Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This is going to be simple.

First, yesterday I received in the mail an envelope with a return address from the nunciature in DC. It contained a nice letter from a monsignor relaying the Holy Father's blessings and wishes for Christmas and a laminated holy card with a picture of the Nativity on one side and some printed-on handwriting in Latin that I couldn't quite make out along with the Pope's signature. A very nice and unexpected return for sending the Pope a Christmas card a few weeks ago.

Second, I can't think of anyone who really stood out this last year more than normal. Our greatest expectations though are for Cardinal Canizares Llovera. 2009 could be a big year at CDW what with a new prefect who is of a mind with the Holy Father and the upcoming clarification letter that could lead to greater authority for CDW to in dealing with recalcitrance to the 1962 Missal as well as solving problems with the calendar that are growing more and more acute.

All in God's good time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The O Antiphons

Father Z's examination of them, always an interesting read each year.

We'll be back for a year-end look soon. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

End Times?

According to the Times of London, the Holy Father doesn't think so.

Besides a lot of the usual from St. Paul, the Pope had this to say:

Pope Benedict commented that "already at that time, the Church, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, increasingly understood that the 'closeness' of God is not a question of space and time, but a question of love: love draws near!" He said Christmas was coming "to remind us of this fundamental truth of our faith, and in front of the Nativity scene we can taste Christian joy, contemplating in the newborn Jesus the face of God, who out of love drew close to us."

Last year the Pope dismissed recurring "Messianical" predictions of the imminent end the world, saying "history is ongoing, and involves human tragedies and natural calamities." He added, echoing Pope John Paul II, his predecessor, "Do not be afraid".

Arrogance in Action


Holland scrapping liberal policies on drugs and brothels to clean up image

The Dutch are rethinking their famously liberal polices on legalised brothels, prostitution and soft drugs, such as magic mushrooms and cannabis, amid fears of growing crime and social decline.

This little quote stood out:

"The country is turning more conservative," said historian and author Han van den Horst. "There is a move away from sex, drugs and rock'n'roll towards some pretty bourgeois values."

'Conservative' equals 'bourgeois.' Right, got it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Few Things

Please pray for the soul of my father's uncle, Robert, who passed away and whose funeral Mass is tomorrow morning.

Father Z has a breakdown on the appointment of Cardinal Canizares Llovera and his history with the Holy Father. The quotation from another source also includes a look at upcoming retirements in the Curia.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Patriarch Alexy II Dead

Hat tip to NLM.


Moscow (AsiaNews) – The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksij II, has died at the age of 79. The Patriarchate did not give a reason for his death but he had been sick for some time.

Aleksij became Patriarch of all Russia in 1990, the first head of the Church elected without the influence of the Russian government.

He was credited with helping restore the freedom and moral authority of the Russian Orthodox Church after decades of repression under communism, but many priests who had been arrested and sent to the gulag accused him of being a spy for the Soviet secret police (KGB).

He was seen as a supporter of Putin’s New Russia.

In relation to the Catholic Church he always refused to meet Pope John Paul II, pointing the finger at alleged “proselytising” by Russian Catholics.

Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism was substantially held back under his leadership.

Bolding mine. I'm not finding anything in English about how the new patriarch will be elected, but I'll keep looking. The question is if Alexy's successor will be a bit more accommodating or if he'll remain as firm in the Russian Orthodox Church's position as Alexy was vis a vis the Catholic Church. Time will tell, obviously.


Edit: Just a general search of 'Patriarch Alexy' here for your convenience.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In the Mail

Today I had therapy. I had to leave early to get to an eye appointment that went smoothly with a new doctor (my old ones were a husband and wife that have relocated).

I came home and checked the mail and found a Christmas card from a friend and a pair of letters from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. If you follow Father Z, you may remember them as the nuns who arrived to help clean the old cathedral in Kansas City. After reading about them there and checking out their nice website, I donated a small sum and signed up for their online newsletter.

So today in the first, big envelope was the sisters' new CD with chant, polyphony and other things. I'm sure everything on it sounds great, but I will put it away with my other unopened CDs that I've received. In the other letter was a copy of their print newsletter and a form letter from their prioress thanking me for my support.

If you have an extra funds this Advent and Christmas, send a few dollars their way.

New Blog

Monstrous Regiment of Women
-Twentysomething mother of two.
-Via Father Finigan.

The first post is still on the main page, so it is quite new. Go have a look.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Reality or Doom and Gloom?

China’s six-to-one advantage over the US
By Spengler

America outspends China on defense by a margin of more than six to one, the Pentagon estimates. [1] In another strategic dimension, though, China already holds a six-to-one advantage over the United States. Thirty-six million Chinese children study piano today, compared to only 6 million in the United States.[2] The numbers understate the difference, for musical study in China is more demanding.

It must be a conspiracy. Chinese parents are selling plasma-screen TVs to America, and saving their wages to buy their kids pianos - making American kids stupider and Chinese kids smarter. Watch out, Americans - a generation from now, your kid is going to fetch coffee for a Chinese boss. That is a bit of an exaggeration, of course - some of the bosses will be Indian. Americans really, really don’t have a clue what is coming down the pike. The present shift in intellectual capital in favor of the East has no precedent in world history.

The article goes on, but its basic point is set out in these introductory paragraphs. Spengler spends some time on the proper interpretation of Mozart and his irony and how the Chinese get it and the US and Western Europe doesn't.

My only comment is this: Spengler asserts that thirty-six million Chinese children are learning an instrument while only six million US children are doing the same. But it's important to remember that China's population is at least five times larger than that of the United States and probably more. If you multiply the US population five times to be closer to China's and then look at the comparison of children learning an instrument, it's not quite so dire.

But read all of the article and reach your own conclusions.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I would like to buy an Advent wreath. I am going to try my local Catholic book/knick knack store. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Into Great Silence

This film was delivered just before I left for my mother's home for Thanksgiving. This morning while everyone else was in bed, I got up and watched the film. I need to watch it a second time at home in a more comfortable setting so as not to be distracted, but I have a few thoughts.

1. I am not suited to be an ascetic of that degree. Living a life centered around the Divine Office with its chanting and daily work would just not work for me given my disabilities in life. The Office as a reading experience coupled with a life of interior prayer...

2. For those same reasons, I just didn't get into the film. Watching them go through their daily routines was instructive and edifying, but the Great Silence is not anything new to me and their chanting sequences was merely an exercise in watching them sit in the dark and turn on and off their reading lamps.

3. My two favorite parts were their first excursion outdoors and the blind monk's speech towards the end. The group's conversation about different orders' outlooks on even a mundane topic as washing of hands before entering the refectory was instructive. Their final determination that it was not the symbol, but them who was in error was quite insightful. And of course, the blind monk who thanked God for his blindness explaining his pity for a godless world with no reason to live was wisdom itself.

Lord, you seduced me and I was seduced.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Strategy After FOCA

I've written the following even though it mostly sums up and rehashes various points already made by many commentators out there. However, I write it because I have never seen articulated to the degree I'd like it to be (or maybe it's just my failure in looking) the strategy of finding common ground between social conservatives and libertarians. Given that Republicans shortly will no longer be in power in any branch of government, it presumes a return to power sometime in the future. In the meantime, they must work to follow the principles here at the party level until that future arrives...

I've been thinking about abortion for a long time, about how we can best counter it and the various strategies being followed today. We all agree that abortion is bad, it cheapens human life and takes us down the slippery slope. The question how to best combat abortion. On the one hand, there is the option of a federal amendment that would completely criminalize abortion as murder anywhere in the United States. This would take Roe v. Wade totally out of the equation. On the other hand, there is the option of simply seeing Roe v. Wade overturned and have the issue of abortion kicked back to the states for their own legislatures to consider. This has been the most publicized option with Supreme Court nominees coming under the microscope for their views and, in extreme cases like Bork, sent away. I believe that the second option, though coming more and more under attack for being ineffective, is still the best hope for dealing with abortion.

