Sunday, April 19, 2015


I know many hard nosed orthodox Catholics have gotten those noses out of joint over the unexpected conclusion of the investigation of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) and the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). They beleive the LCWR won. But is it right to cast this conclusion in terms of the LCWR winning or the CDF winning? Can't we just say a savvy pope helped the Church to win.

I like this article from Catholic World Report. It is unlike the more strident articles I have read on this topic. Read it and enjoy:

The various "LCWR vs. The Vatican" news stories have misunderstood or misrepresented many of the basic facts
Ann Carey

Pope Francis meets with representatives of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious in his library in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 16. The same day the Vatican announced the conclusion of a seven-year process of investigation and dialogue with the group to ensure fidelity to church teachings. The outcome resulted in revised statues approved by the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

A French journalist I know called me for help on an article she was writing about the reform plan for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) accepted April 16 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

She said she was confused by all the articles on the topic in the U.S. press and wanted to ask me “Who really won? The sisters or the Vatican?”

At first I was stunned by this win-lose terminology, and I wondered why she would have considered the doctrinal reform of a canonically-erected entity to be a conflict of some kind, with the outcome producing a winner and a loser.

My own impression of the outcome was that everyone won because the CDF had helped the LCWR to be a better organization for sisters by refocusing its role to be “centered on Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church,” according to the final report.

Then I took time to read several media stories on the topic and discovered that some of the articles made it sound as if the CDF’s reform of the LCWR indeed was adversarial, akin to “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” or a new “Star Wars” sequel.

Consider, for example, this headline from the April 16 New York Times: “Vatican Ends Battle With U.S. Catholic Nuns’ Group.” Writer Laurie Goodstein then went on to use such inflammatory language as “confrontation,” “vexing and unjust inquisition” and “standoff.”

Several other articles used similar language, saying the reform effort was a “takeover” of the group, and some simply declared that the sisters had won a battle with the Vatican. Miriam Krule writing for Slate called the reform agreement a “victory and vindication for LCWR.”

It seems as if some writers simply shaped the outcome to reflect their own hopes and expectations. No wonder my French friend was confused.

Adding to her confusion were articles that contained downright incorrect information on the topic, making me wonder if the writers had actually read the CDF-LCWR joint final report. Perhaps accurate research is just not their thing.

For example, several articles reported that the reform was ended “abruptly” or “early,” an indication that the Holy See just wanted to be done with the matter. “The review was supposed to run until 2017,” declared the April 16 International Business Times. The Associated Press and Jesuit Father James Martin writing at America made the same claim, while St. Louis Public Radio insisted the reform “was set up as a four-year investigation.”

Had those writers done their homework and actually read the CDF 2012 mandate, they would have seen this sentence: “The mandate of the Delegate will be for a period of up to five years, as deemed necessary” (emphasis added). Thus, if the LCWR had accepted the reforms readily, the process could have been concluded in weeks instead of years. The five-year time frame was set to avoid endless dialogue, a method of dealing with church officials that LCWR officials have used for years.

It should be noted that most of the articles criticizing the reform never bothered to quote at length the joint CDF-LCWR final report or accompanying press release. To do so would have disproven many of their claims, so some writers simply cherry-picked or distorted passages or used partial quotes to convey a meaning quite opposite the speaker’s intention.

For example, Elizabeth Whitman writing for the International Business Times glibly reported that CDF Prefect, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said his office was "confident that LCWR has made clear its mission to support its member institutes." The writer left off the rest of the prefect’s sentence and paragraph, which continued: “by fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church. It is this vision that makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.”

Over at Religion News Service, writer David Gibson creatively selected the prefect’s above words to praise the LCWR: “Mueller said he was confident that the mission of the nuns ‘is rooted in the Tradition of the Church’ and that they are ‘essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.’”

If I were still an English teacher, I would have Gibson diagram the prefect’s sentences so that he could see the cardinal said it is the proper vision of religious life that is rooted in the tradition of the church—not the LCWR mission—and it is that proper vision which is essential for the flourishing of religious life—not the LCWR sisters.

