Tuesday, September 2, 2014


John Allen one of my favorite religion writers who was promoted from the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) to the secular Boston Globe (and truly a step up in many ways) has a new blog of sorts that just came out today.

You can read it and subscribe to it HERE, called CRUX, covering all things Catholic.

 Of particular interest is John Allen's post on "Hard Questions we're not asking Pope Francis." It is the first rather valid critique of Pope Francis, who is dubbed by Allen as the "Teflon pope" compared to Pope Benedict where bad things he didn't even do seem to stick to him. 

I have said since day one observed that Pope Francis is perhaps the most centralized, autocratic/unilateral pope we have had since Pope Pius XII despite His Holiness promotion of "synodality."  Most traditional Catholics love Pope Pius XII for being such a leader. But many so-called traditionalist Catholics do not like Pope Francis' autocratic approach because it is somewhat away from their conception of "tradition." 

As an aside, the very things Pope Francis rails against in human nature, His Holiness seems to foment, such as his loose talk, being autocratic and confusing at times. 

This is what John Allen observes in CRUX:

Francis could be asked about what seems on the surface a contradiction between his stated commitment to decentralization and collaboration, and his practice of acting unilaterally when the mood strikes him.

This is a pope, after all, who blew past the normal protocol for naming saints to award a halo to a member of his own Jesuit order, Peter Faber. He disregarded the input of Italian bishops to tap an obscure prelate he happens to like as their new secretary. He gives blockbuster interviews that haven’t been cleared with his communications team, let alone other Vatican aides or local bishops, even though they’re the ones forced to respond when the bombshells go off.

One senior Western diplomat has called Francis’ management style “government by surprise,” expressing sympathy for mid-level officials serially caught off guard.

The pope has convened two synods, meaning summits of bishops from around the world, to discuss matters related to the family, including the controversial issue of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive communion. While saying he wants an open debate, he’s signaled in a half-dozen ways his personal sympathy to the more flexible position – arguably, stacking the deck.
Francis’ maverick streak is part of his charm, and one may firmly believe that all these acts are taking the Church in the right direction. Still, it’s fair to ask how they square with his vow of “collegiality,” meaning governing in concert with others.

My final comments: I might add too that Pope Francis does things and then does not explain them. For example calling Catholics and others around the world but not indicating to the local bishop that he is going to do this. The change in who His Holiness includes in the foot washing of Holy Thursday. A brief explanation would go a long way. The reasons why he has dumped so many papal protocols almost as the "anti-Benedict." 

Wouldn't it be more pastoral for Pope Francis to prepare the clergy and laity for his decisions by a brief explanation?

Monday, September 1, 2014


The New Liturgical Movement blog has a story on ad orientem Masses in the Ordinary Form. You can read the full story there by pressing HERE.

It seems to me that the entire article is a "no brainer" and one wonders why the emphasis today is not shifted by those of us in the "new liturgical movement" not away from the EF Mass, but more toward celebrating the OF Mass well.

St. Mary Church in Greenville, SC has had its Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in an ad orientem way since 2008! I don't believe they celebrate the EF Mass there. Shouldn't this be the focus of parishes? Shouldn't we really strive to celebrate the OF Mass properly and being scrupulous in following this Missal's GIRM and rubrics, but with the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem?

At St. Joseph Church, now for more than two years, our 12:10 PM Mass like all our Masses is celebrated the best way we know how and with attention to detail and having well trained and sincere lay ministries allowed in the form of the Mass, as well as Holy Communion under both forms of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Our 12:10 PM Mass is exactly the same as the others except for the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated ad orientem. I feel it makes a huge difference, although in reality there is no difference, in focusing us away from self-referential ideologies in the Mass towards God, clergy and laity together and facing the same direction for the eschatological aspect of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It brings the focus to the Paschal Mystery and this event exclusively!

The following excerpt from the New Liturgical Movement article on ad orientem caught my attention. My comments follow:

" Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was one of most thoughtful and respected critics of the unintended consequences which flow from the priest and people facing each other across the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer. Ratzinger argued that this arrangement, in addition to being a novelty in Christian practice, has the effect of creating a circle of congregation and celebrant closed in upon itself rather than allowing the congregation and celebrant to be a pilgrim people together turned towards the Lord. And this closed circle, in turn, too easily renders the Eucharist more of a horizontal celebration of the congregation gathered than a vertical offering of the sacrifice of Christ to the Father. This flattening of divine worship into a self-referential celebration is, in part, why too many Catholics experience Mass as much less than the source and summit of the Church’s life, and the remedy for this malady is to open the closed circle and experience the power of turning together towards the Lord."