First, it is important to consider why the Supreme Court option is coming under attack. Critics out there point to the fact that even though Republicans have held the presidency six terms to three since Roe v. Wade was decided, the balance of the Supreme Court has never apparently been enough to overturn that decision. This has led to the idea that Republican presidents are not committed to the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade and are merely using the Christian segments of the Republican base to get elected and are then washing their hands of the issue until the next election. Critics point especially to the justices appointed by Bush 41, moderates who have trended more liberal than conservative in their decision making. They also point to Bush 43, who before the outcry over his first choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, nominated one of his close confidants who was more a Bush loyalist than a small government jurist with strong credentials.

Some critics who have come to see the Supreme Court option as a red herring point instead to an all encompassing federal constitutional amendment as being the better option. While this avenue bypasses the judicial branch altogether, it does have its own drawbacks. The chief drawback is that the three different procedures for amending the US Constitution given by that document are all quite lengthy or convoluted. One example is the 27th Amendment, which was proposed along with the Bill of Rights, but not ratified itself until 1992. A second one is the Equal Rights Amendment, which despite broad support, has consistently failed. Another drawback is that even if the constitution is appropriately amended, it would still be interpreted by the Supreme Court; if that court should come to be dominated by activist jurists, the amendment would be interpreted into toothlessness.

It all leads back to the Supreme Court and who is sitting on the bench. In order to prevent disillusionment, it is important to temper expectations. An outright majority of small government jurists should not be expected to overturn Roe v. Wade at the drop of a hat. Rather, it should be expected that they would over time and in concert with lower court judges of the same outlook set up a legal framework to counteract the activist bent seen in the federal judiciary over the last few decades. A slow and steady approach has the virtue of not causing a harsh reaction in favor of preserving the status quo. Once the Supreme Court and lower courts of the federal system set in place a rational system that is not going to legislate from the bench and that is going to respect the natural rights of all citizens, the high court can tackle the chief issue itself.

In conclusion, the abortion issue must be argued in a natural law framework. Too often, the pro-life cause is both identified by others and by itself through its religious framework. This is counterproductive for a number of reasons, the chief of which being that people don't like to give up their rights, even if those rights aren't real rights. Unless the paradigm of the argument itself is altered, it is destined to continue to fail. Social conservatives and liberatarians in the United States can make common cause if social conservatives change their language from a biblical one to a natural law one and if libertarians can be shown that rights for their own sake are not rights at all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's New?

Rorate (and Father Z, though I don't have that link) reports the nomination of Cardinal Llovera of Toledo, Spain as the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He will replace Cardinal Arinze. Archbishop Ranjith is most likely headed home to Sri Lanka.

Cardinal Llovera is known as the 'little Ratzinger.' According to Neil Young's Film Lounge's list of papabili, the cardinal is number six.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Funeral Arrangements

Father Z talks about funerals. He reports on a fellow priest's funeral and how the priest was 'canonized' instead of having his inherent sinfulness recognized. Purgatory is a very real place and if people die and their friends and family go off thinking they've 'gone to heaven,' then they're probably not going to be praying for the deceased who are most likely languishing in Purgatory.

  • A nice casket or coffin.
  • If celebration must be had, a wake would be fine, but save the good feelings for that and not the funeral.

My funeral:
  • Mass, of course. A Requiem Mass in the old form would be cool.
  • No uplifting songs. It's a funeral. Chanting is preferred.
  • Please wear black. And see that the priest does so as well.
  • And no homilies that are 'feel good.' I'd like some fire and brimstone about the Four Last Things.
  • Perhaps the Dies Irae could be sung or recited? It would be included in the old form of Mass at least.

  • Whatever leftover money there is from my estate should be applied toward stipends for Gregorian Masses to be said for the deliverance of my soul from Purgatory.
  • And then an annual Mass said for me on the day of my death.
  • Or even better, sign me up with something like this.

That's all for now. I'll add more later as I think of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Muhammad Sven Kalisch

This article from Spengler should be read by all as well as those to which it links.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out of the East

You all know Spengler, the columnist at Asia Times Online. At least I hope you do. It surprises me how little play he gets in the Catholic blogosphere given how often he talks about the Catholic Church and his obvious admiration for Benedict XVI.

Anyway, he has a new piece posted about the recent conference in Rome with a group of Muslim scholars. Spengler refers to the conference as a 'pyrrhic propaganda victory' for the Church. The Soviet example:

Leonid Brezhnev left the 1975 Helsinki meetings on European security
cooperation convinced that he had won an enormous concession - final recognition of the Soviet Union's postwar borders - in return for lip service to human rights that the communist regime never could or would provide. "Instead," wrote Cold War historian John Gaddis, the Helsinki Accords "gradually became a manifesto of the dissident and liberal movement ... What this meant was that the people who lived under these systems - at least the more courageous - could claim official permission to say what they thought."

The Jewish "refusenik" Natan Sharansky became a symbol of Soviet human rights violation, and president Ronald Reagan's personal support for the dissidents - often over objections of his diplomats - introduced hairline fractures into Soviet Power.

On contrast to this, Spengler describes the concessions of the Muslim scholars in Rome. After much negotiation, they agreed in their statement to pledge their adherence to the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights. Spengler points out the problem with this:

The fact that the attending Muslim scholars - who have no authority over the laws of Muslim countries - piggy-backed on the UN Declaration of Human Rights does not augur well for the "Helsinki" strategy. After all, having signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights does not in the least inhibit Muslim governments from persecuting non-Muslims in their own countries; why should the affirmation of such rights by a group of Muslim scholars have any additional impact?

Spengler then goes on to discuss the superficial agreement between Catholics and Muslims on abortion, but he makes the argument that the two religions have fundamentally different outlooks on God's relationship with Man:

[...] At best the conflation of the Islamic and Judeo-Christian concept of love is an exercise in self-deception. For those who find the theological arguments obscure, I suggest searching the word "love" in any of several online versions of the Koran, and doing the same in the online Bible, and comparing its frequency and context. Even more simply, try a Google search on the respect terms, "God loves you" and "Allah loves you".

The column concludes with a look at Tariq Ramadan's participation in the conference and a look at the consequences of a photo op with the Pope. Spengler ends with a brief paragraph and I join my hopes to his:

Ramadan, as Sandro Magister observed, portrayed the November 4-7 meeting as a rollback of Benedict's Regensburg speech. I hope the pope proves him wrong.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thoughts This November

UPDATE (11/16/08 1259): Ed over at Hot Air examines the response of the Charleston diocese and quotes a bit of Scripture:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


It's getting on into November and with the failing of the year, it's both dark and rainy. It's about five in the afternoon and it's already night out.

In the spirit of Father Z's post about a reform of the calendar, I want to bring up a few thoughts.

1. For those out there who think that no harm would come from playing with the 1962 calendar, I urge you all to think again. Just look at the fact there is a faction of the Russian Orthodox Church that is referred to as the Old Calendarists. Moving from Julian to Gregorian time seems not a big deal, but it was to them. Messing with the 1962 calendar with rearrangements and all that would just not be smart if you're looking to increase unity, not decrease it.

2. In case you missed it, Father Jay Scott Newman's piece for his parish in South Carolina has made national news (a nod to Father Z whose post is informative).

Father Newman's first point is not something I am qualified to expound upon beyond the most superficial reading as a layman. However, I would like to point at the comments left for the article at the local newspaper's website. They are quite scary in how they illustrate just how the Catholic Church is disliked and even hated. Not that we needed any reminder, but it's still an important lesson. When I was a boy, my grandmother told me the story of how a cross was burned in her neighbors' yard. Her neighbors though weren't black, they were Catholic.

Father Newman's second point is worth repeating lest we fall into the same trap with Obama those did who disliked Bush:

Barack Obama, although we must always and everywhere disagree with him over abortion, has been duly elected the next President of the United States, and after he takes the Oath of Office next January 20th, he will hold legitimate authority in this nation. For this reason, we are obliged by Scriptural precept to pray for him and to cooperate with him whenever conscience does not bind us otherwise. Let us hope and pray that the responsibilities of the presidency and the grace of God will awaken in the conscience of this extraordinarily gifted man an awareness that the unholy slaughter of children in this nation is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the United States and constitutes a clear and present danger to the common good. In the time of President Obama’s service to our country, let us pray for him in the words of a prayer found in the Roman Missal:

God our Father, all earthly powers must serve you. Help our President-elect, Barack Obama, to fulfill his responsibilities worthily and well. By honoring and striving to please you at all times, may he secure peace and freedom for the people entrusted to him. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Black Pope

On November 1, Father Z featured a column written by Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta in the run up to the election. The statement ended up being pro-life, but it was meandering and took many detours. Many commenters felt that it was written by the archbishop more to convince himself than his flock. Others made the comment that it was to be expected that such a nuanced position should come from the former president of the USCCB...

