
Now, to my point: suppose the fantasy conversation – maybe set a few years in the future, maybe not -- was about a plan to institutionalize the “voluntary” execution of the old and the infirm, instead of a plan to invade the middle east. Suppose the conversationalists were President Black Jesus and, oh, Ab Dolan. Imagine the disdain of the president as he says:

BJ: Not now. Then. Ask them when they need money for an operation and their benefits run out. Ask them when they need a new organ and there are no stem cells available. Ask them when they see the final costs of taking care of old and decrepit baby boomers sucking their taxes dry. Want to know something? They won't want us to ask them. They’ll want us to do whatever it takes.

[Hat tip to R.R.-D.]


Extraordinary Form Exposed to Many Last Weekend

Tridentine Community News (April 22, 2012):
Last Friday, April 13, over 400 people attended the tour of historic Detroit Catholic churches organized by St. Joseph Church music director Michael Semaan. The day concluded with Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Joseph Church. Michael is planning a number of future tours in and outside of metro Detroit because of the resounding success of this and prior bus tours.

Over 240 people attended Holy Mass at Windsor’s Assumption Church on Divine Mercy Sunday. The line for Confession stretched well around the inside of the church, even with two priests offering the Sacrament. Numerous first-time visitors expressed awe that such a Mass with such a music program exists in our region.

There is clearly a latent demand for sacred tradition. Experiences such as these serve to remind us that we have a collective responsibility to expose fellow Catholics to the Traditional Latin Mass. In spite of the significant publicity it has received in recent years, many do not know it is available so close by.

Corpus Christi Watershed

Every once in a while, an organization surfaces that simply impresses you. One of those is Corpus Christi Watershed, an oddly-named outfit which first came to prominence via its professionally-produced recordings of the Sacred Music Colloquiums of the Church Music Association of America. These videos convey the beauty and appeal of well-done sacred music and are intended to motivate parish musicians to improve their own programs. The high definition video, reverberant audio, and superb editing and titles will be particularly noteworthy to those who have attempted to make musical performance video recordings themselves. This attention to visual attractiveness is maintained in the sharp photography and appealing graphics on their comprehensive web site,, which also offers a number of musical training and topical videos.

Based in Corpus Christi, Texas, CCW is headed by the prolific young composer and organist Jeff Ostrowski. Their second project was a series of Gregorian Chant resource web sites, for example for Extraordinary Form Propers and for Gregorian Mass Ordinaries. The former provides the sheet music for all of the (Latin) Propers sung by a choir, MP3 recordings of those Propers, and sheet music for [one style of] organ accompaniment for the Propers. The latter provides similar scores and recordings of the all 18 Gregorian Mass Ordinaries. Additional web sites have been created with similar chant resources for the Ordinary Form.

CCW’s most recent project – and one that has been receiving deserved acclaim – is The Vatican II Hymnal. Parishes today have limited choices when selecting a conservative or traditional hymnal. The handful of old ones which have been reprinted, such as The Saint Basil Hymnal, lack a complete repertoire of Gregorian Masses and accompanying chants. Pickings are slimmer when it comes to new hymnals in print:

The much-lauded Adoremus Hymnal has recently come out with a second edition incorporating the new translations of the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, but it still suffers from a limited selection of hymns. Its counterpart on the Extraordinary Form side, The Traditional Roman Hymnal which we use at St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor, has an excellent Gregorian section but relatively few hymns. It is currently out-of-print, though a second edition is being prepared. The remarkable Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles hymnal has been out of print for over a decade, with no signs of a new edition being prepared despite promises to do so. Only the CMAA’s new Parish Book of Chant hymnal seems to strive for completeness, though even that suffers from some puzzling omissions in the Gregorian area and clearly favors the Ordinary Form.

Into this breach CCW has brought The Vatican II Hymnal, which despite its name aspires to serve both Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form Communities. It incorporates the Ordinaries for both forms of Holy Mass, along with a comprehensive selection of traditional hymns, one of the most extensive offered since the second edition of the Canadian Catholic Book of Worship II. Its Gregorian section is impressive but unfortunately not complete. While we cannot give it wholehearted endorsement, it does provide a valuable new bridge product that can more than adequately serve parishes which celebrate both forms of Holy Mass.

Lastly, we must mention one of CCW’s most impressive accomplishments: Most everything other than the hymnal is available at no charge. Although it is obvious that a tremendous amount of effort has gone into their offerings, donations are only modestly requested on their web site. To the anonymous donors who have supported this worthy and impressive enterprise...Thank you.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Paschaltide)

Tue. 04/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Votive Mass for the Anniversary of the Coronation of the Pope)

Wed. 04/25 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Mark, Evangelist)

Fri. 04/27 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter Canisius, Confessor & Doctor) Juventutem-Michigan Debut Mass – all ages invited. Dinner afterwards in St. Josaphat Parish Hall for young adults age 18-35.

Sun. 04/29 1:00 PM: High Mass at St. Hyacinth (Third Sunday After Easter)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 22, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chuck Colson (1931-2012)

Leigh Ann Caldwell, "Former Nixon aide Chuck Colson dies at 80" (Political Hot Sheet, April 21, 2012):
(CBS News) Chuck Colson, a former aide to Richard Nixon, evangelical leader, author and nonprofit founder, died Saturday at the age of 80.

He passed away at a hospital in Northern Virginia, three weeks after surgery to ease intercerebral hemorrhage -- a large pool of clotted blood in his brain.

Colson was Nixon's special counsel and was part of the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon's resignation. He was known as the president's "hatchet man," and also served on Nixon's re-election committee, which plotted and attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters.

Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.

Prior to the start of his prison sentence, Colson became a born-again Christian. After his release from an Alabama prison, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit organization that conducts outreach to prisoners to "seek the transformation of prisoners... through the power and truth of Jesus Christ."

According to his bio for Prison Fellowship, Colson formed the idea of Prison Fellowship when a fellow inmate told him "there ain't nobody cares about us. Nobody!" Colson started the organization and ran it for 33 years.

Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, told CBS News that Colson continued to meet with top elected officials and leaders but "would rather be in prison embracing an inmate."

