Sunday, August 30, 2009

What do you feel at Mass?

I am not one ordinarily to dwell on a question of emotion. There are any number of better questions one might ask about the Mass. "What do you think of the Mass?" "What is the meaning of the Mass?" Even "What does the Mass mean to you"? Nevertheless, there is something about this question of feeling that may be significant as well.

How does assisting at Mass make you feel? I know that as much as I have always loved the Mass, it was not until my first-hand discovery of the classic form of the Roman Rite that I have found myself consistently looking forward to the experience. Many of you would probably empathize if I mentioned the fact that I have for many years greeted the prospect of Sunday morning Mass with a mixture of anxiety and even dread. There was too much of what Martin Mosebach describes as the experience of going to Church to find God and coming away a theater critic.

Trying to suppress tears during the Asperges at St. Albertus today, I tried to sort out the mixture of emotions that has made my more recent experience different. What is it that I now experience? What does it mean? Is it joy? Yes, but something also heavier. Something not unmixed with sorrow at the tragedy of human sin that gives rise to the need for cleansing: "Asperges me, Domine, hysopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor" ("Thou shalt sprinkle me, Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow").

This mixture of emotions is rooted, I believe, in the mystery of the Sacred Heart into which one is profoundly drawn in this Mass. There is no artificial touch of the "happy-clappy" here. There is no mistaking the congregation itself for the focus of attention, or of thinking that we are here to evaluate the presiding priest as a performer for his ability to entertain or engage us. Partisans of the usus antiquior often describe the liturgy as "beautiful"; but this gets at only a half truth, for the heart of our Faith involves a reality that elicits conflicting emotions. Both agony and ecstasy, joy and sorrow, beauty and horror lie at the heart of the Christian mystery. This mystery is symbolized precisely in the beauty and horror of the crucifix: the instrument of redemption is also a hideous instrument of execution. "O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem" ("O happy fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer").

Various Protestants who visit the Catholic Mass are sometimes puzzled that the congregation sometimes exhibits so little "joyful enthusiasm" such as they are often accustomed to in their own services (although there are exceptions in some Catholic parishes that seem to be adopting certain Protestant strategies for generating that affect). It may be true, as some may worry, that the lack of "joyful enthusiasm" could be due to the spiritual deadness of many Catholics. Yet it could also be due to the fact that what many Catholics experience at Mass is more profound and complex than what can be easily captured in a smiling happy face. The emotion is far closer to what is expressed in the face of our Blessed Mother in Michelangelo's Pieta. It is neither happy confidence nor abject despair. It is neither joy nor simple sorrow. It is the expression of a mother grieving over the death of her beloved son, but also with a touch of quiet expectancy: she is profoundly aware in the midst of her grief that God's mystery of redemption is being worked out through this horror. Michelangelo deftly captures this in his masterpiece. There is nothing here of the Buddy Christ of Catholicism Wow!

Active Participation in the Mass: A Statistical Study - Part 2 of 4

Tridentine Community News (August 30, 2009):
Below we continue our count of the congregational responses made in the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of Holy Mass. Our objective is to see just how much exterior “active participation” there is on the part of the congregation. Longer responses are abbreviated to save space, as the idea is to count the responses, not to write them out in entirety. If you wish to see a complete comparison of both Mass forms, please see the series of columns we presented in early 2008, available at the web site below.

The typical sung Sunday Mass is presented, including the Aspérges. In some churches, the congregation makes the responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar silently, and not out loud. We thus show two counts: The first number includes these responses, while the second, bracketed number does not. It must be stated that the notion of silent responses may be a new concept to those unfamiliar with the Extraordinary Form. We maintain that those are responses nonetheless, just as the priest’s silent Canon is indeed a prayer.

Ordinary Form/Novus Ordo Mass


4. Amen.


5. Lord, have mercy.
6. Christ, have mercy.
7. Lord, have mercy.

8. Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people ...

9. Amen.

10. Thanks be to God.

11-16. [Allowance for typical five Responses.]

17. Thanks be to God.

18-19. [The Alleluia or Acclamation is sung twice.]

20. And also with you.
21. Glory to you, O Lord.
22. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Extraordinary Form/Tridentine Mass
17. [7.] Amen.
18. [7.] Amen.
19. [7.] And Thy people will rejoice in Thee.
20. [7.] And grant us Thy salvation.
21. [7.] And let my cry come unto Thee.
22. [7.] And with Thy Spirit.




23. [8.] Lord, have mercy on us.
24. [9.] Christ, have mercy on us.
25. [10.] Christ, have mercy on us.
26. [11.] Lord, have mercy on us.

27. [12.] (sung) Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace ...

28. [13.] Amen.

- [-] Thanks be to God. [Omitted when Epistle is sung.]


29. [14.] And with Thy Spirit.
30. [15.] Glory be to Thee, O Lord
- [-] Praise be to Thee, O Christ [Omitted when Gospel is sung]
[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 August 30, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nolite timere: Tolle lege, Verbum Domini sit

This is a project that has long begged to be undertaken, and has been waiting for just the gifts and background brought to it by its author. More than a few of us have long felt the need for the philosophical presuppositions of historical critical approaches to Biblical interpretation to be critically examined -- with a view to the practical end of improving catechesis and preaching, as well as confidence of the laity in Bible reading. This need is particularly acute in the Catholic circles where there is an urgent need for the public and private uses of Scripture over the last half-century to be disabused of the post-Kantian skepticism that is the legacy of Protestant Liberalism, and for those uses of the Bible to be liberated by a well-founded hermeneutic of confident faith. The concerns exhibited by Pope Benedict XVI's writings offer an ideal foil for precisely such a task, and I am delighted to see Professor Scott Hahn undertake it. On the one hand, this will mean that the readership will not be confined to a handfull of postmodern posers from departments of aesthete atheology discussing each other's arcane footnotes about whether Jesus really said what the apostolic writers said He said. On the other hand, nobody should be deceived by the comparative accessibility of Hahn's style or the relative brevity of the book: this is a piece of mature theological reflection seasoned by a career of Biblical teaching and research. I expect a wide readership for this volume; and from the following endorsements, I see I am not alone:

