Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Recovery of Theology and Philosophy Today --Ratzinger

Joseph Ratzinger considers the rejection of ontology the underlying motive of the movement of dehellenization which is the cause of the modern intellectual crisis. Nature and Mission of Theology (Ignatius, 1995), 20-21.

That essay, "Faith, Philosophy and Theology" (given in Minnesota in 1984) makes the point that without ontology theology has nothing to say about God or about man because it is deprived of the very ground of truth; and, if ontology is rejected there is no way for faith to express itself to the world. Reason is set aside as being outside of the bounds of faith, so there is no common ground for conversation between believer and non-believer.


a. Both faith and philosophy must continue today the fundamental human quest on how to live rightly, and what it means to be a man, theology and philosophy, each within its own competence and in cooperation with each other; the chief question of the age being the relationship between metaphysics and history. "The central concern is the relationship between history and ethos, between human action and the unmanipulable character of reality." 23

b. "[F]aith advances a philosophical, more precisely, an ontological claim when it professes the existence of God." 24 It is a claim regarding the whole of reality which is valid for all men, not just a private opinion.

c. Faith's love of the logos leads to apo-logia, eros for the truth, and the duty, in charity, to spread it, also in human terms, philosophically. "[L]ove for Christ and of one's neighbor for Christ's sake can enjoy stability and consistency only if its deepest motivation is love for the truth." 27

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Richest Man of Singapore on the Unum Necessarium.

We are all broken.
Without Jesus Christ, something essential is missing.
Every man needs God, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

If I have everything and do not have God, I have nothing.
If I lack everything but have God, I have everything.  --Saint Francis of Assisi

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Shepherd Turns Back to God

Turning Toward God: Celebrating the Mass Ad Orientem
A Letter from Bishop James S. Wall, Gallup

Celebrating Mass Ad Orientem, Ad Deum, and Versus Populum

My dear friends in Christ:

Recently Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI released a powerful letter, in which he touched on a number of topics, including especially the sexual abuse crisis that has impacted the Church and even society as a whole. In his letter, he also addressed the Eucharist. He acknowledged, and rightfully so, that we have become too lax in our approach to the Eucharist. There were a number of reasons for this, even extreme cases when Holy Communion has been distributed to non-Catholics at weddings and other large events for the sake of “inclusion.” We know, however, that such “inclusivity” is actually quite dangerous, for it can put someone’s soul at risk in the name of not hurting feelings. Remember St. Paul: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). We would do well to remember, then, that the Eucharist is not simply a nice “sign” or “symbol” of communion with God, but rather truly is communion with God. (In fact, it is so far from being a mere symbol in the modern sense of that term, that Flannery O’Connor once famously said that “if it is just a symbol, to hell with it!) For the Eucharist is nothing less than the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, 11).

Pope Benedict’s letter thus provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how better to respect the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. There are of course many ways to do this: arriving early to prepare for Mass in prayer; staying after to offer an Act of Thanksgiving; dressing appropriately at Mass and in Church (“Sunday best” is still a thing!); keeping the one-hour Eucharistic fast; making regular (even monthly) sacramental confession; and reverently, not hurriedly, receiving Holy Communion readily come to mind (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1385-1389). There is, however, one particular practice that I would like to highlight here. It is about exercising the option to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass facing “toward the East” (ad orientem) or “toward God” (ad Deum) as distinct from “toward the people” (versus populum).

Let me say at the outset: I know this can be a contentious topic. To make changes to the way we pray can be difficult, especially when it comes to liturgical prayer. By explaining and advocating for this, I am in no way trying to disrupt the way the people of this Diocese pray. Rather, I am trying to open the treasury of the Church’s patrimony, so that, together, we can all experience one of the most ancient ways that the Church has always prayed, starting with Jesus and reaching even to our own day, and thereby learn from the “ever ancient, ever new” wisdom of the Church.

