Sunday, November 30, 2008

French admiration for Americans???

"French Praise for American Soldiers" (the Anchoress, November 21, 2008):
Via Friend Michael, this must must must read. It will do your heart, soul, sinews, lungs, kidneys and brain good, translated Via.

("American Troops in Afghanistan Through the Eyes of French Infantryman")
[Hat tip to American Papist]

Veni veni Emmanuel

1. Veni, Veni Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exsilio,
Privatus Dei Filio. R.
R. Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.
2. Veni, O Sapientia,
Quae hic disponis omnia,
Veni, viam prudentiae
Ut doceas et gloriae. R.

3. Veni, Veni Adonai!
Qui populo in Sinai
Legem dedisti vertice,
In Majestate gloriae. R.

4. Veni, O Jesse virgula,
Ex hostis tuos ungula,
De specu tuos tartari
Educ et antro barathri. R.

5. Veni, Clavis Davidica,
Regna reclude caelica,
Fac iter tutum superum,
Et claude vias inferum. R.

6. Veni, Veni O Oriens!
Solare nos adveniens,
Noctis depelle nebulas,
Dirasque noctis tenebras. R.

7. Veni, Veni, Rex gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
Ut salvas tuos famulos
Peccati sibi conscios. R.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1. O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear. R.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
2. O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. R.

3. O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. R.

4. O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
from ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave. R.

5. O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh. R.

6. O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight. R.

7. O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven's peace. R.
[Latin, paraphrase of the great "O antiphons"; translation by T. Helmore (1811-1890), J.M. Neale (1818-1866) et al.]


Sanctity, then, is not giving up the world. It is exchanging the world. It is a continuation of that sublime transaction of the Incarnation in which Christ said to Man: "You give Me your humanity, I will give you My Divinity. You give Me your time, I will give you My eternity. You give Me your bonds, I will give you My Omnipotence. You give Me your slavery, I will give you My freedom. You give Me your death, I will give you My Life. You give Me your nothingness, I will give you My All." And the consoling thought throughout this whole transforming process is that it does not require much time to make us saints; it requires only much love. FJS
Servant of God

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

8 May 1895 - 9 December 1979

FULTON (JOHN) SHEEN was born on 8 May, 1895, in El Paso, Illinois. Ordained on 20 September, 1919, Sheen became one of the most popular preachers of the twentieth century. In 1930 he began the Catholic Hour broadcasts on NBC radio, which ran for twenty-two years. He spoke for the first religious service ever telecast in 1940. In 1950, the bishops of the United States invited Sheen to become National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, where he served for sixteen years. Pope Pius XII appointed him bishop in 1951 (auxiliary in New York).

From 1951 until 1957, he hosted the highly acclaimed television series, "Life is Worth Living," for which he won an Emmy in 1953. He wrote over sixty books and dozens of articles. Two books, Peace of Soul [1949] and Life Is Worth Living: First and Second Series [1953] became national best sellers. In 1962, Pope John XXIII appointed him to the Vatican Council II Commission on the Missions. In 1966, Pope Paul VI appointed Sheen Bishop of Rochester, New York, where he served until his retirement in 1969 at which point he was created (Titular) Archbishop of Newport (Wales).

Archbishop Sheen died at his home in New York City on 9 December, 1979 and he is buried in the crypt at St. Patrick's Cathedral. His cause was formally opened in 2002 and he has been declared Servus Dei.

In England, Archbishop Sheen is associated with St. Edmund's College, Ware, where he taught; St. Patrick's Church, Soho Square, London, where he supplied and preached over many summers; and Tyburn Convent whose apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration he championed. Every day of his priesthood (1919 - 1979) Fulton Sheen made a holy hour. Please pray for his beatification. You could start by making a holy hour!

Prayer To Move The Church To Proclaim
Archbishop Fulton Sheen A Saint
Heavenly Father, source of all good and all holiness, You reward those who love and serve You as faithful sons and daughters. If it pleases You, I ask You to glorify Your servant, Archbishop Fulton Sheen. He touched countless lives by his ministry of evangelization, especially through the media. His clear and courageous teachings about Jesus and the truths of the Catholic Church seemed to possess a special power of the Holy Spirit that strengthened the faithful and inspired many converts to embrace the Faith. He supported the needs of missionaries all over the world through his work in the National Office for the Propagation of the Faith. He also labored zealously for the renewal of the Priesthood by preaching retreats to his brother priests and by encouraging them with the good example of his daily Eucharistic Holy Hour. His deep personal love of Our Lady moved many others to go to Jesus through His Mother.

Heavenly Father, if it be according to Your Divine Will, I ask You to move Your Church to glorify Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I ask this prayer confidently in Jesus' Name. Amen.
+ Seán
archbishop of Armagh
& Primate of All-Ireland

For information on membership in the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, or to share any personal knowledge of the Archbishop (letters, photos, life-experiences, or to report any spiritual or physical favors granted in his name), please write:

Monsignor Richard Soseman
Vice-Postulator of the Cause
Archbishop Sheen Pastoral Center
PO Box 728
PEORIA, Illinois 61652-0728

For additional prayer cards contact Keep The Faith at:

Tridentine Community News, Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ite, Missa Est Variants

A little-known fact is that the sung setting to the Ite, Missa Est (Go, the Mass is ended) is based on the Kyrie for the Mass being sung. Regular attendees of the Tridentine Mass may recall the two Mass settings that we use most often, Mass VIII (Missa de Ángelis) and Mass XI (Orbis Factor). Think for a moment about the melody of the Kyrie and the Ite. They match.

The choice of which Ite to sing, therefore, is not random. It is appropriate to sing the one matching the Mass being sung. If a polyphonic Kyrie and Gloria have been sung (e.g. Victoria’s Missa O Quam Gloriósum), but a Gregorian Sanctus and Agnus Dei are used, then the Ite will match the Mass used for the latter. If a polyphonic Mass is sung throughout, then the Ite is chosen according to the season, which usually means either VIII or XI.

In Lent, the simpler Masses XVII and XVIII are used, and the Ite is a much simpler melody, in keeping with the restrained, penitential nature of the season.

Alternative Settings of the Credo

The Credo is not a part of the 18 Gregorian Mass settings. The Mass settings only include the Kyrie, Gloria (except in the Lent-Advent-Requiem Masses XVII and XVIII), Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Ite. In addition to the standard Masses, some extra ad libítum (“ad lib” = optional) settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are published in the official Solesmes books, but are rarely heard.

There are five Gregorian Credo settings, the first four of which are commonly published in hymnals. Credo I is popular in Europe. We, and the majority of North American Latin Mass sites, almost exclusively use Credo III. It is easy to learn and is one of the few pieces of the Catholic repertoire known by heart by virtually all Latin Mass attendees. Some polyphonic Masses include a Credo, but those Credos are often not used during a Mass due to their length.

Local Media Exposure for the Tridentine Mass

Much to everyone’s surprise, Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP’s visit last Sunday to celebrate a Solemn High Mass at Assumption Church attracted significant media attention [see "Media coverage of Fr. Bisig's Mass in Windsor," Musings, November 26, 2008]:

CBC Radio (1550 AM) interviewed several people in attendance and recorded the Kyrie and Gloria. The station devoted 45 minutes to the story and follow-up calls Monday morning.

A TV station (Channel 9?) had a camera crew present during the Mass.

The Windsor Star newspaper sent a photographer and reporter. Their positive and detailed story was published on page 3 of Monday’s paper and is available on-line at – search for Latin Mass [in archives for 11/24/08].

Though Fr. Bisig is a priest of international renown, it is probably a sign of the post-Motu Proprio times that the secular media considered his visit newsworthy to the general community. Hopefully, some of those who saw or read these reports may find their interest piqued in exploring the Roman Catholic liturgical tradition that is found in the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass.

Weddings in Ann Arbor

Last Saturday, November 22, two Tridentine weddings occurred simultaneously in Ann Arbor, one at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, and the other at Old St. Patrick’s Church. The latter was a Solemn High Mass, the first such wedding held in our part of the world in approximately 40 years. This was all the more noteworthy considering that the Ann Arbor area does not yet have a publicly celebrated Tridentine Mass.