Colson wrote more than 30 books on religion and faith. In 1991 he founded BreakPoint, where he broadcast daily radio commentaries on news and politics "from a Christian perspective."

Colson never left the political scene, consistently advocating on behalf of conservative policies. He opposed abortion and same-sex marriage and supported the Iraq war. In 2008, President George W. Bush gave Colson the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Colson is survived by his wife, Patty, three children and five grandchildren.

For the record: The fine print of Obamacare

Three years ago, a retired attorney and instructor in Constitutional Law from Texas undertook the thankless job of reading through the entire 2074-page Health Care Reform Bill to see what he would find. Some of this is fairly well-known. Other bits are not. In our current presidential election year, the piece may be worth re-visiting. If you happened to miss it the first time around, well, here it is: "The Truth About the Health Care Bills," by Michael Connelly (authenticated by

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tolkien's Catholic myth

An interesting analysis

She The People

Oh, those crazy dissenting women religious! Rome finally called dissent what it is, and Melinda Henneberger calls it an instructively-timed "crackdown!" But for the really entertaining aspects of the story, see the quotes fisked by Fr. Z, which, he warns "may make you a little stupider" for reading them!

"Controlling the mic at Vatican II"

While this incident is well-known, in which the mic was turned of at which Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, age 80, the head of what is now the CDF, was speaking at Vatican II, is not well-known (I certainly did not know it) is that this occurred on the third day of the Council, not later when the "progressive" group became more organized. Read more >>

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fr. Z butchers bunny to fete recent news events

The man may be a good cleric and culinary artists, but he's half mad and has way too much free time on his hands. Then again, in today's insane world that may be precisely what makes him a good cleric and culinary artist. On the theme of "hopping" -- as in the "hopping mad" LCWR leadership and the CDF and SSPX "hopping" to complete their reunion, the man is making Coniglio in umido, or Bugs Bunny Stew.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For the record - Latest Tornielli: "Fellay's response has arrived; it is positive"

This from Andrea Tornielli for La Stampa: "The Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X has signed the doctrinal preamble proposed by the Holy See, even if with some slight modifications." Read more >>

The Holy Father's long-desired goal of achieving an accommodation with the SSPX appears, now, to be close to becoming an answered prayer. Think of all he has done, working quietly and persistently, on this one case alone -- leaving aside the Anglicans and so much else. He issued the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007. He lifted the excommunication of the four bishops from the SSPX in 2009. He issued the decisive Instruction, Universae Ecclesiae in 2011.

If a canonical structure, perhaps a prelature like that of Opus Dei, is now in the offing for the SSPX, as it appears it may be, this will regularize the priests of the SSPX. Their faculties and sacraments will no longer be merely valid, but licit. Thus one problem will be solved, and for that one must share in the gratitude of the Holy Father at the successful resolution for which he has works and prayed for so long.

Yet if this canonical structure resolves one problem, it will inevitably precipitate others. We can assuredly count on the fact that not all will share in the joy of the Holy Father. This will be only the beginning of many new struggles surrounding the controversies at issue over Vatican II and the trajectory of the post-Conciliar Church through the last half-century in this 50th anniversary year of the Council.

We live in momentous times. We are in the midst of an election year in the United States. The Republic faces an hour of decision. The Church, too, by any reasonable account is faced with a crisis of vocations and apostasy in many quarters. It is welcome and salutary sight to behold a candle lit, now and then. Let us give thanks, certainly, but also continue praying for the good of Mother Church.

  • Communiqué of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei": The text "will be examined by the Dicastery and submitted afterwards to the judgment of the Holy Father."

    Father Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office: "It can be said that steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging, but there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions that should be taken in the next few weeks. I think the wait will not be long because there is the desire to reach a conclusion in these discussions, in these contacts."

  • Communiqué of the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X: "This is therefore a stage and not a conclusion." (Rorate Caeli, April 18, 2012)

  • For the record: "The Pope will decide in May" (Rorate Caeli, April 20, 2012)


"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." Mark Twain

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Episcopal Vicar of Windsor to Celebrate EF Mass

Tridentine Community News (April 15, 2012):
Long-time readers of this column will recognize the name of Fr. James Roche. During the challenging early years of the Windsor Tridentine Mass, before a Mass debuted in the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Extraordinary Form had a friend in the Episcopal Vicar of Windsor. In 2003, when the Windsor Latin Mass Community was seeking a more appropriate home than the Villa Maria Nursing Home Chapel, Fr. Roche welcomed the community to relocate to the far more fitting St. Michael’s Church. In 2007 he paved the way for its second upgrade, to Assumption Church.

Though not initially familiar with the Traditional Mass, Fr. Roche has always made himself available to lend a helping hand with administrative, diocesan, and operational matters. Vestments, altar cards, Communion patens, and even the beautiful torch [candle] set now used at Assumption have suddenly appeared at our doorstep, donations quietly arranged by Fr. Roche over the years. He could often be seen in the back of St. Michael’s Church participating in the Holy Mass, and still pops in to Assumption from time to time to make sure things are running smoothly. Readers on the U.S. side of the river might recognize the Boston-born Fr. Roche from his longtime panelist role on the Comcast cable television program Interfaith Odyssey, on which he represents the Christian perspective.

Fr. Roche has long been curious to learn the Extraordinary Form, and we are pleased to announce that he will be taking that step. On Sunday, May 13 at 2:00 PM, Fr. Roche will celebrate his first Tridentine Mass at Windsor’s Assumption Church. A reception will follow. Please join us and thank this kind priest who is a model for diocesan liaisons to Latin Mass Communities.

Juventutem-Michigan to Hold First Mass on April 27

Readers may recall the report Paul Schultz filed last summer following his participation in the Juventutem program at World Youth Day 2011. Juventutem is an international organization of young adults who have an affinity for the Traditional Latin Mass. Originally founded to hold events in the Extraordinary Form at World Youth Day, Juventutem chapters across the globe now sponsor a variety of activities year-round.

Perhaps the highest-profile chapter is Juventutem-London, which sponsors pro-life events, pilgrimages, and Solemn High Masses followed by dinners on the Fourth Fridays of each month. Their blog,, is a dazzling diary of liturgical and social events, talks, and theological reflections.