Now today from Times Online, we have this: Black Pope could follow Barack Obama's election, says US archbishop.

Archbishop Gregory, who in 2001 became the first African American to head the US Bishops Conference, serving for three years, said that the election of Mr Obama was "a great step forward for humanity and a sign that in the United States the problem of racial discrimination has been overcome". Like Mr Obama Archbishop Gregory comes from Chicago, and was previously Bishop of Belleville, Illinois.

I wonder what inferences we can draw about how His Excellency voted if he thinks Mr. Obama's election was a great step forward.

Tip o' the hat to Drudge.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Hallows' Day

I don't have much to post lately. Mainly I'm just waiting for Election Day to see what will come of it after all this time.

If you haven't seen them yet, Father Z has two posts detailing words of wisdom:

ON FIRE! Bp. Finn of Kansas City - MUST READ

Bp. Vasa of Bend, OR! WDTPRS is impressed - kudos!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cardinal Newman's Feast

Last June 29, I posted a few comments culled from another blog's comments section regarding the negotiations between the Traditional Anglican Communion and Rome. Today, I came home and checked my email and found a comment to be moderated for that post.

The anonymous commenter posted the following: "Look for something to happen on this concurrent with +JH Newman's beatification."

Consider, for what it's worth.

The Slippery Slope

A piece by Daniel Burke of the Religious News Service in USAToday: Group asks IRS to investigate Catholic bishop against Obama.

WASHINGTON — A church-state watchdog group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether the Roman Catholic bishop of Paterson, N.J., violated tax laws by denouncing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

In a letter sent to the IRS on Wednesday (Oct. 22), Americans United for Separation of Church and State accused Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli of illegal partisanship for lambasting Obama's support of abortion rights.

In a column posted on the Diocese of Paterson's website and published in its weekly newspaper, Serratelli also compared Obama to King Herod, the biblical monarch who ordered the death of John the Baptist.

The bishop did not refer to Obama by name but only as "the present democratic (sic) candidate."

Under federal tax law, nonprofit groups — including religious organizations — are prohibited from intervening in campaigns for public office by endorsing or opposing candidates.

I'm not going to quote it all. That's about the first half of the article, read the rest for yourself.

Bishop Serratelli responded the other day and the diocese issued a statement:

"The characterization that Bishop Serratelli’s column intervened in the election process is inaccurate. His October 9 column was not directed to the upcoming presidential election, but was rather totally focused on the Freedom of Choice Act and the harm it would do to the nation if it were to be signed into law. It’s absolutely, positively misleading to say that the bishop urged Catholics not to vote for Sen. Obama. All the bishop did was to point out that in a speech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, Sen. Obama made the promise that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.

In addition to his column, the bishop sent a letter on October14 to all pastors in the diocese to be published in the parish bulletins in which he asked the people to read his column and call or write to their elected representatives about the Freedom of Choice Act. He did not make any statement about voting for or against a candidate."

The column itself in the diocesan newspaper may be read online here.

I'm not an expert on the relevant tax law, but whatever fine line His Excellency came close to seems to me not to have been breached. The final paragraph of his letter:

At the time when Herod murdered John the Baptist because of his promise, Rome practiced the principle "one man, one vote." Whoever the emperor in Rome placed in authority over a subject people, ruled. Today we live in a democracy. We choose our leaders who make our laws. Every vote counts. Today, either we choose to respect and protect life, especially the life of the child in the womb of the mother or we sanction the loss of our most basic freedoms. At this point, we are still free to choose!

The letter is a review of one candidate's position on a relevant, in fact quite fundamental, Catholic teaching and its conclusion sums up the position of the Catholic Church on that issue. If bishops cannot expound on the teachings of their Church in their own diocesan newspapers without fear of recriminations and possible governmental sanction, what does that say for the rest of us when we find ourselves in similar situations?

Oh, wait...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wading Into Politics

A moment of your time, please.

There are thirteen days left before the election here in the United States and it seems more and more likely that Barack Obama is going to be elected as president.

Given the occasion, I wanted to bring to the attention of my readership two items from the blog known as Hot Air.

Item the first: Is George Soros funding pro-Obama Catholic groups?
The upshot of the post is that George Soros, non-Catholic rich guy extraordinaire, has funded to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of dollars two self described Catholic groups that have worked unceasingly to proclaim Obama as pro-life. Honestly, do we really think that is the case?

Item the second: The comprehensive argument against Barack Obama
As the title states, it's a comprehensive look at Obama's positions in a variety of subjects and analysis of the same. It relies upon videos of Obama speaking, his words. The issues covered are abortion (he's not pro-life), taxes (probably going up), radical associations, foreign policy judgment (no preconditions), disdain for the heartland (bitter, clinging to religion, etc.), the race card and a general lack of accomplishments. As is stated in the introduction:

These are lofty promises from a man with precious little executive experience, and a Senate career that lasted exactly 143 legislative days before he launched yet another campaign for higher office. No one can deny his ambition. In fact, if Obama wins on November 4th—and serves one full term in the Oval Office—the Presidency of the United States would be the longest consecutively held full-time job he has ever held without seeking another.

Consider well your vote, readers in the United States, before casting your ballots for such a man as Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


UPDATE (10/8/08 1638): Father Z responses. It's pretty good. Read the comments. One snippet of Father Z's:

Is the priest afraid of the bishop? Help the priest. Keep working on the bishop. Carefully. Pray for him, perhaps using the Bux Protocol for praying for bishops: ask St. Joseph to intercede with God that He will either open the bishop’s eyes or close them permanently. Remember: the biological solution is going to be important for the future of the TLM. Therefore, work on the younger priests and on seminarians. Do you best to promote vocations to the priesthood among bright young men and boys who are interested in these things.


Damian Thompson has a new piece out today on the MP's progress so far. After recounting the state of the Gregorian Mass, at the end he sums it up quite well.

Let us be blunt about this. If the Pope were to die tomorrow, he would be remembered for many fine achievements, most of all his encyclicals, but his liturgical reforms would peter out. Summorum Pontificum would remain on the statute book, but the Magic Circle in England and its powerful allies in the Vatican and Europe would quietly suffocate the work of Ecclesia Dei.

My guess is that the next Pope will be as theologically conservative as Benedict, but is unlikely to possess his blindingly intense vision of a liturgical reform in which the pre- and post-Vatican II liturgies revive each other. That reform is not yet properly under way, and the Pope is in his 80s. No wonder traditionalists are alarmed.

"Tick tock, tick tock, Clarice."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Archbishop Burke's statement

Ed Morrissey makes several points about Archbishop Burke's statements regarding the Democratic Party and abortion. Ed's last point:

Burke goes farther, though, in this statement. Until now, bishops have restricted their criticisms to Catholic politicians who work to support abortion rights. Burke has expanded this into a broader political argument, one that will create more controversy in the pews and in the general electorate, especially with pro-life Democrats who will resent the accusation. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first, and avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead.

1. It will create controversy in the pews, but that is going to happen regardless as the bishops grow a spine and speak out on issues like abortion. The laity has gone thirty years without being properly catechized and unlearning everything bad is not going to be a piece of cake.

2. Who cares what the general electorate thinks? The Catholic Church isn't running for office in the US, it's working to save souls for Christ. If pro-choice Democrats who are Catholics don't like Church teaching, they can take their ball and go play somewhere else. Why would the general electorate (I'm assuming Ed means non-Catholics) care what the Catholic Church says in the first place?