Whatever Happened to ...

The replacement organ project for St. Josaphat? An acceptable instrument has still not been identified. We continue to monitor used organs that become available. St. Josaphat’s existing Estey organ continues to perform adequately for the time being.

Confirmations according to the Extraordinary Form? We are actively working on arranging for a bishop to celebrate this Sacrament. Logistics are complicated not only because we are seeking the Classic Form of Confirmation, but also because of the scarcity of bishops available in the Archdiocese of Detroit. We hope to have news to report soon.

Confessions according to the Extraordinary Form? Next week’s Tridentine Community News will have an update on this Sacrament.

Weekday (Thursday evening) Mass at Assumption-Windsor? Still an agenda item, pending other matters in flux at the parish.

Tridentine Community Fundraising Brunches at St. Josaphat? We are considering other fundraising events that could produce increased revenue while requiring less volunteer labor.

* * * * * * *

[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News is that of the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for November 30, 2008, with minor editions. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Suggestions for Christmas gifts

A reader made this comment in a recent comment box over at Rorate Caeli (November 27, 2008), and we also believe it may be a good subject for our excellent commentators:
In view of Christmas's approach are there vibrant traditional and orthodox monasteries whose products we could buy. I know of the Mystic Monk Coffee from the Wyoming Carmelites. Any others?
[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Who Killed Detroit?

A dissenting voice, Patrick Buchanan, "Who Killed Detroit?" (Human Events, November 21, 2008):
Who killed the U.S. auto industry?

To hear the media tell it, arrogant corporate chiefs failed to foresee the demand for small, fuel-efficient cars and made gas-guzzling road-hog SUVs no one wanted, while the clever, far-sighted Japanese, Germans and Koreans prepared and built for the future.

I dissent. What killed Detroit was Washington, the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II.

As far back as the 1950s, an intellectual elite that produces mostly methane had its knives out for the auto industry of which Ike's treasury secretary, ex-GM chief Charles Wilson, had boasted, "What's good for America is good for General Motors, and vice versa."

"Engine Charlie" was relentlessly mocked, even in Al Capp's L'il Abner cartoon strip, where a bloviating "General Bullmoose" had as his motto, "What's good for Bullmoose is good for America!"

How did Big Government do in the U.S. auto industry?

Washington imposed a minimum wage higher than the average wage in war-devastated Germany and Japan. The Feds ordered that U.S. plants be made the healthiest and safest worksites in the world, creating OSHA to see to it. It enacted civil rights laws to ensure the labor force reflected our diversity. Environmental laws came next, to ensure U.S. factories became the most pollution-free on earth.

It then clamped fuel efficiency standards on the entire U.S. car fleet.

Next, Washington imposed a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, raking off another 15 percent of autoworkers' wages in Social Security payroll taxes

State governments imposed income and sales taxes, and local governments property taxes to subsidize services and schools.

The United Auto Workers struck repeatedly to win the highest wages and most generous benefits on earth -- vacations, holidays, work breaks, health care, pensions -- for workers and their families, and retirees.

Now there is nothing wrong with making U.S. plants the cleanest and safest on earth or having U.S. autoworkers the highest-paid wage earners.

That is the dream, what we all wanted for America.

And under the 14th Amendment, GM, Ford and Chrysler had to obey the same U.S. laws and pay at the same tax rates. Outside the United States, however, there was and is no equality of standards or taxes.

Thus when America was thrust into the Global Economy, GM and Ford had to compete with cars made overseas in factories in postwar Japan and Germany, then Korea, where health and safety standards were much lower, wages were a fraction of those paid U.S. workers, and taxes were and are often forgiven on exports to the United States.

All three nations built "export-driven" economies.

The Beetle and early Japanese imports were made in factories where wages were far beneath U.S. wages and working conditions would have gotten U.S. auto executives sent to prison.

The competition was manifestly unfair, like forcing Secretariat to carry 100 pounds in his saddlebags in the Derby.

Japan, China and South Korea do not believe in free trade as we understand it. To us, they are our "trading partners." To them, the relationship is not like that of Evans & Novak or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is not even like the Redskins and Cowboys. For the Cowboys only want to defeat the Redskins. They do not want to put their franchise out of business and end the competition -- as the Japanese did to our TV industry by dumping Sonys here until they killed it.

While we think the Global Economy is about what is best for the consumer, they think about what is best for the nation.

Like Alexander Hamilton, they understand that manufacturing is the key to national power. And they manipulate currencies, grant tax rebates to their exporters and thieve our technology to win. Last year, as trade expert Bill Hawkins writes, South Korea exported 700,000 cars to us, while importing 5,000 cars from us.

That's Asia's idea of free trade.

How has this Global Economy profited or prospered America?

In the 1950s, we made all our own toys, clothes, shoes, bikes, furniture, motorcycles, cars, cameras, telephones, TVs, etc. You name it. We made it.

Are we better off now that these things are made by foreigners? Are we better off now that we have ceased to be self-sufficient? Are we better off now that the real wages of our workers and median income of our families no longer grow as they once did? Are we better off now that manufacturing, for the first time in U.S. history, employs fewer workers than government?

We no longer build commercial ships. We have but one airplane company, and it outsources. China produces our computers. And if GM goes Chapter 11, America will soon be out of the auto business.

Our politicians and pundits may not understand what is going on. Historians will have no problem explaining the decline and fall of the Americans.
[Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."]

[Hat tip to C. Binder-Scapone]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This must have been scary

"20,000 Muslims Attack a Church in Cairo" (Assyrian International News Agency, November 26, 2008) -- all over the occasion of the "inauguration" of the new Coptic Orthodox church.

More "Off the record"

In the wake of the now released deposition taken last June from Milwaukee's former archbishop Rembert Weakland, Diogenes, "Hush, Hush" (Off the Record, Catholic Culture, November 21, 2008), writes (excerpt):
Weakland's boyfriend demanded a cool million in hush money, and the good monk got him to accept less than half. Who of us can object to a bishop who delivers a bargain like that? Call it Responsible Stewardship. He's still in good standing, after all.

We haven't seen anything yet

As a follow-up to Rod Dreher's "On gay marriage, no tenable compromise" (Beliefnet, November 16, 2008) -- see our post, "May I take your little girl for a ride?" Musings, November 22, 2008) -- a reader wrote recently and suggested the following incisive post by Diogenes, "Unprofessional" (Off the Record, Catholic Culture, November 17, 2008):
So here's the next move in the culture wars, an editorial cloud no bigger than a man's suspiciously well-groomed hand. The Los Angeles Times has an editorial deploring the Holy See's newly-issued Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood. Why? Because, according to the Times, the document emphasizes
that even chaste gay men are to be barred from the priesthood. Never mind that large numbers of gay priests -- estimates range from 25% to 50% -- already serve the faithful, with most adhering to their vow of celibacy. (Emphasis added)
The Guidelines never mention the word "gay"; the Holy See is concerned -- as the Times is not -- to keep libido distinct from behavior, and both distinct from conviction. Nor is it surprising that, for the nonce, most homosexual priests have remained celibate, that is, unmarried. Celibacy is not chastity, however, and anyone who thinks most self-declared gay priests are chaste is deceiving himself.

That said, it's true that the Holy See's unwillingness to admit homosexual priests is broader than avoidance of sodomy. The Church teaches homosexual appetite is in itself disordered, and the psychic disturbance that attends the disorder should be healed before a man is admitted to the priesthood, even if he's physically continent. It's this unwavering insistence on the homosexual libido as disordered that makes the Times editors so indignant (Emphasis added):
The Vatican's hard line against chaste gay priests seems to be inspired by the condemnation the church justly received for its passive response to the sexual abuse of minors -- most of them male -- by some priests. But, as Pope Benedict XVI conceded during his visit to the United States this year, homosexuality isn't the same as pedophilia. That statement was a rebuke to conservative Catholics, and others, who have attempted to equate the two. (Despite the pope's enlightened comments, he approved last month's statement.)
As this conservative Catholic has insisted, the problem isn't gays, but priests who sodomize persons of the same gender; blue collar slang provides several technically accurate alternatives to the gay-label. But the motive for the Guidelines suggested by the Times is false. As Msgr. Bruguès made clear at last month's press conference, the document was initiated back in 1995, seven years prior to the general crisis and condemnation to which the Times refers. The ignorance imputed to the Holy See is, in reality, the Times' own blunder presented to us as a deduction.