The Juventutem movement has been relatively slow to gain momentum in North America, but the intrepid Mr. Schultz, the entrepreneurial founder of Una Voce-Ann Arbor and Generation Christ, intends to change that situation. Even pre-Juventutem, Paul was bringing young adults to St. Josaphat once per month for weekday High Masses; the adjacent photo was taken this past October. On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, Juventutem headquarters approved the formation of a chapter to serve young adults in southeastern Michigan and southwestern Ontario.

Following the lead of the London chapter, the first official Mass of Juventutem-Michigan will be held at St. Josaphat Church on the Fourth Friday of this month, Friday, April 27, at 7:00 PM. Faithful of all ages are invited to the Mass, a Missa Cantata to be celebrated by Fr. Lee Acervo. Young adults aged 18-35 are invited to a dinner in the St. Josaphat Social Hall after the Mass, at which plans for future Juventutem events will be discussed.

For more information about Juventutem-Michigan, see their web site, their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter.

Next St. Hyacinth Mass in Two Weeks

The next Mass in the Extraordinary form at St. Hyacinth Church will be held in two weeks, on Sunday, April 29 at 1:00 PM. The celebrant will be Fr. Pieter van Rooyen.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/16 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Paschaltide [Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass])

Tue. 04/17 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)

Sun. 04/22 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Second Sunday After Easter)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 15, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Theologian John Lamont on Rome vis-à-vis SSPX


by John R. T. Lamont

Source: Sandro Magister, www.chiesa (April 13, 2012):
In a communiqué of March 16th 2012, the Holy See has announced that Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior-General of the Society of St. Pius X, FSSPX, has been informed that the Society's response to the Doctrinal Preamble presented to them by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been judged to be "not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the rift between the Holy See and the aforesaid Society" (in the original French of the press release, "n’est pas suffisante pour surmonter les problèmes doctrinaux qui sont à la base de la fracture entre le Saint-Siège et ladite Fraternité.") The press release does not make clear whether this judgment is made on the part of the CDF and approved by the Pope, or is the judgment of the Pope himself. The judgement is the latest step in a process of discussion on doctrinal issues between the CDF and the FSSPX. The nature and seriousness of this judgment raises important questions for a Catholic theologian; the purpose of this article is to ask these questions.

The secrecy of the doctrinal talks in question makes comment on the judgment difficult. The reason for this secrecy is hard to grasp, because the topics of discussion do not concern practical details of a canonical settlement – which would clearly have benefited from confidentiality – but matters of faith and doctrine, that concern not only the parties involved but all believing Catholics. However, enough has been publicly stated about the position of the FSSPX to permit an evaluation of the situation. There are two things that need to be considered here: the rift between the Holy See and the FSSPX that has been produced by the doctrinal problems in question, and the nature of the doctrinal problems themselves.

In a response to a study of the doctrinal authority of the Second Vatican Council by Bp. Fernando Ocáriz, Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize FSSPX has listed the elements of that council that the FSSPX find unacceptable.

"On at least four points, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are obviously in logical contradiction to the pronouncements of the previous traditional Magisterium, so that it is impossible to interpret them in keeping with the other teachings already contained in the earlier documents of the Church’s Magisterium. Vatican II has thus broken the unity of the Magisterium, to the same extent to which it has broken the unity of its object.

"These four points are as follows.

"The doctrine on religious liberty, as it is expressed in no. 2 of the Declaration 'Dignitatis humanae,' contradicts the teachings of Gregory XVI in 'Mirari vos' and of Pius IX in 'Quanta cura' as well as those of Pope Leo XIII in 'Immortale Dei' and those of Pope Pius XI in 'Quas primas.'

"The doctrine on the Church, as it is expressed in no. 8 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium,' contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius XII in 'Mystici corporis' and 'Humani generis.'

"The doctrine on ecumenism, as it is expressed in no. 8 of 'Lumen gentium' and no. 3 of the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio,' contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius IX in propositions 16 and 17 of the 'Syllabus,' those of Leo XIII in 'Satis cognitum,' and those of Pope Pius XI in 'Mortalium animos.'

"The doctrine on collegiality, as it is expressed in no. 22 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium,' including no. 3 of the 'Nota praevia' [Explanatory Note], contradicts the teachings of the First Vatican Council on the uniqueness of the subject of supreme power in the Church, in the Constitution 'Pastor aeternus'."

Fr. Gleize participated in the doctrinal discussions between the FSSPX and the Roman authorities, as did Bp. Ocáriz himself. We may reasonably take his statement as a description of the doctrinal points upon which the FSSPX will not compromise, and that are taken by the Holy See to inevitably give rise to a rift.

Vatican II as the reason for the rift?

The first question that occurs to a theologian concerning the FSSPX position concerns the issue of the authority of the Second Vatican Council. The article by Bp. Ocáriz discussed by Fr. Gleize, which was published in the December 2nd 2011 issue of "L'Osservatore Romano," seems to claim that a rejection of the authority of Vatican II is the basis for the rift referred to by the Holy See. But for anyone familiar with both the theological position of the FSSPX and the climate of theological opinion in the Catholic Church, this claim is hard to understand. The points mentioned by Fr. Gleize are only four of the voluminous teachings of Vatican II. The FSSPX does not reject Vatican II in its entirety: on the contrary, Bishop Fellay has stated that the society accepts 95% of its teachings. This means that the FSSPX is more loyal to the teachings of Vatican II than much of the clergy and hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Consider the following assertions of that council:

"Dei Verbum" 11:

"Holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted."

"Dei Verbum" 19:

"The four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1)."

"Lumen gentium" 3:

"As often as the sacrifice of the cross in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on."

"Lumen gentium" 8:

"But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element."

"Lumen gentium" 10:

"Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity."

"Lumen gentium" 14:

"Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church."

"Gaudium et spes" 48:

"By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown."

"Gaudium et spes" 51:

"Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes."