With that in mind, let me start with just a brief historical note. Essentially, we can say that celebrating Mass ad orientem is one of the most ancient and most consistent practices in the life of the Church—it is part of how the Church has always understood the proper worship of God. Uwe Michael Lang has published a book showing just this, entitled Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer and published by Ignatius Press. His extensive and thorough research shows this very fact: that, in the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, “Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying toward the east is a tradition that goes back to the beginning” (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 75). This means that celebration of Massad orientem is not a form of antiquarianism, i.e. choosing to do something because it is old, but rather choosing to do something that has always been. This also means, in turn, that versus populumworship is extremely new in the life of the Church, and, while a valid liturgical option today, it still must be considered novel when it comes to the celebration of Mass.

Allow me now to give a brief explanation of ad orientem or ad Deum worship. Prayer and worship “toward the East” (ad orientem, oriented prayer) “is, first and foremost, a simple expression of looking to Christ as the meeting place between God and man. It expresses the basic christological form of our prayer. […] Praying toward the east means going to meet the coming Christ. The liturgy, turned toward the East, effects entry, so to speak, into the procession of history toward the future, the New Heaven and the New Earth, which we encounter in Christ” (Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 69-70). By facing Christ together at Mass, we can see how “[o]ur prayer is thus inserted into the procession of the nations to God” (ibid., p. 76).

Ad orientem worship is thus a very powerful reminder of what we are about at Mass: meeting Christ Who comes to meet us. Practically speaking, this means that things will look a bit different, for at such Masses the Priest faces the same direction as the Assembly when he is at the altar. More specifically, when addressing God, such as during the orations and Eucharistic Prayer, he faces the same direction as the people, that is, toward God (ad Deum). He does so literally, to use a phrase dear to St. Augustine, by “turning toward the Lord” present in the Blessed Sacrament. In contrast, when addressing the people, he turns to face them (versus populum).

Some of you may be familiar with this, and perhaps have even been at Masses celebrated this way. The common way of describing such Masses is usually to say, by way of objection, that “the priest has his back to the people.” Now, while this is technically true, it largely misses the main point, which is one much grander and more beautiful: ad orientem worship shows, even in its literal orientation, that the priest and the people are united together as one in worshipping God, even physically with their bodies, “in a common act of trinitarian worship…. Where priest and people together face the same way, what we have is a cosmic orientation and also an interpretation of the Eucharist in terms of resurrection and trinitarian theology. Hence it is also an interpretation in terms of Parousia [end of the world], a theology of hope, in which every Mass is an approach to the return of Christ” (Joseph Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, p. 140). Celebrating Mass ad orientem, then, is meant to remind us of all these important factors of our faith, and, ultimately, that the Mass is not first and foremost about us, but rather about God and His glory—about worshipping Him as He desires and not as we think best. It is His work after all, not ours, and we are simply entering into it by His gracious will. In 2007, Pope Benedict spoke of just this fact in his address to the monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Vienna:

“In all our efforts on behalf of the liturgy, the determining factor must always be ourlooking to God. We stand before God—he speaks to us and we speak to him. Whenever in our thinking we are only concerned about making the liturgy attractive, interesting and beautiful, the battle is already lost. Either it is Opus Dei [the work of God], with God as its specific subject, or it is not. In the light of this, I ask you to celebrate the sacred liturgy with your gaze fixed on God within the communion of saints, the living Church of every time and place, so that it will truly be an expression of the sublime beauty of the God who has called men and women to be his friends!”

Notice the emphasis on looking toward God together!

Another common objection or at least misunderstanding is that this particular way of celebrating Mass was disallowed at or after the Second Vatican Council. This is not accurate, as none of the conciliar documents even mention this. Additionally, a close reading of the rubrics of the Roman Missal will still show today that ad orientemis assumed to be the normal posture at Mass: they often describe the priest “turning to face the people,” which implies he is facing the altar before and after doing so.

Finally, let me say a few words on the matter of preference. There is an old saying that holds de gustibus non est disputandum: when it comes to taste, there is no room for dispute. To a point, that is true. Nobody can fault anybody for liking chocolate chip ice cream more than mint, or Chevrolet more than Ford. When it comes to the ways in which we worship God, however, nothing is simply a matter of taste. Msgr. Charles Pope explains this well: “Preferences should be rooted in solid liturgical principles. […] People matter, and they should be nourished and intelligently engaged in the Sacred Liturgy—but not in a way that forgets that the ultimate work of the Liturgy is not merely to please or enrich us but to be focused on and worship the Lord” (National Catholic Register, “5 Things to Remember in the ‘Ad Orientem’ Discussion,” 8 August 2016).