My Comments: I think Pope Benedict's teachings on ad orientem echo what is reported by the outgoing head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, that the celebration of the Liturgy, even using the revised Books initiated by Pope Paul VI should be celebrated in such as way that the primary focus and spirituality of the clergy and laity is toward the Paschal Mystery.

As I have mentioned recently and consistently over time, the post-Vatican II Church through a series of unbridled reforms beginning with Liturgy but moving to other areas of Church life has focused not on Jesus Christ and the Father and Holy Spiirt, but rather in a self-referential way about all the things that have distracted Catholics since the late 1960's even to today. 

For example, most Catholics hear or heard about Vatican II and reference to these documents more so than Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law (morality) in the last40 years. They have heard more about the "nature of the post-Vatican II Church's so called "ecclesiology" which is far from a defined dogma to say the least but has focused people in the Church on distracting elements of the Church rather than the Paschal Mystery.

Spirit of Vatican II post-modern liturgists don't talk about the Paschal Mystery. What is important to them is female clergy, females in the various ministries of the Mass and the absolute need for lectors, Communion Ministers and the laity to feel as needed and as important as the so-called "president" or "presider" of the "Eucharist." Thus churches have to be renovated or designed anew with no altar railings, the altar in the center of the congregation with pews or moveable chairs angled around it and the altar not placed in a high or distant position from the assembly.  This makes way for a "low Christology" as Jesus as nothing more than a friend, buddy and dead hero of the past, not as Lord, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Supreme Being, Creator of all!

There can be no so-called distractions to the altar and the action of the assembly to include in a egalitarian way the "presider." So no candle sticks, except two on the altar, no crucifix on the altar and no statuary or artwork that would take away from what the so-called "action" that the people do during the liturgy in a horizontal way, so to speak.

Where is the "Paschal Mystery" in all of this gobalygook?  Where is Jesus Christ, the God and Savior of the Universe? Where is the Holy Sacrifice re-presented in an unbloody timeless way at every Mass and the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of The Lord received first by the priest who completes that Sacrificial offering by His exclusive consumption of the Holocaust and then by the laity who do so free of mortal sin and in a state of grace and proper disposition to recieve worthily?

I will make a bold statement. I think the focus on the Paschal Mystery, with the Mass completely ad orientem, in Latin, with the clergy "doing" all the so-called formal ministries of the Mass to include reading or chanting the Scriptures and distributing Holy Communion was more of the focus of the Church prior to Vatican II than afterwards. As well, pleasing God, showing devout reverence and a strong, healthy fear of The Lord and sorrow for one's sins, not so much because of the dread of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because our sins offend God who is all good and deserving of all our love!  These sentiments were shared by at least 90% of Catholics prior to Vatican II.

How about today in the so-called new springtime of the Church? Where do we stand with the primary focus on the Paschal Mystery and the Most Holy Trinity and worship that is open to God in a vertical way rather than in a sociological/horizontal way to bring about social change and a false egalitarian ideology?

Sunday, August 31, 2014


 Number I:
Number II:
Number III:
Number IV:
Number V:
Number VI:
Number VII:

What all these seven new Catholic churches have in common is that these are in the south! The south has risen! It is true! Four of these photos, I, II,  IV and VI are within the Province of Atlanta! The first of course in the Diocese of Savannah: Augusta's St. Teresa's Church. Number II is twenty miles from Augusta, in the Diocese of Charleston, St. Mary Help of Christians; number IV is the new cathedral in Raleigh, North Carolina and number VI is a bit south of Savannah in Richmond Hill, St. Anne.

Number III is in Farragut, Tennessee, St. John Neumann.

Number V is the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Hanceville, Alabama.

Number VII is St. John the Apostle in Leesburg, Virginia.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


 Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the Prefect for Divine Worship said on Thursday that “Francis supported the work we were completing. He reiterated to us that more than being concerned with reforms, we needed to be based on the Pascal mystery that happens in the liturgy, to experience the mystery that happens in that moment. Watching the Pope celebrate Mass, we can understand how he experiences what happens during Mass”. 

