Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reposte: "Spiritual but not religious"

In class today, we talked about the pervasive opposition to "organized religion," and those who claim that they are "spiritual but not religious." I mentioned how my slightly perverse sense of humour sometimes leads me to claim, contrariwise, that I am "religious but not spiritual," as I do on my homepage in that nefarious pit of hell called Facebook.

Later this afternoon, I found an email from one of my seminarians in that class with a link to the above video clip. ADVISORY: some may find it a trifle offensive. CONFESSION: I found it hilarious and, well . . . bracing. Like the smell of napalm in the morning.

[Hat tip to Mr. D.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pro-abort lefty hijack of pro-life language via gun control

A couple of good posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on this issue:

Martin Luther King, Jr. on fascism

Apropos of Martin Luther King Jr's recent birthday, a timely quote:
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man." To the conformist and the shapers of the conformist mentality, this must surely sound like a most dangerous and radical doctrine. Have we permitted the lamp of independent thought and individualism to become so dim that were Jefferson to write and live by these words today we would find cause to harass and investigate him? If Americans permit thought-control, business-control and freedom-control to continue, we shall surely move within the shadows of fascism.

-- Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

[Hat tip to C.B.]

The Dominican charism

The Dominicans really are the "lights" of the Church. Think about it: Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Catherine of Siena, among others, were all Dominicans. The intellectual wattage and spiritual luminosity hardly gets brighter than that among us mortal men. It always amazes me to hear what Jesus said to Catherine, as reported in her Dialogue:
With this light that is given to the eye of the intellect, Thomas Aquinas saw Me, wherefore he acquired the light of much science; also Augustine, Jerome, and the doctors and My saints. They were illuminated by My Truth to know and understand My Truth in darkness. By My Truth I mean the Holy Scripture, which seemed dark because it was not understood,; not through any defect of the Scriptures, but of them who heard them, and did not understand them.

If you turn to Augustine, and to the glorious Thomas and Jerome, and the others, you will see how much light they have thrown over this spouse, [the Holy Catholic Church] extirpating error, like lamps placed upon the candelabra, with true and perfect humility....

Look at My glorious Thomas, who gazed with the gentle eye of his intellect at My Truth, whereby he acquired supernatural light and science infused by grace, for he obtained it rather by means of prayer than by human study. He was a brilliant light, illuminating his order and the mystical body of the Holy Church, dissipating the clouds of heresy.
Apart from the fact that countless popes have recommended him for over 700 years, it seems to me that Saint Catherine's encomium goes a long way towards explaining why the Church grants Saint Thomas such a privileged place in the teaching of sacred theology.

... Saint Dominic saw that without sustained and serious use of the human intellect, guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the world's rulers and rustics alike would fall prey again and again to charlatans, hooligans, heretics, bad poets, and an assortment of demonic forces.

Peter Kwasniewski, "The Source and Summit of the Christian Life: What the Schools Can Teach Us About the Mass," Latin Mass magazine (Christmas, 2012), p. 8.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We, the people vs. they, the media

Half-a-million strong.

[Hat tip to Uber American's Photos]

Update: decent Washington Post article

[Hat tip to Sr. Maria Guadalupe (SSA)]

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tridentine Masses at the March for Life

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (January 27, 2013):
With each passing year, the Extraordinary Form takes on an increasingly prominent role during the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. This is a logical and welcome development, given the long track record of participation in the March for Life by members of Extraordinary Form communities from across North America.

This year, the March took place this past Friday, January 25. We are aware of at least three Extraordinary Form Masses being held, all at St. Mary Mother of God Church. St. Mary’s is the longtime home of the Tridentine Mass in Washington; prominent attendees include Pat Buchanan and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

At 7:00 AM there was a Low Mass.

At 8:00 AM, the Paulus Institute organized a Missa Cantata honoring Nellie Gray, the recently deceased founder of the March for Life. Ms. Gray was a regular at St. Mary’s Tridentine Mass.

Our region was represented in a big way: At 6:00 PM, the intrepid Paul Schultz of Juventútem Michigan organized a Pontifical Solemn Mass celebrated by Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry. Our very own Wassim Sarweh was the organist and led the Gregorian Chant. Pictures of the Mass were just starting to be posted at press time; the above panoramic photo taken by Fr. Z for his blog depicts a standing-room only congregation. Well done, Paul and Wassim!

Vatican to Issue Document with Norms for Celebrating Mass in the Ordinary Form

On January 16, the Zenit news agency reported that the Congregation for Divine Worship will be issuing a “Manual to Help Priests Celebrate Mass”, with an intended publication date this summer. While this document is clearly aimed at celebrations of the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, it is noteworthy for stressing continuity with elements of the Extraordinary Form.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, the Prefect of the CDW, was quoted as criticizing “showmanship” in the celebration of Sacred Liturgy. He said that Mass does not need to be celebrated facing the people and mentioned the option of the priest facing [liturgical] East at the altar, citing the example of Pope Benedict XVI celebrating the Ordinary Form ad oriéntem in the Sistine Chapel. His Eminence also critiqued the relegation of the tabernacle to a side altar or side chapel.