For all these reasons, I have decided that, since the recent solemnity of Corpus Christi, the 11:00am Sunday Mass will henceforth be celebrated ad orientem at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Gallup.

This provides the faithful with the opportunity to attend the Mass in this way—indeed, in this way which is still approved and generously allowed by the Church. This is also a practice I would like to encourage throughout the Diocese of Gallup. I believe it is pastoral to offer Masses both ad orientem and versus populum, so that, together, we can all be exposed to the varied riches of the Church and Her prayerful history. With St. Augustine, allow me to conclude with this heartfelt prayer: in our worship, hearts, and lives, “let us turn towards the Lord God and Father Almighty, and with a pure heart let us give Him sincere thanks as well as our littleness will allow…. May He increase our faith, rule our mind, give us spiritual thoughts, and at last lead us to His blessedness, through Jesus Christ His Son. Amen.”

May God bless you!

The Most Reverend James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup

Given in Gallup, at the Chancery/Cathedral, this 22nd day of July, in the Year of our Lord MMXIX, the tenth of Our Episcopate, on the liturgical memorial of St. Mary Magdalene.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Homily Podcast, User Friendly

Here is a very easy podcast platform for your homilies, which you can set up in minutes, free of charge.


N.B. I just set up a podcast for my homilies here. The link is also on my "Great Links" sidebar.


Spread the word.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Mary and Martha --Joseph Ratzinger

Joseph Ratzinger, following the interpretation of Saint Augustine, says that Mary and Martha are not simply representative of two types of life, the contemplative and the active, but rather the two phases of every Christian life, the way and the end. Mary represents the end, Martha the way. They represent two lives, the present life and the future life. In this life, the way to achieve union with Christ, which is the end for which we live, is not simply the Platonic ascending mode of study and pure contemplation but also in the descending mode of the Incarnation of preaching and doctrinal instruction. It is by means of union with and service to the Body of Christ, the Church, that one achieves final union with Christ the Head, achieved perfectly only at the end of this life.
Joseph Ratzinger, "The Church in the Piety of Saint Augustine" (1961) in Das neue Volk Gottes: Entwürfe zur Ekklesiologie, Düsseldorf, 1969, 24-48.

What Ratzinger mentions but does not emphasize in that essay on Augustine on Mary and Martha is the supreme importance of  the unum necessarium, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, which is the point of the Gospel in that encounter, the primacy of union with the Lord. What matters above all is the end, to do all things for Christ and for heaven. The meaning of all our activity in the Church and in the world is to do it all at the service of Christ and of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, divine union, holiness for oneself and for others.

All of this is brought out very well in the Baltimore Catechism: Why did God make you? God made me to know Him and to love Him and to serve Him in this life, so as to be happy with Him forever in the next. The purpose of all of our activity is union with God, here and hereafter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Washington Post Censored Viganò Text

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Editor’s Note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s interview with the Washington Post, published June 10, contained an answer that the Post decided to expurgate from the interview. This answer contained important information regarding unaddressed accusations of sex abuse against a high official of the Holy See, as well as the coverup of a former seminarian, now a priest, accused of the sexual abuse of pre-seminarian adolescents who acted as the Pope’s altar boys.

The full text of Viganò’s unpublished answers to the Washington Post follows. The text has been slightly modified to include capitalizations normally used in English. The name of one individual has been removed by LifeSite because LifeSite was unable to find sufficient support for the accusation against him at this point.

I.b. Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?

The signs I see are truly ominous. Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers. Just to cite one example: Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up the abuses of McCarrick and others for decades, and whose repeated and blatant lies have been made manifest to everyone who has been paying attention (for those who have not been paying attention, see washingtonpost.com/opinions/cardinal-wuerl-knew-about-theodore-mccarrick-and-he-lied-about-it), had to resign in disgrace due to popular outrage. Yet, in accepting his resignation, Pope Francis praised him for his “nobility.” What credibility has the pope left after this kind of statement?