MY COMMENTS: In Cardinal Llovera's succinct statement, His Eminence explains Pope Francis' liturgical agenda that goes beyond superficiality.  "More than being concerned with reforms, we need to be based on the Paschal Mystery that happens in the Liturgy and experience the mystery that happens in that moment!" And isn't this true reform?!

What have we focused on in the last 45 years since Sacrosanctum Concilium? Translating the Mass into vernaculars, stripping and renovating churches, iconoclastic architecture, focus on the roles of the laity in the Mass, tinkering with music and making new forms of music a god, throwing out the baby with the bath water. 

In this shift of focus what has been lost? The Paschal Mystery! For if the Paschal Mystery shined forth more clearly and strengthened the already strong faith of pre-Vatican II Catholics, a new springtime for the Church would have followed indeed. But with the shift in emphasis away from the Paschal Mystery what has followed is a parched dessert and a seemingly eternal fall, with laity falling away like the leaves of a tree in the fall.

We can, of course, lament that the Consilium committee of Pope Paul VI did not hear the same words from Pope Paul VI that Cardinal Llovera conveys concerning Pope Francis. What if Pope Paul VI had simply told the committee that was to implement the sober and limited scope of Sacrosanctum Concilium to be "More than being concerned with reforms, we need to be based on the Paschal Mystery that happens in the Liturgy and experience the mystery that happens in that moment!" What a different Church we would be today, truly focused in our Liturgy on the Paschal Mystery and thus maintaining a higher number of Catholics who actually come to the Mass for that which is essential, the Paschal Mystery, rather than for music, for lay lectors, for Communion Ministers and for a free-for-all in terms of casualness. 

What would the Post-Vatican so-called "reformed" Mass look like if the walking orders for its reform would have been based upon Pope Francis' liturgical vision of  "more than being concerned with reforms, we need to be based on the Paschal Mystery that happens in the Liturgy and experience the mystery that happens in that moment!"

First of all, more attention would have been given to what Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium asked for the liturgy, which was to focus more intensely on the Paschal Mystery! Actual participation both internal/contemplative and external/action! Maintain the Latin, but allow for some vernacular! Maintain Gregorian Chant as the music of the Latin Rite! Revise the Lectionary to include a more lavish use of Scripture (couldn't we have kept the same format and keeping the original lectionary but adding two more cycles but based on the same format and accomplished the same thing?) Noble simplicity which I think refers to the double Communion Rites of the Mass, one for the priest and one for the laity which the revised missal got right but more importantly the "Solemn Sung"version of the Mass with deacon and subdeacon, especially in the Pontifical Form. 

What took the focus off the Paschal Mystery with useless reforms not envisioned by Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium and effectively destroyed the faith of Catholics in the Paschal Mystery celebrated at Mass?

1. The focus on the horizontal that led to renovation of churches in an iconoclastic way, focus on lay ministries in the Mass and badgering people to actual participation in a dictatorial, denigrating way.

2. Making people stand for Holy Communion and extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion becoming the norm rather than the exception and not vesting Extraordinary Minister nor making it a formal ministry with a year long "seminiary-like" formation!

3. Reception of Holy Communion in the hand which contributes to a casual handling of the sacred and a diminished  sense of the Paschal Mystery and entering into it! The profanation of the Blessed Sacrament by an unscrupulousness concerning the falling of Holy Communion Fragments and Dropplets on the floor, in people's hands, wiped on their clothes and elsewhere.

However, we can't whine about that which wasn't and we have to deal with the normative Mass and the experiencing the Paschal Mystery there. All that is needed, without changing anything about the revised missal itself is the following:

1. Read the Black and Do the Red!
2. Encourage Reverence by being formal
3. Kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue
4. Ad Orientem or the Benedictine Altar arrangement
5. Chanting the propers and sober liturgical chants that avoid the profane musical styles and instrumentation

As I have said time and time again, Pope Francis does model for us priests and our congregations the way to celebrate the normal Sunday Mass. He is sober, serious and hides his personality completely as soon as the procession begins and remains so until the recession is concluded. His personality or persona comes forward only in non-liturgical events such as greeting people and papal audiences. There is clearly a liturgical persona and a casual persona outside of the liturgy.