A full and fascinating report on this forthcoming document is available at:

University of Windsor Campus Ministry to Visit Assumption’s Tridentine Mass

On Tuesday, February 12, the University of Windsor Catholic Campus Ministry is hosting a “Tridentine Mass Experience”, in which students will be taken to Assumption Church’s Tuesday 7:00 PM Tridentine Mass. That evening the Mass will be a High Mass, to expose the students to a full sung liturgy. All are invited to attend the Mass; our guests may well appreciate guidance through the Mass from experienced Latin Mass-goers.

Following the Mass there will be a discussion for students about the Extraordinary Form at Assumption University, on the south side of the parking lot from Assumption Church. Thanks are due to campus minister Fr. Chris Valka, CSB for organizing this event and for designing a beautiful advertising poster featuring a photo of a Solemn High Mass. Campus Ministry is a major enterprise at the University of Windsor, with numerous events, an active social media presence, and a Sunday evening campus Mass that attracts up to 600 people.

Blessing of Throats Next Sunday

After Holy Mass next Sunday, February 3 at Assumption-Windsor and Holy Redeemer, blessing of throats for the Feast of St. Blaise will be held. The candles used for the blessing, as well as throats, will be blessed using the Traditional Roman Ritual.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter Nolasco, Confessor)
  • Tue. 01/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Francis de Sales, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Sat. 02/02 11:00 AM: High Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul (west side), Detroit (Purification of the B.V.M., with Candlemas procession)
  • Sun. 02/03 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Redeemer (Sexagésima Sunday)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 27, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Septuagesima Sunday

"Septuagesima Sunday" ...
... is the name for the ninth Sunday before Easter, the third before Ash Wednesday. The term is sometimes applied also to the period that begins on this day and ends on Shrove Tuesday [Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras], the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. This period is also known as the pre-Lenten season or Shrovetide. The other two Sundays in this period of the liturgical year are called Sexagesima and Quinquagesima, the latter sometimes also called Shrove Sunday. The earliest date on which Septuagesima Sunday can occur is January 18 (Easter falling on March 22 in a non-leap year) and the latest is February 22 (Easter falling on April 25 in a leap year).
See Catholic Encyclopedia article here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anniversary of 40 yrs. of open season on baby killing

... and Robert George says he's "moderately pro-choice"!!

In remembrance of National Right To Life Day, celebrated every January 22nd on the annual anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Roe vs. Wade (1973), and in honor of the tens thousands of protesters who annually drive to Washington, D.C., to march from the Washington Monument to the Supreme Court, lobby senators, and get themselves ignored by the media in favor of the eight or nine abortion-rights activists who manage to come out and get themselves interviewed on national television, it seemed only decent and proper to come up with a "thought for the day" of some kind before stepping on the bus for D.C. tomorrow morning. Accordingly, I've retrieved from my files the following quotation from Princeton professor, Robert P. George:

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go as far as supporting mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even non-judgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity--not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately "pro-choice."

[Legal disclaimer: Dr. Robert P. George is George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and earned his doctorate in philosophy of law at Oxford University. Just in case anyone is wondering, the foregoing statement by him is not intended to be taken at face value, but as a parody and reductio ad absurdum refutation of the fallacious reasoning employed pervasively by proponents of a "pro-choice" position favoring "abortion rights." I offer this explanation not to insult your intelligence, but only because I have learned to cover my bases: given our times, there is no telling who might mistakenly and foolishly think we're endorsing the killing of abortionists. We're not. We're pro-life!]

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"My Initial Doubts about the Latin Mass"

A reader called my attention this post, hands down one of the best introductions to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass I've seen, and called it "Sesame Street and the Apian Way" (you'll see why).

But Dr. Taylor Marshall, calls his post, "My Initial Doubts about the Latin Mass" (Canterbury Tales, January 8, 2013); and the following is his article:

Then Cardinal Ratzinger Celebrating the Latin Mass

By now it's no secret that I attend the Latin Mass and that I am the Chancellor of a College that offers the Latin Mass seven days a week - Fisher More College. However, I've not always been partial to the Latin Mass. For a few years after my conversion to the Catholic Faith, I was cautiously curious about the the "old Mass." I perceived it as exotic, antiquarian, and even as a dangerous. Although I had some esteem for the "old liturgies," I was not convinced of the merits of the Latin Mass and the culture, which for better or worse, surrounds it.

* * * * * * *

"The Latin Mass is like beer. You have to drink it in
a few times to like it."