"A compelling manuduction right into the very core of Pope Benedict XVI's theological vision. In this clearly written and cogently argued essay, Hahn makes a convincing and highly pertinent case for what Pope Benedict holds to be the crucial challenge for the Church and theology today--the reunification, and thereby the renewal, of exegesis theologically conceived and theology exegetically grounded. Theologically insightful and surefooted, this book is one of the best and certainly the most timely and urgent among the recent introductions to the theology of Pope Benedict XVI."--Reinhard Huetter, Duke Divinity School

"Hahn here renders an important service in so clearly setting forth the hermeneutical principles, biblical framework, and doctrinal positions of Pope Benedict XVI, arguably the world's most important contemporary theologian. The parallels between the biblical theology of the pope and of evangelicals, together with their respective attempts to interpret Scripture theologically in an age marked by modern biblical criticism, are particularly fascinating."--Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"As a Protestant biblical scholar, I found Hahn's exposition of Pope Benedict's biblical theology both informative and inspiring. In spite of differences, Protestants need to read this book to understand how deeply we can agree on the primacy of Christ and the Word. Through Hahn, I have a new appreciation for the mind and heart of Pope Benedict."--Tremper Longman III, Westmont College

"The increasingly painful bankruptcy of the historical-critical method in our time has created a vacuum precisely at the point where the living Church requires substantial nurture. Pope Benedict XVI has spoken into this crisis like no one else, and his best expositor, Scott Hahn, has done us a tremendous service by synthesizing Benedict's erudite and prayerful biblical theology into a lively, readable, and intellectually reliable conspectus. This excellent volume will be indispensable for all Christians who seek to be more maturely grounded in Scripture."--David Lyle Jeffrey, Baylor University

Table of Contents:
  1. Ignorance of Scripture Is Ignorance of Christ: The Theological Project of Joseph Ratzinger
  2. The Critique of Criticism: Beginning the Search for a New Theological Synthesis
  3. The Hermeneutic of Faith: Critical and Historical Foundations for a Biblical Theology
  4. The Spiritual Science of Theology: Its Mission and Method in the Life of the Church
  5. Reading God's Testament to Humankind: Biblical Realism, Typology and the Inner Unity of Revelation
  6. The Theology of the Divine Economy: Covenant, Kingdom, and the History of Salvation
  7. The Embrace of Salvation: Mystagogy, and the Transformation of Sacrifice
  8. The Cosmic Liturgy: The Eucharistic Kingdom and the World as Temple
  9. The Authority of Mystery: The Beauty and Necessity of the Theologian's Task
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

God's 3 tests for His angels

The Primeval Struggle

By Terence J. Hughes

In the Apocalypse of St. John we read, "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown. She was pregnant, and in labor, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth. Then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge red dragon.... Its tail dragged a third of the stars from the sky and dropped them to the earth, and the dragon stopped in front of the woman as she was having the child, so that he could devour it as soon as it was born...a male child...the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron scepter.... And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon.... The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him" (Rev. 12:1-10).

What are we to make of this vision, and how is it connected to the celebration of the Gospel of Life revealed by Jesus Christ and the struggle against the Culture of Death that stalks the earth in our own day?

The answer may be found in Volume One of The Mystical City of God, the Divine History and Life of the Virgin Mother of God, manifested to Mary of Agreda, proclaimed a Venerable Servant of God by the Church. She received this private revelation from Jesus Christ while she served as abbess of the discalced Franciscan nuns in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda, Spain, from 1625 until her death in 1665. Ordered by her superiors, she wrote down this history twice, from 1637 to 1645 and from 1655 to 1665, both times reluctantly, believing she was unworthy. By the order of five popes -- Innocent XI, Alexander VIII, Clement IX, Benedict XIII, and Benedict XIV -- it was repeatedly subjected to the closest scrutiny and declared authentic, worthy of devout perusal and free from error. It has been published in over sixty editions in ten languages.

Chapter VII of Book One (in Volume One) is an account of the creation of "Heaven for angels and men and Earth as a place of pilgrimage for mortals." Hell, with material fire but originally uninhabited, was located in the center of the earth.

"The angels were created in the empyrean heavens and in the state of grace by which they might be first to merit the reward of glory." They were purely spiritual beings in a state of probation, not seeing their Creator "face to face." The probation consisted of three tests, each administered in an instant, since the knowledge of angels is intuitive, not worked out over time as we gain knowledge. The tests consisted of the intuitive reactions by angels to knowledge infused into their minds by God. Among the angels, Lucifer was conscious of "being endowed with greater gifts and greater beauty of nature and grace than the other angels." This made him vulnerable to "a most disorderly self-love."

For the first test, "they received a more explicit intelligence of the being of God, one in substance, triune in person, and they were commanded to adore and reverence Him as their Creator and highest Lord, infinite in His essence and attributes." All obeyed the command, most with perfect charity and joy, but Lucifer obeyed because "the opposite seemed to him impossible," and his pride dimmed the original perfection of his nature. He owed his existence to someone infinitely greater than he. Even so, Lucifer passed the test. He obeyed.

In the second test, God informed the angels that He would create beings lower than themselves, men with immortal spiritual souls infused into material bodies formed from the dust of the earth. "In order that they too should love, fear, and reverence God...the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was to become incarnate and assume their nature, raising it to the hypostatic union and to divine Personality." Then God commanded the angels to acknowledge the incarnate Word of God as both God and man, and to adore Him as God-man, infusing the angels with knowledge that it was both just and reasonable for man to be elevated above them in this way. Most angels were overjoyed that God's love could raise such lowly creatures to such an exalted status, and gratefully obeyed the command.

