Monday, May 28, 2012

Extraordinary Community News

Tridentine Community News (May 27, 2012):
First Friday Mass to Debut at St. Josaphat

One of the oldest and most enduring devotions in the Catholic Church is the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A concise explanation of this devotion is found in the 1956 Marian Sunday Missal:
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in France in the year 1647, and died in 1690. She was canonized in 1920, and her feast is celebrated on October 17.

Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary several times during her life as a nun in the Visitation Order. Sometimes our Lord showed His Most Sacred Heart afire with love for men; while at other times His Heart would appear torn and bleeding because of sin and indifference.

In 1675 the great revelation was made to St. Margaret Mary that she, in union with Father de la Colombière, S.J., was to be the chief instrument for instituting the Feast of the Sacred Heart and for spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the world.
The Great Promise of the First Friday

All who receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays have been blessed by Our Lord with the grace of a most wonderful promise. We should listen carefully. It is our Saviour, Himself, Who speaks to us through St. Margaret Mary:
‘I promise thee in the unfathomable mercy of My Heart that My omnipotent love will procure the grace of final penitence for all those who communicate on nine successive First Fridays of the month; they will not die in My disfavor, or without having received their Sacraments, since My divine Heart will be their sure refuge in the last moments of their life.’
Our Lord also told St. Margaret Mary of the following additional blessings:
1) I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life. 2) I will establish peace in their families. 3) I will comfort them in all their afflictions. 4) I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death. 5) I will bestow a special blessing upon all their undertakings. 6) Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy. 7) Tepid souls shall grow fervent. 8) Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection. 9) I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be exposed and honored. 10) I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 11) Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart – never to be blotted out.”
In the February 19, 2010 edition of The Michigan Catholic newspaper, Archbishop Allen Vigneron called for a restoration of the First Friday devotion:
“I have in mind that we should consider working together for a renewal of our practice of devoting the First Fridays especially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a particular emphasis on joining together – priests and people – to ask the Lord to give our archdiocese priests ‘after his own heart,’” the archbishop said in a Feb. 12 letter to priests, in which he cited language from Jeremiah 3:15.

“I see this approach as a particularly effective way to pray for holy priests: for those of us already ordained; and for those whom God is calling to join us, both the men in our seminary and the men who are being invited to enter formation.”
In response to this call, Fr. Darrell [Roman] has decided to inaugurate monthly Masses in the Extraordinary Form at St. Josaphat Church on First Friday evenings at 7:00 PM, the first Mass being this Friday, June 1. We hope you will find time to attend this opportunity to gain graces.

Corpus Christi Masses & Processions

The Feast of Corpus Christi always falls on a Thursday, this year on June 7. The Church offers the “External Solemnity” option of moving the Feast to the subsequent Sunday, to permit a larger number of people to participate in the traditional Eucharistic Procession that follows Mass. Participation in a Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession is enriched with a Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions.

Here in metro Detroit and Windsor, both options will be available to you: On Thursday, June 7 at 7:00 PM, a High Mass for Corpus Christi will be held at St. Josaphat Church. A procession will follow; weather permitting, it will go outdoors, where four altars will be prepared for stops for adoration along the way.

On Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 PM, the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi will be marked with a High Mass and procession at Windsor’s Assumption Church. This procession, too, will go outdoors, weather permitting.

Please note that on Sunday, June 10, a Tridentine Mass will be held as usual at St. Josaphat Church at 9:30 AM, for the Feast of the Second Sunday After Pentecost.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/28 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Pentecost Monday)

Tue. 05/29 7:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Pentecost Tuesday)

Fri. 06/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Pentecost Friday/Ember Friday) [First Friday]

Sun. 06/03 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Trinity Sunday)

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth ..."
[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 May 27, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You gotta love this girl!

Great sense of humor, and she takes herself lightly, like an angel.
[Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pope betrayed by his butler

A holdover from the Wojtyla pontificate, Paolo Gabriele, the butler of the Pope Benedict, is the "source" that passed on the secret letters of His Holiness, violations of the correspondence of a Head of State, which, if substantiated, could lead up to "30 years in prison." See "Life imitates fiction The source of the Pope's secret letters? His butler" (Rorate Caeli, May 25, 2012).

Related: Butler arrested ...

OMG, like totally!

[Hat tip to A.B.]

The secret of our President's innovative genius

Some insist he hasn't worked for an honest day's wage his entire life. Hmmm ... Well maybe, maybe not. But he sure knows how to build himself a reputation for resourcefulness, for milking the cow for every last drop -- well, no, that would require too much effort. Check it out, especially the part about his contributions to his earlier 'communities' as an INNOVATOR! 'nother round of golf, Mr. Prez?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The lighter side of SSPX-Rome détente

So ... SSPX Bp. Fellay calls the Vatican and says ...

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, striking a diplomatic pose, writes in the above-linked post:
Yes, this is an exageration, but there is a grain of truth in it, no?

A while back I read a comment that if some members of the SSPX have turned Vatican II into a “Super Heresy”, some liberals have turned it into a “Super Dogma”.

We need to read every Council in the light of the others, but especially Vatican II in light of those that went before. Vatican II cannot be properly read apart from the other Councils and the Church’s Magisterium

We need a hermeneutic of continuity and not a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture – in either direction.

As my old pastor used to say, you can go into the ditch on either side of the road.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Obama-- "Gay Marriage" is NOT Marriage. Here’s Why

By Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D.
Guest column

As a pro-life leader, theologian, wife and mother I feel it is necessary for me to finally weigh-in on the issue of so-called “gay marriage” in light of Obama’s recently-declared support for same-sex so-called “marital” unions. This article is not a full-blown treatise on the subject. I intend here to provide a concise argument as to why same-sex sexual activity is not the moral, social, cultural equal to heterosexual marital unions—and thus should not be granted equal status in law. In addition, I will also explain who or what is to blame for the moral and intellectual break-down on the subject of marriage represented by the current advocacy for “gay marriage.”

Legal recognition of homosexual bonds as marital bonds ultimately means that gender, human sexuality, being a husband or a wife, motherhood and fatherhood have no objective moral meaning. This also means that the family itself has no objective moral meaning. The moral law rooted in nature is completely dissolved. There are no longer any natural familial moral bonds, thus no longer any natural moral ties and thus no natural moral responsibilities arising from the very nature of the family.

If the bond between two men or two women may be considered the equivalent of the one-flesh marital unity between a man and a woman, a bond that gives rise to the family, we are then saying that all human ties are strictly a matter of the will—only when persons choose to be connected to one another—by emotional, legal or artificial contrivance— that they are then connected. And if the fundamental building block of society, namely the family, is essentially a matter of choice, those choices can be undone by personal will. The family simply becomes an arrangement of the will—no one is in essence a mother, a father, a husband or wife. The family unit is turned into a mere fragile arrangement of personal volition. Indeed, being a husband or wife, mother or father is nominal, not real.

The family is no longer a unit cemented by innate natural familial bonds that actually cause persons to be mother and child, brother and sister—essential identities embedded in nature itself that produce innate responsibilities to which persons who have such identities must be held accountable. Nothing here should be interpreted to mean that sterile couples who adopt children are not parents. Their heterosexual marital unity, unlike “gay marriage” participates in the truth of marriage and is a public sign of that truth. Their sexual unity is oriented towards life in a way that “gay marriage” can never be.

It is simply a lie that lesbian or homosexual sexual activity is equivalent to sexual activity between a wedded man and woman. I will even go on and say that making them equivalent is an insult to the very meaning of marriage and the family. Gay sex, is self-enclosed, of itself sterile and a societal dead-end. Since the family cannot come from such sex—the government does not have a compelling interest in protecting such unions.

Why must the law protect marriage—and when I say “marriage” I mean, of course, the lifelong bond between a man and a woman upon which the family is built? Sex between a married man and woman is categorically different from gay sex. It is sex that confirms the meaning of masculinity and femininity—and it is sex that confers responsibilities that arise from the commitment of husbands and wives, especially when, from such sexual acts, new human beings are conceived. Society, indeed the entire future of the world, depends on these kinds of stable sexual unions that provide the necessary innate security for children. For this reason alone, the government has an interest in protecting marriage.