Having grudgingly conceded that the Church enjoys the right to enforce even unenlightened norms among her own members, the editors' next move is to insinuate that the psychologists who assist the Church in screening seminarians are guilty of an ethics violation:
Yet even if the U.S. church is following a more compassionate policy than Vatican pronouncements would seem to authorize, the role of psychologists in screening applicants raises troubling ethical questions, as even psychologists who approve of such cooperation admit. Aiding the church in weeding out homosexuals is hard to reconcile with these guidelines of the American Psychological Assn.
Troubling ethical questions. Right. Note the kicker in the last paragraph:
If the church -- or a diocese within the church -- takes the Vatican decree literally, it's hard to see how a psychologist could lend his or her expertise to the thwarting of a young man's aspiration to serve God simply because he happens to be gay. In our view, that's not just cruel; it's unprofessional. (Emphasis added)
Does the Times really care about psychologists' smirching their honor? Of course not. The point is to increase the odium directed at the teaching Church, and, more importantly, to nudge the issue of the Church's stance on homosexuality out of the "free exercise" sphere toward the publicly regulated sphere, as a potential violation of civil rights.

Pay attention to how the language sets up the move. We're presented with a young man whose wish to serve God (and we all know the esteem the Times has for THAT desire) has been thwarted "simply because he happens to be gay." So we've got a wholesome wish (priesthood) that a man who "happens" to be disqualified is prevented from realizing "simply because" he has that disqualification. Where have we heard that language before? First the plea is for tolerance, then acceptance, then ennoblement, and finally compulsion of those who refuse to acknowledge the new regime.

What's behind the fury fueling the protests against Proposition 8? Outrage that voters still have a right to be wrong -- and the Church (in the protestors' view) is the villainess at the back of the bigotry. What the Times calls cruel and unprofessional today will inevitably be termed intolerable tomorrow.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Media coverage of Fr. Bisig's Mass in Windsor

A correspondent reports a record turnout of 200 people for the solemn high Latin Mass celebrated by Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP (pictured left), in Windsor this past Sunday (see "Announcement," Musings, November 17, 2008). The Mass, celebrated on the 17th Anniversary of the Diocese of London, Ontario's weekly Traditional Latin Mass in Windsor, also received exceptional media coverage.

Despite modest advertising, CBC Radio (1550 AM) sent a reporter for an interview and to record the Kyrie and Gloria. Local Music Director, Wassim Sarweh, directed the performance of Schubert's Mass in G with a full orchestra. The story was broadcast Monday morning at 7:30 AM, and as late as 8:15 AM, and the station was reportedly still taking calls with positive reactions.

CBC Television (Channel 9) sent a camera crew, although our correspondent could not tell us when they aired their story.

The Windsor Star sent a photographer and reporter to cover the event, which was the top local story on its web site Monday morning:

The story may be found on-line here.

[Hat tip to A.B.]

Local regular unleaded: $1.59 (credit card)

Wouldn't it be funny if it fell 60 more cents and we were paying 99 cents per gallon again. When was that, in the late seventies or early eighties?

Tridentine Community News, November 23, 2008

Reverences During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Now that the 2002 edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has eliminated all genuflections during the Ordinary Form of the Mass except at the beginning and end of Mass, and for the priest at the consecration, the numerous genuflections made in the Tridentine Mass have become more conspicuous in comparison. When and why are these and other reverences made?

Bows & Genuflections

The priest, sacred ministers (Deacon, Subdeacon, and other clergy with defined roles in a Solemn Mass), and altar servers in the sanctuary genuflect whenever they cross the center. This is primarily meant as a reverence to the Blessed Sacrament that is usually present on the main altar of churches where the Tridentine Mass is celebrated. Genuflections are not made when servers follow the priest as he crosses the sanctuary, for decorum.

If the altar in question does not have a tabernacle, or does not have the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle, the genuflections are still made. Not only does this allow for consistent habits to be formed, but it also respects the possibility that fragments of a Host may still be present upon the altar.

St. Albertus Church, no longer being a parish, is not permitted to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in its tabernacle. Thus, before and after Mass there, while setting up, the altar servers do not genuflect in front of the tabernacle. However, during a Tridentine Mass there, genuflections are still made.

Three Kinds of Bows

A simple bow (nod of the head) is made by all at the mention of our Lord’s Name, Jesus; and by the celebrant at the name of our Blessed Mother, Mary. The priest bows to the altar crucifix for our Lord’s Name, and to the missal for our Lady’s.

A medium bow (45̊) is made during certain prayers of the Mass, such as the Glória Patri, the In spíritu humilitátis at the Offertory, and the three pre-Communion prayers. These are significant moments of reverence to one or more members of the Trinity.

A profound bow (90̊) is made during the Confíteor, reminiscent of the prostrations (laying flat on the floor) made by candidates for the priesthood during the Ordination Mass. These are points of beseeching God’s Mercy.

When Sitting

The celebrant may choose to sit during any part of a sung Mass when the music is of long duration.

Everyone else in the sanctuary who has a chair available sits when the celebrant sits, with the exception of the Master of Ceremonies. He stands facing down the nave of the church so that he may signal the celebrant to remove his biretta and bow during those points in the singing which call for a bow. The MC makes this signal by bowing to the celebrant, then turning to face the altar and making the appropriate bow himself.

When the servers sit, they acknowledge the hierarchy of our Lord and the celebrant acting in Persóna Christi (in the person of Christ) by bowing first to the tabernacle, and then to the celebrant, before sitting.

At the Altar vs. In Choir

The servers and sacred ministers who are kneeling or standing at the altar, namely the Deacon and Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass, the Acolytes, MC, and sometimes the Thurifer, genuflect and bow with the priest as he recites the Glória and Credo. Everyone else in the sanctuary sitting “in choir” (to the sides) stands and sits with the congregation. This not only highlights the differentiation between what is going on at the altar – that is, its unique sacred character – but also allows those in choir to set an example for the congregation as to when to sit and stand. Holy Mother Church considers practical as well as theological matters as rules are set.

Christmas Eve Midnight Tridentine Mass

Fr. Borkowski has decided that the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Joseph Church will once again be a Tridentine Mass. On Christmas Day there will also be a 9:30 AM Tridentine Mass at St. Josaphat, and a 2:00 PM Tridentine Mass at Assumption-Windsor. Each of these Masses will be accompanied by a special music program. Fr. Peter Hrytsyk will be the celebrant of both the St. Joseph and Assumption Masses. Fr. Wolfgang Seitz will be the celebrant of the St. Josaphat Mass.

Thanks be to God that we in this region are so privileged as to have a choice of three such Masses in three historic churches.

Bishop Boyea Mass Postponed Again

Bishop Boyea has had to reschedule the Tridentine Mass he will be celebrating at Flint’s All Saints Church yet again. The date of December 7 that we announced in our October 19 column became impossible, because His Excellency has to attend the installation of the new coadjutor Archbishop of Cincinnati that day. A new date has yet to be coordinated between His Excellency and the Flint Tridentine Community; we will announce it as soon as we are made aware. Bishop Boyea extends his apologies to everyone; now that he is a Diocesan Ordinary, his schedule is in many ways out of his control.

[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News is that of the bulletin insert for November 23, 2008. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"May I take your little girl for a ride?"

Rod Dreher, "On gay marriage, no tenable compromise" (Beliefnet, November 16, 2008):
Here's my column from today's Dallas Morning News, in which I write that conservatives may have won the Prop 8 battle, but we're losing, and are going to lose, the war over same-sex marriage rights. Why? Two reasons, basically: demographics, and the loss long ago of a settled view of marriage as anything beyond a contractual arrangement. In other words, conservatives are going to lose this war because we've lost the young, and we've lost the young because we've lost the culture. I might have added, gays had nothing to do with that; this battle was lost to traditionalists long before gays began to campaign for marriage rights. [N.B., if you're at all interested in this topic, I encourage you to read past the jump; I've appended a long passage from a 2005 Policy Review essay by Lee Harris, a partnered gay man who criticizes gay marriage on the grounds of tradition; it bears thoughtful reflection.]