But Lucifer, in his pride, rebelled against this command. He argued that, since both angels and men were created beings, it should be an angel -- i.e., himself -- who became incarnate, angels being higher than men. It was beneath the "dignity" of God to so lower Himself by joining the Word of God to such an inferior part of His creation in this way. Lucifer disguised his pride by feigning concern for God's omnipotence. He was able to infect many other angels with this attitude, offering, as a temptation, to make angels masters over men and leading mankind to God.

The third test cemented this rebellion among the angels. God revealed that His Son would become incarnate man by being born of a woman, just as all men are born of women. The angels were ordered to revere this woman as superior to them -- as "Queen and Mistress of all the creatures," angels and men -- for God was to be clothed with her flesh in her body, making her the Mother of God. Assembling the angels, Lucifer retorted, "Unjust are these commands and injury is done to my greatness; this human nature which Thou, Lord, lookest upon with so much love and which Thou favorest so highly, I will persecute and destroy. To this end I will direct all my power and all my aspirations. And this Woman, Mother of the Word, I will hurl from the position in which Thou has proposed to place her, and at my hands the plan, which Thou settest up, shall come to naught."

One-third of the angels joined Lucifer in this rebellion; but it was Lucifer and they who were hurled down to earth, as recorded in Revelation 12. One archangel, filled with love for God, beseeched Him to allow him to rally the other angels with the battle-cry, "Who is like God?" God granted his request, confirming his name, Michael, meaning "Who is like God?"

All this happened before mankind was created. Lucifer watched warily as Adam emerged from the dust of the earth and saw Eve closest to Adam's heart, "taken from Adam's rib," as the Woman he must overcome. He succeeded in seducing Eve and, through her, Adam, making a woman the vehicle for stripping mankind of the primeval state of grace. Thus were our first parents expelled from the Garden of Eden, and Lucifer fulfilled his threat to thwart God's plan for mankind.

God chose from eternity the humblest of His creatures, Mary Immaculate, to shame the proud. Humility is the essence of love: humble obedience even to suffering the most degrading death. Her Divine Son, unjustly crucified between two criminals, endured the scorn of those who hated Him, all for one purpose alone: to unite mankind to His Eternal Father in Heaven. In His last gift to mankind He gave us His beloved mother, the Mother of God (Jn. 19:26-27).

This is why the Culture of Death targets women. This is why the female reproductive system is attacked by contraceptive drugs and contraptions. These assaults are directed not just against a woman's reproductive organs, but her whole body, her mind, and her soul.

This is why Planned Parenthood lies and deceives women, even young girls, with promises of liberation from childbearing. It is to prevent God's plan for salvation by eliminating children, first by contraception, then by aborting children who are conceived anyway, and ultimately by sexual practices that preclude children. We are being taken down a road that ends with whatever degrades us the most. Such is Lucifer's hatred of mankind.

In His mercy, Our Lord has sent His Mother to alert us, first through a poor peasant girl in the French Pyrenees (at Lourdes) in the 19th century, and then through three poor children in Portugal (near Fatima) in the 20th century. One was a century in which a lie spread through Europe, calling itself the Enlightenment (Lucifer means "Light Bearer"). It led mankind away from God and took us into a century in which mankind engaged in global genocide from beginning to end, starting in the heart of Christian Europe. All this to prepare the way into a 21st century in which all mankind would join Satan in Hell, negating God's plan to lead mankind to Him in Heaven.

All this because of the intense hatred of man by Lucifer, the Adversary, "a liar and murderer from the beginning," who cannot tolerate our occupying the places in Heaven bathed with God's eternal love that he coveted for himself from the dawn of creation. He is the author of the Culture of Death that closes around us. The Woman opposes him. It is women who bear each generation of mankind. It is women who must be crushed, degraded, and abused in every way, taking away from us the one gift God withheld from His angels, from Lucifer: the ability to cooperate with Him in the very act of creation. Angels cannot beget angels.

Before the three tests God applied to His angels, He made known to them the existence of Hell: "They were enabled to see eternal reward and eternal punishment, the perdition of Lucifer and of those that would follow him. His Majesty showed them Hell and its pains. They saw it that, before falling from grace, they were clearly aware of the place of their chastisement." The forces that promote the Culture of Death are hell-bent on destroying mankind -- and themselves with it -- as was their master before them. They have chosen their reward: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven!"

The Mystical City of God in four volumes is available from TAN Books & Publishers, P.O. Box 410487, Charlotte, NC 28241;

Terence J. Hughes is a professor at the University of Maine. He and his wife have taken two dozen sexually abused women into their home, all but four of whom were pregnant. He has been imprisoned in six states for peaceful sit-ins at America's "abortion Auschwitzes." The foregoing article by Terence J. Hughes, "The Primeval Struggle," was originally published in New Oxford Review (July-August 2009), pp. 42-45, and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

Windsor Star: Assumption Saved

Thus reads the front page headline of the Windsor Star (August, 18, 2009).

The article continues: "Fears about the looming closure of Windsor’s historic Assumption Church dissolved over the weekend when the Roman Catholic Diocese of London quietly announced its commitment to restoring and maintaining the building...."

"... After many months of worry and speculation for the 800-family parish, the London diocese says the landmark church will stay in service and be refurbished."

Assumption Church is the home of the Extraordinary Form (or Tridentine) liturgy on the Canadian side of the Detroit River in Windsor in the greater Metro Detroit area.

I am pleased to discover the following detailed analysis in the Tridentine Community News (August 23, 2009):
Assumption Church Restoration to Proceed

More than a few readers of this column have been concerned about the future of Windsor’s Our Lady of the Assumption Church [see photos above]. Not because of parish vitality – Assumption is a reasonably large parish, serving a diverse spectrum of Catholics – but because of the condition of the building.

A few years ago, it was noticed that the mortar holding the bricks together was degenerating into powder. The exterior walls are therefore in danger of falling apart. Inside, apart from one location where plaster is falling from the ceiling, the church looks deceptively fine. There is little indication that the building is in such danger.