* * * * * * *

My wife and I starting taking our family to the Latin Mass around Feast of the Ascension of 2010. Before we made this move, however, I had some serious misgivings about the Latin Mass, which we also call the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Our concerns were some of the common concerns that others still have and voice regularly. I cannot speak for everyone, but I'd like to go through my own personal misgivings about the Latin Mass and then explain how I overcame them, or, to be blunt, learned to live with them.

What caused our family to make the move?

"Disinviting God to the Inauguration"

How jolly decent of them! How discreet and diplomatic!! God would be such an embarrassment, after all. Where would you seat Him? Could the hide Him in the back row?

The left demands an inaugural event without the Bible or prayers. Check out George Neumayr's ripping article in the American Spectator (January 16, 2013).

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Extraordinary Community News

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (January 20, 2013):
Recommended Books

From time to time we bring to the attention of our readers some books that may be of interest.

The Baronius Press Breviary

The long-anticipated three-volume Breviary from Baronius Press is finally shipping, albeit in fits and starts as demand continues to exceed supply. Derived from the 1963 Collegeville Breviary, this is the first comprehensive Latin/English Breviary to be published for the Extraordinary Form Divine Office in 50 years.

A copy of the booklet Learning the Traditional Breviary is included with each order, to help those users who are new to the Divine Office to understand and pray it.

On the plus side, there is no more up-to-date, more comprehensive, more thoroughly proofread Breviary available from anyone else. For those intending to pray the official Latin text of the Divine Office, this edition is the best one available today.

Some readers may be disappointed to discover that the Confraternity translation of the Bible was used. The majority of hand missals and other liturgical books in English employ the Douay-Rheims translation of Sacred Scripture. The former lacks the “thee and thou” formality of the latter. However, this is a small gripe as Article 32 of the May, 2011 Vatican document Univérsæ Ecclésiæ clarifies that the Extraordinary Form Breviary may not be prayed in the vernacular by those obliged to pray the Divine Office. The English is a reference, not a liturgical text. Laypeople who pray the Divine Office by choice rather than by obligation may arguably pray the vernacular side, but equally arguably, that would be crossing the boundaries of what the Church understands to constitute the official EF Divine Office.

The Knox Bible

A reader who happens to be a biblical scholar suggested that we point out another new offering from Baronius Press: their new reprint of the Knox Bible. Comprised of a translation from the Latin Vulgate by Msgr. Ronald Knox of the New Testament, completed in 1945, and the Old Testament, completed in 1950, the Knox Bible is best known as the source of the English translations of the readings and Propers in Masses in England from the mid 1960s through the early 1970s. Certain Latin-English hand missals for the Tridentine Mass printed in England such as the recently reprinted Layman’s Missal take their translations of Sacred Scripture from the Knox Bible. Some find the Knox Bible more accessible than the Douay-Rheims, while others critique the “dynamic equivalence” philosophy used in its translations. It is certainly a translation worthy of study.

The Raccolta

On several occasions this column has mentioned the USCCB’s 2006 edition of the Manual of Indulgences and the official Latin text on which it is based, the 2004 Enchíridion Indulgentiárum published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. It is important for readers to understand that there is no distinction between Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms with regards to the list of prayers and acts which are enriched by Holy Mother Church with Indulgences. That being said, readers may still be interested in perusing the pre-Vatican II edition of the same book, Loreto Publications reprint of the 1957 edition of The Raccolta. While the statements of which prayers earn indulgences are no longer valid, the prayers themselves are a solid, meritorious collection. The Raccolta is a little less reader-friendly than The Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook or Blessed Be God, two popular reprinted collections of traditional prayers and devotions, but its presentation of the Latin original text of many of the prayers alongside the English is welcome and convenient.

St. Hyacinth Mass

The next Tridentine High Mass at Detroit’s St. Hyacinth Church will be held on Sunday, February 10 at 1:00 PM. The celebrant will be Fr. Pieter van Rooyen.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/21 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Agnes, Virgin & Martyr)
  • Tue. 01/22 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Ss. Vincent & Anastasius, Martyrs)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 20, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Altar boys: meant to be icons of reverence, pointing us to Christ

Related: "And they don't even charge admission!" (Musings, January 18, 2009) -- This is a post on what I like about the prescribed gestures of the priest and servers in the Mass of the Traditional Latin Rite -- even a Low Mass, such as that which I describe here. Every gesture conspires, not to distract, but to draw one's attention to Christ Crucified and Glorified.

Just look at the posture of the servers below! They are saying the Confíteor during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Where do you see anything like that in our Novus Ordo liturgies? We should! The example from the video above looks like an ad orientem Novus Ordo liturgy.

Reverence should be embodied! If our outward comportment suggests a casual bonhomie and indifference to the Presence of Christ the King in our midst, why should we be surprised at the attitudes we encounter among Catholics these days?