I advocate in the column conservatives concentrating their (our) energies on a strategic retreat to more defensible ground, to protect religious freedom:
Should conservatives surrender? No, but it's important to deal with the world as it is. Marc D. Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, warns of a substantial impact on traditionalist churches, synagogues and mosques if gay marriage is constitutionalized under current conditions.

"If there is to be space for opponents of same-sex marriage, it will have to be created at the same time as same-sex marriage is recognized, and, probably, as part of a legislative package," he counsels.

Well, California gays had marriage in all but name, but still successfully petitioned the state Supreme Court over the word "marriage." Still, if religious liberty can be protected while statutorily granting same-sex marriage, that's a deal prudent conservatives and fair-minded gay activists should take.

Otherwise, get ready for a culture-war cataclysm.
I have no faith that this will happen. As a reader put it recently in one of the threads below, there really doesn't seem to be any tenable middle ground -- if by "tenable" you mean a middle ground that gays are willing to concede. I think a sufficient number of social conservatives could be convinced to yield on gay marriage if we could be assured that our religious institutions would be left alone. This could be accomplished, I think -- lawyers, correct me if I'm wrong -- if gay marriage were granted statutorily, instead of ordered by a court as part of civil rights jurisprudence. But as I indicate in the column, I don't think gay activists want any part of that -- they want full equality in every sense of the word. And I believe, along with Marc D. Stern and Eugene Volokh that having secured marriage rights in civil rights jurisprudence, gay activists will not be content to leave churches, synagogues and mosques alone, but will press hard to punish them for adhering to traditional religious teaching about homosexuality. This is why I have a lot of respect for Prof. Chai Feldblum's position: I don't agree with her pro-SSM views, but coming from an Orthodox Jewish background, she understands what religious groups would be required to give up under a full gay civil rights regime.Read the whole thing.

Ultimately, there is no tenable middle ground because a) we live in postmodernity, under an Enlightenment constitutional framework that makes the fulfillment of individual desire the summum bonum of political life, and, more basically, b) what's at issue is what homosexuality is. Let's assume, as I believe most people do, that homosexuality is not a choice. Given that premise, is it an immutable, morally neutral condition (like race)? Or is it an immutable, morally deficient condition (like alcoholism) that can be accomodated to some degree by law and custom, but which has no civil rights claims?

The view of gay rights activists and their supporters is the first option; the view of traditional religious believers is the second. The polls are clear that the first option is going to be the majority view before long in this country. Those who hold the second view have lost the philosophical grounds on which to make a plausible case, I fear; all we have to rely on is prejudice, both in the bad sense (i.e., bigotry) and in the good, Burkean sense (i.e., you shouldn't hastily tear down an institution that has lasted so long and served society so well). And gays, understandably, find their personal dignity insulted by people who believe that their sexuality is in any way deficient -- particularly because for many gays, their sense of moral, cultural and psychological personhood is so bound up in their sexuality. Besides, our culture has taught everyone to think only in terms of one's individual rights. "Rights" are not something granted; they are only recognized, as they inhere in a person by virtue of his personhood. This is why both gays and religious people are not predisposed to compromise on something they think infringes upon their full personhood.

This is why we're going to have a very nasty culture war. Just wait until more people understand -- no thanks to the news media -- what the full implications of gay civil rights are for their churches and schools.

Lee Harris, a gay conservative who lives with his longtime partner, opposes gay marriage because he sees in its institutionalization a sign and a means of the decline of our civilization. This long passage from a 2005 Policy Review essay of his on the meaning of tradition today bears thoughtful reflection. This is what traditionalists see as the ultimate stakes in this war -- and why we will not, we must not, go quietly. This civilization will do what it wants to do, and I see nothing to stop its rapid deconstruction. Protecting religious freedom in this matter at least gives breathing room for the Benedict Option -- for the formation of religious communities that can keep traditional wisdom and practice alive amid a hostile world:
In the culture war of today, the representatives of one side have systematically set out to destroy the shining examples of middle America. They seem to be doing so with an unconscious fanaticism that most closely parallels the conscious fanaticism of the various iconoclastic movements in the history of Christianity. They are doing this in a variety of ways -- through the media, of course, and through the educational system. They are very thorough in their work and no less bold in the astonishingly specious pretexts upon which they demand the sacrifice of yet another shining example. In the current debate on gay marriage, its advocates are cast in the role of long-oppressed suppliants demanding their just due. Indeed, the whole question is put in terms of their legal and moral rights, against which the opponents of gay marriage have nothing to offer but "residual personal prejudice," to recall again the memorable words of the chief justice of the Canadian Supreme Court.

But it is a mistake to conflate the automatic with the irrational, since, as we have seen, an automatic and mindless response is precisely the mechanism by which the visceral code speaks to us. It triggers a rush of emotions because it is designed to do precisely this. Like certain automatic reflexes, such as jerking your hand off a burning stovetop, the sheer immediacy of our visceral response, far from being proof of its irrationality, demonstrates the critical importance, in times of peril and crisis, of not thinking before we act. If a man had to think before jumping out of the way of an onrushing car, or to meditate on his options before removing his hand from that hot stovetop, then reason, rather than being our help, would become our enemy. Some decisions are better left to reflexes -- be these of our neurological system or of our visceral system.

This is why for most people, including many gay men and women, the immediate response to the idea of gay marriage came at the gut level -- it somehow felt funny and wrong, and it felt this way long before they were able to spare a moment's reflection on the question of whether they were for it or against it. There is a reason for that: They were overwhelmed at having been asked the question at all. How do you explain what you have against what had never crossed your mind as something anyone on Earth would ever think of doing? This invitation to reason calmly about the hitherto unthinkable is the source of the uneasy visceral response. To ask someone to reason calmly about something that he regards as simply beyond the pale is to ask him to concede precisely what he must not concede -- the mere admissibility of the question.

Imagine a stranger coming up to you and asking if he can drive your eight-year-old daughter around town in his new car. Presumably, no matter how nicely the stranger asked this question, you would say no. But suppose he started to ask why you won't let him take your little girl for a ride. What if he said, "Listen, tell you what. I'll give her my cell phone and you can call her anytime you want"? What kind of obligation are you under to give a reason to a complete stranger for why he shouldn't be allowed to drive off with your daughter?

None. A question that is out of order does not require or deserve an answer. The moment you begin to answer the question as if it were in order, it is too late to point out your original objection to the question in the first place, which really was: Over my dead body.

Marriage was something that, until only quite recently, seemed to be securely in the hands of married people. It was what married people had engaged in, and certainly not a special privilege that had been extended to them to the exclusion of other human beings. Who, after all, could not get married? You didn't have to be straight; you could be gay. So what? Marriage was the most liberal institution known to man. It opened its arms to the ugly and the homely as well as to the beautiful and the stunning. Was it defined as between a man and a woman? Well, yes, but only in the sense that a cheese omelet is defined as an egg and some cheese -- without the least intention of insulting either orange juice or toast by their omission from this definition. Orange juice and toast are fine things in themselves -- you just can't make an omelet out of them.

Those who are married now, and those thinking about getting married or teaching their children that they should grow up and get married, may all be perfect idiots, mindlessly parroting a message wired into them before they were old enough to know better. But they are passing on, through the uniquely reliable visceral code, the great postulate of transgenerational duty: not to beseech people to make the world a better place, but to make children whose children will leave it a better world and not merely a world with better abstract ideals.

