Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chicago Church Tour to Break New Ground: First Public Tridentine Mass at St. Mary of the Angels

Tridentine Community News (December 25, 2011):
King of the bus tours Michael Semaan has outdone himself this time. Not only has he put together a riveting two-day tour of ten of Chicago’s most famous historic churches on Thursday and Friday, December 29-30, he has also secured permission for Extraordinary Form Masses to be celebrated in two of them.

One of North America’s best-renowned churches for reverent celebrations of Holy Mass in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, St. John Cantius Church is known as a source of Latin Mass tutorial materials. The ubiquitous Red Missals were originally designed for this parish. More recently, they published Michel Ozorak’s book of Chant Sheets. Mass [was] celebrated there on Thursday, December 29 at 1:15 PM.

On Friday, December 30 at 10:00 AM, the first public Tridentine Mass in over 40 years [was] celebrated at the stunning St. Mary of the Angels Church, currently administered by priests of Opus Dei [below photo © 2009, Jeremy Atherton]. Originally threatened with demolition, St. Mary enjoyed a renaissance in the 1990s and has been restored to its original opulent appearance.

Both Masses [were] celebrated by Detroit’s own Fr. Titus Kieninger, ORC. Music [was] provided by Detroit’s St. Joseph Cappella. St. Josaphat and Windsor’s Assumption Churches [provided] the altar servers. It [was] a great privilege for our Detroit Latin Mass team to be a part of this memorable event.

[Two tour buses were taken from Metro Detroit. Both Masses were open to the public.]

A Hidden Gem: The Rosary Chapel at Windsor’s Assumption Church

It’s not all that unusual for a parish to have a secondary chapel for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Few parishes, however, have a chapel as distinctive as the historic Rosary Chapel at Assumption Church.

Seating approximately 70 people, the Rosary Chapel is used for Morning Prayer, weekday Mass in the Ordinary Form, and Eucharistic Adoration. Built in 1907 and restored a decade ago, it sports a High Altar, a Communion Rail, magnificent stained glass, and that rarest of features in an historic church, air conditioning. Despite its small size, it contains three confessionals. Though it lacks an organ, its live and reverberant acoustics make an excellent setting for a cappella music. Because of two recent events in the main church, the Tridentine Mass has been held in the Rosary Chapel twice over the past month, a different but inspiring experience. Visitors to Assumption should make a point to stop in to the chapel to see another one of our region’s architectural marvels.

Tridentine Masses This Week

Mon. 12/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Stephen, Deacon & Protomartyr)

Tue. 12/27 7:00 PM: High Mass at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (St. John, Apostle & Evangelist)

Wed. 12/28 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Holy Innocents)
[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 December 25, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, December 23, 2011

AOD: Michael Voris not "authorized" to use "Catholic"

Archdiocese of Detroit says Michael Voris and are not “authorized” to use “Catholic” (WDTPRS, December 23, 2011).

Fr. John Zuhlsdorff writes:
For your opportune knowledge.

This comes from the website of the Archdiocese of Detroit. You can decide for yourselves what you want to do with this information.
Statement regarding Real Catholic TV and its name Issued: Dec. 15, 2011Contact: Joe Kohn, / (313) 237-5943 Print this statement (Español)

The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority (see canon 216 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). For some time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been in communication with Mr. Michael Voris and his media partner at Real Catholic TV regarding their prominent use of the word “Catholic” in identifying and promoting their public activities disseminated from the enterprise’s production facility in Ferndale, Michigan. The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV,, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word “Catholic” to identify or promote their public activities. Questions about this matter may be directed to the Archdiocese of Detroit, Department of Communications.
Fr. Z. adds: "You may also like - APNews: "Catholic bloggers aim to purse dissenters"

9 months later, we remember . . .

As always, I continue to be moved not only by the great resiliency of the Japanese people, but by their great courtesy in always remembering to thank those who have showed them kindness. Very moving. Please join me in remembering them in your prayers.

"By now, pay later" gone to seed

Drudge Report ran a banner beginning yesterday, which reads:
"Happy Holidays: USA DEBT NOW $15,123,841,000,000!"
So shop till you drop, eh? He who dies with the most debt wins? Out of sight, out of mind? Does anyone imagine that we shall be able to continue thus indefinitely without eventually running smack into the brick wall of reality?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Congress Banned from Saying 'Merry Christmas'

The Franking Commission has banned House of Representative members from saying "Merry Christmas" in emails or tweets. The Commission statement put Congressmen (yes, that's inclusive for those of you who live in Pelosiland) on notice for possible House ethics violation should they disregard the ban. The statement reads: "Currently, incidental use of the phrase Happy Holidays is permissible, but Merry Christmas is not."