The vast majority of theologians in Catholic institutions in Europe, North America, and Australasia would reject most or all of these teachings. These theologians are followed by the majority of religious orders and a substantial part of the bishops in these areas. It would be difficult, for example, to find a Jesuit teaching theology in any Jesuit institution who would accept a single one of them. The texts above are only a selection from the teachings of Vatican II that are rejected by these groups; they could be extended to many times the number.

Such teachings however form part of the 95% of Vatican II that the FSSPX accepts. Unlike the 5% of that council rejected by the FSSPX, however, the teachings given above are central to Catholic faith and morals, and include some of the fundamental teachings of Christ himself.

The first question that the communiqué of the Holy See raises for a theologian is thus: why does the rejection by the FSSPX of a small part of the teachings of Vatican II give rise to a rift between that Society and the Holy See, while the rejection of more numerous and important teachings of Vatican II by other groups in the Church leave these groups in good standing and possessed of full canonical status? Rejection of the authority of Vatican II by the FSSPX cannot be the answer to this question; the FSSPX in fact shows more respect for the authority of Vatican II than most of the religious orders in the Church.

It is relevant that the texts of Vatican II that are rejected by the FSSPX are accepted by the groups within the Church that reject other teachings of that council. One might then suppose that it is these specific texts – on religious liberty, the Church, ecumenism, and collegiality – that are the problem. The rift between the Holy See and the FSSPX arises because the Society rejects these particular elements of Vatican II, not because of an intention on the part of the Holy See to defend Vatican II as a whole. The rift does not arise with the groups outside the Society that reject far more of Vatican II, because these groups accept these particular elements. But if this is the case, the first question simply reoccurs with greater force.

Problems with Catholic doctrine?

If the rift between the Holy See and the FSSPX does not arise from rejection of the authority of the Second Vatican Council by the Society, it could be the case that the rift arises from the doctrinal position of the FSSPX in itself. There are after all two sides to the position of the FSSPX on Vatican II. One side is the claim that certain statements of Vatican II are false and should not be accepted; this is the side that refuses the authority of the council. The other side is the positive description of the doctrines that should be accepted in the place of these supposedly false statements. This latter side is the more important aspect of the debate between the FSSPX and the Roman authorities. After all, the purpose for the existence of magisterial teachings is to communicate true doctrines to Catholics, and their authority over Catholics stems from this purpose. This side of the FSSPX's position consists in positions on the doctrines that Catholics should believe, positions that do not in themselves make claims about the content or authority of Vatican II. We must consider whether these positions can give rise to a rift between the Holy See and the FSSPX.

In judging the doctrinal position of the FSSPX, it must be remembered that there is an essential difference between the position of the FSSPX on Vatican II and the position of those elements within the Church who reject the teachings from "Dei Verbum," "Lumen gentium," and "Gaudium et spes" listed above. The latter group simply holds that certain doctrines of the Catholic Church are not true. They reject Catholic teaching, full stop. The FSSPX, on the other hand, does not claim that the teaching of the Catholic Church is false. Instead, it claims that some of the assertions of Vatican II contradict other magisterial teachings that have greater authority, and hence that accepting the doctrines of the Catholic Church requires accepting these more authoritative teachings and rejecting the small proportion of errors in Vatican II. It asserts that the actual teaching of the Catholic Church is to be found in the earlier and more authoritative statements.

The positive doctrinal position of the FSSPX, then, consists in upholding the teachings of part magisterial pronouncements. The most important of the pronouncements in question are listed by Fr. Gleize: Gregory XVI's encyclical "Mirari vos," Pius IX's encyclical "Quanta cura" and his "Syllabus," Leo XIII's encyclicals "Immortale Dei" and "Satis cognitum," Pius XI's encyclicals "Quas primas" and "Mortalium animos," Pius XII's encyclicals "Mystici corporis" and "Humani generis," and the First Vatican Council's Constitution "Pastor aeternus." These are all magisterial pronouncements of great authority, and in some cases they include infallible dogmatic definitions – which is not the case with the Second Vatican Council itself.

This raises the second question concerning the position of the Holy See on the FSSPX that suggests itself to a theologian: how can there be any objection to the FSSPX upholding the truth of magisterial pronouncements of great authority?

This question really answers itself. There can be no such objection. If the position of the FSSPX on doctrine itself is to be judged objectionable, it must be claimed that this position is not what these magisterial pronouncements actually teach, and hence that the FSSPX falsifies the meaning of these pronouncements. This claim is not easy to sustain, because when these earlier pronouncements were promulgated, they gave rise to a very substantial body of theological work that aimed at their interpretation. The meaning that the FSSPX ascribes to them is derived from this body of work, and corresponds to how these pronouncements were understood at the time they were made.

This fact gives more point and urgency to the third question that occurs to a theologian: what do these pronouncements actually teach, if it is not what the FSSPX say that they teach?

The answer that many will offer is that the real meanings of these pronouncements are given by, or are at least in harmony with, the texts of the Second Vatican Council that the FSSPX rejects. We can accept this answer as true, but that will not help in answering the question. The texts of Vatican II do not offer much explanation of the meaning of these previous pronouncements. For example, "Dignitatis humanae" simply states that its teaching "leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ." This offers no explanation of the content of this doctrine.

The inadequacy of this answer leads to the fourth question, which is: what is the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church on the points that are in dispute between the FSSPX and the Holy See?

No doubt the doctrinal discussions between these two parties involved an examination of this question, but the confidentiality of these discussions leaves the rest of the Church in the dark on this subject. Without an answer to this fourth question, there is no prospect of an answer to the fifth question, which is: why do the doctrinal positions of the FSSPX give rise to a rift between the Society and the Holy See?

But this fifth question, significant as it is, does not have the importance of the fourth question. The nature of the teaching of the Catholic Church on religious freedom, ecumenism, the Church, and collegiality, is of great importance to all Catholics. The questions raised by the discussions between the Holy See and the FSSPX thus concern the whole Church, not merely the parties to the discussion.
John Lamont holds a degree in philosophy from Oxford and in theology in Ottawa with the great Dominican theologian Jean-Marie Tillard. He lives in Australia and teaches in Sydney at the Catholic Institute and at the University of Notre Dame, with the canonical mandate of the archdiocese for the teaching of theology.