Religion News Service even assigned a score to the CDF reform of LCWR in its headline “Nuns 1, Cardinal Müller 0.”

Adding to the misinformation is the creative speculation about the role of Pope Francis in bringing the LCWR reform to a conclusion, with several writers proclaiming that his emphasis on mercy precludes any correction of dissent. The New York Times article declared that “Francis has shown in his two-year papacy that he is less interested in having the church police doctrinal boundaries than in demonstrating mercy and love for the poor and vulnerable.”

I didn’t know that doctrinal integrity was incompatible with mercy and love, and I don’t think Pope Francis believes this either, for he has stood strong on doctrinal matters while modeling mercy and love.

It also is amusing to read the speculation about the LCWR audience with Pope Francis, for the Vatican has issued no information about what was discussed, and the LCWR news release about the meeting does not even mention the CDF reform of the organization. Rather, the LCWR reported that the papal audience “centered on Evangelii gaudium, the pope’s apostolic exhortation.”

Yet, some writers speculated that the pope had apologized to the LCWR at the audience. The New York Times quoted theologian Eileen Burke-Sullivan saying the papal audience was “about as close to an apology, I would think, as the Catholic Church is officially going to render.”

If Ms. Burke-Sullivan had been paying attention, she would have known that the LCWR had asked Pope Francis for an audience during the reform process, and some sisters had not been shy about expressing their hope the new pope would reverse the decision of his predecessor to approve the CDF reform.

Mark Silk, also writing for Religion News Service in a blog strangely titled “Spiritual Politics” got the quote right, but characterized it this way: “Müller purred his approval.” Silk went on to write it is “perhaps significant” that the cardinal’s address from last year telling the LCWR leaders to heed the reform “is no longer to be found on the CDF website,” and he provided an erroneous link to prove his point.

I hope Prof. Silk won’t be too embarrassed to learn that Cardinal Müller’s full address is still on the Vatican website here, and there is no evidence that he has backed away from what he told the LCWR in 2014: “The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life.”

However, Francis had told the CDF to continue the reform, and he did not grant an audience with LCWR until an hour or so after the CDF accepted the terms of the LCWR reform. If Pope Francis had not approved the LCWR reform, he could have stopped it the day he was elected.

I think the confusion of my French journalist friend can be cleared up simply by carefully reading the primary documents involved—the CDF-LCWR joint final report and its accompanying press release, and the 2012 CDF mandate of reform.

It’s too bad so many journalists in this country did not do so before writing their articles.


What I love about the EF Requiem is that the priest and congregation must do this funeral rite as the Church gives it. There are no choices. The Propers must be chanted. The readings are the same, no choices and the Dies Irae is included as a Sequence.  Everyone from kings to peasants got the same Requiem Mass, Low, High, or Solemn High, depending on the capabilities of the parish.

There was/is no place for a banal eulogy given by anyone. (I suspect this could be done outside of the liturgical situation at the wake held at home or in a funeral home, though.)

Not so with the Ordinary Form of the Mass of Christian Burial as it is now called and of course is a misnomer as so many now choose cremation and there is no Rite of Committal or burial if the family so chooses to do something else with the remains like scatter, share or otherwise neglect.

There are choices galore for music, prayers, readings and the opportunity for a eulogy or two. I've heard that family members in giving these so-called eulogies at the end of Mass have touched on such important elements of the deceased person's life, such as drinking, sexual prowess and the like--truly uplifting in a Catholic Church! Often the eulogies by laity eclipse the homily in length by 40 minutes or more.

But I digress. In the United Kingdom, a newspaper called The Independent has an article on funeral rites. It doesn't mention the name of any churches in the article.

It tells us that Frank Sinatra's song, "I Did It my Way" which was the #1 funeral song in England (and what has been happily termed by some in the Church as the theme song of hell) has been knocked off its pedestal to become second to Monty Python's "Always look on the Bright Side of Life."  

But secular trends in funerals have an impact on religious rites too. So I suspect much of this is happening in the churches there, both Catholic and Anglican and otherwise.

I know that I get requests for secular songs at Catholic Funeral Masses. I say no! But I know many priests who think they must give into the demands of those who are buying Catholic funerals as though the Church is Walmart and they are customer service.