Merry Christmas everyone -- all TWELVE days!

Some Catholics still fast before Christmas

Believe-it-or-not! And it's apparently still the custom in some European countries to fast and have fish on Christmas Eve.

Hobbit trailer

For those of us who loved the cinematic version of Lord of the Rings, it looks like Peter Jackson has done it again! Coming December 2012 ...

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Plantinga against materialistic naturalism

I'm not sure there couldn't be a non-materialistic form of naturalism, but Plantinga's argument against the materialistic variety, presupposed by most proponents of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, is an interesting one: he argues (as posted yesterday at Philosophia Perennis) that it's incoherent.

The video is misleadingly entitled "Prof Alvin Plantinga on Reasons for God," because he doesn't really give any reasons, let alone argument. I think it's perfectly true, as he often avers, that the theist is within his epistemic rights to believe in God even in the absence of rational arguments, just as we often find ourselves reasonably believing all sorts of things we cannot prove, such as the reliability of our memories, sense experience, self-perception, being awake rather than dreaming, and even such curious things as the falseness of Bertrand Russell's hypothetical proposition that the world popped into existence five minutes ago with all the appearance it has had since then of great antiquity. But it's not a demonstrative argument, as much as it is a reasonable testament to common epistemic experience.

St. Thomas Aquinas himself says in his Summa Theologiae, Q. II, Art. 2, ad 1:
The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith, but are preambles to the articles; for faith presupposes natural knowledge, even as grace presupposes nature, and perfection supposes something that can be perfected. Nevertheless, there is nothing to prevent a man, who cannot grasp a proof, accepting, as a matter of faith, something which in itself is capable of being scientifically known and demonstrated.
Nope, nothing wrong with simply believing in God because one finds himself believing in God; and this needn't be seen as a form of fideism or "blind believe-ism" provided one does not close the door to reasoning about it.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Latina reviviscunt!

Charlotte Hays, "Latin Makes a Comeback" (National Catholic Register, December 21, 2011):
While Patrick Owens, a Latin instructor at Wyoming Catholic College, climbed to the summit of East Temple Peak last fall with a group of his students, not a word of English was spoken. The hike was sponsored as part of the college’s Latin-immersion program.

Standing near the summit, Owens recalled, “It suddenly hit me that we were surveying the grandeur of God and speaking Latin.”

This emphasis on Latin at the six-year-old Wyoming Catholic, where students read and discuss classical and Christian authors entirely in Latin, appears to be one indication of an emerging trend: an upswing of interest in Latin among Catholics. But it is far from being the only sign.
Read more>>

21 December – O Oriens and Solstice day

We are all desperately in need of light, the Light of the World.

The Magnificat antiophons used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent in the Catholic tradition each refer to an attribute of Christ mentioned in Scripture:
  • December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)
These are commonly known as the "O antiphons."

The O antiphon for today is "O Oriens," which is variously translated "O dayspring," "O morning star," or "O dawn of the east." Fr. Zuhlsdorf writes:
LATIN: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

ENGLISH: O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 1:78, 79
Malachi 4:2

Relevant verse of Veni, Veni Emmanuel:

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
What is the reasoning behind this O antiphon? Fr. Z observes:
We are all desperately in need of a Savior, a Redeemer who is capable of ransoming from the darkness of our sins and from the blinding and numbing wound of ignorance from which we all suffer. In their terrible Fall, our First Parents inflicted grave wounds in the souls of every person who would live after them, except of course – by an act of singular grace – the Mother of God. Our wills are damaged. Our intellect is clouded. In Christ we have the Truth, the sure foundation of what is lasting. All else, apart from Him fails and fades into dark obscurity. He brings clarity and light back to our souls when we are baptized or when we return to Him through the sacrament of penance.

At Holy Mass of the ancient Church, Christians would face “East”, at least symbolically, so that they could greet the Coming of the Savior, both in the consecration of the bread and wine and in the expectation of the glorious return of the King of Glory. They turned to the rising sun who is Justice Itself, whose light will lay bare the truth of our every word, thought and deed in the Final Day.

This is the Solstice day, for the Northern Hemisphere the day which provides us with the least daylight of the year. From this point onward in the globe’s majestic arc about the sun, we of the north, benefit from increasing warmth and illumination. It is as if God in His Wisdom, provided within the framework of the cosmos object lessons by which we might come to grasp something of His good plan for our salvation.

Let us turn to the LIGHT, repent our evil ways and habits, and grasp onto Christ in His Holy Church, for as we read in Scripture:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.”