His previous articles include
:Updates on the CDF-SSPX discussions may be found HERE.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Prayer request

I solicit your urgent prayers for an unspoken intention.

Thank you,
Phil Blosser

"Vatican II - What was Wanted?

Via Fr. Z (April 13, 2012):
"Fr. Bede Rowe of A Chaplain Abroad has an amusing post about the observance of the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

He begins:
I think of it as the beginning of one of my exams:

Name: ……………………
Class*: ……………………

Answer the following question in ink using only one side of the paper provided.

Question 1

“What do you think the coming Vatican Council should discuss?”

*In case of confusion, put your Diocese.

It has to be said, that the response was not rip roaring excitement. After all, once you have the Pope being able to solve the problems, why do you need a Council? You can’t second guess what was in someone’s mind or heart, but could Blessed John XXIII really have meant to call a Council like the ones in the past? I very much doubt it.

So in a spirit of enthusiasm and exuberance Blessed John asked them all what they wanted to talk about.

And what do you think the answer was? Liturgical reform? Religious liberty? The theology of being a Bishop?

No. They wanted a tighter adherence to the rules and discipline of the Church and a new Marian Dogma. That’s right - more Our Lady and more obedience. Think of what happened in the aftermath and then again at what the collective mind of the Council Fathers was on the eve after the consultation.

We can ask ourselves whether or not the Bishops were so deluded as to be sitting in the middle of a Church which was hopelessly out of touch and in such terrible need of reform (as those who reread history will have us believe) and not to notice what was going on. I spring to the defence of these Bishops. If nothing else, at that time in the Church we were involved in every social enterprise going. They did not live in ivory towers, and Christ’s Priests and lay faithful were at the coal face – not on some ‘liturgical committee’ which seems to have replaced actually 'being in the world' as the activity of choice for your average professional Catholic nowadays.

So how did all this change? What caused it to go so very much off course?

I’m going to go for Marxist ideology, Original Sin, and Modern Theology. (You may start booing now).
Fr. Z's take is a amusing and interlaced with ads for Mystic Monk Coffee, which he suggests would have improved communication at the Council:
Pius XII had thought about a Council to conclude the work of Vatican I, which had been interrupted. He was advised against having a Council and, in fact, scrapped the idea. John XXIII, on the other hand, seemed determined to have one. Once it was underway, as some report, he seem to have tried to get it back into the box and failed. Then he died.

The Second Vatican Council still causes a lot of confusion, principally because people who talk about it a lot haven’t actually read the documents.

HEY! Here’s a novel idea!

... I have it from the highest authority that if the Council Fathers had had Mystic Monk Coffee… or Tea for that matter… none of the confusion that has devastated the Church for the last few decades would have occurred! Trust me on this one.

Do you want to cause confusion? No!

Do you want to issue documents that will be accused of ambiguity and even heresy? No!

Do you want to force Pope’s to use phrases such as “smoke of Satan” and “hermeneutic of continuity”? No!

Take it from me, friends, you had better refresh your supply of Mystic Monk Coffee right now!

Agent Obama 007: too serious to be merely funny

Fr. Z asks: "Perhaps this could be run as an ad from now until the election in November?"


Friday, April 13, 2012

If you were a Knight of Columbus . . .

... collecting donations for charity in exchange for complimentary Tootsie Rolls, and Joe Biden came along, would he offer you any money, or just take the Tootsie Roll?

Perverse: Burning Bibles and caving to Sharia

For any of you who missed this, from nearly a year ago to the day, this video highlights the perverse double standard currently promoted by the US administration in defiance of the US Bill of Rights:

Amazing power of music!

Watch how this resident of a nursing home, unresponsive and nearly in a vegetative state, comes to life when he listens to music from his youth.

Watch how, toward the end of the video, he begins to speak more normally, with great animation. Incredible.

[Hat tip to Reeta Vestman]

Obama's war on women

It's no secret that Obama is courting the "women's vote," just as he is courting the "African-American vote." What is a secret is that his policies have done more harm than good to those he cynically courts in order to get himself re-elected.

It's the Democrats that have the "women problem" in this election.

Here is the latest: Mark A. Thiessen, "Obama's women problem" (Washington Post, April 12, 2012).

[Hat tip to E. Echeverria]

Janet Smith on epic culture wars

Janet smith, "Religious Liberty, Blood Transfusions, Cigarettes, and Contraception" (NCR, March 11, 2012), writes:
Brian Hampel, in his March 5 article in the Kansas State Collegian, “Contraception Should Not Be Treated as Issue of Religious Liberty,” asks:

“If we can require Jehovah’s Witnesses to cover blood transfusions, why couldn’t we require Catholics to cover birth control?”

This is the argument that we need to refute if we are going to stop the Obama mandate (and his even worse “accommodation”).
Janet Smith, Joan-of-Arc Cultural Warrior, does it again. In case you missed this: Read more >>

Richard Dawkins v. Cardinal Pell: debate

Richard Dawkins and Australian Catholic Cardinal George Pell discuss religion, morals and evolution on Q&A. (April 10, 2012 ABC TV):

There are a number of things I like about Cardinal Pell, including some things he has written and said about the Catholic Church and her traditions in the past. This debate, however, is not one of them.

Some may think he scores a number of clever points against Dawkins, but even then he spends more time lurching lamely into defensive postures than should ever be necessary with the likes of Dawkins, whose arguments could be shredded into confetti with a few quick strokes by any reasonably well-educated Catholic philosopher, which shouldn't be hard to find.

What would be hard to find these days, however, is a Catholic reasonably well-educated as the the relation of science to the Bible, and particularly to the early parts of the Book of Genesis. Cardinal Pell embodies this pathetic state of affairs himself, by lurching into indefensible speculations about the descent of human beings from pre-human progenitors, perhaps in South Africa, and trying to reconcile such speculations with the early chapters of Genesis by unnecessarily conceding that most of the accounts related in these texts are mere myths.

Dawkins' arguments are so lame that he barely constitutes a threat to the theist. But Cardinal Pell does the Church no service here by practically painting the Catholic into a corner of near irrelevance in the discussion. Lame. Lame. Lame.