A study was conducted which concluded that the cause was, at least in part, water damage from leaks in the balustrade above. Continuous vibration from traffic on the Ambassador Bridge cannot be helping. Indeed, standing in the quiet church, one can feel fairly frequent mild shudders. The solution is essentially a complete rebuilding of the walls.

The damage is so extensive that architects pegged the cost of complete restoration at $9.8 million (Canadian), a staggering amount of money. The parish cannot raise such funds entirely on its own, and certainly not quickly enough to save the church. All parties concerned realized that the church was in real danger of closing. It sits on prime real estate, thus there is a temptation to cut losses and sell. Furthermore, the recent merger of Assumption with nearby Holy Name of Mary Parish – with Holy Name of Mary still maintained as a worship site – made some people question whether the parish was being prepped for a move to the other church.

Detroiters accustomed to having numerous historic churches around may be surprised to learn that Assumption is one of only two architecturally intact historic churches in Windsor, the other being St. Alphonsus, next to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel exit. Unlike Detroit, in the post-Vatican II years, the core city of Windsor continued to be a relatively thriving residential area. Other historic churches were able to raise funds to “wreckovate” their interiors. That didn’t happen as much in Detroit, as most of the historic parishes were losing parishioners in the 1960s and 70s, and thus too poor to consider such projects.

Assumption has an important place in Canadian Catholic history: Founded in 1728 as “The Mission of Our Lady of the Assumption Among the Hurons of Detroit”, it is the oldest parish in Ontario, and has the oldest church building in Windsor, dating from 1845. Huron Church Road, the highway leading to and from the Ambassador Bridge, is named after Assumption. From 1859-1869, Assumption served as the Cathedral of the Diocese of London, during that period known as the Diocese of Sandwich (the historic name of that portion of Windsor). Assumption still serves as the location for major diocesan events in Windsor due to its size. Assumption now sits on the campus of its sibling Assumption University, and that school’s offspring, the University of Windsor. It is Assumption’s unique historic role that fueled hope that some way to save it might be found.

Worries were somewhat put to rest last Sunday, August 16. It was announced that the Diocese of London, Ontario will be keeping Assumption Church open. Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Daniels will be supervising the restoration project and will be speaking to the parish on September 13. The news is so significant to the region that it was the central cover story on the Tuesday, August 18 edition of the Windsor Star. The source of the funding has not yet been revealed, nor has it been stated whether the entire cost of the restoration has yet been obtained.

This is, of course, good news for the Tridentine Mass at Assumption, as the building is an ideal home for the classic liturgy.

St. Albertus Tridentine Mass Next Sunday

A reminder that the next quarterly Tridentine Mass at St. Albertus Church will be held next Sunday, August 30 at noon. The celebrant will be Fr. Louis Madey of Orchard Lake’s Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary. These Masses are scheduled so as not to conflict with the monthly noon Tridentine Mass at St. Joseph Church, and therefore to provide you with occasional noontime Mass options.

Communion Curio

Those who attend the Extraordinary Form Mass in our churches are accustomed to seeing some of the finest vestments and ecclesiastical supplies available. Our chasubles, thuribles, candlesticks, altar cloths, processional crosses, and the like are true works of art.

Every once in while, we run across something quite unusual. When preparing for a recent Tridentine Nuptial Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary, Fr. Borkowski retrieved a miniature ciborium [like the one pictured right, standing about 4 inches high]. Originally used at Masses held in the convent chapel, this doll-sized cup can hold no more than twenty hosts. It’s just so ... cute!
[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 August 23, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brick by brick

As Fr. Zuhlsdorf put the matter in "The next step" (WDTPRS, August 22, 2009):
The Holy Father issued Summorum Pontificum.

Card. Castrillon of the PCED offered the SSPS a list of conditions.

The Holy Father lifted the excommunications.
The PCED has been placed under the CDF.

Now… with a biretta tip to Rorate:
Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta chairman of the SSPX commission

The Argentinian Catholic website Panorama Católico Internacional published this week the news that the current Rector of the Seminary of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) in Argentina, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, has been named chairman of the SSPX side of the oint Vatican-SSPX commission in charge of the theological discussions.

Panorama adds that sources "close to the SSPX" inform that the Bishop will remain as rector in Argentina for the moment, but may change if his duties in Europe (that is, as part of the commission) deprive him from the time that is deemed necessary for the activities of the seminary.

Eat your heart out, Jack Kevorkian!

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, originally from Pontiac, Michigan, must have dreamed of the day when he could walk through a retirement home passing out business cards and be welcomed as a philanthropist. If he ever wondered whether he would live to see the day, he need wonder no more: his dream of servicing his countrymen as "Dr. Death" has now been embraced, as we have been learning lately, by the current administration of our national government.

Some recent links:Shifting focus just a bit, remember that scene in the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life, where the organ harvesters show up at the door of an elderly couple for the grizzly task? "Can we have your liver, then?" [Advisory: macabre humor] Never mind that you may still be using it -- your liver, that is. That may have seemed funny when the film came out. Maybe it still is. But in these times, under the Obamanation of Desolation, fiction meets reality, and dark humor descends toward becoming a matter of dreary gray policy.

[Hat tip to S.K.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Active Participation in the Mass: A Statistical Study – Part 1 of 4

Tridentine Community News (August 16, 2009):
One of the most frequently debated topics about the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass relative to the Ordinary Form is the level of “active participation” in the Mass. As envisioned by theologians up to and including Pope Benedict XVI, “active participation” means much more than just vocally responding at Mass. It means a level of involvement in prayer and focus on the Holy Mysteries taking place at the altar, following the Ordinary and Propers of the Mass, uniting one’s intentions with the priest’s, recollecting oneself before Holy Communion and making thanksgiving afterwards, and so on. Many advocates of the Tridentine Mass would say that the structure and rubrics of the Extraordinary Form fosters such interior participation to a greater degree than the Ordinary Form.