We have all personally known shining examples of such human beings, just as we have all known mediocre parents as well as some absolutely dreadful ones. Now suppose we are told, as we often are told in the gay-marriage debate, that the institution of marriage is not what it used to be. What does this mean? Does it mean that the shining example of a good marriage, of a good father and a good mother, and of a happy family has ceased to be one that we want to realize in our own lives? Not at all. We may in fact be farther than ever from living up to the shining example -- but that is hardly proof that we should abandon it as an ideal to which to aspire. If the crew of a ship is developing scurvy because limes have gone out of fashion, is this a reason to throw the limes overboard or a reason to change the fashion?

The shining example of a happy marriage and its inherent ideality was something that we once could all agree on; but now it is a shining example that has been subjected to the worst fate that can befall one: It has been become a subject of controversy and has thereby lost its most essential protective quality: its ethical obviousness in the eyes of the community. Once the phrase "gay marriage" was in the air, marriage was suddenly what it had never thought to be before: a kind of marriage, a type -- traditional marriage, or that even worse monstrosity, heterosexual marriage.

The high solemnity of marriage has been transgenerationally wired into our visceral system. We must take it seriously and treat it solemnly, and this "must" must appear to us at the level of second nature; it must possess the quality of being ethically obvious. Marriage must not be mocked or ridiculed. But can marriage keep its solemnity now? Who will tell the rising generation that there are standards they must not fail to meet if they wish to live in a way that their grandfathers could respect?

This is how those fond of abstract reasoning can destroy the ethical foundations of a society without anyone's noticing it. They throw up for debate that which no one before ever thought about debating. They take the collective visceral code that has bound parents to grandchildren from time immemorial, in every culture known to man, and make of it a topic for fashionable intellectual chatter.

Ask yourself what is so secure about the ethical baseline of our current level of civilization that it might not be opened up for question, or what deeply cherished way of doing things will suddenly be cast in the role of a "residual personal prejudice."

We are witnessing the triumph of a Newspeak in which those who simply wish to preserve their own way of life, to pass their core values down to their grandchildren more or less intact, no longer even have a language in which they can address their grievances. In this essay I have tried to produce the roughest sketch of what such language might look like and how it could be used to defend those values that represent what Hegel called the substantive class of community -- the class that represents the ethical baseline of the society and whose ethical solidity and unimaginativeness permit the high-spirited experimentation of the reflective class to go forward without the risk of complete societal collapse.

If the reflective class, represented by intellectuals in the media and the academic world, continues to undermine the ideological superstructure of the visceral code operative among the "culturally backward," it may eventually succeed in subverting and even destroying the visceral code that has established the common high ethical baseline of the average American -- and it will have done all of this out of the insane belief that abstract maxims concerning justice and tolerance can take the place of a visceral code that is the outcome of the accumulated cultural revolution of our long human past.

The intelligentsia have no idea of the consequences that would ensue if middle America lost its simple faith in God and its equally simple trust in its fellow men. Their plain virtues and homespun beliefs are the bedrock of decency and integrity in our nation and in the world. These are the people who give their sons and daughters to defend the good and to defeat the evil. If in their eyes this clear and simple distinction is blurred through the dissemination of moral relativism and an aesthetic of ethical frivolity, where else will human decency find such willing and able defenders?

Even the most sophisticated of us have something to learn from the fundamentalism of middle America. For stripped of its quaint and antiquated ideological superstructure, there is a hard and solid kernel of wisdom embodied in the visceral code by which fundamentalists raise their children, and many of us, including many gay men like myself, are thankful to have been raised by parents who were so unshakably committed to the values of decency, and honesty, and integrity, and all those other homespun and corny principles. Reject the theology if you wish, but respect the ethical fundamentalism by which these people live: It is not a weakness of intellect, but a strength of character.

Middle Americans have increasingly tolerated the experiments in living of people like myself not out of stupidity, but out of the trustful magnanimity that is one of the great gifts of the Protestant ethos to our country and to the world. It is time for us all to begin tolerating back. The first step would be a rapid retreat from even the slightest whisper that marriage ever was or ever could be anything other than the shining example that most Americans still hold so sacred within their hearts, as they have every right to do. They have let us imagine the world as we wish; it is time we begin to let them imagine it as they wish.

If gay men and women want to create their own shining examples, they must do this themselves, by their own actions and by their own imagination. They must construct for themselves, out of their own unique perspective on the world, an ethos that can be admired both by future gay men and women and perhaps, eventually, by the rest of society. But there can be no advantage to them if they insist on trying to co-opt the shining example of an ethical tradition that they themselves have abandoned in order to find their own way in the world. It will end only in self-delusion and bitter disappointment

One of the preconditions of a civilization is that there is a fundamental ethical baseline below which it cannot be allowed to fall. Unless there is a deep and massive and unthinking commitment on the part of most people to the well-being not merely of their children, but of their children's children, then the essential transgenerational duty of preserving the ethical baseline of our civilization will become a matter of hit-and-miss. It may be performed, but there is no longer any guarantee that it will be. The guarantee comes from shining examples.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Friday, November 21, 2008


Ethan Gutmann, "China's Gruesome Organ Harvest" (Weekly Standard, November 24, 2008).

Pope: Church must educate Cahtolic politicians

No kidding: Cindy Wooden, "Pope: Church Must Strengthen Efforts to Educate Catholic Politicians" (CNS, November 17, 2008). So that they don't take their cues from the alternate magisterium of Planned Parenthood (see two posts below).

Japanese Catholics to Honor 188 Martyrs at Massive Beatification Ceremony

Yoko Kubota, "Catholics honor victims of Japan's past oppression" (Reuters, November 21, 2008):
Four centuries after they died for their faith, 188 Japanese Catholic martyrs will be honored by the church next week in a ceremony to recall the bloody persecution that almost stamped out Christianity in Japan.

About 30,000 people, including a Vatican envoy, are expected to gather Monday in a baseball stadium in Nagasaki, southern Japan, for the largest beatification ceremony ever held in Asia. Beatification is a step on the way to Catholic sainthood.
For anyone familiar with the history of Catholicism in Japan, this is amazing. It will be interesting to await the response of Japanese non-Catholics and the rest of Asia and the world.

Planned Parenthood: Cardinal O'Malley Out of Touch with Catholics

Well, I suppose they would know: "Planned Parenthood responds to O’Malley" (Articles of Faith, November 20, 2008). The other relevant question, though, is whether Planned Parenthood's Catholics are not out of touch with what is nominally their Church, for whom Cardinal O'Malley speaks.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 2:00 PM
Historic Assumption Church, Windsor, Ontario
Guest Celebrant: Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP
Co-Founder and former Superior, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Rector, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton, Nebraska

Music: Franz Schubert's Mass in G
Accompanied by Orchestra

Please join us on Sunday, November 23 at 2:00 PM for a very special celebration commemorating the 17th Anniversary of the Diocese of London, Ontario's weekly Traditional Latin Mass in Windsor. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Tridentine "Extraordinary" Form will be offered by one of the most prominent figures in the international Latin Mass movement, Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP. A reception for Fr. Bisig will follow Holy Mass in the Parish Hall.

In 1988, Fr. Bisig led a group of twelve priests to form the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of priests devoted to celebrating the Traditional Latin "Tridentine" Rites of Holy Mother Church. The Fraternity is one of the very few priestly orders created by papal charter: Our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, worked directly with Fr. Bisig to create an international priestly society to serve members of the faithful who love the Traditional Rites of the Church. In just 20 years, the Fraternity has enjoyed remarkable vocations growth: There are currently over 170 priests and 120 seminarians in the Fraternity; one seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany; another seminary near Lincoln, Nebraska; and a house of formation in Australia. There are many more applications than available space at the FSSP's seminaries. Fraternity priests now serve dioceses worldwide. Today, Fr. Bisig is Rector of the FSSP's Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska and travels the world as an expert on traditional liturgy.

Assumption Church is located adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge, on the east side of the bridge, on the campus of the University of Windsor.

