Sunday, May 31, 2015

Congratulations to newly ordained Fr. Tim Ferguson

We offer our congratulations to Fr. Tim, as well as to all the other new priests of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, along with the Archdiocese of Detroit, Lansing, and our many beloved out-of-state brethren. I had wanted to hitch a ride with a colleague up to Marquette myself, but family events conspired to prevent me.

Fr. Tim's case somewhat special to many of us who have come to know and love him over the years, not only the several of us who have had him as a colleague in recent years in Detroit, but those who have known him as a fellow parishioner at St. Josaphat, and as one who frequently helped serve Tridentine Masses in various local venues. But as I have come to realize on Facebook, his "constituency" of friends extends so far beyond these circles that I sometimes wonder if there is a Catholic who doesn't know him!

Fr. Tim's road to the priesthood was a long and somewhat circuitous one; and one of the best accounts of his ordination and summaries of his personality I've seen of late is that just posted by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf ("Fr. Z"), who was in Marquette, MI, for the occasion, as I had hoped to be. Fr. Z includes several good photos, along with a sampling of Fr. Tim's skill as a lyricist (a bit of an inside joke): 
For those of you newcomers here, Fr. Ferguson wrote the now oldie, but cherished “O Come, O Come Liturgical Blue” and many others, including the hit single that prompted legendary urban rapper Zuhlio to come out of retirement, “Lady Tambourine Priest“ [This one's my fave -PP].  Oddly, in that one, he sounds rather like Dylan from back in 1965. And don’t forget “Where Have All The Sisters Gone?
Fr. Z also included a note sent to him about the photos and Fr. Tim's First Mass that reveals something of the character of the newly ordained priest:
I preached myself – briefly, and rather emotionally, but I think the gratitude got across. A few rubrical blips, but Matthew Hill was a great MC. It’s a lot different practicing and actually offering the Sacrifice. The profundity of it hit me during the offertory – and I think Bishop Doerfler’s line from the ordination homily about looking into the chalice at the time of consecration and seeing ourselves immersed in and reflected in the Blood of Christ is something I will carry with me always.

Revisionists mount calumnious pre-synod campaign to marginalize Cardinal Pell

What are the Judas priest scumbags up to now? See the details for yourself. Cardinal Pell's numerous enemies in the Roman Curia have reached a new low:
"[N]ow they use an English member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors established by Pope Francis himself (abuse survivor Peter Saunders) on Australian private television (Channel Nine) to criticize the Cardinal and say that he "has to go" and that his position is "untenable" due to supposed failures of leadership when dealing with such matters when he was Archbishop of Melbourne....

"This is not about the Cardinal's tenure in Victoria; this is about his position in the Curia now and especially in the Synod. The goal is clear: it is to weaken Cardinal Pell by all sides so that he may be silent and meek in the Synod Hall in October, quite unlike the way he was last October, when he did not let the "Progressives" move against the words of Christ as they had planned."
Cardinal Pell has issued a statement.

Fr. Perrone on the conclusion of Our Lady's Month of May, Trinity Sunday (& God's honor), and Corpus Christi Sunday

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, May 31, 2015:
We bid farewell to Our Lady’s month and on Monday will commence the month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I have particularly enjoyed May this year. So often spring passes me by with little recognition of its charms. In years past I have, in the midst of summer, looked back and wondered where the lovely month of Holy Mary had gone with ever so little a thought of it. Like the beautiful Lady that She is, this is nature’s youthful beauty, its life-giving potency to the earth being a reminder of the fruitfulness of Mary’s womb. Perhaps it’s due to the severity of this past winter that I have been more determined to savor the delights of spring this year; or maybe it’s because I’m getting older and know that, with life’s years more spent than ahead, I need to be more thoughtful of God’s largess. Modern life is far too fast and superficial to appreciate the good things of God. I want to slow the pace a bit to take better notice.

This somewhat lyrical introduction brings me to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity celebrated in the Church today. It too takes considered time in order to savor the thought of God in Himself, a community of Persons. If we have no time for God’s created natural wonders neither will we have any thoughts of Him; the more so of Him as the Trinity.

No one comes to the Father but through Christ. No one is in Christ but through the Holy Spirit. I fear that few then come to God at all. Indeed, God is transcendent of necessity, but He is also transcendent in another, disturbing sense. He’s far, far removed from men’s thoughts and He’s far removed from their lives. If I may say so without sounding mawkishly pious, I ‘grieve’ that God is so neglected by His ungrateful, preoccupied creatures. This neglect of God will also be to their own undoing, to their self-harm, a punishment. But that is not my point here. If it be possible to love God purely for His sake, without a care of our own advantage for so doing–and surely this must be possible–then we should desire His “good,” which is to say, that he should have us as His own possession. On Trinity Sunday I want God to be God in the fullness of His divine majesty (which He is inevitably in Himself) in His creatures by their acting as He intended them to act, by giving Him glory by their obedience and love. God can be ‘robbed’ of His (external) glory if He is refused. This ought to cause sadness for those who know and love Him. Psalm 118 (Vulgate): “Issues of tears flow from my eyes because they have not kept Your law.” One must grieve that for all His infinite bounty and benevolence, God is met with indifference, disobedience, and disdain. It may seem silly to say that one is sad over God being snubbed. God’s bigger than that; He can take it, one might say. He however has the right to receive the finest acts of humility and honor that men can offer Him.

I know Trinity Sunday concerns the complex and ever-elusive mystery of one God in three divine Persons, and not just of God simply said. But I can’t help deplore the more fundamental ignorance of Him and the rough treatment He’s getting nowadays–through neglect.

Next Sunday will see another great day of celebration, Corpus Christi. The Latin Mass will be transferred to noon and the 9:30 a.m. Mass will be in the vernacular. Following the noon Mass, there will take place the traditional procession with the Blessed Sacrament. His Majesty permitting, we will then move outdoors to the four altars and impart the blessing with the Sacred Host in the four directions of the compass–the four “ends” of the earth. And here we have a tie-in with what is written above. The Lord must reign and receive due adoration, honor, and praise, at least from us who bear the responsibility of being aware of His Presence in the Holy Sacrament. Our Lord’s expression about Himself in the Holy Eucharist is Living Bread. The bread on your tables at home is a dead, lifeless thing. The Bread of the Holy Sacrament is alive–no mere thing but Himself, conscious of those kneeling before Him, each in his varying degrees of attentiveness, devotion, faith and love. “I am with you always,” He said, “until the consummation of the world.” Assuredly then He is here. Will you be there with Him?

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Tridentine Community News -- Canadian bus tour; New Newman Center in Lincoln, NE; Cnl. Burke's EF Mass in Minneapolis; Mass schedule

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (May 31, 2015):
Prayer Pilgrimages Bus Tour to Shrines of Canada

The annual bus tour to the major Catholic Shrines of Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City will take place a few months earlier than in previous years, late Sunday, June 21 through Friday, June 26. Tridentine Masses are planned at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica and St. Joseph’s Oratory, and at the Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré near Quebec City. A Mass is also planned in Toronto at a church yet to be determined. For more information or reservations, visit or call (248) 250-6005.