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Msgr. Trapp on how to start a life of prayer

This is good advice, not only for the agnostic or cradle Catholic (hopefully those are not synonymous these days!) who has never before thought about how to pray, but for the person trying for the first time to make a Holy Hour in front of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

The prayers we learn as children and even as adults from Mother Church are the bread and butter of our prayer life. But our prayers must also be animated by a trusting confidence in our Heavenly Father such as Jesus assumed when He taught His disciples to pray, beginning with the words, "Abba," "Father."

The key to the sacramental view that suffuses the Catholic perspective is the meeting of flesh with spirit, the outer with the inner, words and faith. One's "experience" of God must never come untethered from the prayers of the Church, particularly in corporate liturgical prayer; but neither must the words we utter become detached from a personal trust.

"And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." (Heb. 11:6)

Hilarious: "After the third kid, people stop congratulating you"

[Hat tip to John Lajiness via FB]

SSPX update: Di Noia sends letter to fraternity priests

... via Menzingen (Rorate Caeli, January 18, 2013).

Update: Rorate Caeli reports (January 21, 2023 -- European time) that Jean-Marie Guénois, religious correspondent for French daily Le Figaro, made public today the full text of the letter sent by the Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Abp. Di Noia, to the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bp. Fellay, and all the priests of the Society. The full French text (a translation of an originally English document) of the lengthy appeal is published on the Rorate website here.

Abp. Schneider: Dignitatis Humanae is a fall-back position

The position on religious liberty of the Vatican II document is "understandable," though ultimately not viable:

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicago Bus Tour Report

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (January 13, 2013):
For the second year in a row, the Christmas week bus tour of historic churches in Chicago was an inspiration to all who participated. Every church toured was architecturally suited for hosting the Tridentine Mass, and in fact, two of them did!

Immaculate Conception Chapel, Mundelein Seminary

As expected, the liturgical highlight of the trip was the Tridentine High Mass at the glorious St. Mary of the Angels Church, photos of which have appeared in earlier editions of this column. Vespers was offered at the modest, modern Residence Chapel at Mundelein Seminary. A Tridentine Low Mass was offered on Friday morning at the left side altar in Mundelein’s main Immaculate Conception Chapel (above photo by Kyle Lee).

Additional architectural highlights included Marytown’s main chapel (pictured at left) and Sorrowful Mother Chapel; the art deco-ish Queen of All Saints Basilica (see below, first photo); St. Hyacinth Basilica; and of course St. John Cantius Church.

A particularly impressive site was Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica (see below, middle photo), a cavernous church with a barrel-vaulted ceiling best known as the site of the black-and-white video of a Solemn High Mass narrated by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Our Lady of Sorrows sports an enormous High Altar, seemingly even wider than the one at Detroit’s St. Albertus Church, along with an incredible thirteen Side Altars. Two of those Side Altars are sizable ones against the left and right transept walls, almost as large as the High Altar; the others are contained in individual, themed chapels intended for the celebration of private Masses (see below, last photo).

Queen of All Saints Basilica

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

Side chapels inside Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

If you would like to see some of these remarkable edifices yourself, set aside the week between Christmas and New Year’s for the 2013 edition of this tour.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Hilary, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Tue. 01/15 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Paul the First Hermit)
  • Sat. 01/19 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Wedding of Rich Kowalewski & Iwona Kur – All are invited)
  • Sun. 01/20 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Second Sunday After Epiphany)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 13, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lethal weapons: Guns, Cars, and Uterine Currettes

Kudos to Matt Drudge!

It is a sad fact that, on average, about 80 Americans are killed each day in the Unites States by means of guns. It is sadder still that, on average, about 135 people are killed each day in automobile accidents. It is an altogether abominable fact that, on average, about 3,500 Americans are killed each day by trained technicians under government protection in tax-funded abortuaries -- and nobody even blinks.

There has been a lot of fevered hype about guns. I have heard no discussion of Uterine Currettes, Syringes with Spinal Needles, Forceps, Vacuum Aspirators, or Dubois' Embryotomy Decapitating Scissors -- the deadly instruments of abortion (reader advisory: graphic video).

And then, of course, there's this:

In memory of the countless victims of the holocaust . . .
Whoever saves one life ... saves the world entire.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Prescience of Pope Pius XII

"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul....

"I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.

"A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them, like Mary Magdalene weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?'"

(1931 declaration by E. Cardinal Pacelli, quoted in the book, Pie XII devant l'histoire[Paris: Editions Robert Laffont, 1972], pp. 52-53, by Msgr. Georges Roche).

"Some of the culture vultures out there might want to read the Alypius incident"

A reader writes:
I have always had a thing for pop culture, but as I get older I am far more suspect of the merit of such an interest. A recent book out called Popolegtics ( received quite a lot of hype, and academics yearning to maintain connectedness and relevance with youth love such stuff. I know, I have too. The youth thing, though, is tenuous at best: one of the best parts of Amerio's Iota Unum dissects Paul VIs pandering to youth (harsh, but what else do you call this reaction to contemporary culture that remains a legacy within Catholicism from the Vatcian II era we are still stuck with?).