For further information, please call (519) 734-1335, or e-mail

[Reproduced from St. Josaphat Catholic Church, Detroit, bulletin insert for Sunday, November 16, 2008]

The Coming Kulturkampf

Richard John Neuhaus has a thoughtful and provocative piece worth reading, "The Coming Kulturkampf" (First Things, November 11, 2008). Excerpts:
This awareness that Christians are different, and different in ways that make a very big difference, will, I expect sharply increase in the months and years ahead. For all of President-elect Obama’s wafting language about bringing us together, healing divisions, and so on and so on, if he seriously intends to follow through on his extremist abortion views, we are headed for the intensification of an American version of the Kulturkampf that Bismarck came to rue. The focus is on FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, that Obama says he wants to sign on his first day in office. This act would eliminate the very modest restraints and regulations established by states, provide government funding for abortions, and in its present form, require religiously sponsored hospitals and clinics to perpetrate abortions or go out of business.

The aggressor in the opening phases of this Kulturkampf is the Obama administration. The initial response to the aggression was evident in the meeting of Catholic bishops this week in Baltimore. There were refreshingly bold statements by bishops, and by Francis Cardinal George, president of the conference, on the imperative to protect the integrity of the Church’s teaching and to employ every legitimate means to resist the further advance of what John Paul the Great taught us to understand as the culture of death. Some bishops even invoked the venerable tradition of martyrdom, sounding very much like the successors to the apostles that they are.

The Christ against culture model does not come naturally to Catholics. The Church is much more disposed toward conversion, providing moral guidance, and the transformation of culture. The Christ against culture model is never chosen, but sometimes there is no choice. Pushed to the wall by the Obama aggression, it seems evident that most of the Catholic bishops are, in the words of Paul to Timothy, prepared to “fight the good fight.”

In this contest of coming months and years, it seems certain that cooperation between Catholics and evangelical Protestants will be greatly strengthened. And their efforts will enlist the support of many other Americans who are only now awakening to the fact that the unlimited abortion license imposed by Roe v. Wade and its proposed expansion by its hardcore supporters is indeed unlimited. If President-elect Obama does what he says he wants to do, this champion of national unity will preside over one of the most divisive periods in American history.
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Pardon me while I'm momentarily nauseated

In an excellent post by Thomas Peters, "Change you can conceive in"? (American Papist, November 17, 2008), Mr. Peters writes:
Newsweek asks the question "Could euphoric Obama fans be sparking a baby boom?"Clearly, Newsweek and I differ as to what sort of things can be counted as part of a "baby boom":
In Chicago, where 28-year-old Chip Bouchard—a former Hillary supporter—attended Obama's acceptance speech, he says he looked over at his boyfriend, Chris, and thought: "This [is] the president under whom I [want to] get married and adopt a baby."
So many things to say to that, but not now.

Back to the "baby boom" ... sorry, agreeing with Jill, I think we can more expect an "abortion boom".
[Hat tip to K.K.]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hidden entitlement: covert wealth redistribution

A reader sent a link to this fine article on a familiar theme (for him) by George Will, "The Hyperbole of a Conservative" (, November 16, 2008), with the following conveninet synopsis of extracted highlights:
[T]he supreme law of the land is the principle of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs ... the government that bilks the many for the enrichment of the few. But if conservatives call all such spreading by government "socialism," that becomes a classification that no longer classifies: It includes almost everything ...

Hyperbole is not harmless; careless language bewitches the speaker's intelligence ... This is the only major industrial society that has never had a large socialist party ideologically, meaning candidly, committed to redistribution of wealth. This is partly because Americans are an aspirational, not an envious people. It is also because the socialism we do have is the surreptitious socialism of the strong....

In America, socialism is un-American. Instead, Americans merely do rent-seeking -- bending government for the benefit of private factions. The difference is in degree, including the degree of candor. The rehabilitation of conservatism cannot begin until conservatives are candid about their complicity in what government has become. As for the president-elect, he promises to change Washington. He will, by making matters worse. He will intensify rent-seeking by finding new ways -- this will not be easy -- to expand, even more than the current administration has, government's influence on spreading the wealth around.
[Hat tip to K.K.]

The USCCB and Obama, the CHD and ACORN

A good article by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, "Obama and the Bishops" (First Things, November 7, 2008):
In a few days, the American bishops of the Catholic Church will be holding their annual fall meeting in Baltimore. High on the agenda is how Catholic bishops can better communicate Catholic teaching on social justice both in the Church and in the public square. It is understood that the priority issue of social justice is the protection of innocent human life—from the entrance gates of life to the exit gates, and at every step along life’s way. The most massive and brutal violation of justice is the killing of millions of children in the womb.

In recent months, an unusually large number of bishops have been assertive, articulate, and even bold, in their public affirmation of the demands of moral reason and the Church’s teaching. Some estimate the number of such bishops to be over a hundred. Critics of these bishops, including Catholic fronts for the Obama campaign, claim that bishops have only spoken out because prominent Democrats stepped on their toes by egregiously misrepresenting Catholic teaching. Why only? It is the most particular duty of bishops to see that the authentic teaching of the Church is safeguarded and honestly communicated.

Not all bishops covered themselves with honor in the doing of their duty. Ignoring their further duty to protect the integrity of the Eucharist and defend against the faithful’s being led into confusion, temptation, and sin by skandolon, some bishops issued statements explaining why they had no intention of addressing the problem of public figures who claim they are Catholics in good standing despite their consistent rejection of the Church’s teaching on the defense of innocent human lives. Some such bishops took the position that publicly doing or saying anything that addressed that very public problem would be viewed as controversial, condemned as politically partisan, and misconstrued by those hostile to the Church. Therefore, they explained, they were doing and saying nothing except to say why they were doing and saying nothing. Such calculated timidity falls embarrassingly short of the apostolic zeal exemplified by the apostles whose successors the bishops are. Fortunately, these timorous shepherds seem to be in the minority among the bishops.

Others seem to have taken to heart in this Pauline Year the counsel of Paul to Timothy: “Fight the good fight . . . I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

After the election, some Catholics with itching ears who are manifestly embarrassed by the Church’s being out of step with the new world of “the change we’ve been waiting for” have gleefully pointed out that the assertiveness of the bishops had little political effect. In the presidential and other races, Catholics voted for pro-abortion candidates. So what? It is not the business of bishops to win political races. It is the business of bishops to defend and teach the faith, including the Church’s moral doctrine. One hopes they will keep that firmly in mind in their Baltimore meeting.

The reading for Mass on the day following the election was Philippians 2, in which St. Paul prays that the faithful “may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” That is as pertinent now as it was in the first century, and will be until our Lord returns in glory. It is the business of bishops to help equip the faithful to let the splendor of moral truth shine through their life and witness as lights in the world. If, on occasion, that coincides with political success, it is to be viewed as an unexpected, albeit welcome, bonus. It is a grievous degradation of their pastoral office, as well as a political delusion, for bishops to see themselves as managers of the Catholic voting bloc.

Earlier this year, the bishops issued “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It was, as I wrote at the time, a fine statement in almost every respect. But its elaborate attention to nuance and painstaking distinctions made it a virtual invitation for the Catholic flaks of Obama to turn it upside down and inside out. The statement was regularly invoked to justify voting for the most extreme proponent of the unlimited abortion license in American presidential history.

That unintended invitation to distort, eagerly seized upon by those with a mind to do so, was especially evident in the statement’s treatment of a “proportionate” reason to support pro-abortion candidates. The bishops must do better next time. To be sure, any statement must be carefully reasoned, as Catholic moral theology is carefully reasoned. Yet an episcopal statement is not an invitation to an academic seminar but, above all, a call to faithfulness. The task is to offer a firm, unambiguous, and, as much as possible, a persuasive case on the basis of revelation and clear reason.

The events of these months have once again exposed deeper problems in the leadership of the bishops, although certainly not of the bishops alone. To cite an obvious instance, only 25 to 35 percent (depending on whose data you believe) of the 68 million Catholics in this country regularly attend Mass. That means that, except for a few bishops who have larger media access, bishops are being heard by only a minority of their people. Moreover, many parish pastors and priests are embarrassingly eager to avoid controversy, and others are openly disdainful of the Church’s teaching and/or its implications for public justice. Some bishops are tremulously intimidated by their presbyterates. Such bishops and priests need to read again, and with soul-searching prayer, Paul’s counsel to Timothy.