But such behavior is by no means the worst. Going back to the summit and its focus on the abuse of minors, I now wish to bring to your attention two recent and truly horrifying cases involving allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure. The pope and many prelates in the Curia are well aware of these allegations, but in neither case was an open and thorough investigation permitted. An objective observer cannot help but suspect that horrible deeds are being covered up.

1. The first is said to have occurred inside the very walls of the Vatican, at the Pre-Seminary Pius X, which is located just a short walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. That seminary trains minors who serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica and at papal ceremonies.

One of the seminarians, Kamil Jarzembowski, a roommate of one of the victims, claims to have witnessed dozens of incidents of sexual aggression. Along with two other seminarians, he denounced the aggressor, first in person to his pre-seminary superiors, then in writing to cardinals, and finally in 2014, again in writing, to Pope Francis himself. One of the victims was a boy, allegedly abused for five consecutive years, starting at age 13. The alleged aggressor was a 21-year- old seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli.

That pre-seminary is under the responsibility of the diocese of Como, and is run by the Don Folci Association. A preliminary investigation was entrusted to the judicial vicar of Como, don Andrea Stabellini, who found elements of evidence that warranted further investigation. I received firsthand information indicating that his superiors prohibited his continuing the investigation. He can testify for himself, and I urge you to go and interview him. I pray that he will find the courage to share with you what he so courageously shared with me.

Along with the above, I learned how the authorities of the Holy See dealt with this case. After evidence was collected by Don Stabellini, the case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City. In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation.

You might wonder how this horrible case was closed. The Bishop of Como removed Don Stabellini from the post of Judicial Vicar; the whistleblower, the seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary; the two fellow seminarians who had joined him in the denunciation left the seminary; and the alleged abuser, Gabriele Martinelli, was ordained priest in July 2017. All this happened within the Vatican walls, and not a word of it came out during the summit.

The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is most urgent, but it will ultimately be ineffectual if there is no willingness to address the real problem.

2. The second case involves Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, whom Pope Francis has chosen to be the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State, making him the third most powerful person in the curia. In doing so, the pope essentially ignored a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo, entitled “¿Quién es verdaderamente Monseñor Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, Nuevo Sustituto de la Secretarîa de Estado del Vaticano?” (“Who really is Msgr. Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State of the Vatican” - LifeSite) The dossier is signed by Dr. Enrique W. Lagunillas Machado, in the name of the “Grupo de Laicos de la Arquidiócesis de Maracaibo por una Iglesia y un Clero según el Corazón de Cristo” (“Group of Laity of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo for a Church and a Clergy in accordance with the Heart of Christ” – LifeSite). These faithful accused Peña Parra of terrible immorality, describing in detail his alleged crimes. This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence.

Some facts have already been published in the media, notably in the Italian weekly L’Espresso (see espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2018/10/18/news/buio-in-vaticano-ecco-l-ultimo-scandalo-1.327923). I will now add facts known by the Secretariat of State in the Vatican since 2002, which I learned when I served as the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.

In January 2000, Maracaibo journalist Gastón Guisandes López made serious accusations against some priests from the diocese of Maracaibo, including Msgr. Peña Parra, involving sexual abuse of minors and other possibly criminal activity.
In 2001, Gastón Guisandes López twice asked to be received by the apostolic nuncio (the Pope’s ambassador) in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy, to discuss these matters, but the archbishop inexplicably refused to receive him. He did, however, report to the Secretariat of State that the journalist had accused Msgr. Peña Parra of two very serious crimes, describing the circumstances.

First, Edgar Peña Parra was accused of having seduced, on September 24, 1990, two minor seminarians from the parish of San Pablo, who were to enter the Major Seminary of Maracaibo that same year. The event is said to have taken place in the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, where the Rev. José Severeyn was parish priest. Rev. Severeyn was later removed from the parish by the then archbishop Msgr. Roa Pérez. The case was reported to the police by the parents of the two young men and was dealt with by the then-rector of the major seminary, Rev. Enrique Pérez, and by the then spiritual director, Rev. Emilio Melchor. Rev. Pérez, when questioned by the Secretariat of State, confirmed in writing the episode of September 24, 1990. I have seen these documents with my own eyes.