He also "says the black and does the red." The only variation of course is, by his own supreme authority as pontiff, to change the rubric concerning the mandatum of Holy Thursday to include women and non-Christians. Of course this "mandatum" does not have a long history in the Latin Rite and was reinstated only in the 1950's. But my point is that the Holy Father using his legitimate liturgical authority in a supreme way can change a rubric of this nature and interpret the meaning of the mandatum apart from the institution of the priesthood to showing forth the nature of the priesthood that is different than the Jewish priesthood that would not allow a priest to become "impure" by this sort of service.  

But apart from that change, the Holy Father "says the black and does the red" and makes adjustments for physical disabilities at the genuflections.   He models entering into and experiencing the Paschal Mystery!



Father Michael Ingram is spearheading the building of the largest Catholic Church in our diocese to seat about 1500. Augusta is the second largest city in Georgia and Columbia County is a booming, growing suburban county.  He worked with a clearing house in Atlanta to purchase historic altars, traditional antique windows, Stations of the Cross and other artifacts from churches closed elsewhere.

Please note that the altar below will  house the Blessed Sacrament, but can easily allow for Mass celebrated at it in either form, although a free standing altar will be below it. There are matching side altars from the same closed church. I am amazed that these can be dismantled, shipped and then put back together again.

I believe the Church will be consecrated in November. There is still a bit of interior work to be accomplished. 

I am excited for St. Teresa's and Fr. Ingram and Fr. Dawid Kwiatkowski, their parochial vicar:


Read and weep!

Polish priest Dawid Kwiatkowski now ministers to Hispanics at St. Teresa of Avila

30-year-old priest taking up 3rd language

When the Rev. Dawid Kwiat­kowski arrived in the United States from Poland in 2006, he spoke very little English.
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Kwiatkowski came to St. Teresa of Avila after serving in Statesboro, Ga. He has asked parishioners to help him become fluent in Spanish so he can help them with everyday issues.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Kwiatkowski came to St. Teresa of Avila after serving in Statesboro, Ga. He has asked parishioners to help him become fluent in Spanish so he can help them with everyday issues.
Through intense study and immersion in American culture, he has become fluent. 
Now, because he was recently appointed to lead the Hispanic ministry at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Grovetown, [an Augusta suburb] he is applying the same intensity to learning Spanish.

“Everything that comes through the Hispanic ministry comes through me now, the priest from Poland,” Kwiatkowski said with a chuckle. (I've always loved Fr.Dawid's humility!)

The 30-year-old recalled the first Mass he spoke in Spanish, three days after returning from a two-week immersion program in Mexico. He had spontaneously given announcements in Spanish afterward.

As he greeted parishioners after the Mass, he noticed three women waiting off to the side for him to finish.

“I said, ‘What do you want?’ And they said, ‘Well, you made an announcement that you wanted at least three people to help you throughout the week with conversations in Spanish, so here we are,’ ” he said. “I said, ‘So you understood me?’ And they said yes.”

Learning to minister in another language is an intensive undertaking, and Kwiatkowski said he never imagined having to study another language after learning English.

He grew up Catholic, as do 95 percent of his countrymen. And like most Polish children, he attended church every Sunday with his family, but “nothing spectacularly religious about it,” he said.
There were no priests in his family, so it surprised everyone when he decided to become one.

The choice to not have a family was a difficult one, but he ultimately decided to follow his calling.
“Just deep inside of my heart I felt a call, like God is giving me this desire to be a priest. I thought it was a good desire, it came from Him, and that’s it and I followed it,” he said.

Through friends, he learned that a Polish priest from the Diocese of Savannah, Ga., had died in a car accident, and the diocese wanted a young Polish priest to replace him.

He arrived in Statesboro, Ga., in September 2006 and was taken the next day to Georgia Southern University to begin studying English for two semesters. Then he was accepted to Mount St. Mary’s seminary to study theology, often staying up nights to study. He completed his master’s degree in 2011.

“I knew I was going to work with Americans, so I need to know theology in English, because I didn’t want people upset that they don’t know what their priest is saying,” he said.
After he graduated and was ordained a priest, the diocese sent him to St. Matthews Roman Catholic Church in Statesboro, where he ministered in English for three years.
“And this year, in April, the bishop called me and asked if I was ready to be challenged more, and I said yes,” he said.