Shucks, I suppose the Cardinal deserves some credit for being willing to go on TV and at least attempting to defend the Catholic faith.

An example of much better arguments and counter-arguments, with few exceptions, is provided by this discussion between Robert Lawrence Kuhn and Alvin Plantinga.

Book review: Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism"

Christopher Blosser, "Reading Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism'" (Against the Grain, April 11, 2012). In Goldberg's words:
It is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian–or 'holistic,' if you prefer–in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend 'nontraditional' beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a 'Third Way' between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are 'false choices.'

The idea that there are no hard choices–that is, choices between competing goods–is religious and totalitarian because it assumes that all good things are fundamentally compatible. The conservative or classical liberal vision understands that life is unfair, that man is flawed, and that the only perfect society, the only real Utopia, waits for us in the next life. [p. 14]

Cardinal Dolan on the "impression" given by Vatican II

From the Wall Street Journal's March 31, 2012 interview with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, When the Archbishop Met the President [via Rorate Caeli, April 4, 2012):
What about the argument that vast numbers of Catholics ignore the church's teachings about sexuality? Doesn't the church have a problem conveying its moral principles to its own flock? "Do we ever!" the archbishop replies with a hearty laugh. "I'm not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That's a biggie."

For this he faults the church leadership. "We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality." He dates this diffidence to "the mid- and late '60s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else."
(emphasis from R.C.)

For the record: future scenarios for Rome/SSPX

  • Côme de Prévigny, "Victory tomorrow?" (Rorate Caeli, April 12, 2102): "Sooner or later, both lines will meet," but beware of the illusions (1) that "regularization will ... transform those resolutely opposed to the Motu Proprio and to the Tridentine Catechism" with the "unrolling of red carpets"; and (2) that "all conservative forces will unite [without friction] in order to transform the world."

  • "For the record: La Croix [Updated]" (Rorate Caeli, April 12, 2012): "What are the possible scenarios? ... What is the current mood [both in the fraternity and in the dioceses]?" "Questioned Thursday, April 12, by La Croix, Fr. Alain Lorans, spokesman of the SSPX, said that "Bp. Fellay will not speak on this matter (note: the letter sent to Rome) before the Holy See's response is known", leaving to Rome the responsibility for the publication of the final decision." If the Society signs the agreement [and who says that all of the SSPX bishops would sign?], the Holy See must, before erecting a personal prelature [a canonical framework for the Society], first consult "the concerned episcopal conferences," noted for their opposition. If they don't sign, "it will be necessary to explain why not and, in such case, their refusal will involve doctrinal questions."

  • "Le Figaro: Rome and Écône on the verge of reaching an agreement" (Rorate Caeli, April 13, 2012): " The signing of a document establishing the relations between the Holy See and the disciples of Abp. Lefebvre is a matter of days.... It is thus that the final response of Bp. Fellay, very well pondered and well prepared, should settle - this time, for good - a very delicate negotiation which was relaunched by Benedict XVI following his election, in 2005."

  • "... John Lamont shows that reconciliation is possible" (www.chiesa, April 13, 2012) [See the whole text directly here: "A Theologian's Questions" (Musings, April 15, 2012)

  • "SSPX German District on media reports" (Rorate Caeli, April 15, 2012) -- in other words: "neither the [SSPX] General House in Menzingen [Switzerland] nor Rome have yet delivered a statement" and the Superior General solicits prayer for the intention of God's will and Kingdom.

  • "For the record - Tornielli: Fellay's reserved message" (Rorate Caeli, April 16, 2012)

  • Fr. Z, "SSPX options and the Pope of Christian Unity" (WDTPRS, April 16, 2012).

Monday, April 09, 2012

Prayer request

... for my stepmother, Elsie, who slipped away from this earthy life quietly on Easter morning. How could she have timed her departure better! My sister in Seattle and I both sent her flowers on her birthday, on Good Friday, and her nephew told us that she smiled in recognition. She had just turned 90.

Thus she follows into eternity the path tread by my father four years ago, who died at age 91. I solicit your prayers for the repose of her soul.

Open letter to Bp Fellay

From New Catholic (Rorate Caeli, April 9, 2012), not to create expectations, but a humble letter of appreciation, as he makes abundantly clear.

Holy Week humor

[Hat tip to Hugh Wessel, Marseille, France]

Sunday, April 08, 2012


[Hat tip to C.B.]

Survey of Hand Missals in Print – Third Edition

Tridentine Community News (April 8, 2012):
This week we are running an updated version of the column that continues to generate the most requests for reprints: A comparison of all of the Hand Missals for the Extraordinary Form which are currently in print. We separate them into three categories: Those which fully reflect the 1962 rubrics and Propers; those which were originally published between 1955-61 and contain the 1955 Holy Week changes; and those published before 1955. While meritorious in many ways, pre-1955 missals contain a version of Holy Week that is substantially different from that which current regulations require to be celebrated. In addition, nomenclature, certain Feast Days, and Commemorations for the Tridentine Calendar have changed. Whereas older missals refer to certain Feasts with terms such as “Double” or “Semi-double”, the 1962 rubrics simply assign each Feast a rank between one and four.

Up-to-Date 1962 Missals

The second edition of the Roman Missal (1962), a.k.a. the Baronius Press Missal ( (814) 414-0245, $59.95) was published in 2007, in cooperation with the Fraternity of St. Peter. It is based on Fr. Sylvester Juergens’ Ideal Missal, also the basis of the Marian Missal. Unlike the Marian, it has full Latin and English Propers, including proper Feasts for the U.S. and U.K. It has the distinction of being the only newly-published Tridentine hand missal with an imprimatur.

The 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal, a.k.a. the Angelus Press Missal (, (800) 966-7337, $63.00) was published in 2004 and resembles the Baronius Missal in many ways. It is also based on the Ideal Missal. Unlike the Baronius, the Angelus Press Missal includes the proper Feasts for Canada. Whatever one thinks of its publisher, the Society of St. Pius X, one cannot deny that they did a fine job assembling this missal. However, both it and the Baronius Missal carry over most of the (relatively few) typographical errors from the Ideal Missal.