The New Newman Center in Lincoln, Nebraska

We have before written about the resurgence in popularity of traditional church designs. A significant new edifice was dedicated on April 12 by Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop James Conley: The Newman Center, a.k.a. St. Thomas Aquinas Church, at the University of Nebraska. Designed by Washington, DC firm McCrery Architects, the Newman Center sports a High Altar, at least one Side Altar, a Communion Rail, a choir loft with pipe organ, and traditional artwork and stained glass. Below are some photos, taken from McCrery’s blog:

While so far only Masses in the Ordinary Form have been held at the Newman Center, the Diocese of Lincoln has a long record of being Tridentine-friendly. With a building so ideally suited to traditional liturgy, one can only hope that Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form are offered there soon. Regardless, the atmosphere for prayer that such a church sets can only help to edify the faithful.

Cardinal Burke to Celebrate Tridentine Mass at Minneapolis’ Basilica of St. Mary

Raymond Cardinal Burke continues his globetrotting celebrations of Masses in the Extraordinary Form with a stop at the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Basilica of St. Mary. His Eminence will celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Mass there on Saturday, September 19 at 10:00 AM. Readers may recall that the architecturally impressive Basilica was featured in Episode 3 of Extraordinary Faith. The Basilica thereby joins its sister co-cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Paul, in hosting a Tridentine Mass; the Cathedral of St. Paul held one last fall.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 06/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Angela Merici, Virgin)
  • Tue. 06/02 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Ss. Marcellinus, Peter, & Erasmus, Martyrs)
  • Fri. 06/05 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 31, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Juventutem member gives Latin oration at Harvard"

Via Fr. Z, and very cool:

Latin Orator James McGlone addresses graduates at Harvard's 364th Commencement on May 28, 2015 at Tercentenary Theatre.

Cardinal Sarah: "Don't deceive ... with the word 'mercy'; God forgives sins only if we repent of them"

Matteo Matzuzzi, in Il timone (May 30, 2015), via Rorate Caeli HERE.

Sarah also sees a problem in the new rite of baptism in that it doesn't mention the word "faith." "There's a big problem right there," he says. Interesting.

Year of Mercy image: If the medium is the message, what's the message here?

The underground correspondent we keep on retainer, Guy Noir - Private Eye sent me the link below with this comment:
As someone who claims advertising as their [sic] profession, this strikes me more forcefully, perhaps, than others. Nonetheless I think it extremely telling, and would place it in the same file as material on father James Martin. Whatever is and has been going on in the Church since Vatican II, it is pretty apparent to anyone with a passing interest in theology that the message if not the doctrine is being fundamentally changed.
Here's what Boniface says over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam:
In case you have not yet seen it, the above image is the official logo for the upcoming Year of Mercy. The art is the work of Slovenian Jesuit artist Fr. Marko Rupnik (click on the image for a bigger view if it is too small to see).

Notice that between Christ and the other figure, there are only three eyes, signifying apparently that "Christ sees through the eye of Adam and Adam sees through the eye of Christ." The motto of the Year of Mercy is "Merciful Like the Father", despite the fact that Pope Francis says the purpose of the year is to the demonstrate "the church's maternal solicitude."

Lest you have any doubt that this Year of Mercy will be used as a propaganda tool to push for greater acceptance of deviant lifestyles, Archbishop Reno Fisichella, spokesman for the Year of Mercy, stated that "The motto, 'Merciful Like the Father,' serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure.”

I offer no new commentary here, but refer you to our article "Children's Crusade and the Age of Mercy" from March 21st, 2015.

All quotes and information from this Catholic Register article.
H/T to Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
The shared eye (only three eyes between them) is a bit weird; the two black vertical beams behind Jesus' feet, like the lower parts of a St. Andrew's Cross, are also a bit curious; and I never liked this sort of overly-stylized 1960s-80s thematic art of the sort seen in too many church bulletins and CCD materials. This is partially subjective, but I have bad associations (generally shoddy art seems to go with shoddy theology). Mercy is always nice; but what in the world do people think it means apart from a context of God's justice and judgment? Nobody's going to give a fig about mercy from a Care Bear. Just to make the point, here's George Carlin as Cardinal Glick unveiling a timely icon for the Church in 1999:

St. Patrick betrayed


C. J. DOYLE (617) 524-6309
[The website here that provides an historical chronology that led up to this vote.]


The Catholic Faith and the Christian civilization which Saint Patrick brought to Ireland nearly 1600 years ago was repudiated by more than three-fifths of the voters of the Republic of Ireland last Saturday, when that country became the first nation on earth to endorse, by popular referendum, the fashionable, neo-pagan superstition that sodomy is a conjugal act.

More than sixty generations of Irishmen and Irishwomen remained loyal to the apostle “who brought to our mountains the gift of God's Faith and the sweet light of His love.” They did so through 800 years of foreign occupation, 300 years of religious persecution and economic dispossession, a hundred years of pre-twentieth century totalitarianism known as the Penal Laws---aptly described by Edmund Burke as “a model of vicious perfection”---and a dozen hellish years of Cromwellian genocide. Now, after fifty years of peace, prosperity and post-conciliar Catholicism, the Faith is all but dead in Ireland.

This generation, of mostly young citizens of Ireland, will now forever be remembered for an appalling act of national apostasy and betrayal, effecting a moral deformity, a societal deconstruction, and a civilizational change.

Ireland is, once again, as it was before Saint Patrick, a pagan country. The difference is the pre-Christian pagan culture of Classical Antiquity admired beauty and reason, and sought truth through natural law. The post-Christian pagan culture of modernity is depraved and demonic, rejects reason, and is aggressively hostile to any expression of truth.

Among the influences which led to the debacle were the following:

I. The Power of Money The old saying that the three most important factors in politics are, in ascending order of importance, money, money, and money was reaffirmed on May 22nd in Ireland. The Yes side outspent the No side by several orders of magnitude. The American billionaire Chuck Feeney funneled at least $28,000,000 into the homosexual movement in Ireland in the last twelve years.

The Yes side had seemingly unlimited resources for voter registration, advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts. The No side could not compete financially.

II. The Power of Government The government of pro-abortion Prime Minister Enda Kenny and all Irish political parties supported the Yes campaign. Kenny was not reluctant to resort to the instruments of coercion. Funding was cut off for Catholic marriage counseling services. Non-profit organizations dependent on state support were threatened. Even the Gardaí---Ireland's National Police---were mobilized to help the Yes campaign. Kenny had already, during the abortion controversy of 2013, purged his Fine Gael Party of Catholic objectors.

III. The Power of the Media Ireland's Anglophile, aggressively secularist and hysterically anti-Catholic media, abandoned all pretense of fairness and professionalism, and served as de facto public relations agents, promoting the Yes campaign. During the Cold War, some American conservatives wondered how people behind the Iron Curtain would vote, if allowed to do so in a free election, given the total Communist control of the media. Something approximating that level of media monopoly prevailed in Ireland.

IV. The Power of Corporate Capitalism American multinationals, which provide tens of thousands of jobs to the struggling Irish economy, instructed---in a flagrant violation of Irish sovereignty---their employees to support the Yes campaign.

V. The Power of Organized Labor The Irish trade unions and their political arm, the Labor Party, campaigned for a Yes vote. The Labor Party has become so anti-Catholic that one of its leaders has called for the exclusion of practicing Catholics from government---overt religious discrimination in employment---because Catholics are loyal to a foreign power, the Holy See. This charge is the same one English occupiers used for centuries to rob and oppress the Irish.