Monty Python's 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' named most popular funeral song

The tune knocked Frank Sinatra's 'I Did It My Way' off the top spot

People are choosing to make their final farewell an upbeat affair, as Monty Python’s "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" has been named the most popular song played at funerals.
A study by The Co-operative Funeralcare found that the tune has superseded Frank Sinatra’s "I Did It My Way" for the first time in a decade.

Meanwhile, traditional hymns, football anthems and classic pop songs continue to top the list of the “funeral music chart”, with "The Lord is My Shepherd", the Match of the Day theme tune and Robbie Williams’ "Angels" featuring in the top 10.

A study of songs played at 30,000 funerals showed that Elvis Presley is the most requested solo singer, while the most popular group is Queen with requested tracks including "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "Don’t Stop Me Now".

Additionally,an increasing number of songs written by the deceased are being played.

David Collingwood, operations director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “We think we may be seeing a generational shift in attitudes towards funerals, and the choice of music being requested.

"Music plays such an important part in people's lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing. Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, which can be reflected in the choice of music, dress, coffin, flowers, hearses or memorials."

The top 10 funeral songs 

1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Eric Idle , from Monty Python's 1983 film Meaning of Life
2. The Lord is My Shepherd - Psalm
3. Abide with Me
4. Match of the Day theme
5. My Way - Frank Sinatra
6. All Things Bright and Beautiful
7. Angels - Robbie Williams
8. Enigma Variations - Nimrod Elgar
9. You'll Never Walk Alone  - Gerry and the Pacemakers (adopted by fans of Liverpool FC, and Celtic)
10. Cricket Theme / Soul Limbo  - Test Match TV Theme/Booker T. & the MG's

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I saw this at Fr. Z's blog. The Ordinary Form of the Mass being celebrated on the hood of a jeep! A Catholic Mass being conducted by a Chaplain in Makin Islands, Kirabati during World War II. Despite all the goings on in the background, with troops and tanks and the like passing by, please note how focused and participative the congregation is during this Ordinary Form of the Mass!



His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago died yesterday. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

He wrote this not too long ago. Was His Eminence engaging us in the art of exaggeration (hyperbole) in order to catch our attention or was his warning something Archbishop Blase Cupich should take seriously and will happen to him and his successors?  I opine, you react.

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”


What Bob Barker did best on the Price is Right is to react to his contestants and really make the show funny. He knew how to tease his contestants. Drew Carey does a good job but he's just not as funny as Bob and doesn't know how to react in a funny, teasing way to his contestants.

This was the first game of the show just two weeks ago, April 1st, 2015:

Friday, April 17, 2015


In my previous post about California, I opined that Archbishop Cordileone is being crucified by post-Catholics (actually Episcopalians in disguise) over his demand that those who work for the Catholic Church and her institutions model a sexual morality consistent with what the Catholic Church actually teaches all based upon Scripture, Tradition and the "n" word, Natural Law.

The Archbishop is being crucified and castigated by the cultural elites of his San Francisco diocese who long ago abandoned the Catholic Faith in favor of social relativism and the Church of the Media and Government.

It is good to have some Archbishops being martyred for upholding the moral law of the Catholic Church even symbolically by post-Catholics and those who hate Jesus and His Church. Upholding the 6th Commandment and all that is implied by it as taught by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and demanding that Church employees do so also is not a novel sort of thing or is it in the post-Vatican II era?

It is good too that Pope Francis faces the very same thing, not with the 6th Commandment having to do with all things sexual, but with the 5th Commandment, Thou Shalt not Kill, and all that this Commandment implies as taught by the Catholic Church's Catechism.

This is from the blog Chiesa by Sandro Magister:

A First for Francis. With the Ottoman Enemy

In two years as pope, he had never been attacked so harshly as he is now by Turkey, [as the Archbishop of San Francisco is being attacked by Catholics for upholding the moral law]
for his denunciation of the Armenian genocide. A turning point in the pontificate
by Sandro Magister

ROME, April 17, 2015 - The first true “causus belli” that has broken the spell of a universally revered and praised pontificate has erupted on account of a century-old massacre, which Pope Francis has had the boldness to call by name, the taboo name of “genocide,” and to equate with all the other systematic, planned annihilations of peoples and religions that have marked the twentieth century and now also the present century.