SSPX updates

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

4th week of Advent: "ineffable Word"

Today's collect:

Deus, aeterna maiestas, cuius ineffabile Verbum,
Angelo nuntiante, Virgo immaculata suscepit,
et, domus divinitatis effecta, Santi Spiritus luce repletur,
quaesumus, ut nos, eius exemplo,
voluntati tuae humiliter adhaerere valeamus.

Literal version
(courtesy of Fr. Z.)

O God, eternal majesty, whose ineffable Word,
received by the Immaculate Virgin as the angel was announcing,
and, having been made the house of divinity, was filled with the light of the Holy Spirit,
we implore, that we, by her example,
may be able to cleave humbly to Your will.

"Last Days of Advent: 20 December – 'ineffable Word'" (WDTPRS, December 20, 2011)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unbelievable rot in the Dutch Church that led the V-II "Rhine reforms"

"Now we know in great detail just what much of the hierarchy of the Dutch Church - one of the national Churches that led the Universal Church in the run-up to Vatican II and in the implementation of the Conciliar reforms - was up to in the decades following World War II, before the Council, and after it: systematic abuse, cover-up in an almost unbelievable scale, spiritual death," writes Rorate Caeli in "The Church that led the Vatican II "Rhine reforms" was rotten" (December 16, 2011).

Citing reports from the Deetman Commission and Radio Netherlands (12/16/2011), Rorate Caeli summarizes: "This was the Church of 'The Dutch Catechism', the 'Church of the future', the Church that introduced Communion in the hand, wild liturgies, the newly-invented 'Eucharistic prayers' that were not the Canon that the Roman Rite had always known: it was the avant-garde Church that led the Council Fathers to the glorious springtime that would follow."

The Quandary of Personal Parishes – Part 3 of 3 Ghetto or Paradise? Personal Parish Compromises and Their Repercussions

Tridentine Community News (December 18, 2011):
In a number of dioceses, the Personal Parish is one of few, if not the sole location for traditional liturgy. That doesn’t mean it’s liturgical paradise. For every St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis’ grand, Gothic Personal Parish, there is a Christ the King Church, Sarasota, Florida’s new Personal Parish housed in a small edifice that would disappoint readers of this column who are accustomed to our stunning historic churches (see The element of the vertical may be lacking; there might be no bell tower or pipe organ; the sanctuary might be cramped. If the edifice is lacking, its appeal will be limited to some extent. How can a world-class music program be established in a small church with poor acoustics? The same choir that sounds impressive and has gained renown at Windsor’s Assumption Church sounds dead in Flint’s non-reverberant All Saints Church.

Is it better to be the sole occupants of a smaller, compromised Personal Parish church, or the shared occupants of a grand edifice? This writer’s opinion is the latter. Is a thriving Personal Parish in a compromised building better or worse than having the Extraordinary Form spread throughout a diocese, as it is here? Are we striving to create a liturgical paradise for ourselves, or to expose the maximum number of people in a region to the Traditional Liturgy?

To show how widespread the concept is, below we present a list of the Personal Parishes and sole-church-occupant Extraordinary Form Communities in North America of which we are aware:

1. Mater Misericórdiæ, Phoenix, AZ (FSSP)
2. St. Gianna, Tucson, AZ (ICRSP)
3. Holy Family, Vancouver, BC (FSSP)
4. St. Stephen the First Martyr, Sacramento, CA (FSSP)
5. St. Anne, San Diego, CA (FSSP)
6. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Santa Clara, CA (ICRSP)
7. Immaculate Conception, Colorado Springs, CO (FSSP)
8. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Littleton, CO (FSSP)
9. Christ the King, Sarasota, FL (FSSP)
10. St. Francis de Sales, Mableton, GA (FSSP)
11. St. Joan of Arc, Coeur d’Alene, ID (FSSP)
12. Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago, IL (ICRSP)
13. St. Rose of Lima, Quincy, IL (FSSP)
14. St. Mary, Rockford, IL (ICRSP)
15. St. Philippine Duchesne, Kansas City, KS (FSSP)
16. St. John Vianney, Maple Hill, KS (FSSP)
17. Blessed John XXIII, Lansing, MI (Diocesan, in formation)
18. Ss. Gregory & Augustine, Creve Coeur, MO (Benedictines)
19. Old St. Patrick, Kansas City, MO (ICRSP)
20. St. Francis de Sales, St. Louis, MO (ICRSP)
21. St. Francis of Assisi, Lincoln, NE (FSSP)
22. Immaculate Conception, Omaha, NE (FSSP)
23. Mater Ecclésiæ, Berlin, NJ (Diocesan)
24. St. Anthony of Padua, West Orange, NJ (ICRSP)
25. Holy Family, Dayton, OH (FSSP)
26. Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna, OH (FSSP)
27. St. Clement, Ottawa, ON (FSSP)
28. Queen of Angels Oratory, St. Catharine’s, ON (FSSP)
29. St. Damien, Edmond, OK (FSSP)
30. St. Peter, Tulsa, OK (FSSP)
31. St. Michael, Scranton, PA (FSSP) [the only inverse Personal Parish – it hosts an Ordinary Form Mass on Saturday only!]
32. Mater Dei, Irving, TX (FSSP)
33. St. Joseph the Worker, Tyler, TX (FSSP)
34. St. Benedict, Chesapeake, VA (FSSP)
35. St. Joseph, Richmond, VA (FSSP)
36. North American Martyrs, Seattle, WA (FSSP)
37. St. Joseph, Green Bay, WI (ICRSP)
38. St. Stanislaus, Milwaukee, WI (ICRSP)
39. St. Mary, Wausau, WI (ICRSP)