Conversely, Novus Ordo supporters often place a greater emphasis on exterior forms of participation. They maintain that the congregation has a greater role in the Ordinary Form, primarily with making responses. The Tridentine is a more quiet Mass, they say, with the congregation left to do their own thing. How can one really be involved in the Mass if the priest is facing the wall, mumbling in Latin?

Not surprisingly, the editorial position of this column sides with our Holy Father on this issue: Active participation is all-encompassing, and not just vocal. Nevertheless, let’s consider the opposing view: If “active participation” does mean making responses at Mass, then just how many responses are made in the Ordinary Form versus the Extraordinary?

The Numbers Tell the Story

Below, we present a numbered listing of the responses in the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form. Both sides are presented in English. Longer responses are abbreviated to save space, as the idea is to count the responses, not to write them out in entirety. If you wish to see a complete comparison of the texts of both forms of the Mass, please see the series of columns we presented in early 2008, available at the web site below.

The typical sung Sunday Mass is presented, including the Aspérges. In some churches, the congregation makes the responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar silently, and not out loud. We thus show two counts: The first number includes these responses, while the second, bracketed number does not. It must be stated that the notion of silent responses may be a new concept to those unfamiliar with the Extraordinary Form. We maintain that those are responses nonetheless, just as the priest’s silent Canon is indeed a prayer.


1. Amen.

2. And also with you.

[Option 2 and 3 are available, Option 1 proceeds thus:]
3. I confess to almighty God ...


1. [1.] (sung) Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop ...
2. [2.] As it was in the beginning ...
3. [3.] Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop ...
4. [4.] And grant us Thy salvation.
5. [5.] And let my cry come unto Thee.
6. [6.] And with Thy spirit.
7. [7.] Amen. 

8. [7.] To God, Who giveth joy to my youth.

9. [7.] For Thou art, God, my strength ...
10. [7.] And I will go in to the altar of God ...
11. [7.] Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him ...
12. [7.] As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be...
13. [7.] To God, Who giveth joy to my youth.
14. [7.] Who made heaven and earth.

15. [7.] May almighty God have mercy on thee ...
16. [7.] I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever virgin, ...
[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 August 16, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Emanuel: Docs take Hippocratic Oath too seriously

Oh, for the love of death!

Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of White House Chief of Staff nepotism Rahm Emanuel, who was already appointed health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, recently outed himself with the following necrophilic first-dance-with-Mary-Jane gems.

On record since last year for having already bluntly admitted that the cuts associated with the new heath care reform bill will not be "pain-free," he declared that "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely 'lipstick' cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change" (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008). Savings, he wrote, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, he believes (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008). Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider "social justice," and let "communitarianism" guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia" (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. '96). Translation: Don't give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson's or a child with cerebral palsy. He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: "Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years" (Lancet, Jan. 31).

Acknowledgement: Betsy McCaughey, "Deadly Doctors" (New York Post, July 24, 2009).

Monday, August 10, 2009

The history you may have missed and rather not know

In the July-August 2009 issue of New Oxford Review, Michael V. McIntire, a 1957 graduate of Notre Dame and former Associate Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, writes:
In the early 1960s, promotion of the eugenics agenda of John D. Rockefeller III and Planned Parenthood was being frustrated by the Church's stubborn moral opposition to contraception. Rockefeller and Planned Parenthood considered public acceptance of contraception to be the key to public acceptance of eugenics by abortion, euthanasia, and genetic manipulation, and they actively sought a prominent Catholic voice to assist them in successfully opposing the strength of the Church's teaching on that issue. Notre Dame became their willing accomplice in this quest.

The university hosted three unpublicized conferences attended solely by theologians and academics who were selected because of their opposition to the Church's teaching on contraception; the first of these conferences was chaired by Notre Dame's president at the time, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. The purpose of the conferences was to develop a "Catholic" position paper justifying the morality of contraception, which was finally promulgated in 1964 with massive publicity. The paper, popularly referred to as the "Notre Dame Statement," proclaimed that contraception was moral, that the Church's contrary teaching was unscientific and out of touch with modernity, and that those who believed it to be immoral had no right to impose this anachronistic belief on others. That proclamation was accepted and taught as authentic Catholic teaching by many Catholics, including many bishops, priests, and religious, and contributed greatly to the hostility of many to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was issued four years later. Notre Dame was rewarded for this traitorous activity against the Church with millions of dollars from the Rockefeller Foundation and other foundations whose primary mission for at least three generations has been to finance the worldwide spread of the eugenics agenda throughout the world — the agenda now called "the Culture of Death."

In 1967 Notre Dame severed all juridical relations with the Catholic Church, declaring itself to be independent from all Church authority. The infamous "Land O'Lakes Statement" became the new charter of the university, a charter that essentially replaced the faith-based principles of the Notre Dame's founder. The Land O'Lakes Statement is firmly grounded in religious relativism — the view that religious belief is not based on an absolute objective truth but on one's personal opinion, and that all such opinions are equally valid, provided they are sincerely held. Land O'Lakes proudly declared that the university would no longer promote "theological imperialism," a euphemism for the doctrine that the Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Christ. Paradoxically, while rejecting all Church authority, that Statement arrogantly asserted that the university has the authority and the right to pass judgment on the teachings of the Church, and to decide what is and what is not proper Catholic teaching.

The Congregation of the Holy Cross meekly ratified this rebellion by transferring all interest and control of Notre Dame, which formerly belonged to the Holy Cross Province, to a board of predominately lay trustees. Since then, Notre Dame has been just another charitable educational corporation organized under the laws of Indiana and run by a board of trustees who, like their secular counterparts, are selected, not for their fidelity to the Church, but for the degree to which they can bring money, power, and prestige to the university....
[The foregoing paragraphs are excerpted from NOR Guest Column, "Notre Dame, R.I.P." by Michael V. McIntire, and reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.]

Burnout: the casualties of faith as gaming

Some of you may remember "Sex and Catholic religious culture: Is there a problem?" (Musings, May 28, 2009), in which we discussed Greg Krehbiel's ruminations on the subject.