Second, Edgar Peña Parra was allegedly involved, together with [NAME REMOVED], in the death of two people, a doctor and a certain Jairo Pérez, which took place in August 1992, on the island of San Carlos in Lake Maracaibo. They were killed by an electric discharge, and it is not clear whether or not the deaths were accidental. This same accusation is also contained in the aforementioned dossier sent by a group of lay people from Maracaibo, with the additional detail that the two corpses were found naked, with evidence of macabre homosexual lewd encounters. These accusations are, to say the least, extremely grave. Yet not only was Peña Parra not required to face them, he was allowed to continue in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

These two accusations were reported to the Secretariat of State in 2002 by the then apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy. The relevant documentation, if it has not been destroyed, can be found both in the archives of the diplomatic personnel of the Secretariat of State where I held the position of Delegate for the Pontifical Representations, and in the archives of the apostolic nunciature in Venezuela, where the following archbishops have served as nuncios since: Giacinto Berloco, from 2005 to 2009; Pietro Parolin, from 2009 to 2013; and Aldo Giordano, from 2013 to the present. They all had access to the documents reporting these accusations against the future Substitute, as did the cardinals Secretaries of State Sodano, Bertone, and Parolin and the Substitutes Sandri, Filoni, and Becciu.

Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator. Even more: years earlier, in January 2011, as apostolic nuncio in Caracas, Parolin did not oppose the appointment of Peña Parra as archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Pakistan. Before such important appointments, a rigorous informative process is made to verify the suitability of the candidate, so these accusations were surely brought to the attention of Cardinal Parolin.

Furthermore, Cardinal Parolin knows the names of a number of priests in the Curia who are sexually unchaste, violating the laws of God that they solemnly committed themselves to teach and practice, and he continues to look the other way. If Cardinal Parolin’s responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation.

There is one more scandalous aspect to this horrific story. Peña Parra is closely connected with Honduras, and more precisely with Cardinal Maradiaga and Bishop Juan José Pineda. Between 2003 and 2007, Peña Parra served in the nunciature in Tegucigalpa, and while there he was very close to Juan José Pineda, who in 2005 was ordained auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Maradiaga. Juan José Pineda resigned from his post of auxiliary bishop in July 2018, without any reason given to the faithful of Tegucicalpa. Pope Francis has not released the results of the report that the Apostolic Visitor, the Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered directly and only to him more than a year ago. How can one interpret Pope Francis’ firm decision not to talk about or answer any question about this matter except as a cover up of the facts and protection of a homosexual network? Such decisions reveal a terrible truth: rather than allowing open and serious investigations of those accused of grave offenses against the Church, the pope is allowing the Church herself to suffer.

Coming back to your question. You ask me if I see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse. My answer is simple: Pope Francis himself is covering up abuse right now, as he did for McCarrick. I say this with great sorrow. When King David pronounced the greedy rich man in Nathan’s parable worthy of death, the prophet told him bluntly, “You are the man” (2 Sam 12:1-7). I had hoped my testimony might be received like Nathan’s, but it was instead received like that of Micaiah (1Kings 22:15-27). I pray that this will change.

Humility, the Foundation of Culture

Pone te semper ad infimum, et dabitur tibi summum: nam summum non stat sine infimo (Cf. Luke 14:10). De imitatione Christi, Turonibus: Mame, 1900, II, X, 4.

Put thyself always in the lowest place, and the highest shall be given thee, for the highest stands not without the lowest. Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Rockford: Tan, 1989, II, X, 4.

Ponte siempre en lo más bajo, y se te dará lo alto; porque no está lo muy alto sin lo más bajo. Tomás Kempis, Imitación de Cristo, Madrid: Coculsa, 1961, II, X, 4.

Setze du dich immer gern an die unterste Stelle, und es wird dir die oberste angewiesen werden. Denn das Oberste hat ohne das Unterste keinen festen Boden, auf dem es ruht. Thomas von Kempen, Nachfolge Christi, übersetz. Sailer, Freiburg: Herder, 1913, II, X, 4.