The impulse now seems more double-edged than ever, given the evolutionary arc of Youth Culture, as Carl Trueman here suggests. He continues to arrest me with his good insights, even if he does also recommend Diarmid MacCulloch (I posted a comment lamenting that over at IgnatiusScoop).

See this...
What we see has the power to shape our souls in powerful, unconscious ways; and when that sight is pornographic, whether of a sexual or violent kind, it shapes them for ill. Augustine realised this and exposed it brilliantly in his account of how his friend Alypius was taken unwillingly to see the gladiatorial games. Alypius kept his eyes closed until one of the combatants suffered a terrible blow. The crowd roared. Alypius opened his eyes. And from that moment on he was hooked on the games far more than the friends who had dragged him there in the first place. The pornographic sight of the violence had reshaped his soul.

As a postscript, it might be that some of the culture vultures out there might want to read the Alypius incident before they line up to see the latest Tarantino offering, with all of its no doubt beautifully choreographed blood and artistically presented gore. Is there a Christian perspective on such? Yes. It says that thirty years from now you may not remember the individual moments when you told your wife or your children or your parents that you love them, or any of those random acts of kindness of which you were the agent or the recipient. You certainly will not recall the sermon you heard last Sunday. But you will probably remember the exit wounds, every last splash of them.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Sandy Hook and Baby Butchery

Some nice, constructive ironies here . . .

[Hat tip to Elizabeth Fitzmaurice]

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on preaching

"Many a modern preacher is far less concerned with preaching Christ and Him crucified than he is with his popularity with his congregation. A want of intellectual backbone makes him straddle the ox of truth and the ass of nonsense ..."

Fulton J. Sheen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Prayer requests

Please pray for the following: (1) Yunus, Shams, and their their first baby, a son named Musa, who was born prematurely at 29 weeks and is in critical care. (2) Anita, Brian and their family of five children: Anita has been diagnosed with cancer and is being treated with chemo infusions for cancer in a breast and proximate lymph nodes. (3) The eighteen-year old daughter of a relative of a friend who was recently hospitalized for an overdose of prescription pills. Bless you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Church and the Democratic Republic

Protestant Clergy Abuse Equals or Exceeds Catholic Clergy Abuse

As Janet Smith mentioned in an email, this is something that many of us have known for some time, but it's good to have some data verifying the fact publicly. It provides little consolation, but does balance out the picture.

Bob Allen, "Protestant Clergy Abuse Equals or Exceeds Catholic Clergy Abuse" (June 20, 2008):
The Associated Press reported recently that three insurance companies receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by Protestant clergy, challenging the assumption that clergy sexual abuse is an exclusively Catholic problem that does not take place in other churches.

[Hat tip to Janet Smith]

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Kenneth Woodward on the Novus Ordo

Newsweek magazine's religion editor, Kenneth L. Woodward, has an essay in the latest issue of First Things (February 2013 -- not online yet) with a title reminiscent of Edmund Burke's: "Reflections on the Revolution in Rome" (FT, February 2013), pp. 25-31. The whole article is a revelation, but I thought the portion on liturgy particularly interesting. Here are excerpts:
And then there was the new rite of the Mass. At its inception it was better described, as one forgotten wit put it, as "the participation of the laity in the confusion of the clergy." Compared to the old Latin liturgy, I found the new version about as moving as a freight train. Silence was now a liturgical vice, conscripted congregational responses the new regiment of worship. In a pale imitation of the early Christians' kiss of peace, there was now a scripted pause. I remember vividly the funeral of the great Catholic apologist Frank Sheed at St. Patrick's Cathedral: Swinging round to shake hands with whomever was behind me, I found only a pair of hands holding a limp missalette at arm's length. One middle finger was extended. I shook the finger -- there was nothing else to grab -- and looked into the disdainful eyes of William F. Buckley Jr. "You S.O.B.," I wanted to say, "I don't like this Rotary Club routine any more than you do."

Buckley's National Review, a magazine produced mostly by Catholics, had responded to the Church reforms with a question on its cover: "What, in the name of God, is going on in the Catholic Church?" Good question. Defecting priests and secularizing colleges did not affect me directly, but the new liturgy did. In place of my much-loved Latin hymns and chants, the new liturgists bade us sing old Reformation anthems like Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." I could not bring myself to join in when the chosen hymn was "Amazing Grace" -- in fact, I still refuse to do so. It's a lovely piece, all about getting one's self individually saved, Evangelical-style, but theologically it has no place in the corporate worship of the Catholic Church.