Society is not the consequence of arbitrary self-willed human relationships. Marriage is the first building block that creates, not only brothers and sisters, but future marriages that produce cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, great grandfathers and mothers, as well as great uncles and aunts. Laws do not create these worlds—innate natural bonds create these worlds—worlds that of themselves cause human identity and human responsibilities. Absolutely nothing can replace such natural world-building! And the law cannot create the moral responsibilities that come from such bonds—it can only call persons to live up to them! Again, for this reason, government has an interest in protecting marriage.

How did we come to this point—that homosexual bonds should be considered the equivalent of marriage? The truth must be told. It is indeed the heterosexual community that is to blame, not homosexuals. Heterosexuals have given up on the meaning of human sexuality. Heterosexuals are the ones who no longer believe in marriage. We have said so with 50 years of contraception, unquestioned sexual activity outside of marriage, living together without marriage, rampant divorce, including no-fault divorce, rampant out-of-wedlock pregnancies, artificial reproduction—and then add to this— 40 years of abortion. Heterosexuals have already said that sex, marriage and the family have no meaning—they become what we subjectively, privately, by a sheer matter of the will, say they are—and nothing more. We simply have no moral, cultural place to stand upon which we may say that homosexuals can’t call what they do “marriage.” After all, most heterosexual activity isn’t marriage either! It too is dead-end sex that cannot carry the world into the future.

What is the answer ultimately? If we really want to fight a battle against “gay marriage” the heterosexual community needs to get its act together. We can’t carry on the way we have—we cannot privatize our sexual ethical behavior and then claim that the government needs to publicly protect what’s left of the institution of marriage. This healing of the sexual ethic is primary the work of the Church—a Church that greatly contributed to the cultural moral demise by remaining silent on contraception and by allowing Catholic politicians to support legalized abortion with ecclesial impunity. Is it any wonder that the likes of Catholic Nancy Pelosi, who supports legalized killing of the unborn contrary to the teachings of the Church, lauds Obama’s support for “gay marriage” also contrary to the teachings of the Church and, like Obama, even dares to say that this is the Christian thing to do!

And in some ways this is the most odious and insulting aspect of the entire debacle. Obama justified his position that “gay marriage” should be legally recognized by wrapping it in the Christian religion. He said that his so-called evolution on the subject was the consequence of his Christian faith and he told ABC News: “It's also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated." So with such deep critical thinking—how can we deny homosexuals access to a right that heterosexuals enjoy? It just isn’t fair.

Unfortunately Obama failed to quote Christ’s own doctrine on marriage: “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and declared: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one’ Thus they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Jesus, in the next passages, even dares to forbid divorce and remarriage.

For Obama the Golden Rule is real doctrine and Christ’s view on marriage merely His opinion that may be set aside. I mean, if the president is going to quote the Bible in an attempt to dismantle the God-given meaning of marriage it would only be truly fair and honest of him to acknowledge Christ’s specific view on the subject.

Obama’s application of the Golden Rule in this case is completely misplaced. Of course Christ called us to: “treat others as you would wish to be treated.” But if society seriously accepted Obama’s invocation of the Golden Rule we would have to advocate all sorts of irrationalities. After all, saying gays have the right to marry as do heterosexuals is like saying that not only those who excel at running the 100 meters but even poor runners have just as much right to compete in the Olympics—since all that matters is that the poor runners also love the sport and wish to participate in it as much as the good runners. Obama’s application of the gospel is like saying those who are tone deaf should be allowed to sing at major concert halls, since such persons may actually love and have an appreciation for music—even more than those who actually have the ability to sing. After all, if Obama really put his version of the Golden Rule into practice then track stars and great vocalists must allow poor runners and bad singers to do what they do since Christ said: “treat others as you would wish to be treated.” Obama’s Golden Rule is not about love and acceptance at all, rather it’s a means by which the truth is distorted. Thus Obama’s gospel is not the Wisdom of Christ, but an invitation to insanity.

We must recognize that we are in a war for the truth, and it is a moral battle. This is not a time to be afraid to speak the truth. But speak always the truth in love—recognizing that homosexual persons have God-given dignity and basic human rights—and those rights must never be denied. But they simply do not have the right to marry—they do not have the rights to the privileges of marriage. Those who publicly defend marriage are going to be misunderstood, called names, mocked, belittled and derided. Nonetheless, those who understand what is at stake cannot hold back—the truth must be defended and marriage fought for—as civilization itself depends upon this sacred institution.

Dr. Monica Miller is the Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society — an activist pro-life group that she founded in 1986. She is also an Associate Professor of Sacred Theology at Madonna University. The present article is published here by kind permission of the author. [Brief bio]

Tolerance applies only to persons ... never to principles

"There is no subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance.... Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons."

-- Archbishop Fulton Sheen (via Voris, May 23, 2012)

Freak extreme: Hans Küng becomes Sedevacantist

"Freak extremes meet: Hans Küng becomes a Sedevacantist, declares Benedict XVI schismatic over SSPX" (Rorate Caeli, May 23, 2012). Sometimes you just couldn't make this stuff up!

Citing an article published today in the Südwest Presse, entitled "HANS KÜNG - Papally provoked disobedience" (for which he offers his own translation), Rorate Caeli editor writes:
No, this is not May Fools' Day: heresiarch Hans Küng, who, "in his writings, has departed from the integral truth of Catholic faith, and therefore ... can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role" (Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dec. 15, 1979), has lost all notions of basic sacramental theology - and takes from this the most hilarious consequences. [Read more >>]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Referring to Nostra aetate and Dignitatis humanae, Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, Emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, in an interview on Radio Vatican yesterday. [Source]

John Lamont on Liturgical Pluralism

Another well-informed and provocative reflection by Prof. Lamont:

John Lamont, "Liturgical Pluralism and the Traditional Latin Mass" (Rorate Caeli, May 22, 2012):
The international federation Una Voce has recently released its sixth position paper, 'Liturgical Pluralism and the Extraordinary Form'. The paper makes assertions and raises issues that call for further discussion.

Several commenters, including myself, have been hard on this paper, so it should be acknowledged at the outset that it provides a conclusive answer to one objection that has indeed been commonly made against the practice of the traditional Roman rite (abbreviated henceforth as TLM). This objection is that unity among Catholics demands that they share the same form of worship, and hence that it is wrong to allow use of two forms of worship, the TLM as well as the Novus Ordo. The idea that it is the TLM rather than the NO that should be abandoned is taken for granted by this argument, which concludes that only the Novus Ordo should be permitted. The paper shows that the existence of legitimate liturgical pluralism within the Catholic Church means that the first premise of this objection is false – it is not the case that Catholics must all have the same form of worship – and hence it shows that this objection has no value.

The trouble with the paper is that it does not limit itself to the useful service of providing a purely negative, dialectical refutation of this objection. It goes further; it attempts to argue for a positive thesis, which is that the use of the TLM in the Church can be justified as an instance of legitimate liturgical pluralism.

It asks: 'the question to be addressed by this paper is whether the existence in the Latin Rite of an extra, ‘extraordinary’, ‘Form’ of the Roman Rite is problematic, and therefore something to be overcome if possible, in the short or long term, perhaps by the creation of a single, amalgamated, Form of the Roman Rite.' It gives an affirmative answer to this question on the basis of an appeal to 'the value of pluralism'.

"Big Mass in the Big Apple"

Well, that's what it was called over at the Rorate Caeli blog today, which adds:
The bad news is only one priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York this year.

The good news is that priest offered a traditional Latin Missa Solemnis as his first Mass.
Photos here >>.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Telling words of Pope to FSSPX's Bp. Fellay

"Rome-SSPX - Fellay speaks in Vienna: the words of Pope Benedict XVI" (Rorate Caeli, May 21, 2012):
You have surely heard that, in the last few months, Rome has offered us a solution - we could rather say, a recognition.