“He asked me how was my Spanish, and I said it didn’t exist.”
In Poland, Kwiatkowski had some exposure to the English language through television, but there was no access to Spanish at all.

In his second year of seminary, Kwiatkowski spent two months at a school in Mexico to study Spanish, but he went with the idea that he would go on an adventure. He didn’t put much effort into learning the language.

“I never thought they would actually put me in a position where I would have to learn another language after having to learn English,” he said.

He did learn to speak some of the language, but after four years of not using any Spanish, he’d forgotten most of what he’d learned.

When he was asked to take on the Hispanic ministry at St. Teresa, he asked the bishop to send him back to the school in Mexico for two weeks, where he put himself on a rigorous study schedule.
“It was not regular studying because I said to myself, ‘It didn’t make any sense. What am I going to do if I just study … words, and then come back here and start working with people about their problems and families, confessions and ways they can come back to God?’ ” he said.

He called the school and asked for daily meetings with at least one Mexican priest and three other Mexicans from different walks of life, so he could meet with them daily to talk about family problems and other issues, sacraments, sins and confessions.

“For two weeks, no one was allowed to say anything in English to me, or I would never respond to anybody who addressed me in English,” he said. “They would have to find ways of explaining things in Spanish, and I would have to find ways of saying in Spanish back to them.”
Now he holds confessions and Masses in Spanish and continues to meet with native Spanish speakers to continue practicing.

He said he is not sure why he was asked to minister to Hispanics, but because he is an immigrant who grew up in a small village, he can relate to the people he serves. Many are far from home and family, speak little English, are devout Catholics and turn to their priest for a multitude of issues.
“It’s a lot of work and I like it and enjoy it, and I want to have that language down, just like English,” he said. “We have so many in our diocese who can read the Mass in Spanish, (but) I always wanted to be able to at least understand their problems.”

Except for a homily he gave during a recent trip to Poland, Kwiatkowski has not given a single Mass in Polish during his four years as a priest.

“And it’s my natural language, too, and it’s kind of sad because I say English and Spanish and Latin – I say old Latin Mass from the 15th century – but nothing in Polish,” he said.


The next pope?

My Comments first: Apart from the obvious fact that Catholic politicians are not exempt from handing on the Catholic faith even in their politics and lawmaking, I am intrigued by Cardinal Parolin's comparison of the Fall of Rome or the Roman Empire during the last days of Saint Augustine to what is occurring today in the world and the way to rebuild from the ashes! I highlight that portion in red below. It is prophetic.

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, shared a message on Friday with participants of the fifth annual conference of the International Catholic Legislators Network.

Below is Cardinal Parolin’s complete message to the conference participants:
Your Eminence, distinguished legislators participating at the fifth annual meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network, dear friends,

I greet you all. I am happy to be with you, lawmakers and associates, who are actively engaged in the public and political life of your countries and local communities, and whose professional work is nourished and guided by your Catholic faith. I wish to thank you for what you are doing to promote coherent Catholic witness in the world. I know that you are here because you are passionate about the “city on earth” which seeks to root Christian morals and virtues ever more authentically in communities around the world, so that together we may reach the “City of God”.

Just yesterday we celebrated the feast of Saint Augustine, to whom we owe the image of these two cities. History is not unambiguous nor of itself indifferent; it concerns the movement of two loves and the conflict between them. Two loves – he writes – give rise to two cities: the earthly one of love of self even to indifference towards God; and the heavenly one, of love of God even to indifference towards self (The City of God, XIV, 78). In difficult times of continual conflict and great uprising, as in the fall of Rome and the invasion of the Vandals who besieged Hippo at the very moment when Augustine was dying, he not only did not lose heart, but took up a heated dispute, calling upon the faith as the key to interpretation. He dedicates an entire work, The City of God, to learning how to understand the present circumstances and to establishing a new order for living in society. It is a reading according to the logic of wisdom, which places the heart of man at the centre and indicates the true nature of Christian hope. I believe that in our own difficult times, too, valuable indications emerge clearly from the experiences and teachings of Saint Augustine.

Dear friends, we can say without hesitation that the Church needs you in her universal mission, and in turn, you need the Church as mother and teacher of all.