VI. The Power of the European Union The influence of the E. U. in Ireland has been profoundly corrupting and malign. For decades now, the E. U. has operated what amounts to a system of organized bribery in Irish politics. Irish politicians are suborned by everything from infrastructure monies to the perks, privileges, and paychecks that come from European Commissionerships, and M.E.P. (Member of the European Parliament) status. The quid pro quo is de-Christianization.

VII. The Scandals in the Church The decision to ordain homosexuals to the Catholic priesthood, failing to stop them when they molested minors, and then covering up for them rather than punishing them and getting rid of them, bankrupted the moral authority of the Irish Church.

VIII. The Cowardice of the Bishops The conduct of the Irish Hierarchy during the referendum campaign was shameful. cowardly and pandering. They conceded the arguments and accepted the intellectual premises of the enemy. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, in an exercise in Stalinist self accusation, claimed that he knew of the “harshness with which the Irish Church treated gays and lesbians in the past,” and urged that “people of same sex orientation have their rights and loving and caring relationships cherished in a culture of difference.” Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry was actually worse. He said he hoped people would not vote No “for bad reasons, for bigoted reasons, for nasty reasons, for bullying reasons.”

IX. The Treachery in the Ranks of the Clergy At least fifteen Irish priests publicly endorsed the Yes campaign. Not one of them was removed, reprimanded or silenced by their bishops.

X. The Failure of Post-Conciliar Catholicism It is difficult to find a more compelling example of the absolutely dysfunctional character of the contemporary Church. Exactly fifty years after the close of Vatican II, what was the most Catholic country in the world is now mission territory. Fifty years of modernism, sappy ecumenism, toleration of heresy, secularization of Catholic institutions, corruption in religious orders, immorality against nature in the priesthood, novelties in teaching and practice, and the unprecedented invention of a new, abuse prone vernacular liturgy have all turned the Church Militant into the Church Dialoging.

Enda Kenny's next target will be Catholic schools. He has already demanded that they present same-sex unions as the same as traditional marriage. What remains of the Faith in Ireland will now face persecution. Please pray for Ireland! Sanctus Patricius, Ora Pro Nobis!

[Hat tip to Monica Miller]

Homeschooling - The Pro-Family Counterrevolution (Video)

I am an enthusiastic proponent of home schooling. Blaise Pascal was home schooled. J.S. Mill was home schooled. I was home schooled in Japan during my elementary school years. We home schooled our first four children at various stages of their development -- for a few years, all four at once -- and our daughter was home schooled with the help of a wonderful home school co-op called St. Augustine's Homeschool Enrichment Program with the help of a very generous family during my sabbatical a couple of years ago when we needed a "portable" school program that would allow us to spend some time away in Japan.

For these and many other reasons, I was pleased to see this enthusiastic recent discussion by Michael Matt, which begins with a promo for a major film produced by -- believe it or not -- home schoolers:

A terrific apologia (defense) of homeschooling:

Click here to watch:
Homeschooling- The Pro-Family Counterrevolution (VIDEO)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Catholics: A Fable (1973) - a dismal film

I've long heard about this film but just haven't been interested enough to see it. Watched it today in two separate bits of time. Not sure I can recommend it. It has a premise that sounds like it could be interesting, and some good actors; but, well ...

It's supposedly set in "the near future" in Ireland, although Martin Sheen is styling very 1970s hair, sideburns, and clothes. The film is set in the wake of a hypothetical "Vatican IV," and the Catholic church has joined with other western religions in an "ecumenical" movement that has washed out much of the original message of the Catholic Faith. A group of Irish monks in a remote island of Ireland, have reverted to celebrating the Latin Mass and have garnered an international following. A boyish-faced Fr. Kinsella (Martin Sheen) is sent from Rome by the head of their religious order to bring them into line, because they have begun drawing too much international attention, especially on the eve of a conference with a Buddhist group. Hence, Fr. Kinsella's job is to bring the religious group "into line" and get them to give up their old ways. Kinsella tells the abbot of the order (played by Trevor Howard) that Rome no longer requires belief in the Real Presence; and a further twist in the plot comes when we learn that the abbot of the religious order has been having doubts about his faith and has ceased praying for the past three years. The story ends abruptly, however, with the abbot leading a distraught group of his monks in the Our Father, just after having informed them that they must cease celebrating the traditional Mass in obedience to their superiors. The question as to what is truly essential to their faith and worship and what is not is left unresolved, reflecting, perhaps, some of the ambivalence characteristic of the times in which the film was made, and even our own times.

[The entire film can be found on YouTube HERE.]

Here is a surprisingly positive review, entitled "Decline and Fall of the Mother Church," by a professed agnostic, who calls it "brilliant":
My visceral reaction to the plight of a group of traditionalist monks on a lonely Irish island is rather ironic because I am a card-carrying agnostic, the quintessential "fallen Catholic." I found myself rooting for the monks who want to keep the church focused on the fight against spiritual evil (and the obvious saving of souls) and against the perfect example of modernity, Martin Sheen, as the epitome of "Liberation Theology," the liberal emissary from Rome who arrives to stomp down the monks' celebration of the Mass in Latin.

Catholics (or The Conflict as it appears in the cheapo DVD version from Digiview) lacks much of what makes movies entertaining for most folks--there are no drive-by shootings, exploding spaceships, bouncing breasts, or language to, as Stephen King says so well, "make a twenty-year Navy man blush," but it does have superb performances by Sheen, Trevor Howard, Cyril Cusack, and a number of fine British and Irish actors. It is an intellectual's movie with a smidgen of scifi--it was made in 1973, but it's set in the near future, maybe ten years later, when the Church has been so modernized that bread and wine are just that, not the body and blood of Christ and confession is not between a parishioner and his or her priest.

By rejecting the miracle of the Mass, by denying the personal interactions between the priest and the public, and by refocusing the Church on liberation theology and not the battle between good and evil in a spiritual sense, Catholics shows a congregation lost in the modern world. Sheen is on the island to crush a conservative rebellion and I found myself feeling as sick and as angry at him as many of the monks.

Finally, I have to congratulate the cinematographer and the art director for creating and using locales that are so bleak and cold that the viewer must concentrate on the human drama. The flesh and the blood of the actors are the miracle here (including the tears flowing from the faithful monks and from Howard's abbot who has lost his faith and must live an excruciating lie for his men), even if Rome wants it stopped right now.

Catholics is brilliant, but it certainly isn't popular entertainment. For a buck, I found a gem in the Wal-Mart DVD dumpster.

Sounds like a miracle to me!

How Vatican II was being 'hijacked' by liberal revisionists already during the Council, and not merely afterwards by those who implemented it

We've all heard the commonplace canard that the collapse of the faith that occurred in the wake of Vatican II was the result of a poor implementation of an otherwise unimpeachable, infallible ecumenical council. The documents, we are constantly assured, are crystal clear and in no manner deficient.

Likewise, we've all heard (unless we've forgotten or repressed the news) individuals protesting ambiguities in Vatican II documents. Michael Davies famously referred to "time bombs" in the Vatican II constitution on sacred liturgy; Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called for a "New Syllabus" for a correct reading of Vatican II; and others more recently, like Cardinal Kasper himself, have admitted that many of the documents contain intentional ambiguities that were introduced by dissenting factions at the Council:
"In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction." (Cardinal Walter Kasper, L'Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013 - emphasis added)
Well, which is it? Either the documents are clear or they're not. They can't be both. It's not enough to say that the documents can be interpreted in light of tradition. A lot of things can -- even propositions clear as mud, if you squint. The question is whether they are clear and unambiguous (and, going beyond the subject of this post, whether they have been interpreted with consistent, unambiguous clarity in the half-century since the Council).