3. Pro-life Democrats stung by the words of a Catholic archbishop should reevaluate their situation. They've for the last thirty years allowed their party to be hijacked by the supporters of Roe v. Wade and done little to chastise those Democrats who have hypocritically changed horses midstream (Ted Kennedy used to be pro-life. Where is the pro-life Democrat outrage?). If what His Excellency is saying hurts them that much, it's probably more due to their own regret and anxiety at their flimsy position in their own party than actually disagreeing with his words.

4. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first... Triumphalism may not be vogue at the moment, but the Catholic Church's mandate is not just Catholics, but the entire human race.

5. The church should [...] avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead. The archbishop calling it as he sees it on a fundamental issue of human rights is hardly a partisan shot. Is it a partisan shot when the Vatican was speaking out against the US invasion of Iraq?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If I should die before I wake...

Damian has a nice look at the discussion on Last Rites.

His inspiration: A post by Father Z of course.

Another Father Z post on the Apostolic Blessing, something I hope I (and all my family) get when the time comes:

Ego facultate mihi ab Apostolica Sede tributa, indulgentiam plenariam et remissionem omnium peccatorum tibi concedo et benedico te. In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spirtus Sancti, Amen. ... By the faculty given to me by the Apostolic See, I grant you a plenary indulgence and the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son + and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You can't make this stuff up!

Ave Watch, the website that chronicles the various efforts of the former head of Domino's Pizza and now president/chairman/godfather of an interlinked web of quasi-legitimate academic enterprises that all tie into a land deal in a Florida swampland (seriously!), has several new posts up on the latest saga, that of Ricky Benitez, the just-fired head coach of the Ave Maria University basketball team.

And now for a public service announcement from 'Vatican Watcher' blog:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Useless Reform

At the German-language Facebook equivalent I joined some time ago, it asked me for my political preference. Since it was listed, I chose 'monarchist' because I like monarchies. I think their place in history and the convoluted ways they've survived into the present day is a fun thing to study.

Then I go and read this.

The monarch has no real power. The legislature has emasculated the monarchy over time and basically gutted the House of Lords so that the British system is a tyranny of the majority. If they're so intent on reducing it down to nothing, why don't they just abolish it and be done with it?

There are horror stories from the NHS, Shariah is taking hold as a viable method of legal adjudication and a top ethicist wants to euthanize old people with dementia and all these Labourites can thing of is screwing around with an institution that is powerless anyway?

And to think they make fun of American politics...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A man attacked a parish priest after watching a miserable anti-Catholic flick (take a guess which one). This all took place in Rome.

Pray that the priest and those who came to his aid and were wounded as well recover fully from their wounds. The priest is in serious condition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From Reader Louis

I inquired as to whether the motherchurch of Texas Catholicism had survived another hurricane (it still has the high water marks from 1900), and got a may want to pass it on to those inclined to donate.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 11:33:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: St. Mary Cathedral Basilica
To: Louis E.
Subject: Re: Weathered the Hurricane?

The island is uninhabitable and the mayor has said that those who did not evacuate should leave. Basic services like water and power are not going to be restored soon.

The church had 8 feet of water and will need to be cleaned and repaired. The pastor is taking residence in Lake Charles, Louisiana and have no access to a computer. I have evacuated to Dallas and there is nobody at the church.

We have no information of when the postal service will become operational in Galveston. We do not know when we will be able to get back either. The island is in lock down.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the church please make the check payable to St. Mary Cathedral Basilica and remit to:

Rev. Brendan Murphy
1425 N Chateau Cir
Lake Charles, LA 70605

Also please add a note specifying how you would like your donation to be used. For example: to the needy or for church repair.

Please contact Rev. Brendan Murphy at (409) 370-8844



Parish Secretary

--- On Sat, 9/13/08, Louis Epstein wrote:
From: Louis E.
Subject: Weathered the Hurricane?
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2008, 9:14 PM

Was the Cathedral damaged by Ike?

The World Trade Center towers MUST rise again,
at least as tall as before...or terror has triumphed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Father Z's War

Since Speaker Nancy Pelosi, self-described Catholic, spoke out on Meet the Press on abortion, Father Z has been on the job pointing out the gross misrepresentation of the Catholic teachings on this subject as well as keeping it on the forefront of his blog to promote continuing awareness of the subject.

His latest post on the subject is here and it provides a nice round-up of links. I know one of my most loyal readers is not in agreement with the Catholic position, but I think he would agree that San Fran Nan's position is not very tenable.

From the BBC

Priest cancels nun beauty contest | BBC News

An Italian priest who said he wanted to hold the world's first beauty contest for nuns has decided to cancel the project, saying he was misunderstood.

Antonio Rungi said he had never intended to put sisters on the catwalk, but had wanted to erase a stereotype of them as being old and dour.

He had wanted to hold the contest online on his internet blog.

Father Rungi said he changed his mind after the local religious authorities expressed their displeasure.

"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Rungi told Reuters news agency from the town of Mondragone, near Naples.

"It was interpreted as more of a physical thing," he said. "Now, no one is saying that nuns can't be beautiful, but I was thinking about something more complete."

He said he had intended to showcase the good works that nuns do, especially in education and health care, so as to boost interest in religious vocations.

Right, pictures on a blog, vote for whom you like best... What could possibly go wrong?

"We have to draw more attention to the world of nuns, who are often not sufficiently appreciated by society," he wrote in his blog.

I agree with this sentiment.

"Nuns are - above all - women, and beauty is a gift from God," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper before he cancelled the project.

He had wanted nuns to send their photos to him, so that internet users could then choose the winner.

Father Rungi said the idea of the contest had been put to him by nuns themselves.

I'm not even going to try to comment on this. Take it for what it's worth.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Speaker Speaks Out

From Hot Air: Nancy Pelosi... Ugh.

Fine quotes from the Church Fathers. This one from Tertullian is most compelling:

“In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed” (Apology 9:8 [A.D. 197]).

“Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs [of the child] within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery.

“There is also [another instrument in the shape of] a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: They give it, from its infanticide function, the name of embruosphaktes, [meaning] “the slayer of the infant,” which of course was alive. . . .

“[The doctors who performed abortions] all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and [they] pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive” (The Soul 25 [A.D. 210]).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pushing the Agenda

From the local paper... My comments in italics and red in some places.

Wanted: More Catholic priests | [Iowa City]
Robert Daniel, August 22, 2008

The Rev. Jeff Belger has been a priest for five years.

Nice guy, good priest.

Formerly running camps for the YMCA in Eastern Iowa, he said he felt called at the age of 30 to become a priest in the Catholic Church. Following five years of seminary training at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana, he came to Iowa City, where he splits his time between serving at St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Iowa.

It was a job he said he felt called by God to do.

"Through prayer, I felt led to explore if this was (what God wanted)," Belger, 40, said. "As I learned about being a priest, I felt it was more of a calling."

Belger, however, is becoming more of an anomaly as the Catholic Church continues to deal with a shortage of priests that is becoming more severe as more and more of them retire. [...]

Here be dragons! a lot of the usual numbers detailing a decline in priests...

The Diocese of Davenport, which Johnson County Catholic churches belong, has not been immune to the decrease.

Even though the total Catholic population has decreased slightly from 105,715 in 1976 to 105,650 in 2006, the number of priests has dropped 48.6 percent, from 226 in 1976 to 116 in 2006, according to figures from the Official Catholic Directory and FutureChurch [remember that name], a Cleveland-based group that has pushed for ordaining women and married priests.

The priest shortage even led the diocese to decide to move St. Thomas More Parish from Iowa City to northern Coralville rather than start a new church to better serve Catholics in Coralville and North Liberty.

The Rev. Wally Helms, pastor of St. Thomas More, said the decision is reflective of what the Catholic Church is enduring worldwide.

"You reallocate your resources," he said. "That's true with anything."

The reasons why fewer men are entering the priesthood are varied. The Rev. Marty Goetz, who is the vocation director for the Davenport Diocese, said factors such as materialism discourage some who decide to pursue a more secular job rather than the priesthood. Other factors, such as the requirement of celibacy for priests and the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church has endured in recent years [yadda yadda yadda], have played a minor role in knocking down interest as well, he said.