... It is quite clear that this offer is also very, very controversial in the Church at large. I can assure you: it is the will of the Pope. This must not be doubted. But it is certainly not the will of everyone in the Church....

"One must not think that things will be easy afterwards. To use the words of the Pope that describe the situation quite well: 'I know,' he said, 'that it would be easier both for the Society and for myself to leave the situation as it currently is.' This describes very well the situation, and also that the Pope himself knows that he, when he does it, will be attacked.
Related: "Fellay speaks in Saltzburg" (Rorate Caeli, May 21, 2012).

Extraordinary Community News

Tridentine Community News (May 20, 2012):
The Types of Candles Found in a Church

A church where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated tends to be replete with candles. They all have specific names and purposes, for devotions and for the Sacred Liturgy.

The first and most prominent type are the Altar Candles. For Low Mass and other rites celebrated at the altar two candles are lit, one on each side of the central Altar Crucifix. High Masses require four or six candles to be lit, two or three on each side, respectively. For a Solemn Pontifical Mass, a seventh candle is placed on the altar as a sign of the Bishop’s office.

One typically only sees the use of four candles for High Mass when only four are available, such as at the Rosary Chapel and at St. Hyacinth Church; if six are available, all six are used. Some churches will have smaller Low Mass candles in addition to the four or six High Mass candles; their smaller size serves to distinguish the lesser solemnity of the Low Mass, as well as to allow all the High Mass candles to burn out at the same rate.

The two sets of three candles are but one of numerous Trinitarian expressions in the Mass. Consider how when incensing the altar, the priest makes three sets of three swings on each side of the Altar Crucifix; the triple Kyrie; and triple Signs of the Cross during the Canon.

In the Extraordinary Form, the above are the only candles permitted at the altar during Mass. Additional devotional candles, no matter how aesthetically appealing they may be and tempting they might be to light, are not to be used.

The two acolytes, or principal altar servers, at a High Mass carry Processional Candles. These candles are used during the entrance and exit processions, and are held by the acolytes next to the priest or deacon while he is chanting the Gospel.

Up to six Torches may be used. A Torch is most properly a candle enclosed in glass. In the absence of proper Torches, Processional Candles or Low Mass Candlesticks may be used.

At High Masses when there are insufficient altar servers for Torches and at Low Masses, a Sanctus Candle may be placed on the altar. The Torches and Sanctus Candle serve the same purpose: They arrive at the Sanctus and depart after the Blessed Sacrament is reposed after Holy Communion. The Torches and the Sanctus Candle highlight the Real Presence of Christ on the altar during that portion of Holy Mass.

A Bugia (“BOO-zhee-yah”) is the candle held by the books during a Bishop’s Mass. A proper Bugia has a long handle to enable the Bugia bearer to stand back from the bishop. If a proper Bugia is not available, a simpler Sanctus Candle may be used instead.

Six Requiem Candlesticks are placed around the casket at a Funeral Mass or around the catafalque at a memorial Requiem Mass. The two sets of three candles on each side of the casket or catafalque are yet another sign of the Holy Trinity.

When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, a minimum of six candles must be on each side of the monstrance on the altar. Typically those candles are in Benediction Candelabras.

A Tenebrae Hearse is a floor-standing triangular stand holding 15 candles, used for the service of Tenebrae during the Sacred Triduum, during which one candle at a time is extinguished to signify the darkness in the world following Christ’s death.

The Paschal Candle which is blessed at the Easter Vigil Mass is lit at all Masses from the Easter Vigil through the Feast of the Ascension, as a sign of the Risen Christ during the Easter season. It is extinguished after the Gospel on the Feast of the Ascension as a sign that our Lord has departed earth for heaven.

A Baptismal Candle is given to the sponsors at the end of the Sacrament of Baptism to represent the Light of Christ.

The Sanctuary Lamp is a long-lasting candle, usually enclosed in red glass, that is lit in all places where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. Sometimes the Sanctuary Lamp is an elaborate hanging fixture. Sometimes it is a wall-mounted candle. Sometimes there are multiple Sanctuary Lamps, so that one can be lit in anticipation of the other burning out. In more modest churches and chapels where there is no proper Sanctuary Lamp, red candles may be placed on the altar adjacent to the tabernacle. Such candles have temporarily replaced St. Josaphat’s Sanctuary Lamp until a more secure mounting method for it can be determined.

Votive Candles are the small glass cup candles that one sees on Benediction Candelabras and on side altars and shrines. Occasionally one sees electric Votive Candles. In many cases these are required by local fire regulations. Do not jump to the conclusion that it is the choice of the parish.

Larger Devotional Candles, such as the ones by the statue of St. Anthony and the side altars at St. Josaphat, are designed to last several days. This is an appropriate time to bust a myth: The church does not profit from the $2.00 it asks for each large devotional candle. Those candles actually cost around $2.00 each in bulk. Quality candles are not cheap.

The Church prohibits the use of gas or oil candles; she likewise requires a certain percentage of beeswax to be used in certain candles, a topic addressed in our July 3, 2011 column. This is an example where common sense must be the First Rubric: Yes, we strive to use beeswax candles, however if we have run out and only have non-beeswax candles, or even only gas or oil candles available fifteen minutes before Mass, they will have to do. Perfection must not be the enemy of the good.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/21 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria [Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass])

Tue. 05/22 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead [Low Requiem Mass])
[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 May 20, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Books to prepare for the presidential election season

[Advisory: anyone finding the subject of this post linguistically offensive is advised to stop reading now.]
Harry G. Frankfurt is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University. His most recent publication is On Truth,which was published the year after his philosophical investigation, On Bullshit,the subject of my interest in this post. Frankfurt first developed his ideas about bullshit in a 1986 philosophical investigation of the concept. This was subsequently republished as a small 67-page book in 2005, leading to media appearances such as Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

It is obvious from the fact that our nation elected Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008 on a platform of demonstrably bullshit slogans like "Hope," "Change" and "Yes we can" that the best-seller publicity received by Frankfort's study has more to do with the public's fascination and amusement with its title than with the actual, serious content of the volume. Perhaps if more people actually read Frankfurt's study, they would force our politicians to deal with issues more honestly and forthrightly -- a pressing issue in this election year. (And, no, I'm not supposing that bullshit is the exclusive province of Mr. Obama or the Democratic party, although they have certainly set new records of late.)

While Frankfurt's study of bullshit may not be philosophically dense or profound, it is far more than a book about (excuse me) shits and giggles. Frankfurt is quite serious. While there are passages that will certainly make the reader smile, this is generally because of the juxtaposition of serious conceptual and linguistic analysis with a subject generally treated as crude and trivial. For example, in his opening pages, he writes:
One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.... I propose to begin the development of a theoretical understanding of bullshit, mainly by providing some tentative and exploratory philosophical analysis.
Frankfurt compares bullshit with adjacent concepts such as "humbug," "lying," and "bluffing," referencing points made by Max Black, Wittgenstein, St. Augustine, and the Oxford English Dictionary.

He concludes that unlike the liar, the bullshitter is never serious about truth. Lying is parasitic upon truth, because the liar is concerned that the truth not be discovered. Like the liar, the bullshitter is also represents himself falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth; but unlike the liar, who hides the fact that he is trying to deceive us, the bullshitter hides the fact that truth is of no basic interest to him. "It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," writes Frankfurt. "Producing bullshit requires no such conviction." He continues:
For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to.... Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, of the same game.... The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether.... By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Anyone who wishes to continue making assertions but who no longer believes in the possibility of identifying certain statements as true, cannot do anything but bullshit, says Frankfurt. In conclusion, he asks why there is so much bullshit, and offers two basic hypotheses.