Lately I have been reviewing a number of posts on this topic by Boniface over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam, including his excellent review of Roberto de Mattei's magisterial study, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story and some other articles. But what was especially interesting was to re-read his study of what the Council Fathers themselves had to say about ambiguity in the Council documents. The statements are all taken from the public acts of the Council -- statements put forth, not by obscure fathers, but heads of religious orders, like the Irish Dominican Michael Browne; archbishops of major sees like Cardinal Siri of Genoa; Cardinal Ottaviani, head of the Holy Office; even the Karol Wojtyla, who criticizes two documents for ambiguity; and none other than Paul VI himself, who admits "fundamental contradictions" in the final text of Lumen Gentium, contradictions that will eventually lead him to publishing an explanatory note to the document. Boniface writes:
(1) That the critique of ambiguity in the documents of Vatican II is not some canard invented and bandied about by traditionalist Catholic bloggers, but was in fact a substantial charge made against many conciliar documents by the Council Fathers themselves. It was, and remains, a legitimate criticism of the documents of the Second Vatican Council that must be taken seriously since the Council Fathers themselves took it so seriously.

(2) That to offer this critique does not imply any "denial of the Council", heterodoxy, or poor taste - if it does, then similar accusations must be leveled against Cardinal Ottaviani, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Cardinal Kasper, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and the hundreds and hundreds of bishops who all voted non placet on many conciliar documents and did not thereby become heretics by doing so. What we are dealing with when looking at the question of ambiguity is a simple acknowledgement of fact - the documents have inherent ambiguities, and as much was admitted by scores of Council Fathers.
Nor was it the case that these ambiguities were all eventually clarified to the satisfaction of the Council Fathers before the Vatican II documents reached their final form for publication. Indeed, many were published with their resident ambiguities and even contradictions in them far from unresolved, and in one case overriding 249 negative votes, including objections posed by none other than Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Cracow!

The documents selected as examples by Boniface include Lumen Gentium, Dignitatis Humanae (to which Wojtyla had objections), Dei Verbum, Gaudium et spes, Unitatis Redintegratio, and Nostra Aetate. Sacrosanctum Concilium is omitted from discussion, not because it doesn't contain loopholes through which one could drive a truck, as one observer put it, but because of its ample treatment by others, most notably Michael Davies.

There are dozens of examples of specific criticisms Boniface examines -- far too many to quote here. Let a couple from his first example (Lumen Gentium) suffice (without the footnotes):
In September 1964, during the opening of the third session, a group of conservative bishops presented a document ("Note Addressed to the Holy Father on the Schema Constitutio De Ecclesia") to Paul VI which expressed "serious reservations" about the chapter on Chapter 3, saying that the teaching contained therein was "uncertain" and contained "doctrines and opinions that are often vague or insufficiently clear in their terms, their true meanings, or in their aims." The document also called the teaching of collegiality "a new doctrine, which, until 1958 or rather 1962, represented only the opinions of a few theologians." The document was signed by twenty-five cardinals and thirteen superiors of religious orders, including the Dominicans and the Jesuits.

... Amazingly, Paul VI himself noted in a letter back to Cardinal Larraona, dated October 18, 1964, that Chapter 3 of what would become Lumen Gentium did in fact contain "fundamentally contradictory statements", and said that these "objections [are] supported in Our personal opinion." These concerns would later cause Paul VI, not to amend Lumen Gentium, but to add an explanatory note to the document. (emphasis added)
By way of conclusion, Boniface writes:
As anyone can see, the documents of the Second Vatican Council were problematic from their inception, and this much was admitted by the Council Fathers. While they all had their own concerns, questions and difficulties, the theme that connected them all was ambiguity, expressed in such terms as "lack of clarity", "greater precision needed", "insufficiently clear", "lacking distinction", "perplexing", and so on. This was the opinion of a great many of the Council Fathers, even some of the liberals and (in the case of Lumen Gentium), Paul VI himself.

Given this straightforward evidence, this obvious matter of fact, it is no longer tenable for anyone to assert that the charges of ambiguity in conciliar documents is a recent invention by Traditionalists, nor that it is without merit or unsubstantiated. On the contrary, the documents of the Second Vatican Council do contain problematic ambiguities that need to be addressed and remedied. It does not detract from the validity or authority of the Council to simply admit this; many Council Fathers admitted it, and they did not consider it disobedient or schismatic to do so. Rather, they saw it as their duty as bishops to ensure that the faith was expounded in the most clear, precise, and easy to understand manner as possible. In posting these citations from these same fathers, we do so hoping the problems that went unheeded in 1962-65 will one day be satisfactorily addressed.
Finally, Boniface also has a post on why a purely legal (administrative) solution to these problems won't work, apart from spiritual reawakening from the ground up. Pray for Mother Church, our shepherds and our fellow Catholics. We desperately need God's help.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ireland and Judas priests

Fr. James Martin, S.J. (left), Editor-at-Large of the Jesuit magazine America, TWEETS: "Ireland is for gay marriage because it is Catholic," referencing a USA Today article by Fr. Paul Morrissey (below right), a novelist and prison chaplain in Philadelphia. Makes me think of a comment someone made recently: the Irish referendum cannot be credited to a failure of the Irish priesthood. It was a measure of their success. I'm not sure whether that doesn't overstate the case a bit; but regrettably maybe not much, if Fr. Martin and Morrissey are any indication of the state of many clergy in the English-speaking world today. Yeah, that's a victory that will really help the Irish get themselves to heaven.

[Hat tip to Marcel's Ghost]

"The Westernized Anti-Westerner"

Victor Davis Hanson "What accounts for hatred of the West by people who voluntarily spent years here?" (NRO, May 5, 2015).

Perhaps he doesn't consider everything we would, but it's a darn good article with some real insights.

Noam Chomsky and John Searle on deconstructionists: Empty "Posturing"

"Noam Chomsky Slams Žižek and Lacan: Empty ‘Posturing’" (Open Culture, June 28, 2013):

Noam Chomsky’s well-known political views have tended to overshadow his groundbreaking work as a linguist and analytic philosopher. As a result, people sometimes assume that because Chomsky is a leftist, he would find common intellectual ground with the postmodernist philosophers of the European Left.

Big mistake.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Postmodern "terrorism of obscurantism"

"Reality Principles: An Interview with John R. Searle" (

"With Derrida, you can hardly misread him, because he's so obscure. Every time you say, "He says so and so," he always says, "You misunderstood me." But if you try to figure out the correct interpretation, then that's not so easy. I once said this to Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking French. And I said, "What the hell do you mean by that?" And he said, "He writes so obscurely you can't tell what he's saying, that's the obscurantism part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, 'You didn't understand me; you're an idiot.' That's the terrorism part."
[Hat tip to C.B.]

The coming great apostasy

Apostasy? Some will think that sounds a bit alarmist.

Others will think it a bit tardy: don't we already see a great apostasy about us?

Either way, it's time to steel our souls through devoted spiritual preparation. Here's something to think on:
"Only heroic Catholics will survive.