In her diversity of service to the world, the Church has a single mission (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2): to restore all things in Christ. For this task, the Church needs you, active Catholic legislators, because your law-making is a vital part of the lay apostolate – to “have the Gospel spirit permeate and improve the temporal order”. As shapers of policy your role is not only to live “in the midst of the world”, but also to be “a leaven in the world” in favour of the family, the local community and your respective nations. The great challenge for you is to bring your faith to bear upon the pressing issues facing the world today, that is, to dialogue with society and culture, and to humbly speak from the light which our faith offers (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 238).

His Holiness Pope Francis has written that we are to strive to “light a fire in the heart of the world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 271). This means, by your words, by your witness and by your legislative and political actions informed by faith, you are called to foster a more just society, centred on the dignity of the human person.

The Church knows your work is not easy. She understands the many threats to family life, in the form of policies and laws that allow or even hasten the dissolving of the family. She is also fully aware of the urgent need to alleviate poverty and to support the integral development of society’s most neglected members. And so, just as the Church needs you, you need the Church. She places at your disposal her sacraments, her wise counsel and her commitment to the moral truths of the natural law. She supports your ongoing initiatives to serve the common good through sound lawmaking. For their part, the Holy Father and the Bishops encourage your work to further Christ’s kingdom on earth, in unity with their mission as pastors.

Dear friends, I invite you to grow in holiness, deepening your own personal commitment to conversion so that your witness and dialogue with the world may bear lasting fruit! May you always strive to kindle the “fire in the heart of the world”, by your consistent and patient witness to the teachings of the Church.

Commending your service to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Thomas More, I am pleased on this occasion to convey to you the greetings of the Holy Father, his assurance of prayers for your work and his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace, strength and perseverance.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Folks, we need to do spiritual warfare. This is sounding most ominous around the world. The UK has placed the terrorism threat to the next to the highest for their country and we have this clarification concerning threats against the Holy Father, the Vatican and Italy. Scary stuff indeed that needs prayer and a sober approach to Catholicism, Liturgy and life:

Pope Francis ISIS Threat Denied by Vatican, But Security Tightens

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 07:32 AM

By Nick Sanchez

Vatican officials denied this week that Pope Francis is a target of ISIS, but the Italian government is stepping up security across the nation as it continues to collect intelligence on the growing terrorist group.

"There is nothing serious to this," spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi S.J. told Catholic News Agency in responding to a claim made by Italy's Il Tempo newspaper. "There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation."

Claiming the pope was under threat, the original Il Tempo report published Monday drew upon an unnamed source who said a number of Muslim jihadists had entered the country.

The source said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, considers the pope "the greatest exponent of the Christian religions" and the "bearer of false truth." Because of this, Islamic fundamentalists led by self-proclaimed Caliph Al-Baghdadi seek to "raise the level of confrontation" by putting Pope Francis "in the crosshairs."

The source did not say if the threat was a reaction to Pope Francis' admission earlier this month that "it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," referring to U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. At the time, the pope was rigorous with his comments, saying "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I don't say 'to bomb' or 'make war,' [but] 'stop.'"

While the Vatican says it remains unalarmed, several Italian news agencies said the government was nonetheless tightening security across the country.

The Daily Beast reported that deputy interior minister Filippo Bubbico is concerned about "sensitive targets" including the Vatican, embassies to both Italy and the Holy See, Catholic churches, transportation hubs, as well as historic landmarks like the Coliseum.

"ISIS poses an international and European security threat and we in Italy feel particularly exposed," Bubbico told Italian reporters at Sky News.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that at least 50 Italians are known to be fighting with ISIS, most of them under the age of 25. Jihadi recruiter Imam Bilal Bosnic is said to have recruited many if not most of the fighters from Italy's northern regions.

Bosnic told La Repubblica in an interview published Thursday that James Foley, the American journalist publicly beheaded by ISIS, "was a spy" and called the killing "justified."

He also confirmed that the Vatican was a target.

"We Muslims believe that one day the whole world will be an Islamic state. Our goal is to make sure that even the Vatican will be Muslim. Maybe I will not be able to see it, but that time will come," he said.

Bosnic was investigated last year by Italian counterterrorism officials, and now resides in Bosnia.

Italy has recently waded into the ISIS conflict in Iraq, with parliament recently approving a measure to ship weapons to the country's Kurdish population. Kurdish peshmerga troops have also been assisted by the U.S. as they've fought back against encroaching ISIS fighters.