First, people bullshit whenever circumstances require them to talk without knowing what they are talking about. This phenomenon is widespread, obviously, in the public life of politicians, who are expected to be able to talk intelligently about everything under the sun, most of which they are capable of addressing only in memorized sound bites and cliches that are no more than forms of bullshit.

Second, the contemporary proliferation of bullshit, says Frankfurt, has deeper sources in "various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality." One response to these "antirealist" doctrines and loss of confidence has been, he says, a retreat from "the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness" to a quite different sort of habit, which involves the cultivation of an alternative ideal of sincerity. "Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature." Frankfurt observes:
But it is preposterous to imagine that we ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and to incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription of determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake. As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them.... Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial -- notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.
Related: Mark Steyn, "The Great Barry" (NRO, May 19, 2012).

Two thumbs up

Straight eye for the queer guy

[Hat tip to Fr. Z., "Dust up in the Diocese of Davenport"]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Double-standard intolerance

Michael Polanyi once pointed out that when freedom of thought is extended to embrace freedom to reject the basis for freedom of thought, it undermines itself. I have never understood how so-called "liberals" have so often failed to see something so basic about their own "liberalism," that what begins as advocacy for "tolerance" ends in brutal intolerance.

J. L. Talmon, a scholar from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, saw this clearly in his study, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, a study of, among other things, J.-J. Rousseau's Social Contract.

Flannery O'Connor once spoke on the issue of liberal compassion: "Do you know where [their] tenderness leads? It ends in forced labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chambers," she declared.

But all of this is too theoretical. The simple point is this: there is nothing more authoritarian and intolerant that a certain kind of "liberalism." True, the Christian right can be intolerant too; but there is a difference. The Christian right opposes many vices that are now generally defended as acceptable by the public mainstream. It does not reject the very basis for toleration, however, which lies in clearly distinguishing between vices and virtues.

Tolerance only has meaning, and can only be implemented with any even-handedness, within a context of a larger framework of traditional values based on moral insight, understanding of human nature, and natural law.

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

NYT corrects Andrew Sullivan

A reader writes:
As usual these days, Newsweek, when it comes to religion, pretty much gets it all wrong. Hard to explain outside of spiritual blinkers.

(Note the ironic headline on the Supreme Court ["Will the Supreme Court Betray Us?"]).

The reader continues:
A plummeting fall it has been, from the days of its class-act religion reporter Kenneth Woodward, to the current squad of progressive, Oprah-like scribes found in John Meachem, Lisa Miller, and yes, Andrew Sullivan ...

What is very much *not* usual, however, is to find a sane retort in the NYT of all places ... [Gary Gutting, "Returning to the Sermon on the Mount" (NYT, April 19, 2012)]

To get a feel for [what] the older school Woodward represented, check out this (excellent): [Kenneth L. Woodward, "God is not my Buddy" (Homiletics Online, 2002)].
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Same-sex 'marriage'? Squaring the circle

Our friend, Zach Mabee, writes: "This is a pretty nice summary - by Alan Keyes, in a debate with then-Senator Obama - of the key claim regarding same-sex "marriage" that I've attempted to defend a couple times of late."

Abraham Lincoln dealt with this by raising the question: "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The irony now is that people no longer understand the answer which was then obvious to any listner: No matter what you may call a tail, it still remains a tail.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For the beauty of the earth ...

... Lord of all to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.

Well, it may be only David Attenborough and the BBC, but the reference is quite apt, as I think most of you may agree. Enjoy.

[Hat tip to R. Farrugia]

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's go shopping! Obama Messiah's plan to save America

  • "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" a blog created by Christopher Blosser during the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
  • Evan Moore, "Obama's Support Steeped in Messianic Terminology" (, July 7, 2008):
    In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Christopher Blosser, who runs the Obama Messiah blog from his home in New York, admitted that his site was a parody, designed to "provoke some of Obama's more ardent disciples among the masses - and the media - to re-evaluate their actions and speech."

Democrats, meet Gianna Jessen

Planned Parenthood Celebration Jolted by Abortion Survivor, by Ted Harvey (2006).

(In a Denver Post story on the 2006 incident, we learn that Ted Harvey received a rebuke on the House Floor for his introduction of Jessen, and the head of the Planned Parenthood sniffed, "There's no statistical evidence that cerebral palsy has been caused by failed abortions." Missing the more important point that Jessen wouldn't even be alive today had the execution been carried out to completion.

Ted Harvey would go on to be elected to the Colorado State Senate in 2006, and re-elected in 2010.

Gianna Jensen

[Hat tip to C.B., Against the Grain, May 8, 2012]

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Give thanks with me for our daughter, Hannah Cabrini, age seven, who today received her First Holy Communion at St. Josaphat Church. Thanks to all, far and near, who played a role in assisting her to this end. Soli Deo gloria.

The gaying of America: too late to stop?

A great and growing evil smolders on the horizon. The world of all that is light and good and true is rapidly falling into the shadow of oppressive darkness. Men have exchanged the truth of God for lies, and repressed the truth in iniquitous perversions in high places. It is now affecting our entire political, popular, and educational culture. One cannot expect to escape the effects of this evil by self-isolation or even identification with a counter-culture of virtue. The darkness is coming upon us all.

The term goetia refers, quite apart from its Greek etymology, to the unmaking of nature that is commonly called "perversion." To call evil "good"; to seek to normalize and call "natural" what is gravely distorted and un-natural, to embolden the weakness of capitulation to vice by undergirding it with the public legitimation of civil rights -- all of this is goetia.

We can expect over the next months and years a rapid acceleration of legal legitimation of perversions and the increasingly heavy hand of state-sanctioned repression against traditional Judeo-Christian family values -- a repression, in the final analysis of what we can't not know: that our society is increasingly perverting the natural order and committing collective moral suicide as a nation and a people.

We can expect this to happen despite the fact that those who promote such perversion haven't even a shred of justification in legal or moral precedent, logic or natural law. No doubt the Hollywood Sodomites are winning -- they and their useful idiots in positions of power. This does not make them right. Their 'case' lies in scoffing derision of their opponents, not in evidence or argument.

Much that once was -- what was good and true and beautiful -- is now rapidly being forgotten. Few now live who remember it. The greater part of generations now living are rapidly falling into the world of shadows and oblivion.

Nothing in this declaration stems from fear or is intended to provoke fear. Perfect love and light and truth casts out all fear. We are an Easter People who know that our Lamb has already conquered: Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur! But we must not delude ourselves about our era being a "Springtime" of hope for our American or Western world. We have entered into a new Dark Ages. The barbarians are already at the gates; and they are on the inside.

Fear nothing but the judgment of God. Be confident. Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.

[Hat tip to E. Echeverria]

'Theologians' blast US bishops on same-sex 'marriage'

And Fr. Z. provides a worthy fisking of these dissenting 'theologians' (Jesuits, again), who would prefer the Pope define the Church's agenda by holing up a finger to see which way the wind is blowing than to preserve, protect, and pass down to us the doctrine of Christ and His apostles.

Liturgical meat, not goop

"I am going to drag you through a sustained rant about liturgy, punctuated by Latin vocabulary and Neo-Platonism. First, to be grown up Catholics we need a Mass for grown ups. Our Mass should give us thick red steak and Cabernet, not pureed carrots and milk for baby teeth. I want meat for you, not goop. Goop is fine for babies. Babies need goop. But when you grow up, you need more. You might be able to survive for a while on goop, but you won’t thrive. I want you to thrive through our Mass not just survive. Mass must be succulent, not insipid."
Thus begins another one of Fr. Z's edifying 'rants' offering to help us "chew the marrow" out of prayers -- both newer and older -- in order to retrieve something important that has been lost in our Catholic identity by the "snipping and pasting together" of various revised prayers in the last half-century.

Devil's work

Seems that opponents of the Pope's efforts to mend the Rome-SSPX breach, opponents from both the right and the left, are hell-bent on fomenting fratricidal division between different groups within the Fraternity. Lord knows the massive challenges involved on all sides in such a discussion. Another illuminating guest-post by Côme de Prévigny over at Rorate Caeli on the subject (May 13, 2012).