There are deeper problems. In the last four decades, following the pattern of American Protestantism, many, perhaps most, Catholics view the Church in terms of consumption rather than obligation. The Church is there to supply their spiritual needs as they define those needs, not to tell them what to believe or do. This runs very deep both sociologically and psychologically. It is part of the “success” of American Catholics in becoming just like everybody else. Bishops and all of us need to catch the vision of John Paul II that the Church imposes nothing, she only proposes. But what she proposes she believes is the truth, and because human beings are hard-wired for the truth, the truth imposes. And truth obliges.

It is not easy to communicate this understanding in our time, as it has not been easy in any time. In the twentieth century, the motto of the ecumenical movement was “Let the Church be the Church.” The motto was sometimes betrayed by that movement, but it should be courageously embraced by the bishops meeting in Baltimore. The bishops must set aside public relations and political calculations, and be prepared to surrender themselves anew to the task for which they were ordained, to uncompromisingly defend and communicate the faith once delivered to the saints.

Which brings me, finally, to another and related matter that will surely be discussed in Baltimore and deserves to be on the agenda. The Campaign for Human Development (CHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations. Yes, that’s bizarre, but the history of CHD is bizarre. The bishops could really help poor people by promptly shutting down CHD and giving any remaining funds to, for instance, Catholic inner-city schools. In any event, if there is a collection at your parish this month, I suggest that you can return the envelope empty—and perhaps with a note of explanation—without the slightest moral hesitation.

After this week’s elections, we must brace ourselves for very difficult times, keeping in mind that difficult times can be bracing. As for the meeting of bishops next week: Let the Church be the Church, and let bishops be bishops.
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Special comment on 'Gay Marriage' ~ Keith Olbermann

Okay, out of your comfort zones. Here's a loud spokesman for the "let's just be decent and be nice" view by Olbermann commenting on California's recent passage of Proposition 8 (which he calls "horrible"). This is the kind of in-your-face "don't be a Christian value Nazi" kind of ad hominem argument you'll be hearing more and more in the days ahead. The effective response to this kind of attack may not be a comfortable arm-chair sort of exercize in apologetic gamesmanship. You may have the better logical argument against Olbermann and still lose in the media. If you have any doubts about that, you have only to think about how effective the media were in spinning everything in Obama's direction in the recent presidential election. So what's the most effective response?

My wife used to say that what Catholics needed was a way of turning the tables on the liberal spin and placing the Catholic view in the "warm," "personal," "tolerant" and "compassionate" column while letting the so-called liberal view collapse in the "cold," "heartless," "mind-numbingly ignorant," "repressive" column where it really belongs. Want to give it a run?

Tridentine Community News, November 16, 2008

Relic Found at St. Josaphat

In preparation for using the side altars at St. Josaphat Church for the Masses of All Souls Day, a locksmith was called in to open the tabernacles. The keys had long since been lost, yet we needed to be able to use the tabernacles as temporary repositories for extra Hosts consecrated during the side altar Masses. It was no easy feat finding someone to make new keys for these historic locks.

It has likely been over 40 years since these tabernacles had last been opened. Little did we know that we should have called Geraldo Rivera to film the event. Upon opening the Blessed Mother’s Altar tabernacle, inside we discovered a beautiful oval relic frame. The actual relic itself is mounted upon a cross in the center of the frame. Might it be a relic of the True Cross? There is no written identification on the relic. We would appreciate hearing from anyone who may know the identity and history of this relic; please call the parish office or e-mail the address at the bottom of this page. The relic now sits above the St. Joseph Altar tabernacle.

There was nothing inside the St. Joseph Altar or “side” side altar tabernacles, only soot. We intend to clean out these tabernacles and install new fabric, so that they are ready to be used once again as dignified repositories for the Blessed Sacrament when needed.

Calendar Quirks at the End of the Church Year

Unless otherwise impeded by another feast, the final Sundays of the Tridentine Calendar Year, in October and November, follow a special format: The Antiphons (Introit, Offertory, Communion), Gradual, and Alleluia are repeats of those of the 23rd Sunday After Pentecost. The Orations (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion) and the Readings (Epistle, Gospel) come from the Sundays After Epiphany that are not actually celebrated after Epiphany in the current Church Year. Thus, the “25th Sunday After Pentecost”, for example, differs every year, depending on what Sunday After Epiphany has been relocated to that date.

De Profúndis

The Offertory Antiphon that is repeated on all of these concluding Sundays is the De Profúndis, taken from Psalm 129. This selection is associated with the penitential season of Lent as well as with the month of November, the month of prayer for the Souls in Purgatory. In fact, the Church has enriched the recitation of the De Profúndis with a Partial Indulgence when said as an Act of Contrition. Let us look at the text:
De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine:
Dómine, exáudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendéntes:
in vocem deprecatiónis meæ.
Si iniquitátes observavéris:
Dómine, qui sustinébit?
Quia apud te propitiátio est:
et propter legem tuam sustínuite, Dómine.
Sustínuit ánima mea in verbo ejus,
sperávit ánima mea in Dómino,
a custódia matutína usque ad noctem.
Speret Israël in Dómino.
Quia apud Dóminum misericórdia
et copiósa apud eum redémptio.
Et ipse rédimet Israël
ex ómnibus iniquitátibus ejus.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spíritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saécula sæculórum. Amen.

Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall stand it?
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on his word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy:
and with him plentiful redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
One of the more memorable selections in our choir’s repertoire is Antonio Salieri’s setting of the De Profúndis. The piece begins softly, then gradually builds towards a crescendo in the concluding Glória Patri. This increasingly insistent tone, reminiscent of Ravel’s Bolero, compellingly conveys man’s utter dependency upon God’s Mercy. Salieri’s De Profúndis will be sung at both St. Josaphat and Assumption next week.

Reminder: Fr. Bisig Visits Next Sunday

Next Sunday, November 23 at 2:00 PM, Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP, the co-founder of the Fraternity of St. Peter, will celebrate a Solemn High Mass at Assumption Church for the 17th Anniversary of the Tridentine Mass in Windsor. An orchestra will perform Schubert’s Mass in G, and a reception will follow in the Parish Hall. Assumption is located adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge

[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News is that of the bulletin insert for November 16, 2008. Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, November 14, 2008

"We’ve removed the log of judging by skin color, only to have plucked out the very eye"

James M. Kushiner, "Post-Election Comment: Skin Color & Blindness" (Contact Online Weblog, Touchstone, November 7, 2008). Excerpt:
The irony about the election of our first black president, an irony which I wish did not exist, is that while blacks have risen from the indignities and injustice of slavery in which their bodies were sold and consumed as property, and have endured segregation and second-class citizen status and racial discrimination, and have now one of their own elected to the highest office in the land, this very president-elect, Barack Obama, will increase the death toll among black human beings if he fulfills his promise to enact a Freedom of Choice Act, which will serve as a firewall around Roe v. Wade, the Dred Scott decision of our times. Helping to fund abortions also will likely disproportionately increase the number of black victims consumed by this holocaust. Someone might point out that policies about abortion, too, in this post-racial age of enlightenment, should be colorblind, so anyone who cares about the skin color of its victims is a racist, and that appeals to blacks about not aborting black babies is an appeal to a presumed racism on their part.

Discrimination based on the color of one’s skin is not now the burning issue of our time, however. It’s that we’ve forgotten the value of human skin in the first place. The human skin of the baby in the womb, the human skin of the severely disabled (candidates for “selective” abortion), the human flesh and blood of the elderly, and the bodies of those near death, from whom we cut organs while they are, yes, still, alive—this human flesh is abused and sacrificed on various altars. Resting on the hard-earned laurels of enlightened colorblindness, many have forgotten, or deny, the sanctity of the very flesh about which we say we are so indifferent as to its color.
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Abortion rates under Clinton & Bush: Correcting misinformation

"Abortion Rates Under Clinton and Bush" (Between two worlds, November 12, 2008:
There's a steady stream of folks who continue to perpetuate an urban legend about the abortion rates in the US. (Kept alive, no doubt, by the fact that Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Barack Obama have all cited it.)