It is difficult to deny that this marks a turning point in the pontificate. Because only a few months ago, at the end of November, Francis was in Turkey and didn't say a word about the Armenians.

To those who asked him why, he had replied that he was more interested in small steps, like those taken a year before by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a letter of condolence. In reality that letter, pure denial behind a bit of smoke, did nothing to console the Armenians, but embittered them all the more.

But Erdogan had asked the pope not to talk about the genocide, and Francis respected the request.

Vatican diplomacy breathed a sigh of relief. All in all, only about twenty countries in the world explicitly call the extermination of the Armenian Christians genocide. And they do so with all due caution in order not to irritate an ally, real or potential, that seems crucial to them.

But when on his schedule Pope Francis made the Sunday after Easter in 2015 a commemoration at St. Peter's of the hundredth anniversary of the massacre of the Armenians, a new approach was in the works.

How could Francis say less than what his predecessors had said?

Back on November 9 of 2000 John Paul II had already called that tragedy a genocide, and then again on September 27, 2001, in two solemn statements signed together with “catholicos” Karekin II, the first in Rome and the second in the capital of Armenia, where he had gone while the world was reeling from the destruction of the Twin Towers.

More than that, on the same journey pope Karol Wojtyla visited the memorial of the extermination and made a heartfelt prayer in which he called it what the Armenians call it: “Metz Yeghérn,” the great evil.

Back then as well these were taboo words, but the Turkish authorities reacted with moderation. Erdogan had not yet come to power with his combative neo-Islamism, and it was the peak of Turkey’s interest in joining the European community, in which the Armenian incident was an obstacle.

Benedict XVI as well, in receiving the patriarch of the Armenian Catholics on March 20, 2006, evoked the "Metz Yeghérn” without prompting any reactions, which however would explode vociferously against him a few months later in Regensburg when he unveiled the violent roots of the Muslim religion.

Last Sunday Pope Francis could have said as little as possible. Instead, and this is what is new, he went further, and by far.

Not only did he put the genocide of the Armenians at the head of the other genocides of the past century, but he listed them one by one, down to the ones that are still being carried out today to the harm of many who are “persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated for the sole fact of being Christian,” whether they be Catholic or Orthodox, Syriac, Assyrian, Chaldean, Greek. Like one hundred years ago, he said, “it seems that humanity is not able to cease from shedding innocent blood.”

Virulent reactions from the Turks, waffling from Western politicians. For Francis the peace and quiet is over.


Update: Pope Francis throws his moral support behind Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone who is experiencing humiliation and calls to resign for upholding Catholic Moral law and not evacuating it:

"And this is the sanctity of the Church, this joy that humiliation gives, not because humiliation is beautiful, no, that would be masochism, no: it is because with that humiliation, you imitate Jesus. Two attitudes: that of closing what brings you to hatred, to wrath, to want to kill others; and that of being open to God on the path of Jesus, that makes us accept humiliations, even very serious humiliations, with that interior joy that makes you of being on the path set out by Jesus."
The press, Catholic and otherwise, is comparing the new Bishop of San Diego, Bishop  Robert McElroy, who was the Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, to the current Archbishop of San Francisco who is  Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

At his recent installation as San Diego's new bishop, Bishop McElroy highlighted Pope Francis’ call for mercy in the Church, saying that mercy “does not mean evacuating the moral law of its substance,” but instead emulating Jesus’ encounters with the marginalized in the Gospels.
“First embracing them with love and mercy, then healing their wounds, and only then proclaiming the moral law of reform,” he said.

From the pastoral perspective and in one-to-one meetings with people, either in Confession, spiritual direction or simply pastoral counseling, I would agree that the Church, which usually means pastoral ministers and especially bishops, priests and deacons, should embrace people first with love and mercy and strive to allow God's grace to heal their wounds.

I also agree that mercy "does not mean evacuating the moral law of its substance." 