Der Spiegel apparently expects a favorable decision by Benedict XV, anticipated from a discussion of the SSPX response to the doctrinal preamble scheduled for Wednesday.

Extraordinary Community News

Tridentine Community News (May 13, 2012):
A History of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

A reader asked why the Church has the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, when not too many weeks prior she had the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19.

After World War II, with the rise of Communism came a sort of cult of the worker. Communist regimes claimed to provide a workers’ paradise. Pope Pius XII deemed it worthy to emphasize the Church’s teaching on the value of work by establishing a Feast around the dignity of St. Joseph’s work as a carpenter. The Church herself had long taught of the value of Ora et Labóra: prayer and work. Thus in 1955 the previous Feast of St. Joseph the Protector of the Church on the Third Wednesday After Easter was replaced by the new Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. The date of May 1 was chosen to counteract socialists and secular enterprises claiming the workers’ holiday of “May Day” as their own.

Why Pray Indulgenced Prayers?

A reader asked why Catholics should pray prayers that are enriched with a Partial Indulgence. Would it not be intellectually more honest to offer impromptu, personalized prayers, for example for the Act of Contrition? Of course it is clear that the official prayers carry the gift of the Indulgence, but the first General Grant in the 2006 Manual of Indulgences states that any pious prayer is enriched with a Partial Indulgence.

The answer lies with the general Catholic theme of “praying with the Church.” We pray with the Church when we assist at Holy Mass, following its form, rubrics, and content. We pray with the Church when we pray the Divine Office or any of the official Little Offices. We pray with the Church when a priest performs a blessing from the Rituále Románum. We also pray with the Church when we pray one of the Indulgenced prayers, because the Church, via the Manual of Indulgences, has deemed those prayers “excellent”, in other words particularly appropriate or effective. Some of those prayers, such as the Holy Rosary, have great foundation in Sacred Tradition; one would hardly think of making up one’s own decades for the Rosary. Other prayers, such as the Guardian Angel Prayer and the Te Deum, are universally known and loved. Yet other prayers, such as the prayers to St. Joseph and to Ss. Peter & Paul, have been deemed to be particularly expressive of our Faith and of the Saints’ areas of intercessory specialty.

While individually composed, heartfelt prayers may be similarly expressive of authentic Catholic doctrine, they may also be deficient in some ways, through no necessary fault of the person praying. To use a secular analogy, if one wanders into a McDonalds and orders a “double-decker cheeseburger”, there is a possibility that one might end up with something other than a Big Mac®. Use the precise terminology and you will be assured of attaining what you really intend. That may entail learning some new lingo; who knew what “venti” meant before Starbucks came along?

Consider the priests and religious who pray the Divine Office every day. It is not boring or uncreative for them to stick to the prescribed form. Rather, it signifies a unity with the universal Church. In the case of the aforementioned Act of Contrition, the official version is a succinct and complete prayer; sincerely prayed it is ideal for the intended purpose.

In summary, the Church provides us with specific texts of Indulgenced Prayers because she sees merit in those particular texts. There is liberty in following prescribed prayers, just as there is liberty in following the rubrics of the Mass. We are freed from having to invent everything. Who would want to invent the procedures for traffic management at a busy intersection? We all know the chaos that often surrounds following the directions of a police officer when a traffic signal is out; the signal is a far more efficient means to govern order. By following prescribed prayers, we are able to focus our minds and souls on the worship, thanks, and supplication that we wish to give to God and His Saints.

A Call to Our Readers for Resources for Traditional Catholics

A reader suggested that we pose a question to our entire reader base: Does anyone have any suggestions for “Resources for Traditional Catholics”? Be creative; a few examples are recommended books, video, audio, music, conferences, tours, and family-related items such as homeschooling support materials. Please e-mail any suggestions that you might have to the address at the bottom of this page or call (248) 250-2740, and we will reprint items of broad and authentically Catholic interest.

List of Back Columns

A reader requested that we publish in index of all back editions of the Tridentine Community News. All back issues are available on-line at and The complete list of back column subjects would itself take up multiple columns, thus for those readers without internet access, it is a better use of space and time to mail you the complete list. Likewise, we are more than happy to mail individual back columns to you; please call (248) 250-2740 for any requests, or e-mail the address at the bottom of the page.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Boniface, Martyr)

Tue. 05/15 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. John Baptist de la Salle, Confessor)

Thu. 05/17 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Ascension Thursday)

Sat. 05/19 4:30 PM: High Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul (west side) (External Solemnity of the Ascension) – The Teutonia Chorus of Windsor will sing Schubert’s Mass in G

Sun. 05/20 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Sunday After the Ascension)
[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 May 13, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Amy Welborn: "Participation"

Amy Welborn writes a thoughtful, non-polemical piece, entitled "Participation" (May 9, 2012), on two music books she discovered in her parents' stash that belonged to her great aunt, and what these teach us about church music before and after the late 60's and 70's.

In the email sending me the linked post, a reader comments:
The transformation coming out of the sixties and seventies was amazing. I recall in the Methodist Church I grew up in a fixation with "Lord of the Dance" and leotard-clad liturgical dances, which made far more people uncomfortable than comfortable. (the lead dancer, a great friend and strong believer, is now in L.A. and agnostic/New Age, scornful of all traditional belief.)

But along side this, there was indeed genuine renewal, Lay Witness weekends, and the excitement over the fact that religion could mean relationship and not just "church" or the terrain of the clergy. For many this did not mean any contradticition with "duty." For others, the whole thing was about experimentation and civilized revolution under the guise of church structures. In Protestantism, a democracy, there could always be vocal dissent. As I watch now, I see that in Catholicism, a conciliar victory meant institutional approval, which was far more impossible to stave off.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Where politics, money, and LGBT meet

Obama emulates Nixon

"Strassel: Obama camp's slimy trolling into a citizen's private life..." (WSJ, May 10,2012): First a Romney supporter was named on an Obama campaign website. That was followed by the slimy trolling into a citizen's private life.

Related video:

Fr. Z. on the "Pope of Christian Unity"

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf frequently uses the phrase "Pope of Christian Unity" in reference to Pope Benedict XVI -- in connection with, for example, the new Anglican Catholic Ordinariats, or, more recently, the SSPX. Cynics, of course, might suggest that such language could also be applied to the olive branches he seems to have extended to groups like the Neocatechumenal Movement, although a difference here would be the clear objections he has voiced to certain abuses, liturgical and otherwise, found within it, as well as corrections upon which he has insisted. (Implementation of these, of course, is sadly another matter.)

In reference to a very interesting recent interview by Catholic News Service of SSPX Bp. Fellay, Fr. Z. offers the following commentary on the CNS article (his emphasis):
[Fellay:] “I think that the move of the Holy Father — because it really comes from him — is genuine. There doesn’t seem to be any trap,” he said. “So we have to look into it very closely and if possible move ahead.”

[CNS article:] He cautioned, however, that the two sides still have not arrived at an agreement, and that unspecified guarantees from the Vatican are still pending. He said the guarantees are related to the society’s traditional liturgical practices and teachings, among other areas. [Fr. Z: I am not sure that there are any real problems with the liturgical issues.... As for doctrinal problems, I cannot imag[ine] that there are going to be too many problems there, either. Catholic parishes and universities have been oozing all manner of rot for years now and that hasn't been a problem. Surely a starker Catholic position can be acceptable. And if people don't like it, they won't attend their chapels. Market forces, after all, work in the Church too, though slightly differently. Also, if the Holy See could reconcile Feeney without forcing him to recant his position about salvation outside the Church, then surely they can permit a somewhat divergent view about difficult matters such as religious liberty.]

“The thing is not yet done,” the bishop said. “We need some reasonable understanding that the proposed structure and conditions are workable. We are not going to do suicide there, that’s very clear.” [So, there is a proposed structure.]