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.Newsmax.com/TheWire/pope-francis-isis-threat-denied/2014/08/29/id/591572/#ixzz3BnGXHMTq


Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria have built an empire with their personal small business corporation which they call a church. They have a "boutique" niche on the particular market share which is attracted to their beautiful, shapely, well packaged and advertized brand name. It is nice, feel good narcissism. And boy oh girl does it sell! It is vapid too and anything but Christian. But it is religion of sorts.

I love the theologian, Dr. Bill Cosby's succinct critique of Victoria's, well packaged, shapely, cosmetic enhanced, coiffured doctrines and theology:


UPDATE: CNN is reporting the following:

The UK government today raised its terror threat level from substantial to severe, the fourth highest of five levels.

"That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent," Home Secretary Theresa May said. "The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq, where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West."

As Catholics we know that at our death each of us will have a "particular or personal" judgement where the thrust of our lives either toward God and His Church or away from God and His Church are judged and we are granted the gift of heaven through Christ and our striving to accept His gifts or our damnation by our rejection definitively of all the gifts offered to us for our salvation from God.

But the world and the Church will be judged globally and from the beginning at the Last Judgment when our bodies will be raised from the clay of the earth and fashioned anew for those in heaven according to the Glorified Body of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

But that global judgment of the world and of the Church happens in the here and now quite often. I think of the manner in which the sex abuse scandal of the Church has been revealed and judged in the here and now. And now we see hints of a similar judgement against the United States in our current worldwide crisis and as a certain president ditters with no real sense of engagement or direction except when it comes  to promoting the LGBT agenda and making it easier for clinics to provide abortions, the genocide of babies yet to be born and forcing the Church to do that which is evil in all areas of sexuality including marriage, contraception and abortion. There is a real moral bankruptsy and confusion of priorities of a president here and rightly to be harshly judged by God.

And thus we have this stunning judgment of the USA and our President from Chaldean Patriarch Sako (in union with Rome)! Keep in mind that it is our current President, despite the questionable intervention into Iraq and other parts of the Middle East by another President, who abandoned Iraq altogether when Military bases could have remained to protect this country and its region from what is currently happening. In this regard, the current President is accountable.

Chaldean Patriarch Sako had been mistakenly reported as saying that, "the US is behind ISIS," but he does not back off (rightly, of course) from claiming indirect US responsibility for all that is happening to Iraqi Christians:

The United States is indirectly responsible for the violence in Iraq that has seen more than half of the Christian population displaced, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako said Thursday, after a media report quoted him saying "America is behind ISIS."

“The U.S. is indirectly responsible for what is going on in Iraq as it said it would ensure democracy and the well-being of the people, but 10 years have passed and on the contrary we have gone backward,” Sako told reporters at Beirut's airport.

He was responding to a question following remarks attributed to him in the local daily Ad-Diyar in which he accused the U.S. of supporting ISIS.

“ Iraq has been divided ... and the Americans left Iraq in the midst of a vacuum where there was no army to protect [the people] and ISIS and these jihadist groups have been present for four years,” he said, before boarding a plane to Iraq.

“There were about 1 million Christians in Iraq and more than half of them have been displaced. Only 400,000 are left while displacement is still rising,” Sako added. (Source)

And despite it all: "Obama confesses: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ for Islamic State"


Obviously Pope Francis knows the anxieties of those who truly appreciated Pope Benedict's liturgical style, theology and leadership and now see in this pontificate a reversal of all Pope Benedict accomplish and in a stunningly short period of time. Thus, perhaps, to quell these anxieties Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the Prefect for Divine Worship up until yesterday gave an interview to the Vatican Insider to dispel some of the anxieties of those following the current pontificate: 


Cañizares: “I told Francis I wanted to live with the smell of the sheep”

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Cañizares Llovera (da communio.stblogs.org)
Cañizares Llovera (da communio.stblogs.org)

Interview with the Prefect for Divine Worship who leaves the Curia: “It is a great joy to me, Valencia has not had a Valencian bishop for over 100 years. The Pope has supported us in our work for the liturgy”