What the liturgists didn't borrow from Protestant hymnals, they conjured up by themselves. Mostly, it was folk music sung to plucked guitars with relentless upbeat lyrics about how much a nice God loves us and aren't we fortunate to be his chosen people. There was no awe, no hint of the biblical fear of the Lord in this music, only the mild diuretic of self-congratulation. Our children loved it: It matched the treacle they were learning in Sunday school classes, which is why my wife and I pulled them out to teach them the fundamentals ourselves. The Church's failure to pass on the faith, through the liturgy or through the classroom, would eventually snip two generations of young Catholics from their own religious roots.
Then, this telling conclusion:
In 1971, Newsweek again polled American Catholics for the cover story -- "Has the Church Lost Its Soul?" -- that, with copious charts, went on for seven pages. What we found was a once apparently cohesive community in disarray: As one liberal monsignor bluntly told us, "The Chuch is one god-damned mess." Nearly as many American Catholics, for instance, said they now looked for spiritual guidance to evangelist Billy Graham as did those who still looked to the pope. By "soul" I meant "an integral Catholic subcultue with its own distinctive blend of rituals and rules, mystery and manners" which, as I saw it then, "has vanished from the American scene."

Had I that cover story to write all over again, I would have added that the membrane that once separated Catholics from other Americans had been finally rent. The assimilation of Catholics -- a quarter of the population -- into mainstram American culture and society had been accomplished, though at heavy cost to the institutions of the Church. And after Humanae Vitae and its fallout, the internal boundaries by which Catholics had differentiated themselves from their neighbors gradually receded.

Most Catholics clung to their faith and said they expected their children to do the same. In closing the story, I tried to lay a journalistic finger on the reasons why. For that I had to look inside myself, and this is what I wrote: "When the Catholic faith runs deep, it establishes a certain sensuous rhythm in the soul, a sacramental sensibility that suffuses ordinary things -- bread, water, wine, the marriage bed -- and transforms them into vehicles of grace. In these spiritual depths, doctrine and Church laws fade in importance."

In focusing on the idea of religion as a distinct sensibility, formed through a set of communal practices based on a comprehensive religious worldview, I was trying to understand how -- and for how long -- any religious tradition might persist without the sociological protection provided by geographic, ethnic, and other socially constructed boundaries. The reforms of Vatican II may have hastened but certainly did not cause the collapse of those boundaries by which Catholics, like all minority groups, had maintained their identity. That was the work of other social forces. I was in my early thirties at the time, but already I could sense that these forces would affect not only the Catholicism of my children but of my children's children as well.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Epiphany as Invasion

If we think of Epiphany at all, we may think of it as a passing season on the liturgical calendar. We may associate it with the Three Wise Men who followed the Star to find the baby King Jesus. We may even remember that Epiphany somehow adumbrates our Lord's Second Advent, and associate this with baroque paintings or Hallmark pictures of Jesus in the clouds. What most of us probably do not think of is how C.S. Lewis once described our Lord's Second Coming. "He will invade earth," he said. Think on that a few moments. And have a Blessed Epiphany.

Video: "I'm a Daddy and I know it!"

A venture in the New Evangelization for Catholic fathers?

[Hat tip to Sonnie Wilson Cooke]

Extraordinary community news

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (January 6, 2013):
Epiphany Traditions

In many dioceses, the Feast of the Epiphany in the Ordinary Form calendar is transferred to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. In the Extraordinary Form calendar, however, Epiphany always occurs on its traditional date of January 6, which this year happens to fall on a Sunday. Epiphany is the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and therefore is the day after which many parishes take down their Christmas decorations.

The Tridentine calendar views Epiphany as the start of a new Octave, eight days with a consistent theme. This is seen most vividly in the use of the Preface and Communicántes of the Epiphany through January 13. Because of the solemnity and joyful nature of the season, the Church prohibits the use of the Daily (Requiem) Mass for the Dead during throughout Christmastide and the Octave of the Epiphany.

Blessing of Chalk and Epiphany Water

There is a longstanding tradition of blessing chalk, water, and occasionally incense on the Epiphany. The European custom is to take the blessed chalk home and use it to write over the door of the house, 20 + C + M + B + 13, where the letters stand for the names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. It is a way of dedicating the year and one’s home to our Lord. If blessed incense was also distributed, the door of the house is incensed.

“Three Kings Water” is blessed with an elaborate ceremony from the Rituále Románum. At Assumption Church Fr. Hrytsyk performs this blessing before Mass. The ceremony includes an impressive and unequivocal prayer of exorcism, printed below. This prayer is more detailed than the prayers of exorcism used in the blessing of regular Holy Water. The pure and exorcised Epiphany Water is then taken home and sprinkled in the rooms of the house as a protection against evil.