Bishop Fellay insisted the impetus for a resolution comes from Pope Benedict XVI. [The Pope of Christian Unity. That is the point of that phrase, of course. He, the Pope, as Pope, gets to determine what true ecumenism is, for example. And in this matter, too, he, Peter, is the one who must be active to work with the SSPX in a way that, sad to say, the late Pope did not.]

Friday, May 11, 2012

Voris weighs in on POTUS coming out

Does anyone believe that a full-blown assult on the Church and her faith and morals is not in the offing?

Bp. Fellay letter reveals interior struggle

Ending with a crie de coeur, Bp. Fellay's "internal letter" reveals internal struggles within the SSPX over the prospective agreement with the Vatican: "Letter of the General Council of the Society of Saint Pius X" (Rorate Caeli, May 11, 2012). Serious, deep stuff. These men deserve our prayers.

Obama's smooth locutionary gifts in action

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three cheers for Prof. Josef Seifert!

"Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life is in ‘great danger,’ warns eminent member in open letter" (, May 8, 2012).

Nancy Pelosi on virtue of being undiscriminating

Nancy Pelosi loves her religion for compelling her, in her own words, to be "against discrimination of any kind," stressing that any kind of discrimination is unconstitutional to boot. She cites as her authoritative exemplar theologian Obama and calls evil "good," confirming that she is, indeed, utterly undiscriminating.

Related: "ABNORMAL: the new 'normal'” (WDTPRS, May 10, 2012).

Georgetown Judas

"The Cardinal Newman Society has this about Georgetown University’s invitation of HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, the President’s pointman in the attack on the Church’s and on freedom of religion" (Source).

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Rosary for the good of the Church


A prayer we need now more than ever!

We all need it. Our shepherds especially need it -- the more the greater their responsibilities.

Litany of Humility

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

What are traditional Catholic ordination ceremonies like?

Find out by watching the live event here on May 19, 2012, broadcast from the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska, where five candidates will be ordained priests from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Commentary will be offered during the broadcast by Rev. Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP. [Hat tip to N.C.]

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

"What's wrong with this?"

"The White House Visitors Office requires that an unborn child—still residing in utero—must be counted as a full human being when its parents register for a White House tour, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.... The White House of the most aggressively pro-abortion President evv-errr." (Emphasis in the original). [Source]

"One of the greatest victories of feminists and left – including their catholic dupes and water-carriers – was to divorce the issue abortion from civil rights (and in the context of the Church, social justice) and twist it instead into a 'woman’s issue'. The right to be born is a social justice issue, not a woman’s issue. Do not be deceived by the lies of the left or of Catholics." -- Fr. Z. (Source)

Monday, May 07, 2012

What did 'W' have that Barry doesn't?

Related: Former President and the Vets

Antithesis vs. Consensus: Priests for the Future

In his book Christ and Culture, H. Richard Niebuhr's listing of five paradigms for how the Church is related to the World, or Christ to Culture, includes two that are particularly extreme. He contrasts these two, the first of which he calls the "Christ AGAINT Culture" position, and the second of which he calls the "Christ OF Culture" position.

The first might be represented by, say, the Amish people, who physically separate themselves from the modern world by shunning the use of the internal combustion engine, electricity, public schools, etc.; or it might be represented accurately by the position of the early Church as a marginalized and sometimes persecuted minority in the alien and hostile Roman Empire.

The second might be represented by, say, the liberal mainline Protestant denominations or their ecumenical organization, the National Council of Churches, which -- unlike the Amish or persecuted early Christians -- are very comfortably "at home" in the World, but, some would say, at the price of allowing the surrounding secular culture re-define their Gospel in the most reductionst terms of politically correct "niceness."

The default position of the Church through most of its European history was probably neither of these two positions, but something closer, not to the "Christ ABOVE Culture" caricature that Niebuhr identifies as Catholic, but to the "Christ the TRANSFORMER of Culture" that he mis-identifies as Calvinist, whereas the discerning eye shows it to be the clear province of the Catholicism of the Corpus Christianum throughout the Middle Ages.

In any case, Tridentine Catholicism, responding to the seismic earthquake caused by the Protestant revolt, was likely closer to the more antithetical stance of the Counter-Reformation, a version -- at least vis-a-vis those Northern European countries taken over by Protestantism -- of the "Christ AGAINST (Protestant) Culture" paradigm, to borrow from Niebuhr.

Vatican II Catholicism, by contrast, for all of Pope John Paul II's references to the "Culture of Death," has ushered in an era of accommodationism, consensus-building, throwing open the shutters of the Church to let the fresh breezes of the World into the Church, which, unfortunately, as Paul VI himself noted, have turned out to be often closer to the "smoke of Satan" infiltrating the Church.

The oddest thing about this Vatican II and post-Conciliar period is the mystery of its ebullient if not fatuous optimism in both the secular and religious world. This was the period of the Cold War, following the two World Wars, the bloodiest wars of world history with millions exterminated in Nazi death camps and Stalin's Soviet Union. Yet if one reads Jacques Maritain's Man and the State (1951), Fr. John Courtney Murray's We Hold These Truths (1960), Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes (1965), Mortimer Adler's The Common Sense of Politics (1971), or John Paul II's Address to UNESCO (1980), there is little sense of the evil of the times or of the ineluctable fallenness of human nature. Instead, there seems to be an expansive quest for broad global consensus. Adler, Maritain and a team of intellectuals gathered by University of Chicago Chancellor Robert Maynard Hutchins actually sat down together and seriously drew up a draft of a constitution for a world government! (See J.W. Boyer, "Drafting Salvation," University of Chicago Magazine, December 1995)

A striking contrast in tone is offered by pre-Conciliar popes, such as Pius XI who said: "The two opposing camps are now clearly marked; each man should choose his own. Men of good will and men of evil will face one another. The uninterested and the cowards face their fearsome responsibility. They will have their names changed if they do not change their behavior: they will be called traitors"; and: "Only by being radicals of the right will Catholics have the dynamism to withstand the radicals of the left and to conquer the world for Christ"; or Pius X, in Il Fermo Propositio (1905), who declared that "when the enemy approaches and is at our doors, it is time for the call to arms ... [but] for you, it is not only a question of sounding the alert; the enemy is in the very interior of the Empire ...."

Perhaps the greatest gift of the current Democratic administration to the Church is the opportunity to retrieve a due sense of ANTITHESIS -- a sense of the Scandal of the Cross produced in the eyes of the now secularized Western world by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The HHS Mandate was the first real shot across the bow of the Barque of St. Peter in the United States. It will be interesting to see if the bishops stand their ground. For we are speaking here of culture, which, after all, has ultimately to do with 'cultus' or worship -- or, to be exact, Whom we worship.

I was heartened to read Fr. Lee Acervo's post, "Bp. Morlino (Madison, WI): No place in the priesthood for 'wimpish-ness'” (Fr. Acervo's Corner, May 5, 2012), which leaves one with what is so badly needed now: a clarion call to counter-cultural Catholicism -- a stalwart Catholicism with a keen sense of identity and historical self-understanding, a Catholicism ready to once again DEFY the surrounding culture of post-Christian apostasy and stand its ground, come what may. Here are the words Fr. Acervo quotes from Bishop Morlino:
When we look for candidates to the priesthood and as we pray for vocations, we are looking for men who are brave in their willingness to seek holiness, to speak the truth, to lay down their lives. There is no place in the priesthood today for “wimpish-ness.” There is no place for an attitude that just wants to please people, no matter what they think and no matter what they want. Today the priest has to stand up and be brave, preaching the Truth with love. He has to be willing to be unpopular. And if it comes to it, he has to be open to martyrdom.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Extraordinary Community News

Tridentine Community News (May 6, 2012):
Chant Workshop Held in New York

Our music director and Gregorian Chant expert Wassim Sarweh [St. Josaphat-Detroit and Assumption-Windsor] was invited to lead a Gregorian Chant Workshop this weekend at St. Patrick’s Church in Glen Cove, New York, on Long Island. Compline was offered on Friday, and Masses in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms employing material covered in the workshop were scheduled on Saturday. Further information about the topics addressed may be found at

As an increasing number of music directors and choir members become more comfortable with the basics of chant, there is a need to take chant skills to the next level. Mechanics having been mastered, singers must then develop an understanding of the innate flow, progression, and emotion embedded in chant. Congratulations to our ambassador of sacred music, who after 22 years of practicing the art has a mission for passing those skills on to others.