I have to wonder also, if it wasn't this ideology of mercy, that cause the abuse crisis scandal in the Church where bishops first embraced abusing priests with love and mercy to heal their wounds and only then, after having placed them in parish after parish where they abused child after child, proclaimed the moral law of reform?  Are we in the 1970's again when it comes to mercy and the moral law and that has led to the collapse of Catholic moral authority?

Yet, Bishop McElroy, unless his head is buried in the sand and having been the Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, certainly he didn't do that, must know that when it comes to sexual morals, there are those in the Church that oppose the Church's moral law and want to evacuate it completely, especially the elitists in the Church, not those who are poor and live on the periphery of society. Homosexuals are some of the richest people in the world.

And thus about 400 miles up the road in Bishop McElroy's former diocese of San Francisco, about 100 elitist Catholics, many of them quite rich and influential, many of them academics, are asking Pope Francis to remove their Archbishop Cordileone from his post.

Why? Because the good Archbishop won't evacuate the moral law and speaks prophetically about upholding it. I have no doubt that in one-to-one encounters with sinners of all stripes, the good Archbishop is merciful and gives them the awful tasting medicine of mercy that can lead to authentic healing and wholeness and ultimately eternal salvation. It might mean, though, the amputation of immoral habits!

One commentator on the goings on in San Francisco opined: "So, a bunch of San Francisco elitists have gone all Henry II: "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?". I'm sure the Archbishop will be glad to know he is now seen as in the same company as St. Thomas a Becket.

And this is what Pope Francis said about Archbishop Cordileone (not by name, but by implication of the words of the Holy Father) just this morning at the Mass at the Chapel of the place of his residence, the Vatican Motel 6:

And this is the sanctity of the Church, this joy that humiliation gives, not because humiliation is beautiful, no, that would be masochism, no: it is because with that humiliation, you imitate Jesus. Two attitudes: that of closing what brings you to hatred, to wrath, to want to kill others; and that of being open to God on the path of Jesus, that makes us accept humiliations, even very serious humiliations, with that interior joy that makes you of being on the path set out by Jesus. 

This is what the Associate Press reported:

SAN FRANCISCO — Some San Francisco Bay Area Catholics have gone public with their complaints about their archbishop.

KNTV reported Thursday that more than 100 Catholics signed a full-page newspaper advertisement asking Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
Many disagree with, and are upset by, the way Cordileone has enforced traditional Catholic teaching.
The archbishop caused dismay among teachers, students, parents, and the public earlier this year when he introduced morality clauses into four Catholic high school handbooks as well as teacher labor contracts.

The language said that using contraception is a sin, and that sex outside of marriage, whether it is in the form of adultery, masturbation, pornography, or gay sex, is “gravely evil.”
Of particular concern to some faculty was the prospect of punishment for behavior done behind closed doors, although Cordileone later said he had no intention of invading teachers’ privacy.
The archdiocese also adopted a strategy being used by other Catholic dioceses and organizations: Reclassifying teachers and employees as “ministers,” in part to stop successful lawsuits from employees terminated because of morality issues.

Cordileone later dropped the “ministers” designation and asked a committee to help him reword the guidelines to provide better clarity.

Among those who signed the newspaper petition are former political consultant and San Francisco mayoral candidate Clint Reilly and his wife Janet.
In response, the archdiocese argued that the ad, published in Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle, does not reflect the city’s entire Catholic community.

“The advertisement is a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop. The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco.’ They do not.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Happy birthday to Pope Benedict on his 88th birthday today. I suspect a good brew has kept him healthy and happy in emeritushood!
Not related other than a nice photo of Pope Francis wearing a very nice cope on Palm Sunday:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


As you know I celebrate both forms of the one Roman Rite. It gives me unique insights into the spirituality of both.

Also, as you know, our 12:10 PM Ordinary Form sung Mass is celebrated "ad orientem" for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As well, at this Mass only, the laity are invited to use the full length of our newly restored altar railing, with the option for those who desire, to kneel. On their own accord, 99.9% kneel; maybe more than 50% receive in the hand while kneeling. Even receiving in the hand looks more reverent and communicants do not get up and leave prior to placing the Sacred Host in their mouth and pausing briefly in prayer and a "Sign of the Cross."