In short, in the times that are just ahead for Catholics, only the truly dedicated will not become apostates and thereby lose Heaven. This was the opinion of Fr. John Hardon, a very holy priest who died 15 years ago in Detroit — a man who was remarkable owing to his holiness. What he said has come even sharper into focus in light of the wholesale rejection of the Faith by an overwhelming majority of the Irish last week.

"If you are not preparing yourself now, and your family now, bracing yourselves spiritually for the darkness into which civilization is descending, you will not survive. You will inherit Satan for your father. People do not suddenly decide to suffer for the Faith. They prepare themselves to suffer great hardships for the Faith, by undergoing little hardships and sacrifices in advance...."
Read more and watch the video here >>

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Latin Mass prejudices"

Kevin Tierney has a guest post over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam (May 15, 2015), which is quite good. Blog host, Boniface, introduces the piece with the words: "We are grateful for this lovely post on the question of the Traditional Latin Mass and why calls for a 'better tone' among online defenders of the TLM are meaningless."

Tierney gets into the meat of his discussion by raising the question:
But is the Latin Mass at least equal to the Novus Ordo? I think that's where the interesting question is. According to Vatican II, Ecclesia Dei and Summorum Pontificum (amongst many others) the answer is an unqualified yes. It is an approved form of worship within the Church, and like all of the liturgical life of the Church, it is worth cherishing and celebrating.

Does that sound like the way the Latin Mass is treated? The answer is an unqualified no. According to Robert Cardinal Sarah, Summorum Pontificum is not a reality within the dioceses of the world because a spirit of exclusion exists within Catholics who celebrate both forms. They weaponize the liturgy with hate and malice. Those are interesting words, but they don't convey the reality of why those words in Summorum Pontificum are often pious aspirations.

In several dioceses here in America, there is a de facto ban on advertising the availability of Latin Masses on websites, parish bulletins, etc. Other times there are countless hurdles being placed for celebrating the Latin Mass, including the bishop determining for himself whether or not someone is "competent" to celebrate it, something Ecclesia Dei has made clear is wrong. Saying the priest should tell the bishop to go screw while he appeals to Rome is nice in theory, but is probably going to make life quite difficult for the priest, and his congregation. In any such case, when priests have their visas revoked for saying that both the faithful trads and bishops need to be more accommodating towards each other, that is not faithful to the spirit of the Magesterium.

"Gates, Gays, and the Boy Scouts"

Kevin D. Williamson, "The Soul of a Bureaucrat" (NRO, May 24, 2015) concludes with the paragraph:
With the Marine Corps or the Boy Scouts of America, the question of what is good is not necessarily the same as the question of what is good for the organization. But you’d need a different sort of man than Robert Gates to discern that distinction, and a better sort of man to act on it.

[Hat tip to JM]

Stop saying "transgendered"

The mysterious blogger who now refers to himself in the third person as "Raider Fan" has the reputation for being a bit of a ham. He can be most amusing. But those of you who know his posts and comments are also aware that he's also always very serious.

In one of his most recent posts, "Do you say 'Transgender?' You do? STOP IT!" (The Nesciencent Nepenthene, May 27, 2015), he addresses a serious issue once addressed by George Orwell in an essay entitled "Politics and the English Language." Orwell writes (emphasis from R.F.):
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.
Beneath this quote he posts a clip from a Bob Newhart sketch, which explains the "Stop It!!" in his title; and, beneath that, he posts a graph (see his post) showing the rise in the use of the word "transgender" in the general population, beginning with zero in 1980 and rising to 90% of the population by 2008.

The point may seem trivial, but it's not. It's not that the words we use change reality itself. That's impossible. No matter how many people call Bruce Jenner a "woman," they don't thereby turn a man into a woman, any more than the Flat Earth Society, by calling the earth "flat" can succeed in flattening it. The problem is, rather, that the words we use change our understanding of reality, so that just as members of the Flat Earth Society begin to actually believe the earth is flat, so the general population may begin to actually believe, with Bruce Jenner, that he is a "woman."

I've addressed this issue before by quoting Abraham Lincoln's question: "If we call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The answer, of course, is: no more than it had to begin with, because a tail is not a leg. Some of my readers will also remember my gripe with the allergy we've all developed, due to the pervasive influence of the feminist movement and such, which has us avoiding the use masculine third-person singular pronouns ("he," "his," "him," "himself"), so that we get philistine barbarisms that induce a gag reflex, such as: "A human being is not an end in themselves." What we have to consider here is not only the butchery this makes of language, but the reason why we're contorting ourselves into pretzels in order to avoid the general population's allergies against the traditional inclusive use of male nouns (like "man" and "mankind") and pronouns. If there was a sign on a cage that said "Danger! Man Eating Tiger!" do you think any woman would be foolish enough to think it didn't apply to her because she isn't a "man"? Of course not! So here we play this little game and we're all part of this little collective ruse even though none of us really believes it.

Here's Peter Kreeft's thought:
"Man means "manking," not "males." It is traditional inclusive language. "Humanity" does not go with "God" ("God and humanity") because "God" and "man" are concrete nouns, like "dog" and "cat," while "divinity" and "humanity" are abstract nouns, like "canininity" and "felinity" or "dogginess" and "cattiness." Whatever the political or psychological uses or misuses of these words, that is what they mean. We do not undo old injustices against women by doing new injustices against language." (Philosophy 101 by Socrates [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002], p. 9, n. 1)
Let the revisionist idiots take over the language, and you'll start talking and thinking like them.

A sex ban to save the planet?

One thing that can be said for Catholics in dire straits is that many of them keep their sense of humor.  We live in deplorable if not dire times, and here's a bit of Swiftian mischief from one of my colleagues, Mark S. Latkovic: "A Not So Modest Proposal: On Prohibiting Procreation/Sexual Intercourse... To Save the Planet" (Truth & Charity Forum): "... the use of modern technology -- e.g., drugs, drones, and other surveillance techniques -- will be invaluable ...."   I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The snakes are back in Ireland

Guy Noir's telegram simply read: "The End."  I wondered what he meant, until I received a carrier pigeon message with a print-out of a comment made to a Carl E. Olson article in The Catholic World Report entitled "In Ireland, the old is out and the out are in."

Here's the combox comment:
"Many years ago, the great spiritual writer Dom Hubert von Zeller published a novel about the end of the world under the pen name "Hugh Venning." THE END is a witty book that treats apocalyptic events almost as a comedy of manners, but its plausibility just took another hit. In the novel, only three nations refuse to bow to Anti-Christ: Poland, Quebec, and Ireland. I wonder how much longer Poland will last?"

Come and visit Italy with Raider Fan

Yes!  "Raider Fan on Real Basil Pesto" and other visual and culinary delights over at The Nesciencent Nepenthene.  And during your journey, if you have any injuries to the head, or even a minor headache, it's always a comfort knowing you'll be in the skilled hands of your host, also famously known as the Amateur Brain Surgeon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Irish referendum rejects the Faith

Michael Voris, "The Murdering of Catholicism" (Church Militant, May 23, 2015): 
Dublin, May 23, 2015 ( - This weekend's 2–1 vote by Ireland to lovingly embrace sodomy as a form of marriage proves two points.

The first is the abject, epic failure on the part of the Catholic clergy over the course of decades to transmit the Faith. Bishops refused to discipline various priests who were active homosexuals or sympathetic to the militant homosexual agenda. These traitorous priests slowly but certainly converted the Catholic populace, in cooperation with a high-voltage secular culture, to accept evil step by step.