“I told Pope Francis: I want to live with the smell of the sheep. It was my desire to return to a diocese…”. Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the Prefect for Divine Worship, who has just been appointed archbishop of Valencia, smiles brightly because of his long awaited appointment, that was announced yesterday. Those who attempt to present his departure from the Roman Curia as a reduction, or even a “punishment” could not be more wrong. Firstly, because “for a shepherd there is nothing better than being among his flock”. And also because it was the cardinal himself to ask Pope Francis to return to serving as bishop in a diocese.
How did you welcome the news?
“I am really very happy. I return to my home diocese, which has not had a Valencian bishop for over 100 years…”
How do you live with your removal from the Curia?
“It was my wish. It was [I] who told Francis that I wanted to have the smell of the sheep. I asked to go back to a diocese, any diocese that the Pope would want to send me to. To me it was a great joy and a great honour that the Holy Father chose Valencia, one of the dioceses in Spain and in Europe that is most alive, even due to the number of its vocations. It is a sign of gratitude and recognition towards me, a gift from Francis that moves me, I am really grateful for it”.
What can you say about these five years you have spend at the head of the ministry that deals with liturgy?
“I am grateful for this experience in the Curia. We have worked to carry on the liturgical renewal wanted by the Second Vatican Council. One of the most fundamental moments was the symposium on the constitution of the Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as the documents we published and those that are still being written and will be published soon. We need to keep on working so that the Council is fully implemented in the liturgical field ,according to what Benedict XVI stated: God is the subject of liturgy, not us. Liturgy is not an action of man but an action of God”. (My comment: I recall Pope Francis saying precisely the same thing about Sacrosanctum Concilium and Vatican II, that it hasn't been implemented yet as it should be--keeping continuity with what Pope Benedict had said many times.)
May I ask how Pope Francis was involved in the work of the Congretation for Divine Worship in this one and a half years of pontificate?
 “Francis supported the work we were completing. He reiterated to us that more than being concerned with reforms, we needed to be based on the Pascal mystery that happens in the liturgy, to experience the mystery that happens in that moment. Watching the Pope celebrate Mass, we can understand how he experiences what happens during Mass”.
The last few years have not been easy in terms of the relationship between the Church and the Spanish governments. How do you intend to live it?
“I believe that I will have a friendly relationship with the world of politics and institutions, signaled by openness and collaboration, with the sole object of the common good, the good of our people. There have been and there still are difficult situations, not only from an economic and financial point of view. I hope that we can also work for the unity of the country, which is not only political but also anthropological; it is a project that has been alive for more than 14 centuries and is founded on Christian identity”.

Thursday, August 28, 2014



When I first read this, my eyes saw FSSP, not SSPX and I went to the video and saw liturgical abuses, altar servers coming up late and not vested properly, the priest wearing a modern chasuble and no maniple. So I thought to myself, I'll write a post on liturgical abuse in an EF Mass at St. Peter's.  Then I thought to myself, did I see SSPX instead of FSSP? And I went back to the Rorate Caeli headline and sure enough it was SSPX! Well! Well! Well! This is stunning ecumenical news concerning the SSPX if you ask me. And yes, yes I know, the liturgical abuses were not really and the unvested altar boys certainly know what they are doing.

The other thing I was going to write in terms of the EF Mass is that I've only celebrated the EF Mass for the last seven years but I haven't attended one believe it or not in that time. What I notice watching this low Mass is how sober the EF Mass is, how gestures are like sign language and there is no need for an audible voice when the priest is praying directly to God just as long a you know where he is in the Mass and have the prayers available in a missal to follow along in the vernacular or Latin if you understand it. 

It shows the beauty of movement, gestures and an superabundance of these in the EF Mass which is its liturgical genius lost completely almost in the OF.

But the real bombshell is an SSPX Priest was allowed to celebrate Mass in the Basilica. EF Masses are celebrated privately every Morning at St. Peters by any other priest who wishes to do so.

SSPX Priest Celebrates Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica

By the gracious permission of the higher direction of the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, the faithful of the church of Saint-Martin-des-Gaules, Noisy-le-Grand (near Paris) -- who were in Rome for a summer vacation pilgrimage led by Father Michel de Sivry, of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) -- were able to attend a Mass at the Altar of Saint Pius X, where the saintly Pope's body reposes.
The Mass in the Vatican Basilica was celebrated by Fr. de Sivry on August 9, 2014, during this special centennial year of the dies natalis of Saint Pius X.