As I have mentioned before, this method of distributing Holy Communion is more of  a workout for the priest and Holy Communion takes less time with two distributing at the railing compared to four stations which don't move. At the railing, it is  slower for the laity, most of whom must wait for the priest or deacon to approach them. It is less rushed for the laity in other words.

But I'd like to focus on the Liturgy of the Eucharist for the EF and OF Masses both of which are celebrated "ad orientem." What are the blessings that come from both and how does the OF's Liturgy of the Eucharist compared to what Vatican II desired in terms of simplicity and intelligibility for the laity?

Of course we know that the EF is in Latin and has a more complex offertory rite which is prayed quietly. The OF has a simplified offertory rite and may be prayed silently if the celebrant so desires and usually in a sung Mass it is silent.  From the laity's point of view when both are celebrated ad orientem, I don't think there is much to see that is different.

The Orate Fratres is only partially prayed aloud in the EF by the priest with the response completed by the laity/servers after the priest turns back to the altar. In the OF when I turn to the laity, the entire part of the priest is prayed out loud and then I wait for their response until I make  complete circle back to the altar.  The laity are speaking to the celebrant at this point and this makes sense to me to face them for the completion of their part.

Using the Roman Canon for the OF, the new and glorious vernacular is almost verbatim and in sync with the Latin version. In fact, it would be very easy to include the extra "signs of the cross" over the oblations, because the wording is identical now to the Latin. However, this is not kosher in the OF to do this and either way the laity do not see it, in the EF or OF when done ad orientem.

Of course the canon is prayed out loud in the OF but not in the EF. I normally chant the Epiclesis through the Mystery of Faith in the OF. I pray the canon in the OF in a subdued tone but quite audible for the congregation.

Of course the Pater Noster forward in the EF is a bit different but not dramatically so to the OF although the OF has eliminated many beautiful prayers.

I would like to focus, though, on the Communion Rite. I prefer the OF's order and simplicity and  the elimination of the double "Lord I am not worthy" once for the priest prior to his Holy Communion and then again for the laity, for their Holy Communion after the priest has received his in order to make the Mass completely valid by completing the Sacrifice by consuming the Holocaust.

I prefer the OF's joint chanting of the Lamb of God and the priest's quiet prayer of preparation for his Holy Communion. Then once the Lamb of God is completed, I turn to the congregation with the Chalice of Precious Blood just consecrated and the fractured Host just consecrated held over the chalice and say "Behold the Lamb of God..." with everyone, priest and laity saying the "Lord I am not worthy..." We can debate if it was wise to eliminate the three-fold saying of this which mirrors the Agnus Dei three fold trope, but it is what it is.

In the EF Mass, by the time the priest turns to the congregation and say "Ecce Agnus Dei" he has already consumed the Body and Blood of Christ consecrated and shown at the elevations. Rather than showing the Precious Blood in the chalice, he simply holds a small consecrated Host (often taken from the tabernacle) above a ciborium and invites the people to do their "Lord I am not worthy."

Then I turn back to the altar, receive what I have just shown to complete the Unbloody Sacrifice by consuming the Holocaust and then I distribute Holy Communion kneeling at the extension of the altar which is the altar railing, their table for the Eucharistic Banquet.

I find this part of the OF's Communion Rite truly in line with Vatican II and eliminating a useless repetition in terms of two distinct Communion Rites for priest and laity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


This seems authentic to me and very well said and very Catholic!

Senator Marco Rubio was baptized as a Catholic, turned to Mormonism as a youth, married a Southern Baptist, and has gone to Baptist and Catholic services. As reporter Lauren Markoe of Religion News Service notes, in his autobiography Rubio explained his devotion to Catholicism this way:
 “I craved, literally, the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the sacramental point of contact between the Catholic and the liturgy of heaven,” he wrote. “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.” Starting in late 2004, he began to delve deeper into his Roman Catholic roots, reading the whole catechism, and concluding that “every sacrament, every symbol and tradition of the Catholic faith is intended to convey, above everything else, the revelation that God yearns, too, for a relationship with you.”