The repeated refusal of bishops to discipline these clergy contributed greatly to this wicked turn of events. The status quo allowed the culture of death to flourish. Catholic leadership offered absolutely no defense, and in many cases supported the trashing of the Faith.

Homosexual priests abused boys in a Catholic school system that turned the Irish population decidedly against the Church when all was revealed a few years ago.

And that is the second point to consider: This was not only a vote in favor of sodomy, disguised as a human right, but also a referendum on the Catholic Church — and quite frankly, the Church got exactly what it deserved. The leadership betrayed the Son of God, and they are getting their due punishment.

Without a public admission of their sins, a call for forgiveness and resignation of their offices, they will more than likely be punished for eternity in the fires of Hell as well.

They will have chosen their eternal fate every time they looked the other way, allowed an abuse against the truth, covered up a homosexual abusive priest, diminished the Faith by allowing errant catechesis in the parish, permitted an active homosexual to run the nation's major seminary for over a decade (a man who has since converted to the heresy of Protestantism, and is civilly married to his gay lover in California.)

The step-by-step degrading of the Faith is how this happened. But it didn't come out of the blue. Four years ago when we were in Ireland, we interviewed random people on the street and asked them if they still attended Mass. We asked 19 people; 18 did not.

The total collapse of the Faith did not happen overnight.
 The video at the bottom of the page on the original site is very telling.  It was recorded earlier, maybe even a year ago, but it shows the "state of the faith" on the street, so to speak.  And it's about as dismal as the political understanding of the general American electorate, if you know what I mean.

Orson Scott Card on homosexual "marriage" and civilization

The Ornery American had this post from last February that's really not bad, Orson Scott Card on "Homosexual 'Marriage" and Civilization." The opening lines are great ... and timely:
A little dialogue from Lewis Carroll:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
It's a long and substantial piece, but this alone is "right on the money" in that the tidal wave of pro-gay opinion is increasingly showing us that gay party members are really no longer interested in mere "tolerance," or "dialogue" or "rational argument," but only "to be master -- that's all." In other words, they are rapidly becoming homofascists bent on imposing their will come hell or high water. We've seen these sorts of social experiments before, and they've never turned out well.

Assumption Grotto family in need as mother AND father deal with cancer

A GoFund Me account has been set up by a relative of Caroline DeLoca to help with expenses related to her recent diagnosis of cancer. This comes just a few years after her husband, Peter, battled a cancerous tumor in his leg. As Caroline faces her own battle now, with stage 3 breast cancer, there are concerns that Peter's cancer may have returned.

This beautiful pro-life family with five children and, baby number six getting close to third trimester, belongs to Assumption Grotto and is known to many of us. They have a loving, supportive family network. But, as you can imagine, financial needs are many.

You can use the GoFund Me account set up by Caroline's aunt OR you can give money to the family directly if you know them. Others who do not know them, please check back tonight or tomorrow and I will update this post with an alternate place to send checks so the family gets the money directly if that pans through.

Most of all, pray for this family.

Fr. Perrone on Pentecost, the interior work of the Spirit, and Archbishop Vigneron's prayer request

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, May 24, 2015): 
The ‘fiftieth day’ is the meaning of Pentecost, the countdown for which began at Easter. This feast bears a relation to the day of Christ’s resurrection somewhat in the way that Epiphany bears to Christmas. The light that shone from the risen Savior’s body on Easter falls today upon Christ’s mystical body, that is, upon His Church. Easter was the day for catechumens to receive the sacrament of Baptism; today is the day that marked the coming of the Holy Spirit given in Confirmation. 

It is commonly said that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Our Lord promised that we would not be orphaned after His ascension because He would send the Holy Spirit to carry on His work in the Church. He would be the ‘soul’ of that body in the sense that He would give it life, both in its corporate totality as well as in the individuality of each member of the Church. Without the coming of the Holy Spirit sanctity cannot be possible, nor would the actions of the Church have any effectiveness. This means that sins would not be forgiven in confession and absolution without the Holy Spirit since our Lord breathed Him upon the apostles that they might have the power to forgive men’s sins. It means that the grace of preaching God’s word would not have its penetrating power to touch men’s souls for their conversion (an actual grace) unless the Holy Spirit would speak through the words of those preaching the truth of Christ. It also means that the Mass would be a powerless ceremony unless the Spirit would effect the change from bread and wine into the Lord’s body and blood in the sacrificial act of the Mass. 

The prayer of the Church on this day is that the Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful. The idea here is a plenitude of grace, a perfecting of divine life. The Holy Ghost stirs up grace and activates His gifts in us to move us on towards the fullness of sanctity. (Note that His gifts are given to every Christian and are not the exclusive reserve of certain frantic enthusiasts who claim to have received specialized powers from Him.) 

I also call your attention to the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Pentecost day since it was not by chance that She was in the company of the apostles. The first descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin Mary resulted in the incarnation of Christ, that is, in the Son of God taking on human flesh through Her. In this second descent of Pentecost She is there again, this time as the Mother of the Church, Her Son’s mystical body. It is a new fertility of the Holy Spirit which gives this birth to the Church; notice how it, like the incarnation, also involves Holy Mary. 

We need to be discerning of the interior manner of the Holy Spirit’s working in our souls, and not be caught up, let alone confused, by the hype that’s often attributed to the Holy Spirit whose very name–Spirit, Ghost–indicates His invisibility. The outward signs of His coming on Pentecost–the wind, the tongues of flame, the gift of languages–are only indicators of His invisible presence. His operation in us, though divinely potent, is aptly expressed in peacefulness and quiet, mildness, humility, chastity and in charity. This, again, is quite other than the hoopla often attributed to Him nowadays. The infused gifts of the Holy Spirit received at baptism and confirmation will lead us to the height of sanctity unless we should impede their operation (which, alas, we may do all too often on account of our sins). 

Archbishop Vigneron has asked us to pray with him for the work of evangelization in the archdiocese. We need to pray that there will be souls converted to the faith of Christ in all its fullness. This is not the mere work of men’s talking, but of God. It’s not really a “new Pentecost” that is needed but the original one extended in our day. Let us ask Holy Mary to join us in prayer for this work of growth to the body of Christ’s Church of which She is the Mother.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News -

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (May 24, 2015):
Extraordinary Faith Episode 4: Chicago Part 1 of 2

Episode 4 of Extraordinary Faith – Chicago Part 1 of 2 – will be televised on EWTN on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 3:00 AM and 6:30 PM Eastern time. Filmed during the December, 2013 Christmas bus tour of historic churches in Chicago, this episode features not only Chicago’s well-known beautiful architecture, but also some familiar faces from our metro Detroit and Windsor Latin Mass scene:

Prayer Pilgrimages organizer and St. Joseph Church Music Director Michael Semaan opens the episode with a discussion of the goals of his bus tour operation. Windsor Latin Mass stalwarts and Prayer Pilgrimages frequent travelers Ted & Teresa Jankowski testify to the value of integrating the Church’s historic liturgy with visits to these lovely historic churches.

Archdiocese of Detroit roving Tridentine Mass celebrant Fr. Charles White gives newcomers to the Extraordinary Form tips on how to get acclimated to the classic liturgy.

With hundreds of thousands of sales to her credit, Mary Kraychy, the Chicago-based publisher of the ubiquitous Red Latin/English Missals, explains the history of the project.