Reclassification of One Historic Church

Our March 18 column suggested that Dearborn’s St. Barbara Church be classified as one of Detroit’s “Class A”, untouched historic churches. Reader and church photographer Andrew Fanco brought to our attention that the side altars of that church have been redecorated to the point where St. Barbara’s cannot be included in that classification. As a result, despite its attractive sanctuary, St. Barbara must be considered a Class B church, one which retains significant historic elements but cannot be considered entirely intact.

One More Collection of Photographs of Detroit Churches

The April 18 edition of the Michigan Catholic newspaper contained a feature story about Patricia Drury, a photographer who has posted photos on of all 291 churches in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Although most of the photos are of the exterior of the churches, Mr. Fanco considers her work noteworthy because it includes the insides of some rarely-seen churches, such as a wide-angle view of St. Cunegunda’s sanctuary and side altars. These photos suggest the following additions to our Class C list: St. Charles Borromeo, Newport and St. Patrick, Wyandotte, bringing our total to 46 architecturally significant churches in the Archdiocese.

First Juventútem Mass & Dinner a Success

Over 125 people from Metro Detroit, Windsor, Ann Arbor, and Lansing attended the first Mass for the local chapter of Juventútem last Friday, April 27 at St. Josaphat Church. Approximately 70 young adults stayed for the dinner afterwards, at which a letter from His Excellency, Archbishop Allen Vigneron was read, commending the foundation of the Juventútem chapter and appointing Fr. Lee Acervo, who celebrated the Mass, as Clerical Guide. Also in attendance was Wayne State University Newman Center Chaplain Fr. Simon Lobo, who had just attended his first training session for the Extraordinary Form a few days prior and was eager to see a Mass from a close vantage point.

Numerous photos of the Mass and dinner were taken by photographer Annalisa Tombelli, including the above, and are posted on her Facebook page and on the Juventutem-Michigan Facebook page. A particularly moving reflection on the Mass by a young lady who attended was posted on April 28 on the blog Many thanks and God’s blessings to organizer Paul Schultz for bringing this international initiative to our region.

Choral Tridentine Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul on May 19

On Saturday, May 19 at 4:30 PM, Ss. Peter & Paul Church (west side) will host its next Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Schubert’s Mass in G will be sung by the visiting Teutonia Chorus of Windsor. The Teutonia Chorus is under the direction of David Carle, organist for the weekday Masses in the St. Josaphat cluster. Chant and organ accompaniment will be provided by Joe Balistreri.

First Holy Communions

First Communions will be held at St. Josaphat next Sunday, May 13, and at Assumption-Windsor on Sunday, May 20. A reminder that a Plenary Indulgence may be gained by attending a First Communion ceremony, under the usual conditions of Confession within 20 days, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, and freedom from attachment to sin.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/07 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr)

Tue. 05/08 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor in the Rosary Chapel (Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel)

Fri. 05/11 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Philip & James, Apostles)

Sun. 05/13 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Fifth Sunday After Easter) – Special guest celebrant: Fr. James Roche, Episcopal Vicar of Windsor. Reception follows Mass.
[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 May 6, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

For the record: Vatican's new Ordo for EF

Belated (starting with First Sunday of Advent 2011), and paradoxically more rigorous in some ways than the Ordo used by the Society of St. Pius X and edited by the Monastery of Saint-François du Trévoux. Read more here >>.

The Pope and the Fraternity

  • New Catholic, "Rome-SSPX: Pope's decision 'before the end of May'" (Rorate Caeli, May 6, 2012):
    From the French-language religious news agency I.Media: "Benedict XVI's decision regarding the return of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to the full communion of the Church will take place from now up to the end of the month of May 2012, Vatican sources close to the dossier have indicated to I.MEDIA. For the moment, the response of the SSPX to the 'doctrinal preamble' prior to any agreement, delivered by Rome in September 2011, is still being studied by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Received on April 17, the response of the Superior General of the SSPX, Bp. Bernard Fellay, will be submitted to Benedict XVI afterwards. The latter has made multiple gestures, since 2005, with a view to obtain an agreement that would mark the end of a breach of nearly 24 years."
  • New Catholic, "Rome-SSPX: Fr. Pfluger speaks on recent developments" (Rorate Caeli, May 5, 2012):
    Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, FSSPX, is the First Assistant of the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). He was the main speaker at a conference promoted in Hattersheim, Hesse, Germany, this past Sunday, by the Actio Spes Unica association in which he talked about Rome, the Society, and the future ...
    Recent weeks have revealed that the Pope is so much interested in a canonical solution for the Society that he is ready to seal a deal, even if the Society does not recognize the disputed texts of Vatican II and the New Mass.... Under these circumstances the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, does not consider it possible to reject the Pope’s proposal.... It is, of course, a pre-condition that an agreement will cover the assurance that the Society will be able to disagree from Rome’s positions in disputed matters and that it will have the freedom to continue her work in her entire apostolate. Part of an autonomous status would also be the right to criticize the Council and Modernism.... By way of support for Bishop Fellay’s decision Fr. Pfluger recalled the way of action of Archbishop Lefebvre in 1987 and 1988. At that time the Archbishop proposed a far-reaching proposal for an agreement .... The arrangement that the Archbishop was willing to sign at that time demanded far more concessions from the Society than what Pope Benedict demands at the moment.

The 2020 annual LCWR ....

... oh, never mind.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Bible & homosexuality: responding to Dan Savage

Activist Dan Savage recently made news when, in front of an audience of high school students, he went on a vulgarity-laced rant about the Bible and homosexuality.

Here is my friend Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers in San Diego illustrating how dispassionate and clear-headed a response to Mr. Savage can be. Notice, by way of contrast to Savage: no personal ad hominems. Just simple facts and inferences. Take 'em or leave 'em.

[Hat tip to Robin Beck]

In praise of knuckle-rapping nuns of old

Richard and Elizabeth Gerbracht, who have retired after operating their own research and consulting firm, have recently authored an article, "Requiem for the Tiger Nuns," New Oxford Review (April 2012), pp. 32-34, responding to the "tiresome complaint" on a TV program about knuckle-rapping nuns of decades past, and taking a nostalgic time trip back to the days when THEY sat in such nuns' classrooms:
When we were in eighth grade, one of us was laughing uncontrollably at the antics of a fellow student and was hit for it. The knuckle-rap was entirely deserved. Neither of us has ever felt any anger toward the nuns, then or now. At the time, it didn’t occur to us that the nuns were following the lead of Aristotle, who understood the value of a little discipline. Now, with some maturity, we recognize that this was an assertive teaching method that produced results.

We remember how the nuns prepared us for confirmation. Day after day leading up to the event, our entire eighth-grade class was directed to an assembly area, where we stood in formation in several rows, well spaced so the nun could walk between us, stand directly in front of us, or behind us. The nun would reach into her habit and pull out the Baltimore Catechism. We knew she would question each of us in order, but we didn’t know which question she would ask — we had to know the answer to every one!

It was the same for math and English: memorize the tables and the rules, diagram sentences, and be ready for a test. The slow learners were ordered to stay after school or to come to school an hour early the next day. The nun would line up these slackers along the side wall of the classroom and drill them one at a time. Those who didn’t catch on soon realized they’d never pass to the next grade; sometimes the nun threatened to take a poor performer back to a lower grade classroom that very moment! The kids quickly shaped up and applied themselves to learning in order to avoid the humiliation. It was an iron-fisted approach and it worked.
Their Catholic high schools, they write, were single-sex institutions -- all boys or all girls, but not mixed. One of the reasons for the separation, they point out, was the difficulty of disciplining boys. One headmaster, a priest, was heard to say that if they didn't have the nuns, they couldn't keep discipline!