Monday, April 13, 2015


Michael Voris of the Vortex often has very good and valid observations or diagnosis of problems in the Church today. The only problem is that he uses inflammatory language that is off-putting for those who could do something about the problem, the bishops in particular. He also appeals to the fears of those who watch his stuff. There is fear mongering built upon anger. This isn't going to help.

In our diocese and my deanery we have had to deal with the same issue that Voris speaks of with a gay employee who wasn't even Catholic who decided to married his same sex partner in a ceremony in another state. The firestorm of his firing and the press's pouring gas on the flames was extraordinary. The most offensive to me was Catholics who sided with the teacher who wanted to promote same sex marriage in a Catholic school and get away with it. That was the most depressing for me of this whole episode!

But we know that the gay agenda in the Church has been facilitated by winks and nods. In terms of the clergy, we know this to be true. In terms of the laity and lay employees in our schools who are gay and with a gay agenda, we know that this is true too. If you are actively gay, keep in in the closet. Only when a gay employee gets married, then the administration's hand is forced and sometimes from pressure from higher sources.

Voris also links the way we pray and sing to what we believe and how we act and what we embrace, whether it be orthodox, or heterodox. This is a truth that we know well. How can he say it in a better way?

Today, many dioceses after a failure to deal with this in the first place, are writing policies to deal with those in the Church who work for our institutions who are pushing the gay agenda and a desire to overturn the Church's teachings on sexuality to include chastity, same sex marriage, contraception and abortion.

Michael Voris is accurate. He says it in a way that is off-putting, snarky and shrill, thus compromising the very thing he could help the larger Church address. He needs to find a better way to express the truth otherwise it will go nowhere!


One of the most appreciated passages I have for Pope Francis' bulla on mercy released this past Saturday, April 11th centers on the Second Vatican Council and its proper implementation. My comments follow what the pope wrote:

4. I have chosen the date of 8 December because of its rich meaning in the recent history of the Church. In fact, I will open the Holy Door on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. It was a new phase of the same evangelization that had existed from the beginning. It was a fresh undertaking for all Christians to bear witness to their faith with greater enthusiasm and conviction. The Church sensed a responsibility to be a living sign of the Father’s love in the world.

We recall the poignant words of Saint John XXIII when, opening the Council, he indicated the path to follow: “Now the Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine of mercy rather than taking up arms of severity … The Catholic Church, as she holds high the torch of Catholic truth at this Ecumenical Council, wants to show herself a loving mother to all; patient, kind, moved by compassion and goodness toward her separated children.”[2] Blessed Paul VI spoke in a similar vein at the closing of the Council: “We prefer to point out how charity has been the principal religious feature of this Council … the old story of the Good Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the Council … a wave of affection and admiration flowed from the Council over the modern world of humanity. 

Errors were condemned, indeed, because charity demanded this no less than did truth, but for individuals themselves there was only admonition, respect and love. Instead of depressing diagnoses, encouraging remedies; instead of direful predictions, messages of trust issued from the Council to the present-day world. The modern world’s values were not only respected but honoured, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed … Another point we must stress is this: all this rich teaching is channeled in one direction, the service of mankind, of every condition, in every weakness and need.”[3]

With these sentiments of gratitude for everything the Church has received, and with a sense of responsibility for the task that lies ahead, we shall cross the threshold of the Holy Door fully confident that the strength of the Risen Lord, who constantly supports us on our pilgrim way, will sustain us. May the Holy Spirit, who guides the steps of believers in cooperating with the work of salvation wrought by Christ, lead the way and support the People of God so that they may contemplate the face of mercy.

My Comments: I am a cusp Catholic. I was brought up in the pre-Vatican II way of things, positive and negative until about 1967 when I was 14. My father was thoroughly pre-Vatican II prior to Vatican II and struggled with the lack of clarity in the Church after Vatican II and the disintegration of religious life and the priesthood after Vatican II with rebellion and priests and nuns leaving to get married. However he liked the vernacular Mass and some of the simplication that occurred to it.