The full English translations of the Blessings of Epiphany Chalk and Water were published in our January 3 and January 10, 2010 columns and are available on our web site.
Exorcism Against Satan and the Apostate Angels

We cast thee out, every unclean spirit, every devilish power, every assault of the infernal adversary, every legion, every diabolical group and sect, by the Name and power of our Lord Jesus + Christ, and command thee to fly far from the Church of God and from all who are made to the image of God and redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Divine Lamb +. Presume never again, thou cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the Church of God, nor to strike the chosen of God and sift them as wheat +. For the Most High commands thee, + He to Whom thou didst hitherto in thy great pride presume thyself equal; He Who desireth that all men might be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth. God the Father + commandeth thee! God the Son + commandeth thee! God the Holy + Spirit commandeth thee! The majesty of Christ commands thee, the Eternal Word of God made flesh, + Who for the salvation of our race, lost through thy envy, humbled Himself and was made obedient even unto death; Who built His Church upon a solid rock, and proclaimed that the gates of hell should never prevail against her, and that He would remain with her all days, even to the end of the world! The Sacred Mystery of the Cross + commands thee, as well as the power of all Mysteries of Christian faith! + The most excellent Virgin Mary, Mother of God + commands thee, who in her lowliness crushed thy proud head from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception! The faith of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and the other apostles + commands thee! The blood of the martyrs commands thee, as well as the pious intercession + of holy men and women!

Therefore, accursed dragon and every diabolical legion, we adjure thee by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, by the God Who so loved the world that He gave His Sole-Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but shall have life everlasting – cease thy deception of men and thy giving them to drink of the poison of eternal damnation; desist from harming the Church and fettering her freedom! Get thee gone, Satan, founder and master of all falsity, enemy of mankind! Give place to Christ in Whom thou didst find none of thy works; give place to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church which Christ Himself bought with His Blood! Be thou brought low under God’s mighty hand; tremble and flee as we call upon the holy and awesome name of Jesus, before Whom hell trembles, and to Whom the Virtues, Powers, and Dominations are subject; Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim praise with unfailing voices, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of Hosts!
St. Albertus Masses

St. Albertus Church will be offering Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form on eleven Sundays in 2013, all at noon. The first Mass will be held in two weeks, on January 20. Additional Masses will be offered on February 17, March 17, April 21, May 26, June 9, July 21, August 25, September 22, October 20, and November 17.

On Saturday, January 19 at noon, Rich Kowalewski and Iwona Kur invite all readers of this column to attend their Wedding Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Albertus, the first Tridentine wedding to be held there in over 40 years.

Holy Redeemer Church Masses

Over 200 people attended the New Year’s Day Tridentine Mass at Holy Redeemer. The parish is planning to hold additional Extraordinary Form Masses on Sunday, February 3 and Sunday, March 10, both at 2:00 PM.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/07 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria After the Epiphany) [Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass] Tue. 01/08 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Feria After the Epiphany) [Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass]
  • Tue. 01/08 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Feria After the Epiphany) [Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass]
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 6, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Extraordinary Community News: 2012 Year in Review

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (December 29, 2012):
2012 Year in Review

At the end of each year, it is worth looking back to review the noteworthy developments on the local Extraordinary Form front of the previous twelve months.

Juventútem: 2012’s top development was the explosive success of Juventútem Michigan, the local chapter of the international organization of young adults interested in the Tridentine Mass. Starting from scratch with only an idea and the successful model of the London, England Juventútem chapter, Paul Schultz, Andrew Fanco, _____________, and James Hitchcock have given their British counterparts some serious competition in just a few months. Masses, special events, pilgrimages, and social events abound. Blanketing the media with a web site, Facebook presence, Facebook event pages, e-mail list, and Catholic radio and newspaper interviews, Juventútem is inescapable. It should be little surprise that over 200 young adults have joined, and that every event so far has been a success.

Bus Tours: Similar to Juventútem, Mike Semaan’s growing Prayer Pilgrimages bus tour operation has brought the Tridentine Mass to a number of historic churches, two for the first time.

Special Masses in Historic Churches: Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have imagined the Extraordinary Form making special appearances in any of the below churches. In 2012, members of our extended readership were able to bring the Traditional Liturgy to these eleven sites for the first time in over 40 years. Masses organized by Juventútem and Prayer Pilgrimages are so designated.
  1. St. Joseph Shrine, Brooklyn, Michigan (J)
  2. St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson [pictured]

  3. National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio (PP)
  4. Holy Family, Detroit (J)
  5. St. Francis Xavier, Tilbury, Ontario
  6. St. Peter, East Tilbury, Ontario
  7. Holy Redeemer, Detroit
  8. St. Matthew, Flint (J)
  9. St. Alphonsus, Windsor
  10. Resurrection Parish, Lansing (J)
  11. Mundelein Seminary Resident Chapel, Chicago (PP)
Special Events: Highlights included Msgr. Arthur Calkins’ visit to Assumption Church in July – the first (retired) Vatican official to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in our region in modern times; and Confirmations at Assumption in October, at which Bishop Eugene LaRocque administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 43 candidates according to the Extraordinary Form.