Now, in "The Cheshire Christ, 2nd edition," Greg Krehbiel traces his itinerary from teenage atheist to Evangelical, through the Reformed and Lutheran churches and eventually into the Catholic Church, only now adding the most recent leg of his journey: from a tentative toe-hold in Catholicism to his most recent port of call: agnosticism. He says some interesting things about his sojourn in the Catholic neck of the woods along the way, before coming to this Sextus Empiricus-like conclusion:
So here I am, stuck with a room full of books, a head full of knowledge and arguments, and the only thing I know for certain is that I’ve missed 25 years of good parties. I’ve seriously wondered if the sole purpose of my life is to be a bad example to others.

I don’t believe, but I don’t disbelieve either, because I find the arguments for the faith and the arguments against faith equally unimpressive. Each side wins a round here and there, but it seems the fight ends in a split decision.

I particularly dislike the misanthropic attitude of the “New Atheists.” They seem to be driven by some sort of insane hatred of faith.

I think faith is a good thing. (Christian faith, anyway, and others to varying degrees.) Sincere believers are happy, healthy, productive, good people. The salt of the earth. I have nothing against them and — even if I thought I could — I wouldn’t want to harm their faith.

Of course the fact that religious belief has such clear and obvious benefits is itself an argument for faith, and that hasn’t escaped me. Nor has it convinced me.

I don’t want to promote religion and I don’t want to attack it. I can see the good and the bad in it. I can see the arguments for and the arguments against, and I don’t see any way forward — or back. I’ve heard the arguments a hundred times, and they bore me.

I continue to attend mass with the family, but I don’t believe a thing. Except that where I am is a very lonely place.
Lonely indeed. Others have been there before him, even Augustine during his brief fling with the "Academics" (Skeptics), after his nine years of "true believer" Manicheism, before his final conversion to Christ. What Greg wants (in the classic sense of "needs") is not another argument (he's tired of those and could articulate them more cogently than you probably could), but a Damascus road encounter with the Person of Christ. As Pascal knew so well, however, such encounters are not simply gifted to everyone who wants them. That battle for each of us, ultimately, is not one of propositional arguments, even though these most assuredly have their necessary place. The battle is fought by each of us in the crucible of his own soul in the little turning points and decisions we make about what we desire, love, fear. Whatever went on in that confessional and in his soul (for good or ill) was probably more significant than any of the arguments Mr. Krehbiel has entertained. As that old Christmas hymn puts it: "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight."

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Conclusions to the Orations of the Mass

Tridentine Community News (August 9, 2009):
Today’s column is an updated version of a topic previously run on December 10, 2006. Because many of our readers have started attending the Extraordinary Form Mass since that date, we thought it beneficial to readdress this subject.

The Orations are the prayers which the priest recites or sings alone: the Collect (Opening Prayer), the Secret (Prayer Over the Gifts), and the Postcommunion (Prayer After Communion). The Orations are not to be confused with the Antiphons, which the choir sings while the priest recites them (the Introit, Offertory, and Communion). Only the Orations have concluding phrases.

Both in hand missals and in our weekly Latin/English Propers Handouts, one sees abbreviations for the conclusions to the Orations. Only a few identifying words are printed, for example: “Per Dóminum.” The full text is not provided each week, because it is always the same. In addition, there is only so much space on the page; on days with lengthy readings, we struggle to fit everything on the handout as it is. Therefore, it behooves all of us to know what those abbreviations signify.

Abbreviations Not Allowed

In the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, one often hears short conclusions to the Orations (e.g.: “... Who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.” or “... through Christ our Lord. [Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.] Amen.”) In the Tridentine, abbreviated conclusions are not permitted in the Orations. They are, however, used at other points within the Mass, for example at the end of paragraphs in the Canon.

The Texts of the Conclusions

A particular conclusion is used based on the context of the Oration.

For prayers addressed to God the Father: Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Dóminum.”]

(Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers addressed to God the Father in which the Holy Ghost is mentioned: Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte ejusdem Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Dóminum ... in unitáte ejusdem.”]

(Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers making mention of God the Son: Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per eúmdem Dóminum.”]

(Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers making mention of the Holy Ghost: Per Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte ejusdem Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Jesum Christum.”]

(Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers in which the final clause refers to God the Son: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Qui tecum.”]

(Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers addressed directly to God the Son: Qui vívis et regnas, cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Qui vívis.”]

(Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

Biblical Support

Perhaps you have heard this quotation from Holy Scripture: “... whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My Name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask Me any thing in My Name, that I will do.” (John 14:13-14). Our Lord is not stating “whatsoever you shall ask through Me”, but rather “in My Name”. One could thus logically conclude that a prayer to the Father which concludes with “Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum ...” will be more effective than one that concludes with the simpler “Per Christum Dóminum nostrum”.

By extension of this train of thought, one might wish to employ such full conclusions in one’s own personal prayers to the God the Father. It certainly can’t hurt, and it may actually help the efficaciousness of one’s prayers, as it does fulfill our Lord’s wish.

Lest anyone scoff that such attention to detail is pharisaical or ridiculous, we repeat an analogy that we have used several times before: Following such thinking is akin to taking the time to earn frequent flyer miles. A small amount of additional effort in everyday activities can lead to free travel. If prayer can be made more effective, or indulgences can be earned, by attention to a few small details, then why not make that effort? The Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass certainly sets an example of following Sacred Scripture in this regard.
[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 August 9, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

P.S. The pity is that few Catholics seem to even know what indulgences are any more, much less believe in them. Effects of years of secularization, perhaps. If only they knew! [Site Editor]

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Meaning the words we say at Mass

This afternoon I was listening to a Catholic radio station while driving someplace in Metro Detroit. I have no idea who the guy was on the radio, though I think it might have been a priest and -- a very exceptional one at that if this was his homily. In any case, one thing he said was that Catholics probably are guilty of breaking the Second Commandment (against taking the Lord's name in vain) more often at Mass than anywhere else. Do we mean the words we say? Take the Gloria. Do we think about what we're saying, or are we guilty of mindlessly repeating the words between half a yawn and distraction? Stop a moment and think about the words. Try it. They're amazing: "Glory to God in the highest ... We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory ... You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High ..."