What was difficult about pre-Vatican II Catholicism was how quickly Catholics disowned one another if Catholic friends or family members wandered too far from the Church's truth. A child getting married outside the Church would end in a life long estrangement from his or her parents and sibblings. One can only imagine if that child was homosexual. Hell fire and damnation was all too prevalent in Sunday homilies or sermons. Mercy was not well preached and even in the Sacrament of Penance, many Catholics were castigated rather than treated for their sins which they were humbling trying to confess and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

And there was a lack of humility from the institutional Church concerning the goodness of those who are not Catholic and the possibility of them being saved in God's divine Mystery. There was an undue fear of the world that most Catholics lived in daily.

Perhaps the worse part of the pre-Vatican II Church was paternalism . Many, many more Catholics went to Catholic school and sometimes throughout college prior to Vatican II. When priests and religious were prominent, lay Catholics even as adults, were treated as children. Treating adults as children is not good and is a sign of clericalism. We see this mentality even today amongst academics who think they know it all and look down their noses at the "lay" people to whom they relate. Pope Francis does not seem to like academics too much and I suspect it is for the same reasons I don't, their clericalism, religious or secular! Paternalism is a part of this too!

If only the negative, clerical and rigid aspect of the Church and some of her members had been addressed and only modest external changes in the post-Vatican II era, I think the Church would have been in a better and stronger place today!

This is what could have happened embracing all that Pope Francis highlights above:

1. Keep the Liturgy as it was with only the minor adaptations that Vatican II foresaw, some vernacular, some simplification. The 1965 transitional missal had/ has promise in this regard. I continue to insist that the revised lectionary is what Vatican II wanted. It isn't perfect, but could easily be perfected by including the old missal's lectionary for Sundays as a 4th Year! This would save the Graduals and Tracts of this lectionary as well as Sequences. Simply allowing for the pre-Vatican II GIRM and rubrics for the Ordinary Form Missal, to include the PATFOTA, Offertory and post-Communion rituals would go a long way and with little effort.

2. Religious Life needed some updating. The religious themselves were kept as children and had silly, small minded rules that had become archaic. A more humane community life and a modified habit that maintained a true veil would have gone a long way in keeping religious life strong. Respect for the Magisterium and the revealed truths of the Church would have too, also!

3. Much of the simplifying of religious life and the priesthood to include how bishops function has led to the loss of confidence and respect for the clergy and religious. This is accelerated by the abuse scandal and how bishops dealt with it and actually in a pre-Vatican II sort of way, long after Vatican II. The clergy, especially bishops, felt no accountability to the laity or civil law!  They perceive themselves above it. This is clericalism to be sure!

4. A pre-Vatican II approach to sexuality needed to be addressed and a more cogent apologetic for the Church's traditional understanding of sexuality and chastity needed to be articulated and not in a paternalistic, authoritarian way.  Sex, contraception, abortion, technology for dealing with infertility and the like have to be explained to adult Catholics in a way that makes sense and doesn't make them feel like children. The influence of pornography today and how it is influencing the young, old and everyone in between needs to be addressed in a more cogent way too. Pope St. John Paul II's theology of the body is but one advance and holds promise if promoted more widely. Same sex marriage and gay rights poses a tremendous challenge to the Church today. As well classifying sex as mortal sin without nuance truly pushes young people away from the Church. If masturbation will send you to hell, then why not go whole hog? God's mercy for our sexual peccadilloes, small and big, needs to be better explicated, especially in Confession and spiritual counseling. Sex touches us at our core and if we turn people off to the truth in this regard, we could well lose them throughout their lives and offer no restraints or cautions whatsoever. A positive understanding sexuality, even in marriage, what is good and what isn't needs a better articulation that appeals to the sensibilities of young and old alike without compromising the truth.

We don't live with "if onlys" though. We have to live with what was and is. But reform of the reform within continuity with the pre-Vatican II Church, which will eventually become what is most appreciated and celebrated of Pope Benedict's papacy will help us in our recovery and moving forward.

We can't go backwards, but we can learn from past-mistakes in the post-Vatican II era and reform and move forward in high gear!