The FSSP and ICRSP are remarkable groups, without a doubt. Their selectiveness allows them to admit and train the best of the best candidates for the sacred priesthood. They bring a certain cachet to a parish: for instance, St. Margaret Mary Parish in Oakland, California had long offered a Sunday Tridentine Mass celebrated by diocesan clergy. When the ICRSP arrived – it was a shared-parish arrangement, not a Personal Parish – their “celebrity value” and implementation of weekday Masses caused Sunday attendance to increase from approximately 130 to 300. That would not necessarily happen in our area, however, as Oakland had no other Tridentine Mass sites in close proximity. The FSSP is also known for starting and administering parish schools. If a school is a long-term goal, St. Hyacinth and even St. Albertus are candidates, though the latter’s needs major restoration work. St. Josaphat’s property cannot accommodate a school.

It is this writer’s belief that a Personal Parish would not be economically sustainable in the Archdiocese of Detroit under present conditions. If sharing a parish continued to be the goal, the ICRSP would have to be excluded; they do not want that kind of arrangement any longer. Even the FSSP is not as willing to enter into those sorts of arrangements as they used to be, though their arm might be twistable in a large Archdiocese like Detroit. A shared apostolate for an FSSP priest, serving multiple regional Tridentine Communities, is almost certainly viable. Discussions over the advantages of diocesan vs. FSSP clergy aside, considering the FSSP might be unavoidable should availability of celebrants decline. In other dioceses, the FSSP has offered a trial arrangement over a few months to determine what the actual demand would be. We also have a handful of diocesan clergy who might be interested in a full-time, multi-site Tridentine apostolate.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 12/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Greater Feria of Advent)

Tue. 12/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Rosary Chapel at Assumption-Windsor (Greater Feria of Advent)

Wed. 12/21 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Thomas, Apostle)

Sun. 12/25 Midnight: High Mass at St. Joseph

Sun. 12/25 9:30 AM: High Mass at St. Josaphat

Sun. 12/25 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the Windsor Assumption Catholic Church bulletin insert for December 18, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Pentecost or dying of the light?

It has been a while, perhaps, since we've heard those odious windbags of optimism yodeling those hopeful, ebullient exclamations about the "new springtime" and "new Pentecost" of the Church, although I think we should not be surprised to hear a return to such language in the soon-to-be-celebrated 50th anniversary of Vatican II.

What I sometimes feel is missing in the Catholic pew-sitter's experience is a sense of robust realism. No, scratch that. Replace with: "sense of any reality at all." Across the Atlantic, the Catholic Church is practically dead, except for a few fringe pockets here or there. Certainly it is no longer a culture-formative force, or perhaps even a notable "influence."

In the United States, the current administration has utterly no compunctions about ignoring statements by the Catholic hierarchy. The "Camelot" of the Kennedy and post-Kennedy years is long gone. And archdiocese after archdiocese is busy closing down churches and schools, because there are simply not enough Catholics any longer to support them. (Link: "Lean but not mean")

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Côme de Prévigny on Monsignor Ocáriz and the problem of Conciliar "doctrinal innovations"

Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña, Vicar General of Holy Cross and Opus Dei (also one of the Vatican representatives in the doctrinal talks with the SSPX), writes, in "On Adhesion to the Second Vatican Council" (L'Osservatore, Romano, December 2, 2011):
A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition." (emphasis added)
Some of the commentary on this particular passage of the article (in the post linked above) has been remarkably illuminating if only to show how unresolvedly muddled some of the underlying assumptions may be (see in particular the comments by John Lamont).