Now this makes for all sorts of important discussion points, but one connection my thoughts immediately ran to was, of course, our liturgies. It goes without saying that any liturgy, in principle, could be celebrated thoughtlessly; but are there not identifiable differences that either help or hinder the kind of mindfulness this priest was urging on the radio? What is suggested, for example, when we see altar servers in flip flops sauntering up the aisle, as I did last Sunday somewhere in suburban Metro Detroit? Does this suggest that we are in the precincts of "the Most High," that we have come to "worship You," to "praise You for Your glory"?

I don't know about you, but while I would be the last person to turn away a homeless vagabond in rags from any church door (like Newman once was at St. Paul's in London), the sort liturgical ambiance described above is all-too casual to evoke anything like a sense of reverence. I know why I keep going back to the classic form of the Roman Rite. Maybe it's just a weird personal idiosyncrasy, but I find it hard to feel like I've been in the presence of anything HOLY anywhere else.

Yes, yes, of course, HE is objectively there, regardless. I know that. That's beside the point. The point is whether liturgical form helps or hinders us in knowing that. Does it help us to mean the words we say at Mass, or not? Do kneelers help or not? What about folding chairs? Altar rails? Musicians performing up front? Priests facing the people? Aisle homilies? Jokes? Are we as easily disposed to enter mindfully into the words of a prayer while sitting casually with our legs crossed and an arm draped over the back of our pew as we are when kneeling? Why or why not? Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

24-hour CCTV monitoring in our homes? (The inveterate & illiberal paternalism of the left)

In "Lights Out" (The Corner, August 3, 2009), Mark Steyn writes:
In my weekend column, I write that government health care "redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in a way that hands all the advantages to statists — to those who believe government has a legitimate right to regulate human affairs in every particular."

But don't worry, you'd be surprised how you get used to it. From Britain's Daily Express:
The Children’s Secretary set out £400 million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.

They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.
The national government is installing 24-hour cameras in your home to ensure that you eat properly and go to bed on time. And social decay in Britain (which is at least partly due to the nanny state's assumption of all adult responsibilities) is so advanced that almost everyone now thinks this perfectly normal.

By the way, dig the name of that cabinet position — the "Children's Secretary." Nice chap. Shared a plane ride with him once. Very pleasant fellow. But what an Orwellian title.
[Hat tip to S.K.]

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Guardini on Adoration and Mental Health

Adoration of the Trinity by all the Saints, Albrecht Dürer

Roman Guardini, in a meditation on the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse of St. John, entitled simply "Adoration," after commenting in some detail upon St. John's vision of Heaven, considers the nature of adoration itself. What does it mean to adore God? Why is God adored? It is not only a matter of awe before God's power and might, but of mental health in understanding who we are in relation to the God who made us and is worthy of our adoration. Guardini writes:
In adoration angels bow before their divine Lord, the creature before his Creator. But how and why? Not as a man who journeys on the sea in a frail boat and is compelled to bow before a storm. Not as a physician who has fought for the life of a man and is obliged to acknowledge himself helpless before the advance of disease. In both cases this would mean bowing to a superior force. But certainly not adoration.... The angels, the elders, the four living creatures prostrate themselves before God for a very different reason, not only because He is all-powerful, but because He is worthy.

This thought it is which determines our relation to God, and we must understand it well. We are as nothing before Him, nevertheless we have the dignity of our personality. Not from ourselves, but from Him. Yet a dignity which is really ours. And it places an obligation upon us. Before a God who were only power, we could not bow low, we could only submit. But God is not mere power, He is mind as well. As great as is God's power, just so great is His truth. As perfect as is His sovereignty, just so perfect is His justice. As truly as He is real, just as truly is He holy.... The hymn of the Mass, called the Gloria from its opening word, contains an expression which at first may appear meaningless. "We thank Thee for Thy great glory." What does that mean? Do we not thank a person for what he gives, rather than for what he is"? But the words express the thought exactly. That God exists and that He is what He is constitutes no mere necessity, or fact, but a grace and a blessing. Yes, it is true. we are permitted to thank Him for His mere being.

And here lies the root of adoration. It is the bowing down of all creation before God, not only because He is all-powerful, but because He is worthy as well.

A great and blessed mystery is adoration. In it man fulfills his ultimate obligation to God and at the same time safeguards his own soundness, for it is the instrument of truth. Adoration is not merely all act by which we reach out to the knowledge of God, but a movement of man's whole being. The very foundation, the pillar, the arch, the essence of all truth is -- God is God; man is man....

Adoration is the safeguard of our mental health, of our inmost intellectual soundness. But what do we mean by that? Can the mind of a man fall ill? It can indeed.... Illness of the spirit finds entrance only in so far as it reaches the mind's seat of health, of soundness, namely, truth and justice. A man's mind falls ill when he relinquishes his hold on truth-not by lying, though he lie often, for in that case the injury to the spirit can be repaired by contrition and the renewal of good will-but by an inward revolt from truth. True illness of the mind and spirit sets in when a man no longer cherishes truth but despises it, when he uses it as a means to his own ends, when, in the depths of his soul, truth ceases to be to him the primary, the most important concern. In such a case, a man may not appear ill, indeed he may be functioning efficiently and successfully. But the order of his being is deranged. The scales with which he measures are out of balance. He no longer distinguishes between ends and means. He can no longer tell the destination from the way. He has lost the inner certainty of direction. He lacks answers to those final questions—why? For what purpose? And his whole being is affected.

What has all this to do with adoration? In fact everything. For the man who worships God will never risk losing his balance entirely. Whoever adores God in his heart and mind and also, when the moment arises, in actual practice, is being truly protected. He may make many mistakes, he may be deeply bewildered and shaken, but in the last analysis the order and direction of his life are secure.