However, he said a major reason could be fewer men heeding "a call from God."

"The vocations are out there," Goetz said. "But people are not listening to God's call."

Possible solutions for the priest shortage are as varied. Since priests are the only church members who can lead Mass and celebrate the Eucharist, some Catholics, such as members of FutureChurch [haven't we read about a similar movement here? Nearly same agenda too :P], have pushed for ordaining married priests as well as women.

Helms said it is unlikely changes will occur any time soon though he would welcome them.

"I don't have any problem with women priests or married priests," he said. "Lots of other Christian religions have that and they seem to be doing that."

Not my parish, thank God.

Goetz said it is a matter of current priests having a "sense of true joy" in their work as clergy and displaying it for others to see.

"When we find that joy, we celebrate through prayer and daily contact with people," he said. "We learn this is a wonderful life that way. It's not easy, but I believe if God brings you to it, he'll bring you through it. We have to trust God is there."

Belger said those considering becoming priests have to be willing to listen to God.

"(It's) asking God what He wants for your life as opposed to your desires," he said.

Reach Rob Daniel at 339-7360 or

Okay, this post is a /little/ mistitled as Mr. Daniel does a fairly good job of keeping it balanced by having some decent quotes from the vocations director and Fr. Belger. Might have been a better article if the reporter had mentioned the return of the Mass of Blessed John XXIII/St. Pius V/St. Gregory the Great/etc. to the area, but we can live without it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Immigration in Rhode Island

The bishop of Providence, Thomas J. Tobin and various members of the clergy of that diocese, have released a statement that urges "Stephen Farquharson, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), Boston Regional Office, to declare a moratorium on immigration raids in Rhode Island. The clergy also encouraged ICE to allow agents to excuse themselves from participating in raids if such actions are not in conformity with their faith and conscience."

It then goes on to say, "The bishop and pastors met at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Providence on Tuesday afternoon to: assess the current situation with the immigrants in various communities throughout the diocese; determine their needs; and discuss possible diocesan assistance."

Along with the statement are excerpts for the letters sent by His Excellency and the pastors to Mr. Farquharson which you may go and read yourself.

Of note is this quote from the letter in the release: “We the undersigned…urge you to declare a moratorium on immigration raids in the State of Rhode Island, until our nation can implement a comprehensive and just reform of our immigration laws,” wrote Bishop Tobin and Catholic priests. “It is our hope that such reform will make immigration raids obsolete. Until then, we believe that raids on the immigrant community are unjust, unnecessary, and counter-productive.”

Notice the lack of distinction between legal and illegal immigration except insofar as the bishop hopes that 'reform' will eventually render the raids unneeded. Very subtle.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Leeds Crisis

Damian Thompson has been keeping abreast of this at his blog Holy Smoke. In his latest post, Mr. Thompson describes the reaction of the bishop of Leeds to the recent protest actions of parishioners whose parishes are being closed rather arbitrarily under false pretenses.

The whole thing came up at Mr. Thompson's blog with the issue of the bishop wishing to deal with one Father Lawler, the pastor of St. John the Evangelist at Allerton Bywater for being insubordinate. But Mr. Thompson indicated it had more to do with the good father's using Latin in the Mass and saying Mass while facing liturgical east.

In the latest post:

This whole business stinks, and I hear that the smell is beginning drift as far afield as the Vatican.

Bishop Roche I think has overplayed his hand. As Mr. Thompson has stated repeatedly, he's a member of the magic circle that dominates the English hierarchy and is in the running for succeeding to the archbishopric of Westminster. Coming to the Vatican's attention now not only exposes him as a member of that magic circle that has caught flack before for its /resistance/ to the pope's initiatives, but it also gives truth to the position that /all/ of that group is pretty much unfit for office. If Cormac and his chums hope to retain the see of Westminster, they'd do well to step in and tell their friend Bishop Roche to stop making waves.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

South Ossetia V

This post at Hot Air is pretty damning. Sarkozy negotiating away Georgia's sovereignty for a ceasefire... That's pretty sad.

So why are the Russians packing it in for a 'retrograde maneuver?'

Obviously, the cease-fire agreement did not chase the Russians back into South Ossetia. So what did? The unexpectedly strong American response is most likely responsible for the Russian reconsideration. George Bush went from oddly passive in the first hours of the crisis to angry within days. His order to start military airlifts to provide, ahem, “humanitarian” aid to Georgia probably took Russia by surprise. The EU move to kick Russia out of the G-8, where they don’t belong anyway, may also have gotten Putin’s attention.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

South Ossetia IV

Tip of the hat to TitusOneNine for this blog post and link to the column.

George Pitcher's words in the Telegraph (scroll down a bit):

Pope Benedict XVI managed, from his holiday in the Italian Alps, to call for an "immediate" end to hostilities in South Ossetia and urged negotiations between Russia and Georgia over the contested province.

But it sounded like a rebuke to two squabbling children, not a plea for an end to a bloodbath, and carefully made no reference to the wider incursion into Georgia.

Not only will politicians, such as Gordon Brown and his foreign secretary, David Miliband, not break their holidays, but the Pope won't leave his ski chalet either.

But it's worth noting, for all the talk of unity between Christians when Anglicans bicker about their internal divisions, or Catholics talk of irreconcilable divisions over women priests, that when Christian unity really matters, an ecumenical Church is nowhere to be seen.

While I have neither the time nor the inclination to defend the slew of politicians whom Mr. Pitcher lists in his column, I do think that his words regarding the Holy Father's actions thus far are a bit unfair. Rereading Benedict's words now, they do seem rather pale compared to the condemnations from the US, but I wonder what Mr. Pitcher expects an octogenarian to do in the face of the KGB man Putin and his oil-funded army?

The pope's only weapon is his office's reputation for even-handedness. While condemning Russia directly would have been well and good, I doubt Mr. Putin would have batted an eye given the fact that he seems not at all publicly intimidated by the likes of the United States.
The Living Church: Revisiting Vatican II | The New York Sun
By RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS | August 13, 2008

An interesting article. Go check it out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

South Ossetia III

Russia has moved out of South Ossetia proper and is moving through Georgia now. Reports indicate that Russia has cut the country in two by taking the main highway and is moving to cut off Abkhazia so they may fully occupy it as well.

This is a good primer on what Russia's been up to for the last eighteen years.

The Holy Father commented yesterday. This is part of the CWN article:

In his reference to the conflict, Pope Benedict remarked that the violence had already caused the deaths of innocent civilians, and forced many more to flee their homes. The fighting could escalate if it continues, the Pontiff added.

Making an appeal to the "shared Christian heritage" of Georgia and Russia-- both predominantly Orthodox nations-- the Pope promised that Catholics would pray for a quick resolution of the conflict.

He also asked international leaders to "make every effort to support and promote initiatives aimed at reaching a peaceful and lasting solution."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

South Ossetia II

Danger Room is a fine source for in depth info on what's going on in Georgia. The latest post is about the cyber warfare going on as Georgia's government servers are being attacked.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

South Ossetia I

Georgia: Protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Russia: Merely following the Kosovo precedent as established by the peace-loving West.

This is a hot war where neither side can escape fault nor be faulted for starting it.

Of course, the Russians have already bombed a Georgian city and there are unconfirmed reports the Georgians are engaging in ethnic cleansing...

I just went through all my bookmarks and Catholic news outlets are silent on a war between two Christian countries, even if they are by and large Orthodox.

A Fallen Hero

Like many others, I know Solzhenitsyn through his many works exposing the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union for what it was. Since his death a few days ago, the paeans have been many both in the mainstream media and the blogosphere. But The New York Sun had a column on the 8th that paints a somewhat different picture.

For Solzhenitsyn, a survivor of the gulag system enforced by the KGB, the desire to see Russia as a great nation, its eternal spirit superior to the West's vulgar materialism, found him in old age supporting an ex-KGB man, Mr. Putin, who once said that there is no such thing as an ex-KGB man and who sees the Soviet Union's collapse as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of modern times. Despite this, Solzhenitsyn seemed to accept Mr. Putin as a "good dictator," whose silencing of his critics enhances Russia's soul.