In France, some observers have apparently decided to see in the intervention of Monsignor Ocáriz a "scathing response to Bp. Fellay." Côme de Prévigny points out in his brief response, however, that the implications flow in an unexpected direction:
1. The author, though an undisputed expert on religious liberty, admits that Vatican II introduced doctrinal innovations, among which is religious liberty....

2. He affirms that the compatibility of these novelties with Tradition do not follow automatically, that they are subject to debate, that their connection with Tradition is the object of "controversy". The undisputable character of Vatican II, in its more innovative lines, suffers an irremediable blow.

3. Mgr. Ocáriz shows, in this article, that this controversy is allowed, and he implies that it takes place within the Roman Church. He makes clearly known that to think that religious liberty and collegiality are in rupture with Catholic Tradition is allowed within the Church.

This text marks a turnaround because it introduces in the conciliar edifice, through the opinion of a great expert, a leaven of the destruction of innovative ideas, which cannot but place young theologians back into the hands of traditional doctrine.
Yet another response, much more substantial, is found in Italian by Mons. Gherardini, entitled "Mons. Gherardini sull’importanza e i limiti del Magistero autentico" (Disputationes Theologicae, December 7, 2011); English translation: "Msgr. Gherardini: Vatican II is not a super-dogma: The importance and the limits of the authentic Magisterium" (Rorate Caeli, December 12, 2011).

All just in time for the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebrations of Vatican II!

Catholic Star Trek: blogging where no one has blogged before

You gotta see this, over at The American Catholic. It's hilarious. Read more >>

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Quandary of Personal Parishes – Part 2 of 3: To Share or Not to Share

Tridentine Community News (December 11, 2011):
Today we continue our discussion of the pros and cons of Personal Parishes for the Extraordinary Form. In 1988 and the immediately subsequent years following their formation, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and Institute of Christ the King (ICRSP) were more interested in gaining a foothold in North America than in establishing parishes of their own. The early years consisted largely of their priests commuting about, celebrating Tridentine Masses for communities that shared parish facilities with Ordinary Form congregations. The need existed because of a lack of available, interested local clergy.

As time went on and an increasing number of diocesan and religious order priests learned the Tridentine Mass, the FSSP, ICRSP, and similar groups refocused their efforts on administering communities or parishes exclusively dedicated to the Extraordinary Form. The usual term for such an arrangement is a “Personal Parish”, signifying that the parish in question is non-territorial and created to serve a particular “personal” need of the diocesan bishop. Sometimes the term “oratory” is used for the same purpose. Canonically, an oratory is a non-territorial parish, not to be confused with a church run by the Oratorian Fathers, such as the Oxford or London Oratories.

Financial Realities

On the surface, a Personal Parish might look like a good thing. No worries about set-up and take-down of the church to switch between Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, presumably fewer parish politics, greater freedom to conform the parish schedule to Tridentine events. Peel the skin off the onion, however, and other challenges raise their heads, finances being Issue #1.

Consider St. Josaphat: The Novus Ordo Community deserves our deepest gratitude for preserving and sustaining the parish before the Tridentine Community arrived in 2004. Their ongoing monthly fundraising dinners have for years provided key revenue that kept the parish solvent and out of debt. Today, however, the Ordinary Form Community could not financially sustain St. Josaphat on its own. Neither can the Tridentine Community, despite its higher attendance and higher offertory collections. It’s approximately a 50/50 arrangement financially; we need each other. Until the Tridentine Community can at least double its financial contributions, the notion of turning St. Josaphat into a Personal Parish for the Extraordinary Form is not viable. Sharing a parish is the only current practical option, unless a priest and cost-sharing venture with another Tridentine Community can be established. The priest sharing concept has been discussed with the Flint and Windsor Tridentine Communities, and a joint budget has been drawn up, but the idea can go nowhere unless the Archdiocese of Detroit indicates interest in such an arrangement.

The financial impediment to a Personal Parish is in large part due to the fact that metropolitan Detroit and Windsor now have so many churches offering the Extraordinary Form. We’re not Pittsburgh, which has the largest EF Personal Parish attendance-wise in North America; that parish also happens to be the sole Tridentine Mass site in the diocese. We’re not St. Louis, which has the second largest EF Personal Parish, but only two other, small EF sites in the region. Rather, here we enjoy 13 Tridentine Mass sites, plus four Novus Ordo Latin Mass sites, providing many options for those who prefer Latin Liturgy. Attendance is spread out across these numerous churches.