Please pray that 2013 will continue to bring advancement to the Metro Detroit and Windsor Tridentine Mass Communities, and that our efforts will expose an increasing number of people to the beauty of the Church’s Traditional Latin Liturgy.

Holy Year Plenary Indulgences

On September 14, 2012, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI released Urbis et Orbis, a document outlining the Plenary Indulgences available to the faithful for the Year of Faith. Among the several Indulgences offered is the following:
Every time [emphasis ours] they go as pilgrims to a Papal Basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church, a sacred place designated by the local Ordinary for the Year of Faith...and take part there in some sacred function or at least pause in recollection for a suitable length of time with devout meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary or, depending on the case, to the Holy Apostles or Patrons.”
Of particular interest to our readers, in the Diocese of London, Bishop Fabbro has designated our very own Assumption Church in Windsor as one of the sites to obtain the Indulgence.

Full details on the options to earn Plenary Indulgences for the Year of Faith are available on the web sites of the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Diocese of London.

Epiphany Water Blessing

In accordance with tradition, Epiphany Water and Chalk will be blessed according to the Extraordinary Form at Assumption Church at 1:30 PM next Sunday, January 6. Please bring a small, clean bottle if you would like to take some home with you.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 12/31: No Mass at St. Josaphat
  • Tue. 01/01 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Octave Day of the Nativity)
  • Tue. 01/01 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Redeemer, Detroit (Octave Day of the Nativity)
  • Tue. 01/01 2:00 PM: High Mass at St. Philip Church, Battle Creek (Octave Day of the Nativity) [Reception for young adults age 18-35 sponsored by Juventútem will follow the Mass – Please see the Facebook event page for more information]
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 29, 2012. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Beautiful! The St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal

For more information and pre-ordering of this magnificent 1000-page new Missal for the laity, check out this site, and read the foreword to this Missal by Rev. John Berg here.

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Update (1/31/2013): Campion Missal and Hymnal for the laity: first images (WDTPRS)

Shock: De Lubac on the post-conciliar Church

"It is clear that the Church is facing a grave crisis. Under the name of 'the new Church', the post-conciliar Church, a different Church from that of Jesus Christ, is now trying to establish itself: An anthropocentric society threatened with immanentist apostasy which is allowing itself to be swept along in a movement of general abdication under the pretext of renewal, ecumenism, or adaptation."

-- Cardinal Henri de Lubac, Temoinage Chretien (Paris, September 1, 1967),
quoted in Tom Reidy, Critical Mass: A Chronicle of the Catholic
Church in the First Generation After Vatican II

[Hat tip to I Am Not Spartacus]

Friday, January 04, 2013

Alice von Hildebrand and the proposed canonization of Paul VI

In "Interview with Alice von Hildebrand: Should Pope Paul VI be Canonized?" (Les Femmes - The Truth, January 2, 2013), von Hildebrand is reported as saying:
Considering the tumultuous pontificate of Paul VI, and the confusing signals he was giving, e.g.: speaking about the “smoke of Satan that had entered the Church,” yet refusing to condemn heresies officially; his promulgation of Humanae Vitae (the glory of his pontificate), yet his careful avoidance of proclaiming it ex cathedra [infallible doctrine]; delivering his Credo of the People of God in Piazza San Pietro in 1968, and once again failing to declare it binding on all Catholics; disobeying the strict orders of Pius XII to have no contact with Moscow, and appeasing the Hungarian Communist government by reneging on the solemn promise he had made to Cardinal Mindszenty; his treatment of holy Cardinal Slipyj, who had spent seventeen years in a Gulag, only to be made a virtual prisoner in the Vatican by Paul VI; and finally asking Archbishop Gagnon to investigate possible infiltration in the Vatican, only to refuse him an audience when his work was completed – all these speak strongly against the beatification of Paolo VI, dubbed in Rome, “Paolo Sesto, Mesto” (Paul VI, the sad one) ...
Dr. von Hildebrand paints a dark picture indeed, but one that should not simply be ignored. Read more >>

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Das ist so cool? Nein: What a bore ...

When will they learn to take the secular out of the sacred? Vaudeville has its place, and I suppose I enjoy musicals as much as anyone. But the divine liturgy is not vaudeville, and a cathedral is not a public music hall. The modern church is dying of this confusion.

The first step toward retrieving a proper distinction between the two lies in understanding the meaning of the word "sacred" -- an undertaking that has become nearly impossible for the majority of men and women in our day.

This is why we are dying of the deception that the "sacred" is something boring that must be "gussied up" with secular baubles and bling, which only succeeds in making it look like a total bore.

A shame. Particularly since the Real Article, when stripped of its secular "makeover" and encountered in its simple aboriginal purity, is utterly ravishing and enthralling. Try a traditional Latin High Mass.

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]