The idea is that because of Bill Clinton's policies the abortion rate dropped under his administration, and because of George W. Bush's policies the abortion rate rose under his administration.

If you break it down, there are actually four claims being made here:
  1. Abortion rates dropped under Clinton.
  2. Abortion rates dropped under Clinton because of Clinton.
  3. Abortion rates rose under Bush.
  4. Abortion rates rose under Bush because of Bush.
Only premise 1 is correct.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute -- founded in honor of the former president of Planned Parenthood, with one of their goals being to protect reproductive choice--did a piece a few years ago on Trends in Abortion in the United States. It included the following chart, which shows that abortion rates have been decreasing over the past 20 years:

So much for premises 3 and 4. What about premise 2--the claim that the abortion rate dropped due to President Clinton's policies? It's not true. We must remember that correlation does not equal causation. In addition to Clinton being President, state legislatures during these years were dominated by Republicans who were able to pass modest legislation (like public-funding restrictions and informed-consent laws) that effectively reduced state abortion rates--as shown most recently by Michael New. Dr. New also shows that increased spending on welfare only marginally effects the abortion rate. did a post on the Bush part of this urban legend in 2005, called The Biography of a Bad Statistic.I would encourage anyone who thinks that the abortion rate will continue to drop under President Obama to read my post answering the question, What Is the Freedom of Choice Act?

Chuck Norris to Obama: "Now that you work for me ..."

Chuck Norris, "Obama, Now That You Work for Me (A Letter to the President-Elect)" (Human Events, November 11, 2008). Excerpt:
We will be watching who you choose to be in your Cabinet. We will discern how you lead Pelosi and Reid. We will be observing those you select as candidates for Supreme Court justices. The election is over. No more promises. No more words. You might work well in a team, but this time, you don't have congressional members to hide behind. You're on your own -- leading the pack -- and the whole country is watching. I, especially, am watching.

Chalk one up for Fr. J. Scott Newman!

Meg Kinnard, "SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters" (, November, 13, 2008):
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

... "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."
Unfortunately, we still have Obama's useful Catholic idiots in Grega's corner, for the article goes on to report:
"Father Newman is off-base," said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "He is acting beyond the authority of a parish priest to say what he did. ... Unfortunately, he is doing so in a manner that will be of great cost to those parishioners who did vote for Sens. Obama and Biden. There will be a spiritual cost to them for his words."
The fact remains that in terms of the Church's official doctrine, as reiterated by numerous US Catholic bishops prior to the election, there is nothing that should be considered exceptional in principle about Fr. Newman's response to the 54 percent of Catholics who, according to national exit polls, voted for Obama. Our gratituted to Fr. Newman, a priest willing to do what any good and decent priest should be expected to do.

Aquinas converts Serbian abortionist via dreams

Br. James Brent, O.P. ("Dominicans Defend Life," November 13, 2008) writes: The Catholic News Agency is reporting an amazing story of a conversion of an Eastern European abortionist [See "Another 'champion of abortion' becomes defender of life: the story of Sotjan Adasevic" CNA, November 12, 2008]. The story involves a Dominican of most prominent stature. The article is a must read. See also our editorial note at the end.
Madrid, Nov 12, 2008 / 09:21 pm (CNA).- The Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.

“The medical textbooks of the Communist regime said abortion was simply the removal of a blob of tissue,” the newspaper reported. “Ultrasounds allowing the fetus to be seen did not arrive until the 80s, but they did not change his opinion. Nevertheless, he began to have nightmares.”

In describing his conversion, Adasevic “dreamed about a beautiful field full of children and young people who were playing and laughing, from 4 to 24 years of age, but who ran away from him in fear. A man dressed in a black and white habit stared at him in silence. The dream was repeated each night and he would wake up in a cold sweat. One night he asked the man in black and white who he was. ‘My name is Thomas Aquinas,’ the man in his dream responded. Adasevic, educated in communist schools, had never heard of the Dominican genius saint. He didn’t recognize the name”

“Why don’t you ask me who these children are?” St. Thomas asked Adasevic in his dream.

“They are the ones you killed with your abortions,’ St. Thomas told him.

“Adasevic awoke in amazement and decided not to perform any more abortions,” the article stated.

“That same day a cousin came to the hospital with his four months-pregnant girlfriend, who wanted to get her ninth abortion—something quite frequent in the countries of the Soviet bloc. The doctor agreed. Instead of removing the fetus piece by piece, he decided to chop it up and remove it as a mass. However, the baby’s heart came out still beating. Adasevic realized then that he had killed a human being,”

After this experience, Adasevic “told the hospital he would no longer perform abortions. Never before had a doctor in Communist Yugoslavia refused to do so. They cut his salary in half, fired his daughter from her job, and did not allow his son to enter the university.”

After years of pressure and on the verge of giving up, he had another dream about St. Thomas.

“You are my good friend, keep going,’ the man in black and white told him. Adasevic became involved in the pro-life movement and was able to get Yugoslav television to air the film ‘The Silent Scream,’ by Doctor Bernard Nathanson, two times.”

Adasevic has told his story in magazines and newspapers throughout Eastern Europe. He has returned to the Orthodox faith of his childhood and has studied the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

“Influenced by Aristotle, Thomas wrote that human life begins forty days after fertilization,” Adasevic wrote in one article. La Razon commented that Adasevic “suggests that perhaps the saint wanted to make amends for that error.” Today the Serbian doctor continues to fight for the lives of the unborn.

OP Editorial Note: Although St. Thomas Aquinas held that the human soul is infused after conception, St. Thomas never held that abortion was morally acceptable. He taught that procured abortion is intrinsically evil.

Joe the Plumber to the rescue of President-Elect

Barack Obama apparently discovered a leak under his sink in his Chicago house, and being the big-spirited guy he is, he looked up the number of Joe the Plumber and asked him to come and fix it.

So Joe drove all the way from his Ohio home to Obama's place, which is located in a very nice Chicago neighborhood, where it's clear that all the residents make more than $250,000 per year.

Joe arrived and took his tools into the house. He was led to the room that contained the leaky pipe under a sink. Joe assessed the problem and told Obama, who was standing near the door, that it was an easy repair that would take less than 10 minutes.

Obama asked Joe how much it was going to cost. Joe told him, "$9,500."

"$9,500?" Obama asked, stunned. "But you said it was an easy repair!"

"Yes, but what I do is charge a lot more to my clients who make more than $250,000 per year so I can fix the plumbing of everybody who makes less than that for free," explains Joe.. "It's always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied government to pass this philosophy as law, and it did pass earlier this year, so now all plumbers have to do business this way. It's known as 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act of 2008.' Surprised you haven't heard of it, Mr. President-Elect."

In spite of this, Obama then told Joe that there was no way he would be paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Joe left, the job undone.

Obama reportedly then spent the next hour flipping through the phone book looking for another plumber, but found that all other plumbing businesses listed had gone out of business. Not wanting to pay Joe's price, Obama did nothing.

The leak under Obama's sink went unrepaired for the next several days. A week later the leak was so bad that Obama had to put a bucket under the sink. The bucket filled up quickly and had to be emptied every hour, and there was a risk that the room would flood, so Obama, desparate, called Joe again and pleaded with him to come back.

Joe returned to Obama's house, looked at the leaky pipe, and said to Obama, "Let's see – this will cost you about $21,000."

Obama fired back, "A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!"

Joe explained the reason for the dramatic increase. "Well, because of the 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act,' a lot of rich people are learning how to fix their own plumbing, so there are fewer of you paying for all the free plumbing I'm doing for the people who make less than $250,000. As a result, the rate I have to charge my wealthy paying customers rises every day.

"Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work from the group of people who get it for free has skyrocketed, and there's a long waiting list of those who need repairs. This has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, and they're not being replaced – nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they won't make any money. I'm hurting now too – all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won't pay their fair share."

Obama tried to straighten out Joe the Plumber: "Of course you're hurting, Joe! Don't you get it? If all the rich people learn how to fix their own plumbing and you refuse to charge the poorer people for your services, you'll be broke, and then what will you do?"

"Run for president, apparently," replied Joe with a grin.