The 1962 edition of My Sunday Missal, a.k.a. the Fr. Stedman Missal, has just been republished in 2012 by Neumann Press (, (800) 746-2521, $25.95). Note that PCP Books has also reprinted My Sunday Missal, but their version is the 1940 edition and thus not recommended. This is the most compact hand missal in print, only 3” x 5” x 1” thick and designed to fit in a pocket, made possible because weekday Mass Propers are omitted.

Also new is a reprint of Burns & Oates’ Layman’s Missal & Prayer Book, a similar small Sunday Missal (, (212) 953-5858, $27.95). The Propers are only in English. This is the sole missal which incorporates the revised Good Friday Prayer for the Jews, though oddly some other 1962 changes are omitted. All of the Sacraments are included, along with parts of the Divine Office. Its main drawbacks are the use of non-standard, non-hierarchical English; and that it only includes proper Feasts for the U.K. and not for North America, though that omission would have little impact upon a user.

1955-61 Missals: Almost Up-to-Date

The ubiquitous Marian Missal by Fr. Juergens came in various editions. Some have large print, others have full Latin and English, others have Sundays only and only in English. The one currently in print is a republished 1958 edition (, (603) 239-6671, $39.95). The advantage of the Marian Missal is relatively accurate typesetting and a beautiful collection of devotional prayers. The disadvantage is that in this particular edition, Latin is not provided for all of the Propers.

Two children’s missals have been reprinted: The 1958 Marian Children’s Missal (, (800) 966-7337, $12.95), and the 1959 Saint Joseph Children’s Missal (, (800) 746-2521, $26.95). The former is a literal missal like an adult version; the latter is more of a guidebook to the Mass than a true missal.

Pre-1955 Missals of Interest

The St. Andrew Missal, republished by St. Bonaventure Publications (, (406) 452-5452), $68.00) is a 1952 edition. It has lengthy commentaries on each week’s Mass, and a sizable collection of devotional prayers. The full Latin and English text of every Mass, Sunday and weekday, are provided.

The New Roman Missal, a.k.a. the Fr. Lasance Missal, is a 1945 edition (, $52.95). Similar to the St. Andrew Missal, it is a vast volume, with many devotional prayers and full Latin and English Propers. However, both of these missals suffer from numerous errors in the typesetting of the Propers, worse than any of the alternatives.

The St. Joseph Missal (, (406) 452-5452), $58.00) is a 1953 edition, English only. It is the direct predecessor of today’s Novus Ordo St. Joseph Missal. It has a familiar appearance and sentimental value to many because of its popularity then and now.

Each missal has its advantages and disadvantages. Because none of them, not even the new ones, has done a thorough job of proofreading the Propers, it is not possible to recommend one on the basis of accuracy. If small print is acceptable, the Baronius Missal seems the most complete. If you prefer larger print, look for an (out-of-print) large-print edition of a Marian Missal.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/09 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Easter Monday – Divine Mercy Novena follows Mass)

Tue. 04/10 7:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Easter Tuesday)

Fri. 04/13 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Joseph (Easter Friday) [This Mass is part of a bus tour, but all are welcome to attend]

Sun. 04/15 3:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Low Sunday – Chaplet of Divine Mercy precedes Mass. Confessions heard starting at 2:00 PM. Celebrant: Fr. Patrick Beneteau)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 8, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, April 07, 2012


To whom does the future of America belong?

The Church doesn't cut a very imposing figure on the horizon these days. Archbishop Dolan and the American bishops are doing their best, but it can't be easy. After several decades of the American churches evading the tough doctrinal issues, the last tag end of a politically viable issue around which the 'troops' have much hope of being rallied today looks, at best, like a defensive strategy of circling the wagons. The Church looks pretty weak.

By contrast, the political forces of darkness, death, abortion, indulgence, license, same-sexism, cultural revisionism, and irresponsible bankrolling of federal programs on borrowed capital we don't have, look comparatively strong. Despite the surpassing stupidity of some of their representatives, they have the backing of nearly all the public electronic and print media, Hollywood, and large swaths of urbane thoroughly-indoctrinated blue-state 'liberals' ready to re-elect the current President.

The unfolding drama of Jesus' Passion

Participating in the Holy Week reflections and Masses preceding Easter this year, a number of things have struck me about the events leading up to our Lord's Passion. The most salient feature that I noticed this year is a certain inexorable inevitability to the succession of events recounted in the Gospels. The principals figures involved in those events (whether secular or religious), were not necessarily evil individuals by worldly standards. Caiaphas was looking to secure Jewish interests under an oppressive Roman occupation. Pilate made some attempt at releasing Jesus, whom he clearly saw as an innocent victim, but bowed to political pressure in the form of a threatening insurrection, for which Rome would have surely judged him as an ineffectual leader.

Jesus is fully aware of this "inevitable" quality of the events unfolding around Him. What is more remarkable is that He clearly sees Himself as a willing participant in the inexorable logic of these unfolding events. When Peter draws his sword to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells him to desist, saying: "Do you think that I cannot call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels," but how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be thus?" (Mt 26:53-54) Hence, although the free will is clearly involved, there is also a larger plan unfolding here in which Jesus intends to willingly participate.

Of course, the events of our Lord's Passion are in some sense unique in world history. They represent the 'crux' of world history, dividing it into "BC" and "AD." Yet there is something about the logic of these events that is worth noting. First of all, whatever the personal intentions of the participants (Caiaphas, Pilate, the manipulable crowds), they involved unspeakable evil. The upshot was the brutal execution of an innocent man, who also happened to be the Son of the Most High, God Incarnate. Second, as we see from Jesus' own participation in the inexorable logic of these unfolding events, they were part of God's permissive will and His own merciful plan of redemption.