The author, Nina Khrushcheva, goes on to describe Solzhenitsyn's later works in his old age as "backward, preachy, conservative, unenlightened, at times even anti-Semitic..." She concludes with the following which quite adequately sums up a legacy:

The tragedy of Solzhenitsyn is that, although he played a mighty role in liberating Russia from totalitarianism, he had nothing to say to ordinary Russians after their liberation, except to chastise them. Yet perhaps one day we Russians will escape our false dreams, and when that day comes, the heroic Solzhenitsyn, the Solzhenitsyn who could never surrender or be corrupted, will be restored to us. But it is now that we need that Solzhenitsyn most. For to paraphrase Milton's "Paradise Lost" on the illumination of Hell, "Solzhenitsyn's is no light, but rather darkness visible."

Suppression: Such a Harsh Word

Damien Thompson is reporting the suppression of a parish and the punishment of its priest.

The priest:

Fr Lawler told me [Thompson] today: "This is a parish that does exactly what the Holy Father tells us to do, celebrating the Mass reverently in the old and new forms. The bishop is determined to squash it, and to destroy me because he doesn't want me moving to another parish and doing the same thing."

The chancery:

Instead, the Vicar General, one Mgr McQuinn, has written to him [Father Lawler], telling him: "The Bishop ... believes your ministry to be divisive, is uncertain that ordinary pastoral care of parishioners is taking place and does not have confidence that you will celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass with a generous heart for the vast majority of parishioners who expect Sunday and weekday Masses to be in English and at an altar facing the people."

Apparently Father Lawler has been on the bishop's list for awhile and this seems to be the climax of much tension. The parish has retained a canon lawyer and appealing to Rome.

I would assume that Mr. Thompson would not report such a blatant act as this without first getting his ducks in a row. That the bishop of Leeds would take such drastic action is telling. I would personally like to know the circumstances behind the 'planned' round of closings and if this church was slated for closure before or after all this cropped up. That would be even more damning.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A New Link

Rorate Caeli has a link to the new Institute of Christ the King website. After browsing through it, I put the link down the left hand column along with a link to the FSSP.

The ICK website is very pretty and well designed, quite easy to navigate. Go have a look.

Should I Send This?

Dear Father Z,

If you are looking for a change of pace and wish to form a group, I humbly invite you to join my blog. Since I had surgery last year, I've been less than diligent in posting regularly, but with a partner of your caliber, I'm sure good things will happen while we share the workload. What do you think? Interested?

On the other hand, if you're looking for a partner for your blog, I'd be happy to offer my services. I have little knowledge of the inner workings of the Church beyond what I've read in the blogosphere, but I like to think I've learned some good places to check the news and then comment appropriately. Interested? ;)

Yours in Christ,

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I think Google has deemed that the blog is not spam. I didn't get the warning message on the dashboard page.


When: Sunday, August 3rd, 1:30pm

What: Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite aka the Gregorian Rite aka the Mass of Pius V aka the Mass of Blessed John XXIII aka the Traditional Latin Mass

Where: St. Wenceslaus' Church, 623 Fairchild Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52245

I may take the camera for pictures, but don't get your hopes up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Online Poll

Ignoring everything wrong with how this question is phrased...

"Should the Roman Catholic Church ordain women?"

Scroll down and vote. 'No' would be preferable (that is if you value the redemption of your soul). ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comments on the Anglican Situation

Mr. Peter Karl T. Perkins of Victoria, Canada is one of many contributors to the comments over at Rorate Caeli. In one of his various comments, he asserts that after the Traditional Anglican Communion and those of the Church of England who wish to enter into communion with Rome complete an organizational structure, the GAFCON/Global South community of Anglican churches will "join a uniate TAC within five years, bringing one-third of the world's Anglicans with them."

I bring this up because I wish to invite Mr. Perkins to lay out his thoughts on why the Global South and GAFCON would be willing to enter into communion with Rome when so much of their theology and practice seems to me more along the protestant rather than the Catholic tradition.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Read This and Consider

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Nicholas Carr, July/August 2008 Atlantic Monthly

Read all of it at once, don't be distracted and break off or else you'll prove the point of the article.

I'm interested in what effect this may have on our religious beliefs. I would submit that the Internet is having an effect. How do we comprehend God with our brains fundamentally rewritten? Is it bringing us closer to God or is it leading us away?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

WYD 08

Father Z has video.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Anglican Situation

As I reported the other day, various sources familiar with the situation with the TAC say that things are moving forward and that it could be resolved anytime now.

In the meantime, the Church of England voted to 'ordain' women. Due to this, a sizable group led by an Anglican 'bishop' has asked to come over to Rome. All kinds of links can be found at the blogs listed at the left under Daily Readings, so I'm not going to link to them all here.

As one commenter at one of those blogs pointed out, this situation with the Church of England has been on its way for years and years, so it stands to reason that Rome has a contingency plan for just this situation. What it turns out to be remains to be seen.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'Traditional Latin Mass' Announced

This has been out there awhile, but I'll post it anyway:

Una Voce Quad Cities takes great pleasure in making the following announcement:

Beginning August 3, 2008, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered in the extraordinary form (Missa Cantata) every Sunday at 4pm at St. Anthony's Church in Davenport, Iowa. Fr. Scott Lemaster, Fr. David Brownfield, and Fr. Tim Regan will alternate in offering the Mass. For parish information see

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Bishop Martin Amos and his director of liturgy, Deacon Frank Agnoli, who administered a diocese-wide survey of interest in the Traditional Latin Mass and then encouraged six diocesan priests to seek training in the extraordinary form. We are also deeply grateful to these priests (three of whom will be offering the Traditional Mass at St. Wenceslaus in Iowa City, also beginning August 3rd, at 1:30pm) for sacrificing their time and energy to offer us the ancient form of Mass, and to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago who offered the (by all accounts superb) training program they attended in May.

Deo Gratias!

After the release of SP, I found my way onto someone's email list for organizing the Extraordinary Form here in IC, so I've been following along with their efforts. It is pleasing to see such efforts come to fruition.

SSPX Letter Content?

Rorate Caeli has a story from I.MEDIA via AFP that the SSPX superior-general's letter has asked that the excommunications be lifted. Go read the dispatch over there.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coming Home to Rome

With events with the SSPX moving forward to some form of conclusion (or at least a new condition), there is also word out there that the process continues for the Traditional Anglican Communion's petition for communion with the Church of Rome. Two comments at the blog TitusOneNine shed light on the subject.

In the first comment, 'Ad Orientem' has this to say:

TAC has pretty much written off the Anglican Communion and the ABC. They are mostly Anglo-Catholic in their orientation and are far more conservative than most of the GAFCON crowd rejecting women’s ordination among other things. They really would have no reason to participate in GAFCON since they have submitted a petition to the Pope in Rome asking to be received into communion with the Holy See as a sort of uniate Anglican Rite Church analogous to the Byzantine Rite Catholics.

The last I heard was their petition is being handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, and they are waiting for a reply from the Vatican. In making this petition they have of course petty much signed onto all of the dogmatic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. They hope to retain a distinctly Anglican liturgy and a married clergy. There have been a number of rumors circulating of late that Rome might be preparing to make some sort of decision but are holding off until after the Lamberth meeting as a courtesy to the ABC. This however is strictly rumor, and the sources are not what I would call reliable.

In the second, Dr. William Tighe follows up with this bit of information:

This accords with what I have heard, too. However, since all the TAC bishops who were present at their Portsmouth Synod in England last October individually signed their names to both a copy of the *Catechism of the Catholic Church* and to a document declaring their acceptance of all that that catechism contains, and sent a delegation to Rome immediately thereafter to deliver the document to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I see no reason for the qualification “pretty much” in “they have of course petty much signed onto all of the dogmatic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church,” as they have clearly and unequivocally done so.

There was a rumor that Rowan Williams had made a direct appeal to the pope to defer the promulgation of any “Anglican Uniate (sic) Church” until after the Lambeth Conference. I understand that Lambeth Palace issued a formal disavowal in late May that any such request had been made. Whatever the truth of this, I have heard from several well-informed (and separate) sources that the project is progressing slowly in Rome, and has the favor of the pope himself.