We do well to see this clearly and to actually act—accordingly. But our resolve to practice adoration should not be simply one among many good resolutions as, for example, to keep one's word, or to do one's work properly. For here we arc concerned with the very center and measure of being. Everything depends upon whether or not adoration has its place in our lives. Whenever we adore God, something happens within and about us. Things fall into true perspective. Vision sharpens. Much that troubles us rights itself. We will distinguish better between the essential and the nonessential. The end and the means, the destination and the way. We discriminate more clearly between good and evil. The deceptions which affect daily life, the falsifications of standards are, to some extent at least, rectified.

As has been said, we must make a practice of adoration. The important thing is not to wait until obligation requires it, which might happen seldom enough; if we limit ourselves to such occasions, they would grow less and less frequent. Religious acts must be practiced if they are to grow into strong habits. God desires our adoration and we need it for our soul's health.

Whenever possible we should kneel. Kneeling is the adoration of the body. And in kneeling, we share the posture of the four-and-twenty elders who represent all creation in adoration before God. Then we should be still, cast aside all unrest of body and mind, be quiet in our whole being.

At the moment of adoration we are there for God. And for God alone. This very detachment from the oppression of care, from the cravings of the will and from fear is in itself adoration, and floods the soul with truth. Then say: God is here. I am before Him as are those forms in the vision, bowing down before His throne. I cannot see Him, for everything here is still in the obscurity of time, still earthly. But I know by faith that He is here. He is God; I am His creature. He made me; in Him I have my being. And now there is probably no need to write further. The one concerned must look up iota the face of God—His God-and tell Him what his heart bids him say.

Then he will experience for himself how really blessed and healing adoration is. So much that has been tormenting subsides. So many anxieties show themselves to be groundless. Desires and fears become regulated. Man gathers strength to meet the demands which life imposes upon him, is fortified at the very core of his being, and takes a firmer hold upon truth.

Man's adoration of God, here and now, with the limited vision possible in time, has a beauty all its own. It anticipates that stage when all will be clear and comprehensible. For whenever man adores God, the new creation breaks through. Is this not a wonderful thing to achieve? Wonderful, too, that a man can give glory and honor to God even while that same God is permitting Himself the appearance of weakness, and that a man may keep faith with Him Who, for the sake of truth, allows Himself to be dishonored; to recognize that here and now God is worthy to receive glory and honor and power. Perhaps the greatest experience that can come to a man is that he, a transient being, still caught in the confusion of this life, can give what is due to a God who is unintruding, can erect a throne for Him in his own heart, and, for his own part at least, establish the true order of things.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

The Apostolic Blessing at the Hour of Death

Tridentine Community News (August 2, 2009):
Holy Mother Church grants to her priests significant powers. The ability to forgive sins in persóna Christi in the Sacrament of Confession is one such faculty. The ability to consecrate bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of our Lord is another. A third such privilege – not so well known – is invoked only for gravely ill individuals: The Apostolic Blessing for the Dying, also known as the Apostolic Pardon.

The “Last Rites” for a person in danger of death should consist of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction; the Sacrament of Confession (which in the Extraordinary Form may be performed during the Sacrament of Anointing); Viáticum, or Holy Communion; the Apostolic Blessing; and if time allows, the Prayers in Aid of a Departing Soul.

In Confession, the person is forgiven of his sins. In charity, Holy Mother Church allows for one more spiritual gift to be given to the dying soul: the Apostolic Blessing, which remits all temporal punishment due for sin. This blessing permits the soul to go directly to heaven if he dies before committing any further sins. The text follows:

Ordinary Form

Option 1: Ego facultáte mihi ab Apostólica Sede tribúta, indulgéntiam plenáriuam et remissiónem ómnium peccatórum tibi concédo, in nómine Patris, et Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti. R. Amen.

By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

Option 2: Per sancrosáncta humánæ reparatiónis mystéria, remíttat tibi omnípotens Deus omnes præséntis et futúræ vitae pœnas paradísi portas apériat et ad gáudia te sempitérna perdúcat. R. Amen.

Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May He open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy. R. Amen.

Extraordinary Form (must be recited in Latin)

Ego, facultáte mihi ab Apostólica Sede tribúta, indulgéntiam plenáriam et remissiónem ómnium peccatórum tibi concedo, et benedíco te. In nómine Patris, et Fílii, et Spírtus Sancti. R. Amen.

By the Faculty which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a plenary indulgence and the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

We suggest that our readers have the text of this prayer handy, should a loved one be in danger of death. Do not assume that a visiting priest knows this prayer or has the text with him. Ideally, one should have a prayer book with the official words of the prayer to offer the priest. Currently-in-print books containing the Apostolic Blessing are, for the Extraordinary Form, Volume I of the Weller edition of the Rituále Románum (published by Preserving Christian Publications,, (866) 241-2762); and for the Ordinary Form, the Handbook of Prayers (published by Our Sunday Visitor,, (800) 348-2440).

When a Priest Is Not Available

Lest anyone despair of the difficulty of finding a priest to impart the Apostolic Blessing to a loved one before death, we reprint below some pertinent text from the 2006 Manual of Indulgences. In case of unavailability of a priest, one who is aware of the privilege may gain a Plenary Indulgence on his own at the hour of death. Unlike the norm with other Plenary Indulgences, there are no other conditions. The person does not have to pray for the Holy Father, receive Holy Communion, or receive Confession. We pray that all of our readers commit the knowledge of this priceless gift of the Church to memory.


§1. A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached.

§2. If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother Church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence.

§3. In this latter case, the use of a crucifix or a cross in obtaining the plenary indulgence is commendable.

§4. The faithful can obtain this plenary indulgence at the hour of death, even if they have already acquired a plenary indulgence on the same day.

§5. The catechetical instruction of the faithful should ensure that they are duly made aware and frequently reminded of this salutary benefaction of the Church.
[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 August 2, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]