Though this column series does not directly deal with the Diocese of London, readers might be curious about Windsor’s Assumption Parish, too: Assumption is busier than most downtown Detroit churches, with numerous Masses and activities serving different constituencies. The Tridentine Community is the smallest of the several at the Parish. The Diocese has closed many smaller parishes in Windsor, thus it is unavoidable that the Windsor Tridentine Community will share a church with a larger Ordinary Form Community. The upside is that Assumption is, and will be over the long term, one of the best-preserved, most widely-supported historic Catholic churches in the area. It’s not going away; quite the contrary, it’s enjoying an unprecedented $9,800,000 capital campaign to restore the building and campus. The downside of such security is that the Tridentine Community is unlikely to experience significant growth given its 2:00 PM Sunday Mass time. A Personal Parish in Windsor is not economically feasible in the foreseeable future; Assumption’s Latin Mass Community runs very smoothly as is.

Rome’s Viewpoint

In the turbulent early days of St. Josaphat’s Tridentine Community, this writer sought the counsel of the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei Commission. Perhaps the FSSP could make things run smoother and deal with then-unpleasant diocesan politics? The answer: A resounding “no.” We were told to overlook the inconveniences and realize that that there was a higher calling for our community: an opportunity if not a responsibility to expose and train diocesan clergy in the Tridentine Mass. Initial reaction: Aww, come on, that sounds like work! In retrospect, it was one of the wisest pieces of advice the Detroit and Windsor Tridentine Communities have ever received. We have trained over 30 priests on both sides of the border, providing a depth of celebrants that could not have been achieved had we had the comfort zone of a resident FSSP priest. Many of those celebrants have gone on to start Tridentine Mass sites of their own. Furthermore, the necessity of identifying, training, and scheduling celebrants has created a sense of urgency on the part of our volunteers that might not have been present in an FSSP operation. It has resulted in a drive to have the best music, the best vestments and altar supplies, the best trained altar servers, and so forth, all in a desire to render to almighty God the most perfect worship possible.

Next week we will survey the existing Personal Parishes.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 12/12 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Advent)

Tue. 12/13 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Lucy, Virgin & Martyr)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the Windsor Assumption Catholic Church bulletin insert for December 11, 2011.]

Fr. Z's rant on where seminarians learn the TLM

Fr. Zuhlsdorff writes, in "QUAERITUR: Resources for seminarians to learn TLM on their own. Wherein Fr. Z rants" (WDTPRS, December 11, 2011):
During an ordination, someone must stand up in front of the ordaining bishop and attest that seminarians are properly formed and educated and suitable for ordination.

However, seminarians of the Latin Church are not being trained in the whole of the Roman Rite. According to the Church’s law, the Roman Rite has two forms. How many seminaries are training men also in the Extraordinary Form with adequate training, real training… not just an occasional Mass they get to watch. Furthermore, the Code of Canon Law requires that all seminarians be very well-trained in Latin (can. 249). Is that happening? Universae Ecclesiae reiterated this point. I also know of a document from the Congregation for Catholic Education which requires that there be a Patristic Theology component in the curriculum, not just the occasional reference in history or theology courses.

I think it is great, therefore, when – just as some of us did back in the day – seminarians are learning to row the boat all on their own.

From a seminarian:
I am wondering if you could recommend some sources for anyone interested in learning how to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. I am a year and a half away from ordination to the priesthood and would like to be able to offer both forms down the road. Thanks and God Bless.
I would contact the Fraternity of St. Peter. They have a very good instructional DVD.

Also, the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago have a great page, online tutorials.

I know that both groups host workshops. Also, in England there are occasional workshops for seminarians and priests.
  • Fr. Z, "QUAERITUR: How to get Gregorian chant and a TLM in the parish" (WDTPRS,

  • Extraordinary! (Rorate Caeli, December 11, 2011):
    This is not exactly a review, just a short note. After some time, it was at last possible for us to view the "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite: An Instructional Video for Priests and Seminarians" DVD, produced by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), in all its details, angles, and taking a look at the different language settings, and it can be honestly said that there is nothing like it in instructional videos. The four different angles are extremely (extraordinarily?) useful for servers as well.

    Note: the video was acquired by us, it was not sent as a gift. The DVD is available in the FSSP North America bookstore website, and it includes English, Spanish, Italian, French, and German audio options.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The other St. Francis

December 3rd was the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Saint, whom Fr. Hardon remembers in a worthy reflection here.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

A forgotten voice of English Catholicism

A reader writes:
FASCINATING & MORE than a little depressing how many literary and articulate Christian voices from English Catholicism of the last century fell so completely and totally off the map of recognition that no one today remotely knows they ever existed. My candidate today for Rehabilitation:
C.C. MARTINDALE, crony of Mssrs. Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward.
Have been reading his essay on God in "God and the Supernatural," as well as his book "Faith of the Roman Church." Very good and relevant.