The comments come from a post at TitusOneNine regarding the meeting of Anglican bishops in Jerusalem that has just concluded. If you're interested in that event, Times of London correspondent Ruth Gledhill has more.

As for the Priestly Society of St. Pius X and its travails, Father Z and Rorate Caeli are doing an outstanding job keeping us up to date.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Time to Call It?

Rorate Caeli has this quote from the superior-general of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay that was taken from here:

And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States] which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.

What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!

Father Z has commentary on the subject:

I cannot believe that a person who desires unity with the Roman Pontiff would stand up in a pulpit and say this sort of thing about the reigning Pope.

Thinking it is one thing, but saying it in a sermon is another.
However, this statement does underscore what I have been saying all along. The real problem for the SSPX is not so much the liturgical issue or the excommunications, or even some juridical structure they could fit into. Those things can be solved with the a few signatures.

The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.

I agree with Father Z's assessment. I'd go so far as to say that it is perhaps time to step back and reflect. The Church is moving forward along other avenues. The SSPX one looks as though the barricade will not be removed anytime soon. Time to follow another of those avenues until this one is open.

The funny thing is that if we all lived with a Church and a society that Bishop Fellay so obviously prefers, he and his brethren would probably not be in a position to move forward with their views as they are now.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Last Vestige of Rome?

Pentecost on Mount Athos
by Sandro Magister

MOUNT ATHOS – When you see the summit of Athos emerge through the mist of the Aegean, stop the clocks. Because things are on another schedule there. The calendar is the Julian one, 13 days behind the Latin calendar that spread throughout the rest of the world. The hours are counted not from midnight, but from sunset. And it is not under the noon-day sun but in the dark of night that Athos is most alive and pulsating. In songs, lights, and mysteries.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

US: The Nationals Park Mass

I missed it. Yes, I had an appointment this morning and I was not able to watch. But perhaps God spared me from what I have read on the blogs this afternoon after getting home from my appointment. (I'm deaf, but that was a joke anyway...)

Father Z:
1. Benedict XVI’s sermon at Nationals Stadium
2. A comment on the Holy Father’s Mass at Nationals Stadium
3. Blogs I look at react to the Washington D.C. Mass
4. NLM on the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium

USCCB Papal Visit Blog: Mass at Nationals Park
This entry has come under fire from Father Z for its deletion of negative comments regarding the Mass this morning.

The New Liturgical Movement:
1. Papal Mass, Nationals Park, Washington [Comments re-opened]
2. Music for the D.C. Mass: The End of an Era, and the Beginning of Something New

After all that, the end conclusion is that the Mass was a travesty and that it is possibly a kind of death-knell for post-Vatican II musical efforts. Time will tell.

US: Benedict's First Mass

People came just to be close...

The papal address as provided by the USCCB.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Neil has revised his list

I have linked to and reproduced here at the blog the papabili list at Neil's Film Lounge for several years now. I was checking tonight just to see if it was updated. Lo and behold, it has been updated and given the last consistory, we have some interesting names.

1. Angelo Comastri (1943) Italy
Comastri was included on the list a long time ago, but then he fell off the list and apparently out of favor after a consistory went by and he didn't get the red hat. All that has changed now it seems after the last consistory and His Eminence is now number one to succeed Benedict XVI (whom we pray will lead us for many years to come).

The next few simply moved down a notch.

2. Norberto Rivera Carrera (1942) Mexico
3. Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne (1943) Peru
4. Angelo Scola (1941) Italy

And the newcomer to the list is:

5. Angelo Bagnasco (1943) Italy

The cardinal-archbishop of Genoa is the recently appointed president of the Italian bishops' conference, succeeding Cardinal Ruini who soldiers on as vicar of Rome for the Holy Father. Cardinal Bagnasco was chosen for the red hat this last time as well.

US: Yep, it's about what I expected

The speech to the bishops...

It was pretty cool, the first third or half of it. Then at 6 pm local time, CNN cut away for Lou Dobbs. So I switched over to EWTN and yeah, no captions. So right now he's still talking and answering questions, but all I can do is /watch/ him talk. It's entertaining for about five minutes...

The first half of the speech was a general statement on the bishops' role as guides in the secular culture of the US public square. The Holy Father touched upon several points. His point about immigration was a good one: we should welcome immigrants. I agree. He didn't say anything about illegal immigrants, etc. The much anticipated words on the sex abuse scandal must have been in the second half.

Cardinal George's opening remarks were also interesting themselves. I got the distinct impression that he and his fellows were trying hard to look faithful to the pope on national TV before the speech came down upon them.

There, now they seem to be done. Time to go look for a transcript.

EDIT (6:40 PM CDT): NCRegister has excerpts.
EDIT (7:03 PM CDT): The prepared speech and the Q&A at the USCCB.

US: The Holy Father's remarks at the White House

Father Z has the full speech interspersed with his comments and emphasized points. I would suggest reading it first and skipping Father Z's points and then reading it a second time along with the comments for a deeper appreciation of what's going on in the speech. The Holy Father's command of US history is impressive. But hey, we all knew he was brilliant before today.

US: I'm disappointed

This image is from Reuters. Yesterday when President and Mrs. Bush greeted the pope out at Andrews Air Force Base, both the first lady and the first daughter were wearing black, quite appropriate. Today though, Mrs, Bush went for off-white...

Anyone remember Mrs. Blair's faux pas?

Catholic Press Photo

The text of the remarks delivered will be posted later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

US: The Pope Has Landed

The Holy Father, President Bush, one of the Bush twins, Mrs. Bush

I was at therapy, so I missed it. I'll catch the replay later tonight. I caught some of CNN though. Talk talk talk talk talk! Blah! Did anyone catch anything on CBS? Has their reporting lived up to the promise of the press release?

Benedict retires to the nunciature for the rest of the day. More tomorrow.

US: Oops...

Today's VIS press release:

VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport. Following a flight of more than 7,000 kilometres, his plane is due to land at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome) at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C. This is the Benedict XVI's eighth apostolic trip outside Italy and his first to the U.S.A. as Pope.

U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Nancy will welcome the Pope as he descends from his aircraft. No speeches are scheduled for this first meeting and the welcome ceremony proper will take place tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. local time (4.30 p.m. in Rome) at the White House, official residence of the U.S. president.

After landing, Benedict XVI will travel by car to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C where he will spend the rest of the day.

Tomorrow, 16 April, is the Pope's 81st birthday, and Saturday 19 April, will mark the third anniversary of his election to the pontifical throne.

I could have sworn her name was Laura... :D

US: From the Inbox

I found this in my inbox just a little while ago. It is totally unexpected. Please note, I include it here just so you all can read it as well. It's not an endorsement of CBS News' planned coverage of the visit of the Holy Father. Watch CBS... Or don't. That's up to you.

I'll be watching the coverage with the least amount of hack commentary and the most reliable closed captioning.


Hi - my name is [removed] and I work for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. I have been reading your blog and wanted to let you know of the coverage we have on air, on the radio, and on line at CBS News has this week, in case you wanted to inform your blog readers. Below is a press release and please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you.

CBS Evening News


CBS News will offer comprehensive coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States from his arrival in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday (15), through his departure from New York City on Sunday (20). CBS News' coverage will include carrying the Pontiff's arrival at the White House on Wednesday (16) live, along with reports on the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC (6:30-7:00 PM, ET/PT) and THE EARLY SHOW (7:00-9:00 AM, ET/PT). and CBS Radio News will add to the coverage, providing live reports on public events during the Pope's trip.

National Correspondent Byron Pitts will travel with the Pope through the duration of his U.S. visit and will report for the CBS EVENING NEWS on the state of the Catholic Church, the Pope's role in U.S. politics, religious tolerance and any breaking news regarding the Pontiff's daily activities. Tonight, Correspondent Bob Orr will report on preparations by U.S. law enforcement and Secret Service to protect the Pope as he moves throughout the Northeast, often in large open venues.