Mettez-vous toujours à la dernière place, et la première vous sera donnée; car ce qui est le plus élevé s'appuie sur ce qui est le plus bas. L'imitation de Jesus-Christ, Paris: Le club français du livre, 1950, II, X, 4.

For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? Is it not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth. Luke 22:27

So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the earth, and should sleep, and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring, and grow up whilst he knoweth not. Mark 4:26-27

Cf. Father Francis Bethel, John Senior and the Restoration of Realism, Merrimack: New Hampshire: Thomas More College Press, 2016, 211-213.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Anti-Fag Rally Ideas

As a person with normal Christian moral sensibilities I declare that the public perversion today is such that one can no longer remain quiet in the face of the barrage of faggotry. Here is an idea for a sign, front and back, for Times Square, for example. Stand close to the police station there and hold up the sign.



Carry also a crucifix on a pole, high in the air, accompanied by two blessed candles, and a large image of Our Lady, also accompanied by blessed candles.

Have also an aspergellum with plenty of holy water for any demons that might come by.

Pray the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Litanies, sings chants in Latin, hymns, etc.

We must denounce homosexualism, homophilia, faggotry, however you prefer to name it, but it must be named. It is the atmosphere of open and apparent universal approval of homosexual perversion. We must declare that it is not to be approved in any way by decent people.

American Priests Can Wear the Cassock Anytime: Esto Vir!

Canon 284 - Clerical Garb

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling.

In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.

In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.


The 2013 Directory for the Ministry and the Life of Priests by the Congregation for the Clergy, highly recommends the use of the cassock for its clear distinctiveness, its symbolizing the constant mission of holiness of the priest, and as a safeguard for chastity and poverty.
"...[I]n its form, colour and dignity the cassock is most opportune, because it clearly distinguishes priests from laymen and makes people understand the sacred nature of their ministry, reminding the priest himself that forever and at each moment he is a priest ordained to serve, teach, guide, and sanctify souls mainly through the celebration of the sacraments and the preaching of the Word of God. Wearing ecclesiastical attire is also a safeguard for poverty and chastity." 61
The habitual use of the cassock is also an act of obedience and ecclesial communion, communion with the whole Church, with the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church militant on earth, and the Church suffering in purgatory. It is a sign and instrument of unity with the whole Body of Christ in every time and place.

Above all, this law of the Church ensures that no priest should every refrain from using the cassock out of fear or cowardice, or any other pressure, especially among other clergymen. It is the priest's right to wear the cassock because it is his duty to give testimony to Christ, as a priest in sacred Orders. There is a common bad practice among clergy to expect each other not to wear the cassock in social gatherings among clerics. That abuse too is corrected by the Directory.
"[B]ecause of their incoherence with the spirit of this discipline, contrary practices are bereft of the rationality necessary for them to become legitimate customs and must be absolutely eliminated by the competent authority." Ibid.
I say all this because recently my diocese, which numbers several hundred priests, recently had a mandatory convocation of priests, three nights in a luxury hotel, and it was preceded by a letter instructing the priests that attire should be "casual." After much agonizing, I finally decided to go and participate fully and joyfully in that gathering, in strict obedience to my Ordinary, but, of course, I felt compelled to go in my habitual attire, the house cassock. Deo gratias.

The Spirituality of the Cassock

A cassock: Work clothes, not a dress uniform
Dk. Michał Lubowicki/Aleteia Polonia | Giu 23, 2017

Wearing a cassock can and should be a form of prayer, but just putting it on isn't enough.

The first day he put on a cassock, a seminarian got a letter from a friend, a few years his senior. This is what he learned about his cassock:

A cassock. Today in your eyes it is more beautiful than a bride’s dress. You are truly and rightfully happy wearing it; after all, you have been waiting for it since the time you entered the seminary.

I can only hope that you will be equally happy when it has come to be what its color implies, i.e. a deadly shroud and a dying uniform. Today it is a bride’s dress you enthuse over, along with your family and friends. Be as enthusiastic about it when it starts to be your solitary confinement, cage and furnace where God will melt and purify you, an uncomfortable hermitage.