Also telling that in another lifetime America Magazine gave him such happy endorsement [See "Upon further review" (Some Wear Clerics, January 29, 2008). Today it wouldn't touch him -- nor likely he it -- with a bargepole!]
Father C. Martindale (1879-1963), a once renowned Jesuit author, scholar and Oxford philosopher, was born in London in 1879. After attending school at Harrow he became a Catholic and entered the Jesuit novitiate. He was ordained in 1911 and his priestly life has included teaching, much lecturing, travelling, and, of course, writing. One of his biographers says of him, "He has rebuilt Christian apologetics about the doctrines of the supernatural life and the Mystical Body." His books include The Vocation of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, The Mind of the Missal [see The Words of the Missal], Portuguese Pilgrimage, What Are Saints?Life of St. Camillus and many more.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

More 'gay' Catholic controversies

Our HBCU correspondent we keep on retainer wired in the following email recently, with supplied links [Warning: reader advisory for explicit content]:
Somehow this focuses things far too uncomfortably clearly for me.

You can be a priest who is quite obviously gay, as long as you can parse words carefully when necessary if called on the carpet.

You can support the Democratic platform and ambiguously gay speakers and material fairly safely.

BUT if you say Satan is behind homosexuality, you get FIRED?
The reference is to Matt C. Abbot's column, "More 'gay' Catholic controversies" (RenewAmerica, November 23, 2011). Our correspondent continues:
That is all that I should say, but [to] lessen the pressure between my ears...

Mirus' referenced column is helpful, but also cringe-inducing since even he -- writing to conservatives -- has to tiptoe so delicately through the tulips in navigating political sensibilities connected with the practice if anal sex. Does anyone think we will make any headway if we are always apologizing before we even begin? We really need to stop and think: Flip Wilson got laughs for saying the Devil made him do it. In a Church setting today someone uses that line about a perversion, and gets fired?! The hierarchy is doing double-back flips over sensitivity issues when over half of their flock probably do not even now understand why gay sex IS a grave sin? It has been ALL OVER THE NEWS non-stop for two years. When is the last time we heard a clear talk on homosexuality as a sin, period, versus why gay marriage is a problem because, technically at least, marriage is between a man and a woman? The marriage issue pulls on people's "rights" buttons. I would fall off my chair if, in a session on gay marriage, someone just said,
"I am against gay marriage because I am against gay sex. It is unhealthy, immoral (yes!), and obv[iously] and on the face of it wildly against natural law. Just because someone has an urge does not mean they should or must fulfill it."
The zillion stories about men with several kids who later "come out" proves that lifestyle IS of course a choice as well as a mere inclination. People can and should control who they sleep with. Have we really gotten so sex-saturated we cannot even see *that*? Codifying homosex in marriage is wrong because it is a formalization and blessing of a behavior we should discourage, not institutionalize. And all the Oprahs, Ellens and Andersons in the world can't change that no matter how nice the may be.

That deafening silence of the Church on this is a pointed example of why the Vatican II mantra of "proposing, not imposing" -- when applied indiscriminately -- is disastrous and an example of saying "Peace, peace" when there is no peace. You have to wonder if folks like Bea, Sheed and company would have been so pleased with the openness and collegiality of the new Church or could have imagined, in their wildest dreams, where we are now in the Church and in the World.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

The pentatonic scale, Negro Spirituals, and Amazing Grace

An interesting story about the alleged origin of the pentatonic scale used in Negro Spirituals, illustrated by black vocal artist Whitley Phipps:

[Hat tip to R.B.]

Larry: Vatican II means "no more Latin"

And check out the 38 Responses to Videos for your amusement and edification at Fr. Z.'s.

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Beyond the do-nothing "New Evangelization"

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Signs of the times? Gag me.

Today I stopped at the local post office to buy stamps -- Christmas stamps to mail Christmas cards to friends and relatives.

At the window, the lady presented the selection of Christmas stamps they had available. These included stamps with images of 1) abstract Christmas tree ornaments, 2) Kwanzaa, 3) Hanukkah, and 4) the Muslim holiday, Eid ul-Fitr, in ornamental Arabic.

I asked the lady what happened to the stamps of the Madonna and Child. She said she didn't know. She asked some of the other postal workers, but none knew anything about them.