Fr. Hilary Mahaney, Pastor Emeritus of Chicago’s St. Mary of the Angels Church, explains how this once-closed edifice has been restored to immaculate, stunning condition. We have many times written about this breathtaking building that should be on everyone’s list of churches to visit; now you can take a look inside and see snippets of the Tridentine Mass that Fr. White celebrated there during the bus tour [pictured].

Archdiocese of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, one of the world’s most energetic episcopal advocates of the Extraordinary Form, shares his reasons for supporting the classic Roman Rite.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store? A preview of Episode 4 will be posted to by June 1.

St. Albertus Mass Rescheduled for June 14

The long-awaited next Tridentine Mass at St. Albertus Church has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 14 at 12:00 Noon. The celebrant will be Fr. Mark Borkowski. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as St. Albertus has battled a failed boiler during the cold months and more recently faced a priest scheduling challenge. All should be well going forward, as St. Albertus leaders and our celebrants have agreed to let priest availability determine dates of future Masses. Please make an effort to show your support for the continuation of Tridentine Masses at St. Albertus by attending this upcoming Holy Mass.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 05/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Pentecost Monday)
  • Tue. 05/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Pentecost Tuesday)
  • Fri. 05/29 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Anthony, Temperance, Michigan (Ember Friday of Pentecost) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 24, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Moving photos of Chinese underground church

Maureen Mullarkey is probably best know for her acerbic brilliance, her insights and cutting remarks about Church politics. A great example would be her most recent analysis of two of the Pope's historical associates, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríquez Maradiaga and Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández of Argentina, by means of one of Aesop's Fables, "Birds of a feather flock together," and alternately, "You are known by the company you keep."

But as a son of Protestant missionaries in China during the Marxist Revolution, what caught my eye was her recent piece on Lu Nan, China’s foremost documentary photographer. According to Lu Nan, publicity is meaningless for an artist: "If the pictures are good, it doesn’t matter who took them, and if the pictures are not good, it also doesn’t matter who took them." Fair enough.

But these pictures are not only taken in by the eye, but by the viscera. They are, some of them, gut wrenching. They are pictures of inmates in mental hospitals, prisoners, and -- most significantly -- Chinese Christians in the underground church. These are pictures you don't generally see in the news or public media. They are moving beyond words, although I cannot say to what extent this is so for me because of the black-and-white photographs I still have from my parents' days in China back before most of you were born. Anyway, here are a couple:

Lu Nan. Yunnan Province (1993). The funeral of a Tibetan Catholic girl, 4 years old, who had died of a sudden illness. This village is located in the heart of the mountains, and it takes two and a half days to reach the nearest hospital. Children with an illness cannot often get cured, and on average, one or two die very young each year.

Lu Nan. Shaanxi Province (1995). Mass is offered in a Catholic's home in a village with no local church. Mass in a family house is officially prohibited by the government. But “unofficial churches” take the risk.

It's a bit surprising to learn that there are entire villages in remote parts of China's interior and Tibet that are Catholic. Pray for these good folk. We shouldn't think that their lot in life could never be our own.

In the meantime, have a closer look at the photos for yourself HERE.

[Hat tip to JM]

Tridentine Masses coming to metro Detroit and east Michigan this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, May 23, 2015

American money buys Irish referendum

Incredible: Atlantic Philanthropies has been pouring millions of dollars into Ireland over the past 12 years, and in recent years conspired to hijack the Irish referendum in favor of same-sex so-called "marriage" -- an undertaking whose illegality is surpassed only by its abysmal immorality.

A good discussion with interviews here: "Mic'd Up -- Marriage Showdown in Ireland" (Church Militant, May 20, 2015).

Why do traditionally Catholic people, like the Irish, abandon their religion?

The underground sleuth we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir -- Private Eye, recently sent me another carrier pigeon message calling my attention the the following comment by Savonarola attached to a post (also good) entitled, "On Saints and Scholars" (That the bones you have crushed may thrill, May 21, 2015). The discussion is about, among other things, the recent moral and spiritual collapse of Ireland and, more generally, why traditionally Catholic cultures are abandoning their religious commitments so suddenly. Has an archeological dig confirmed the bones of Jesus in a grave in the Holy Land? Has some new scientific discovery invalidated the historical claims of the Faith? Is it something in the cool aid? Of course not.

This is a very uncomfortable subject for many Catholics, but one they need to examine. Here's what Savanorola says. Think about it. I'm not saying that he's right about everything, but he raises some terrific questions. They should provoke some deep thought.
Rather than seeking scapegoats to blame, one might perhaps try to understand in a more realistic way why Catholicism in Ireland has collapsed so quickly. How deeply rooted was the Catholic culture really in days gone by? What was there about it which made it into a house of cards which one gentle push would topple over?

Similar questions arise over the well established Catholic culture of Poland. As soon as they started to receive the benefits of Western consumerism, their Catholic culture was the first thing many Polish people jettisoned. Why? And the benefits were not even things worth having. Unless we make a serious attempt to understand why people abandon their religion, we can only expect the decline to continue, but I think people in the Church are reluctant to question too far or deeply because they fear what it may show up - not about people, but the about the Church. One thing we might consider is whether or not the Church over the centuries has placed most of its emphasis on the externals of religion - doctrines, rituals, moral codes, practices which create a tribal identity - rather than on the simple knowing of God which should be the heart of religion. And this is not to blame anyone, but to acknowledge honestly what has happened in order to move on.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sacrosanctum Concilium's lost footnotes confirm "hermeneutic of continuity"?

This is essentially the claim made by Susan J. Benofy in the most recent issue of Adoremus Bulletin (Spring, 2015) in two related articles, both in the same PDF file linked in each title below:The Five Vatican Liturgy Documents whose citations were removed are:
  • Tra le sollecitudini (1903), a Motu Proprio by Pope Pius X
  • Divini cultus (1929), an Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius XI
  • Mediator Dei (1947), an Encyclical by Pope Pius XII
  • Musicae sacrae disciplina (1956), an Encyclical by Pope Pius XII
  • De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (1958), an Instruction released by the Sacred Congregation of Rites under Pope Pius XII
Two pertinent questions that come to mind are: (1) Is going back to the beginning of the 20th Century sufficient for establishing a hermeneutic of continuity? (2) Does establishing a hermeneutic of continuity not require a hermeneutic for understanding how later documents interpret and apply earlier ones?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fr. Perrone on church maintenance, Pentecost, God's grace, and why we can't have a strong Church and heroic saints without moral discipline

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, May 17, 2015):
The campus of Assumption Grotto parish is of considerable size. It comprises church, rectory, school, convent, cemetery and its chapel, garage and storage spaces, parking lot, and others grounds. It’s a lot to maintain, especially in view of its age and size. Responsibility for the work of upkeep falls to Don, our full-time maintenance man, and to another part-time employee, Henry, who has been working while taking up his college course of study. Now that Henry must move on to full-time employment, we have a job opening that I’d first hold out to an interested parishioner. If there is a man interested in this job, he should contact me very soon so that we can continue to keep an even tempo (pardon the musical expression) in our plant maintenance. Lacking such a one, I will seek outside help to fill this position.