This bride’s dress, when necessary, will be your armor, provided you care to remember and use it this way. Wearing a cassock can and should be a form of prayer in itself, but it does not become a prayer just by putting it on.

Pockets. The deep ones are meant to store all the things you will share with others. Always have something to give away to the needy and children. Remember that they will appreciate a little money, your smile, and a word of solace more than your impeccable hymn singing. This is because people need first and foremost to hear that they are loved, and even more so to feel that this is true.

An inside breast pocket. It is not meant for holding an expensive pen. Carry in it letters you do not know how to answer, notes with the names of those you have promised to pray for, other people’s bills you have decided to pay, addresses you know should be visited, as their occupants will never come to you on their own, pictures of dogs, cats, grandchildren, and people in love as well as tree leaves and drawings nursery students have offered you. Keep this pocket filled at all times.

May your cassock always be a nuisance and a stumbling block when you start putting on airs and strutting like a peacock, falling prey to your vaulting ambitions. May you always stumble on it when you are led astray. Do not worry – it will stick in your way.

Do not be afraid to tuck it up and run to help your neighbor, even if you will look like a clown.

Sleeves can be rolled up. The cuff reminds you that a cassock is no dress uniform, but work clothes. But roll up your sleeves only to do the work He wants you to do, never to further your own agenda.

I sincerely wish that your cassock would show white salt marks: the ones on the back will be the signs of your sweat, the ones on the chest will be the marks of tears, both yours and those who, hugged by you, will confide in you their hundreds of worries big and small, grave and frivolous. I wish that these white salt marks would appear sooner than the first streaks of grey in your hair.

Do not be afraid to crumple and soil your cassock, coming to the rescue of the needy and wounded. Do not hesitate to tear it up to make bandage and dressing for human wounds. Remember that, if need be, it can be converted into a cloak or a tent.

May it quickly show traces of wear and tear on the knees and shoulders, signs of your prayer and bearing other people’s burdens. May it not show such signs on the behind and elbows, indicators that you have sat down a lot or elbowed your way through the crowd.

Love your cassock but do not love yourself in it.

First and foremost, love the Church who has given it to you. And love Jesus, who has offered you the Church and who has offered you to the Church, for which I am myself so grateful to Him.

Remember that passengers on a bus or on the metro believe they have more right to take a seat than a priest. Frankly speaking, it is immaterial whether they are right or not. What matters is that even when people hate you, they must not hate God.

More and more people will look at you; after all, your cassock gives you a lot of visibility. It also intimidates, and there will be fewer people brave enough to criticize you. This does not mean, however, that there will be no grounds for criticism.

Remember that your cassock is not the packaging of a completed product. The Lord has clothed you in it to mercifully hide your inadequacies and deficiencies. Now that you know this, blessed are you if you behave accordingly (John 13:17).

Friday, July 12, 2019

World Tennis Champions Devout Christians: Orthodox, Catholic

This Sunday's men's tennis championship at Wimbledon will feature the world number one player, a devout Orthodox Christian from Serbia, Novak Djokovic, and the number two player in the world, Roger Federer, a devout Roman Catholic Christian from Switzerland.

Discretae mulieres a viris

Yesterday I went to a gathering with the Prelate of Opus Dei in Manhattan, together with hundreds of professional men from the New York metropolitan area. I came away a better man for having been with those men of solid Catholic faith, enthusiastic for transmitting the joy of the Gospel, the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Then, this morning, thumbing through a classic 1676 book on the liturgy (Joanne Bona, Rerum Liturgicarum, Paris: Billaine, 1676, 229-231) I came across something which I have only seen in Orthodox Churches and in Muslim and Jewish worship: the liturgical separation of the sexes. The title of that section (Book I, Chapter XX, VI) is Discretae mulieres a viris (p. 253 in this Google 1739 edition link). The author quotes the Church Fathers on what he calls "the very ancient custom" of separating the women from the men in the church for divine worship.