How can one measure the loss of the tiger Nuns, their productivity and accomplishments? The authors state that about fourty years after graduating from a Catholic high school, they sent questionnaires to every classmate, now living in 22 states, asking their opinions about discipline. Their unscientific independent survey elicited a 60% response from the class with questions and answers as follows:
  • Q: We faced a lot of discipline in high school; at the time did you feel the discipline was oppressive, overdone, or too tough? A: Yes 5%; No 95%.
  • QIf you answered no, how did you feel about the discipline at the time? A (typical answers): "Necessary extension of discipline of parents." "It was appropriate, fair, required." "Adequate and good for my future." "Without discipline other values erode." "Helped me for tough decisions in the work arena." "Matured me for life, taught me respect."
  • Q: Looking back, do you think the discipline was good for you and for your development? A: Yes 98%; No 0%; N/A 2%.
  • A: Do you believe that more discipline in high schools today would help make for better lives in the future? A: Yes 96%; No 1%; N/A 3%.
  • Q: In general do you think that today's young family is as strong in basic beliefs and discipline as your parents' family when you were in high school? A: Yes 9%; No 84%; N/A 7%.
The authors add: "None of the respondents mentioned fear of the ruler or any excessive disciplinary measures>" By contrast, they seemed to appreciate what the nuns did for them. On the whole, the class lamented the absence of strong discipline today: "No more nuns or priests" (in the schools); "Lack of values, loss of values"; "Parents' poor attitude"; "Not enough attention of parents."
* * * * * * *

While we're at it, permit me to put in a plug for the schools run by the new order of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. I have the privilege of knowing some of those pictured in the photos on this site. Some of these are teachers and administrators in the school attended currently by my daughter. While I have yet to hear any horror-stories of ruler-weilding knuckle-rapping Dominican sisters, I know from first-hand experience that they know how to run well-ordered schools, with disciplined students, and an atmosphere pervaded by piety and joy. (See my review article, entitled "Great Catholic education" (Musings, February 11, 2011).

"This Eucharistic and sacrificial dimension is inseparable from the pastoral dimension"

New Catholic has posted excerpts from an English version of the sermon pronounced by the Holy Father on the occasion of the ordination of nine priests this past Sunday, in which the intimate relationship is underscored between the Sacramental and Sacrificial power of the ordained Priesthood and the power, reserved for ordained Priests of the New Testament, of preaching (teaching), of healing (counseling and absolving), and of governing. His comments:
For far too many decades since the Council, these functions of the ordained Priests, which the Pope recalls are "inseparable" from his Sacrificial duties, have been usurped by laymen - this is seen every single day also on this medium, as laymen, fattened by a sense of self-importance, see fit to teach and give counsel on specific matters, of declaring who is a saint or who is not, of giving authoritative answers on matters of Catholic teaching and counseling.
And the Holy Father writes:
It is very obvious that for the priest celebrating Holy Mass every day does not mean carrying out a ritual function but rather fulfilling a mission that involves his life entirely and profoundly in communion with the Risen Christ who continues to realize the redeeming sacrifice in his Church.

This Eucharistic and sacrificial dimension is inseparable from the pastoral dimension and constitutes the nucleus of truth and of the saving power on which the effectiveness of every activity depends. Of course, we are not speaking of effectiveness solely at the psychological or social level, but rather of the vital fruitfulness of God’s presence at the profound human level. Preaching itself, good works and the actions of various kinds that the Church carries out with her multiple initiatives would lose their salvific fruitfulness were the celebration of Christ’s Sacrifice to be lacking. And this is entrusted to ordained priests. Indeed, the priest is called to live in himself what Jesus experienced personally, that is, to give himself without reserve to preaching and to healing man of every evil of body and of spirit, and then, lastly, to sum up everything in the supreme gesture of “laying down his life”, for human beings, which finds its sacramental expression in the Eucharist, the perpetual memorial of Jesus’ Passover. It is only through this “door” of the Paschal Sacrifice that the men and women of all time can enter eternal life; it is through this “holy way” that they can undertake the exodus that leads them to the “promised land” of true freedom, to the “green pastures” of never ending peace and joy (cf. Jn 10:7,9; Ps 77[76]:14, 20-21; Ps 23[22]:2). [emphasis New Catholic's]
Read Pope Benedict XVI's entire homily here.

Offertory: EF & NO

  • Traditional Offertory (Extraordinary Form):

    Accept, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this unspotted host, which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for my innumerable sins, offenses, and negligences, and for all here present: as also for all faithful Christians, both living and dead, that it may avail both me and them for salvation unto life everlasting. Amen.

  • New Offertory (Ordinary Form: now called "Prayer over the Gifts"):

    Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
According to Peter Coughlan's The New Mass: A Pastoral Guide (1969), the new prayer "is a combination of a prayer taken from the Jewish meal ritual and the concept of a man's work consecrated to the Lord, an idea which the Pope himself wanted to be expressed in some way at this point in the Mass."

What sort of hermeneutic might be at work here, we leave to you our readers.

Totalitarian democracy

"As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism."

-- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus

Fr. Z, "Pres. Obama’s problematic proclamation for National Day of Prayer (3 May)" (WDTPRS, May 3, 2012)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Replies to common YouTube Objections

Here Fr. Barron deals with what he calls two YouTube "heresies": (1) Scientism and (2) Ecclesial Angelism.

[Hat tip to Roger Lessa, whose following link led me to Barron's piece: Msgr. Charles Pope, "Pope’s Remarks to US Bishops: Powerful and required reading" (Archdiocese of Washington, May 3, 2012). Thanks!]

"It’s so harrrrd to kneel for Holy Communion ..."

"I would like all Catholic men to just think of this picture every time ..."

The great Roman Fabrizio sent Fr. John Zuhlsdorf a photo of Marines on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi at Mass. His commentary follows:
It’s so harrrrd to kneel for Holy Communion, especially if the air-conditioning isn’t working at the “Eucharistic gathering” during the diocesan “event”.

My first thought looking at these brave Marines was for the Angels who saw this happening and how they must have celebrated around the Throne. Admittedly we’re just human beings and everything we do for the Lord looks pathetic if compared to His Glory. And yet, I can’t think of many other things that must appeal to the Heart of Jesus as much as a man like that, in the middle of a veritable hell, possibly a few minutes from death, kneeling on the scorched ground of Mount Suribachi because that’s how you receive your Savior! The Holy Angels must have thought “maybe that’s why He loves them so much, why he said to them:

si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum...” [Though your sins be as scarlet ...]

I would like all Catholic men to just think of this picture every time they hear arguments against traditional reverence for the Sacred Species, every time when – looking to the presbyterium from the communion line – they notice one of those gorgeous, no longer used altar rails in some of those churches left to us by our forbears, in Rome or New York, Vienna or Montreal. And every time they happen to receive in a Church that has no altar rail at all because it was never there or was irresponsibly, impiously demolished, they should think of that Marine, and how we decided that in our “adult faith”, in our “meaningfulness” we could do without those “ritualistic trappings”. Well those guys couldn’t, in February ’45, atop Mount Suribachi.

Fr. Arnaud Rostand comment

U.S. District Superior of the FSSPX, Fr. Arnaud Rostand: "double your efforts in the Rosary Crusade." [Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Fr. Benoît Wailliez comment

Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX) for the District of the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg): Abp. Lefebvre "would have accepted a canonical recognition" [Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Fr. Schmidberger comment

If Rome now calls us back from the exile to which it expelled us in 1975 with the abrogation of the [canonical] approval [of the Society], and even more in 1988 with the decree of excommunication, then that is an act of justice and without doubt also an act of authentic pastoral care of Pope Benedict XVI. And for that we are grateful. -- Franz Schmidberger, former Superior General of German District of the FSSPX
[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]