The unfolding drama of Hitler's rise to power

Although I am on weaker footing when referring to world history, I recall other critical junctures in the unfolding events of history when there seemed to be an uncanny, inexorable inevitability to events. One comes to mind from my reading, years ago as I commuted by train to and from my university in Tokyo, William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a massive tome. The incredible thing about the rise of Hitler and his campaign of conquest leading up to and lasting through World War II, was a certain seemingly-unstoppable logic to events. It was amazing how rapidly he rose to power and with what ineffectual resistance he met with from his opponents. Events seemed to conspire to guarantee success-after-success. The alarms sounded by Pius XI's German encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge (1937) and various private citizens, like the Austrian Dietrich von Hildebrand, were as singularly ineffectual as they were spon-on-target. The multiple plots to assassinate Hitler -- from that involving the Lutheran Dietrich Bonhoeffer to that involving the Catholic Claus von Stauffenberg -- failed miserably, no matter how well-planned they were and how close to succeeding they came. Every strategic decision Hitler made seemed perfectly timed to exploit his opponents' weaknesses -- starting with his meteoric rise to power after the Reichstag fire of 1933 through his decision to invade Poland, Blitzkrieg-style, up through the first half of the War. Even the one fatal strategic decision, the ultimately ill-fated invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa), seemed, for a time, to be an unstoppable rout.

When I ask myself why Hitler was so successful for so long, why there was such a seeming "inevitability" and "unstoppable" quality to the unfolding events of his career, I am at a loss to account for these phenomena in purely natural terms. There seems to be an unmistakable character of the occult and preternatural about these events, if not the supernatural. I do not know how to begin explaining such events, but it does seem to me that Hitler was not simply their progenitor, but also a willing accomplice and tool, however unwittingly, of parties in a spiritual battle much larger than himself.

The unfolding drama of the US presidential election

Again, although I am on even weaker footing when it comes to current events, I cannot help bearing witness to the distinct perception that much of what we see in the drama of the presidential election unfolding before us this year, as in the events since the Wall Street meltdown of 2007-2009, cannot be sufficiently accounted for in purely natural terms. If God could use the wrath of the Assyrians to punish ancient Israel for its unfaithfulness, it seems a comparatively small thing that the events now unfolding might be seen as the inexorable hand of divine judgment upon a people who have forgotten God. President Lincoln, you may recall, made a like judgment in his Second inaugural address.

If there is a certain fatalism that some may feel about the dismal failure of the Republican party to mount a credible, unified response to the fiscal irresponsibility, constitutional betrayal, unconscionable moral evil, and spiritual suicide represented by the current administration, it seems to me that here again these events cannot be understood simply in natural terms of current political machinations. One must also consider the consequences of earlier fatal decisions made in our country, such as Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which legalized across the board contraception, severing sex from procreation and promoting a culture of promiscuous recreational sex; Roe v. Wade (1973), which has led to a holocaust of baby-killing at the rate of about 4000/day in the United States alone; and the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association (1973) and American Psychological Association (1975), both as the result, not of clinical data, but of political pressure from gay and lesbian lobbies. Anyone with the least degree of spiritual sensitivity who is acquainted with history (whether biblical, ecclesial, or secular) knows that decisions and actions eventually have their consequences, whether one is considering the Babylonian captivity of the ancient Jews (587 BC) or the collapse of imperial Rome (Ad 476) or of Constantinople (AD 1453). Sooner or later, as the saying goes, one has to "pay the piper."

From his mania-inspiring charismatic 2008 presidential campaign, to his latest executive order, titled "National Defense Resources Preparedness," authorizing peacetime martial law (March 18, 2012), Barack Obama's meteoric rise to messianic superstardom as revisionist president and international apologist for the sins of American tradition, has had an almost uncanny magical quality about it. Even though his job-rating tanked in national opinion polls after a dismal and mendacious record in managing the bailout, economic 'recovery', 'job-creation' and getting 'Obamacare' pushed through Congress; even though it has looked like the 'anyone-BUT-Obama' sentiments of the "Tea Party Express" made a reasonable chance of Obama's surviving re-election for a second term seem all-but-impossible; the media-spin and social "construction" of the national image of the President now makes him appear as the all-but-INEVITABLE candidate for a second four-year term. This, despite egregious violations against the U.S. Constitution, and attempts to undermine national sovereignty and transfer power from America as a constitutional republic to non-accountable global bodies and international law (as we mentioned in 2/08) and as seen in Leon Panetta's recent statements to congress concerning the War Powers Act). This, despite repeated untruthful and undeliverable promises to African-Americans, and a record of providing nothing to alleviate the dire poverty of those living in the inner cities except promoting cheap baubles like the virtually free cell phone plans for those on low income; and his unbelievable contempt in brazenly enlisting their backing through his shameless "African-Americans for Obama" initiative. This, despite his violation of the rights of conscience of Catholic hospitals and medical professionals via his HHS mandate, and his arrogant attempt to instruct the Catholic bishops in theological ethics concerning social policy. Here, too, it seems as if there could be an unstoppable inevitability to unfolding events, perhaps an inexorable logic of divine judgment, in which the whole nation is caught up and being swept along.

What to do? "My grace is sufficient for thee," said Jesus, "for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) These words of Jesus may sound comforting, but take a second look: they provide cold comfort, depending on what He means by "weakness." He clearly does not mean the weakness of sin, the weakness caused by infidelity to Himself, the weakness exemplified now by two whole generations of abysmal catechesis and Catholics behaving virtually no differently from most of their their secular counter-parts, contracepting, aborting, divorcing, and cohabiting at the same rates, and turning out in droves to oppose their bishops on the HHS mandate and to support, instead, the Culture of Death ticket.

The fact is, we have very little control, as individuals, over unfolding political events on a national and international level. True, we can and should do whatever we can even in the current election to defeat or at least hamper the further advance of the Culture of Death and ensure our freedom of conscience as American citizens. But we should be investing most of our efforts in those areas where we do have direct responsibility and control: our own lives as individuals, families, and local communities. Our strength is made perfect in weakness; but only if our weakness is that of the truly faithful -- the meek who will inherit the earth, the pure in heart who will see God, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and will be filled, the persecuted for Christ's sake who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Let the change we can believe in begin in our hearts.

Then we can face the inexorable logic of events as Jesus Himself did, trusting in the mercy of our Heavenly Father, and declare with St. Paul: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rm 8:38-39)