Next Sunday will be Pentecost. By the grace of the Holy Ghost, rather timid and common men became apostles of Christ and heroic missionaries, even unto their martyrdom. They had been amply prepared for this work through their close association with our Lord who instructed them with divine wisdom and made them privileged witnesses to His deeds. Reading the Gospels, one can’t fail to notice certain signs that proved them ill-prepared for apostleship. It’s one thing to be educated, to be schooled. It’s another to have the practical virtues needed for the work which was the object of preparatory training. And so, after Christ has ascended into heaven, with the apostles bereft of their Master’s visible presence but commanded by Him to evangelize the world, many essential prerequisites were lacking to them. In modern terms, they needed to assimilate all they had come to know of Christ’s work; they needed to memorize His words and comprehend the meaning of His actions. They may have had the enthusiasm of any new man for trying out his newly acquired knowledge, but they would have lacked the needed graces to face bravely the inevitable hardships of their mission. They lacked the courageousness, the fortitude which the Holy Spirit alone could impart to them. There were also at least one practical ability missing in their training: mastery of the world’s languages. Even more important, the things for which Christ had made them His representatives, their sacramental powers and other special abilities needed to convince the world to believe in Christ for salvation, were in them in an inchoate, rudimentary way. Accordingly, for nine days the apostles gathered together with their spiritual Mother, to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon them to supply what was yet needed to accomplish their mission.

One should not think however that the graces and other gifts endowed upon the apostles required nothing further on their part. God’s working with human nature does not seize human potential so that no human cooperation is necessary. God’s work of grace is an enhancing and perfecting of human capabilities. And so, to the point, the apostles needed to put their human efforts and human talents at the disposition of their apostolic work as well as the gifts imparted to them by the Holy Ghost.

Here I wish to make application to our situation in the Church, both for the clergy (especially) and for our laity (by extension). The Church is a divine institution, as we believe. Christ gave it all that was necessary to save men’s souls, including the deputation of priestly ministers to preach, teach and make the sacraments. These supernatural abilities are received in the souls of priests whose natural training in virtue makes them relatively capable of putting them into effective practice. Where the human receptacles are unfit, grace–aside from a miraculous transformation–will accomplish its purposes with so much less efficacy. More simply put, if we do not have good men who have been trained in virtue by a good moral upbringing, we will not have good priests. The same rule applies by extension to the lay people in the Church. Without good morals we will have bad Catholics....

The sad state of affairs in the Church today cannot be faulted to the inadequacy of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but only to lacking in moral virtues. We won’t have, we can’t have good priests and strong laity without the cultivation of virtue. Essentially lacking today is that courage which comes only from persistent, willful denial to personal sinful tendencies–moral training, in a word. The point: Don’t wait for a “magic” grace to change you into a good Christian. You will win the way to heaven only through the narrow way, only by the “sword” of unstinting self-denial. God’s grace does precede these efforts and it will help them along, but there can be no substitute for moral discipline.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News - Dn Jacob VanAssche to be ordained, eliminating EF liturgical abuses, Mass schedule

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (May 17, 2015):
Deacon Jacob VanAssche to be Ordained Priest

Deacon Jacob VanAssche, originally from St. Stephen Parish in New Boston, Michigan, will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Detroit next Saturday, May 23 at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Jake has been a familiar face at Tridentine Masses around the region, having served as Subdeacon at Solemn High Masses. His home parish occasionally celebrates the Extraordinary Form as well. Please pray for Deacon Jake as he embarks upon this most important step in his vocation.

Liturgical Faithfulness

Many if not most people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass come for one or two driving reasons: 1) They appreciate the solemnity and reverence of the Tridentine Mass, and 2) They dislike, perhaps even intensely, the informality and abuses present in so many Ordinary Form liturgies.

Rightfully do so many adherents of the Tridentine Mass point out the disregard for liturgical decorum found at so many parishes. Such practices are in violation of norms restated in a seemingly endless flow of Vatican documents from the past four decades. However, it is time that we recognize a growing and frankly disturbing trend in Extraordinary Form Masses: Disregard for the rubrics of our own Missal.

It used to be the case that the average Extraordinary Form Mass was done with careful attention to the rubrics. Pre-2007, pre-Summórum Pontíficum, when there were around half as many Tridentine Mass sites in North America as there are today, the Traditional Mass was a more precious commodity. Perhaps because of the delicate political maneuvering that used to be required to establish a Mass site back then, departures from liturgical standards seemed rarer. Paradoxically and to this writer’s thinking, inexplicably, in today’s era when the number of instructional books and materials about the Old Mass has blossomed, it seems that more and more abuses are creeping into many Tridentine Mass sites.

Every official document issued by the Vatican since 1984, when the Tridentine Mass was re-introduced to the worldwide Church, has been clear that the 1962 Missal was to be followed, with certain minimal updates specified since then, such as the new Good Friday Prayer for the Jews. Nowhere was it permitted for pre-’62 Missals, rubrics, or calendars to be used. To our knowledge no exceptions to this rule have been doled out to any religious order, society of priests, or monastery, therefore no one may deviate from this norm.

The Confíteor before Holy Communion is not in the 1962 Missal. In the 2007 Protocol 141/2004, the Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei wrote: “The people’s communion should not be preceded by the recitation of the Confíteor and the accompanying prayers. Priests who wish to continue to follow this practice should be informed that this is not in conformity with the rubrics laid down by Blessed Pope John XXIII and that this practice should be discontinued.”

The one scholarly, universally accepted, and continually updated guide to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form for the English speaking world is Fortescue, O’Connell, & Reid’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, currently in its 15th edition published in 2009. Similar but older guides to the liturgy have been superseded by this book and therefore cannot be considered primary references. The book provides clarity on a number of subjects. For example, the celebrant is not to be incensed after the Gospel in a Missa Cantata, the Sung Mass without Deacon or Subdeacon. Further, torchbearers are to remain in place from after the Sanctus till after the tabernacle is closed after Holy Communion; there is no provision for any of them to accompany the celebrant to the Communion Rail.

If we are so quick to criticize abuses in the Ordinary Form – and every Catholic does have the right to properly celebrated liturgy – then we had better use our liturgical knowledge and skills to offer the most faithfully celebrated Extraordinary Form Masses according to the 1962 rubrics. If we do not, we’re nothing more than hypocrites. Liturgy cannot be what we “like”; it must be what the Church wants and specifies.

Lest anyone think this is a self-righteous position to take, it is also important to acknowledge that virtually no site celebrates the Tridentine Mass 100% perfectly according to the rubrics. However, the deviations one sees may well be attributable to circumstance, not preference. For example, if a church insists that oil candles be used at the altar, despite the rubrics specifying beeswax candles, or if safety dictates that processional candles be extinguished during Mass lest they risk catching something on fire, or if a celebrant absolutely refuses to wear a maniple, we have to do what we have to do to make the Mass go on. This is an entirely different matter than choosing to do other than what the rubrics and accepted references specify without a suitable justifying reason.

Let us be obedient to the norms which Holy Mother Church and her internationally recognized experts set before us. We can assure our readers that Masses of the Oakland County Latin Mass Association and the St. Benedict Tridentine Community strive to be as faithful as possible to liturgical standards.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 05/18 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Venantius, Martyr)
  • Tue. 05/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Peter Celestine, Pope & Confessor)
  • Wed. 05/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Bernardine of Siena, Confessor) [20th Anniversary of Ordination of Fr. Robert Marczewski – Reception follows Mass in the Social Hall]
  • Sun. 05/24 12:00 Noon: High Mass at Our Lady of the Scapular, Wyandotte (Pentecost Sunday)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 17, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]