Coverage on THE EARLY SHOW will include live reports and live West Coast updates of many of the historic events taking place during the Pope's visit. On Tuesday (15), correspondent Jeff Glor will be live from Andrews Air Force Base awaiting the arrival of Pope Benedict. On Wednesday (16), co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez will be live at the White House to cover the Pope's arrival ceremony with President Bush live for the West coast. On Thursday (17), Rodriguez will co-anchor from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., before the Pope celebrates Mass there later in the day. Glor and Rodriguez will continue to cover the Pope's arrival in New York City for THE EARLY SHOW on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. will provide live Webcast coverage of all public events during the Pope's visit and an online library of on-demand video clips from the trip and from Benedict's papacy as a whole. The site will also have a number of interactive elements, including a timeline of the Pope's itinerary in the U.S. and his life in pictures, his thoughts on major world issues and a timeline of milestones in his life, which can be viewed here: Pope Benedict in America .

CBS Radio News will provide reports on the Papal trip, including those from National Correspondent Dan Raviv, White House Correspondent Peter Maer and Correspondents Cami McCormick and Steve Kathan. CBS News Radio plans to air live coverage and special reports of the major public events in the Pope's schedule.

Coverage of Pope Benedict's arrival began with a SUNDAY MORNING piece on April 13 by Martha Teichner exploring how many U.S. citizens know who he is and how everyone from children to adults are preparing for the Pontiff's arrival, which can be seen here: Who Is Benedict XVI? .

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ranjith Gone?

Rorate Caeli quotes a rumor that's been around awhile, but has its first public airing in an Italian newsplayer: Motu Proprio wars in the Roman Curia Ranjith off to Sri Lanka?

Part of the article:

Ranjith probably pays [the price] for having exposed himself with great emphasis (interviews, declarations, publication of articles) in favor of the papal Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", with which the Mass in Latin according to the ancient rite revised by Pope John XXIII in 1962 was liberalized. It seems that, due to his repeated interventions, part of the Roman Curia may have explicitly asked Bertone, by way of a letter, that he should not become Prefect of a Congregation with such delicate tasks.And Bertone, [after] the due calculations were made, seems to have endorsed the signers of the letter. Signers who, two years ago, when Ranjith was nominated Secretary of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, did not accept well his arrival and the subsequent removal of Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino [previous Secretary] to the diocese of Assisi. The tally, however, must still be closed by Benedict XVI.

If the curial forces prove too much and lead to Ranjith's self-imposed exile to Colombo, it will be a sad day. Despite the direness of such a departure by so vocal an advocate of the Holy Father's agenda, I still have hope that Benedict will see things through.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Freedom of Speech? Not so much...

Ed Morrissey:

After publisher Ezra Levant finally prevailed against a bogus complaint about “hate speech” for expressing his views about radical Islam at Canada’s Human Rights Commission, he expected the battle to continue in civil courts. Sure enough, he got sued by Richard Warman, a CHRC investigator — who included a number of Canada’s conservative bloggers as well.

Kathy Shaidle:

Richard Warman used to work for the notorious Human Rights Commission, which runs the "kangaroo courts" who’ve charged Mark Steyn with "flagrant Islamophobia."

Ezra Levant:

Today I was sued by Richard Warman, Canada’s most prolific – and profitable – user of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. As readers of this site know, Warman isn’t just a happy customer of section 13 and its 100% conviction rate, he’s a former CHRC employee, an investigator of section 13 thought crimes himself. In fact, he was often both a customer and an investigator at the same time.

I bring this up because the bishop of Calgary has come under fire from Canada's 'thought police' (if you'll all allow me the use of that term) before for making remarks in homilies on the sinfulness of homosexual acts. This is a big deal in that it touches upon Canadians' rights of free expression and the free exercise of their religion. Their rights in those areas are not as ironclad as down in the US for a variety of constitutional reasons.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A new facility

IC Press-Citizen: St. Patrick's to break ground two years after tornado

In case you don't remember, two years ago, St. Patrick's here in IC was damaged beyond repair by a tornado on Holy Thursday. The parish is relocating to the east side of Iowa City. It's a good move, even if it was brought about by sad reasons. The quotes in the article are interesting though.

The article describes how the new building's construction makes use of various methods that will make it 'greener' and all that.

"It is an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility that can carry the church in the 22th century," said [redacted], a member of St. Patrick's since 1996.

"It will be a gathering place for families young and old. It will be a place to develop and deepen relationships," he said.

It's nice that it will be a gathering space and will help deepen relationships for the young and old...

[The pastor] agreed.

"Our dream has been to build a type of facility where youth could be comforted, where we could meet the needs of our parish to prosper and to serve our neighbor," he said.

A 'facility' where youth may be comforted, that allows the parish to prosper and where the parish can serve their neighbors...

No offense, but they're building a church, not a multi-purpose community center. When does the worship of God through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass come in?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Islam (what else is there?)

A few articles and thoughts on each...

Reuters: Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

This article is kind of misleading. While Catholics have in the past made up the largest single Christian group in the world and the largest single group of any religion, this headline compares /all/ Muslims to just Catholics. I'd like to see the breakdown between Catholics versus Sunnis or Shi'ites or whatever. Comparing an entire religion to just us Catholics is nice for us Catholics, but the downbeat headline is not representative of a real, valid comparison.

Pakistan Christian Post: Saudi Arabia: No churches unless prophet Mohammed recognised, says expert (from Rorate Caeli)

Yeah, yeah, some expert toots his horn and spouts off his hard line rhetoric... Big deal.

Magister's latest essay on the general situation.

This essay by Magister is rather interesting in that he reveals his thoughts on the idea that the true focus of relations lately has shifted to the king of Saudi Arabia. An example:

This is to say: precisely while the accusations were erupting against Benedict XVI over Allam's baptism, the Saudi king not only ignored the accusations, but he expressed himself in diametrically opposite tones.

There's more. Check it all out.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Father Z quotes Andrea Tornielli who relates rumors that when Arinze goes, Amato, the secretary at CDF, will take over at CDW.


The change of the guard foreseen at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Vatican’s "liturgy ministry": Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze (who turned 75 last November) could soon leave his post, and in his post could arrive (and the conditional is important) the Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, 70 next June, presently Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The later’s post would be freed up for Bishop Rino Fisichella, the well-regarded Rector of the Lateran University.

The post goes on to relate how this is odd given that the current secretary at CDW, Archbishop Ranjith, has been so prominent in promoting the current pontiff's initiatives. A commenter at Father Z notes that it is precisely because of this support that it's possible Ranjith will be passed over at Divine Worship in favor of Amato from Doctrine of the Faith.

Perhaps that's possible. It's noted as well that it's customary for the secretary at one dicastery, if he moves up, to not take over the same dicastery. Personally, I wouldn't hold to custom in this instance. Ranjith has proven himself time and again a true supporter of the pope's program and it just seems to be totally bizarre to appoint Amato to succeed Arinze.

It would be funny though. The secretariat has supposedly dominated curial affairs for years. With Sodano gone and if this rumor proves true, the secretariat, CDF and CDW would be all headed by Ratzinger/CDF alums.

Magdi Cristiano Allam

Magister has up an essay on the reception of Magdi Cristiano Allam into the Catholic Church this past Easter Vigil. He has up various letters written by Allam and from Islamic scholars and from the Vatican in reply to the event and in reply to the replies. It's a pretty comprehensive summary of all that's flying around out there.

One passage caught my eye that Magister wrote himself:

But nothing intimidates Benedict XVI. At the Easter vigil, on Saturday, March 22, the pope baptized at the basilica of Saint Peter, together with six other men and women from four continents, a convert from Islam, Magdi Allam, 56, an Egyptian by birth, a famous writer and journalist and the vice director of the leading Italian daily, "Corriere della Sera," and the author of important books, the latest one entitled "Viva Israele [Long Live Israel]."

Bolding is my own. What I think people are starting to realize when it comes to His Holiness is that he is not only old school, he is /old school/ in that he is not afraid because he believes. Sure, everyone assumes that the pope is probably going to believe in God and all that, but I think that Benedict is willing to seriously engage Islam and risk all the consequences precisely because he believes in two things.

In the end the Church will prevail.
Martyrdom is not only noble and holy, but it is also not obsolete.