I persisted: "Let me see, you're saying that these are your only selection of CHRISTMAS stamps?" She nodded. "... and this one is Christmas tree ornaments, that one commemorates an African-American celebration of dubious origin, this one a Jewish holiday, and the last one a Muslim holiday?"

She shrugged, and I walked away with stamps picturing the abstract Christmas tree ornaments.

Gag me.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Quandary of Personal Parishes – Part 1 of 3

Tridentine Community News (December 4, 2011):
This week’s announcement from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Detroit recommending possible further parish closures, merging, and clustering raises a number of questions for discussion. Of primary interest to readers of this column was the following statement:
“Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Josaphat, and St Joseph should begin in February 2012 to develop a transition plan, to be submitted by June 2012, to eliminate 1 worship site and consolidate Mass schedules to conform to the archdiocesan policy of following Canon Law for a Priest to say no more than 3 Masses on a regular weekend.”
Without commenting on the pros and cons of making such a change, the particular rationale expressed is erroneous on two fronts:
  1. Code of Canon Law Canon 905.2 states:
    “If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation.”
    Thus, a priest is restricted to celebrating no more than three Masses per day, not per weekend. Think of the many parishes where a Saturday consists of a morning Mass, an afternoon wedding Mass, and an afternoon anticipated Sunday Mass. The same priest who celebrates three such Masses could not reasonably be expected not to celebrate a Mass the next day, Sunday, when multiple parish Masses might be scheduled.

  2. There is a presumption that the pastor of our cluster is celebrating more than three Masses per weekend. One look at our cluster schedule would inform a reader that unless there is a wedding, it is physically impossible for our pastor to celebrate more than three Masses in the cluster on a weekend, because of the timing of the Masses in our three churches. The APC does not seem to realize that other priests are regular celebrants of our Masses. Indeed, all but one of the Sunday Tridentine Masses since July 1, 2011, the arrival date of Fr. Darrell, have been celebrated by priests other than our pastor.
Since the APC has opened the possibility of closing one of our worship sites on the basis of a perception of a shortage of priests, it is relevant to bring up two related subjects that have been on many of our readers’ minds for years: 1) The possibility of the Archdiocese of Detroit creating a Personal Parish for the Tridentine Mass, and 2) “Can the Fraternity of St. Peter help?”

Priests Are Available and Interested in Coming to the Archdiocese of Detroit

Surely one of the most positive developments in the Church in our age is the rapid growth of priestly communities devoted to the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass. Since 1988, when such communities began to be founded, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), the Institute of Christ the King (ICRSP), the Institute of the Good Shepherd, and assorted others throughout the world have been growing as fast as they can construct or acquire seminaries and houses of formation to accommodate the flood of vocations coming their way. They need to promote vocations awareness about as much as the Super Bowl needs to advertise that tickets are on sale. The below chart from a recent FSSP mailing illustrates their staggering growth:

The FSSP is the fastest growing group. Others, like the ICRSP, intentionally restrict themselves to one seminary only, to give each seminarian exposure to the same instructors.

Since 2004, one formal and several informal discussions have been held between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the FSSP and ICRSP regarding sending a priest to help staff St. Josaphat. Both groups expressed interest, with the FSSP offering greater flexibility in options. While nothing came of the talks, the recent arrival of the SOLT order to assume responsibility for Detroit’s Holy Redeemer Parish demonstrates a welcome new openness to accepting outside priests. This writer recalls hearing on the Dialogue TV show or in the Michigan Catholic newspaper a few years ago that an African bishop offered to send priests to Detroit from the surplus that his diocese enjoyed, but Cardinal Maida declined because of challenges of inculturation. Interestingly, Old St. Mary’s Church now has an African pastor and has employed several African priests from the Holy Ghost Fathers over the years; inculturation is certainly possible. The point is that there are priests available to come to Detroit to make up for the shortage of diocesan clergy. Before taking as serious an action as closing a church, the Archdiocese would seem to be best served by exploring thoroughly the option of bringing in priests who are interested in coming here. Over the next two weeks, we will discuss the pros and cons of involving one of these groups of priests with the St. Josaphat Tridentine Community, and possibly the broader regional Extraordinary Form Mass scene.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 12/05 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Advent)

Tue. 12/06 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Nicholas, Bishop & Confessor)

Thu. 12/08 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Immaculate Conception – Holy Day of Obligation in the U.S.)

Sun. 12/04 12:15 PM: High Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul (west side) (Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudéte Sunday)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the Windsor Assumption Catholic Church bulletin insert for December 4, 2011.]