It occurs to me to ask, how much of the moral, intellectual and religious demise of Western civilization in the past 200 years is due to the desegregation of the sexes in worship, in education, and in society? I understand that New York still has some very elite clubs which are men-only clubs. I felt the power of that yesterday. My three years at The Mount also gave me a sense of the greatness of that all male Catholic force for the transformation of the world for Christ. We need to isolate our women, for their good and ours, similar to the way we take extra precautions in our care and formation of children at different ages, because of their different needs. So it is, according to our most ancient traditions, with the difference between women and men. In order to cater best to their distinctive needs they must be separate.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

On Bad Shepherds

A "shepherd" who emboldens, encourages, or even tolerates, wolves discourages, confuses and destroys the sheep.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

"I'm a Roman Catholic!" I'm a Latin Rite!"

The historic day Mother Angelica revived the traditional habit in response to the homo-heresy.

Notice it's a young Father Timothy Dolan who introduces Mother Angelica.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Open Letter to EWTN

Two changes I think would greatly improve your evangelical efficacy.

1. "Oreint" your televised masses, e.g., televise the Hanceville Mass daily. From the removed position of the television observer it is most compelling to look at a priest praying the Mass toward God. To see him saying Mass toward the people is a bit embarrassing and is unappealing, not quite obscene. Mass facing the people is much like the emperor without his clothes. We can do that much better.

2. Do not tolerate bad preaching. Your friars are not orators. They are usually doctrinally sound, but they are not even fair preachers. Only televise the most effective preachers. Hire the best preachers you can find for your televised Masses, which you have done in the past. Even have the preacher come in for the sermon and not stay for the Mass.

N.B. On a related point, priests are also allowed to attend Ordinary Form Masses "in choir," without themselves con-celebrating. That is not a privilege reserved for prelates. It is very moving to see priests praying, as priests, at the Mass of another priest.

These two practices should not be forbidden, and they would make much more sense with televised audiences.

The Church is indeed a field hospital. In such a scenario, why forbid what the Church permits? We must try to stop the hemorrhaging, by all means! including traditional means!

P.S. 3. I would also add a third point. Please fix the broken cross on top of the Hanceville Shrine. It looks hokey.😊

Friday, July 5, 2019

Why Transgenderism is Being Normalized

"The Transgender Moment is the shattered landscape after a perfect storm of new philosophies and technology: Christianity’s decline, philosophical dualism, post-modernism and the Pill."

"Michael Cook, "The Transgender Moment," mercatornet.com, July 4, 2019.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Secession of the Fifteen Colonies

The English colonies of America which successfully seceded with the Peace of Paris on September 3, 1783, were, ultimately, fifteen. Two of them, which included the oldest colonial settlement, East Florida and West Florida, were given back to Spain which had ruled "La Florida" for two centuries, 1563-1763.

A Spanish hero of the American Revolution was the military leader and governor of Louisiana, Bernardo Galvez. The statue pictured here, a 1976 gift of the king of Spain, is in Washington, D.C., Virginia Avenue and 22nd Street.

The 4 hr. version of the above docudrama of La Florida is available on DVD under the title "America's Untold Story."

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gender Theory Errors

Gender Theory (GT) consists of various irrational ideologies in the area of affectivity and sexuality, proposing a man-made humanity, denying the inseparable body/soul union of human nature.

1. GT declares that human identity is the choice of the individual, one which can change over time.

2. GT seeks to assert itself as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised, and thus preclude dialogue, totally rejecting any investigation into a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual difference between men and women is lived out in a variety of cultures.

3. Sexual difference, according to the GT, is deemed strictly sociological. Sexual identity is held to be more a social construct than a given natural or biological fact. GT over-emphasizes the freedom of the individual.

4. GT denies the existence of any original given element in the individual, which would precede and at the same time constitute our personal identity, forming the necessary basis of everything we do. The only thing that matters in personal relationships is the affection between the individuals involved, irrespective of sexual difference or procreation which would be seen as irrelevant in the formation of families.

5. The institutional model of the family is bypassed, in favor of a vision of family that is purely contractual and voluntary.

6. The individual determines his own sexual tendencies without having to take account of the reciprocity and complimentarity of male-female relationships, nor of the procreative end of sexuality.

7. There is a radical separation between gender and sex, with the former having priority over the latter. It is a priority of will, power and technology over nature and creation. The goal is "a society without sexual differences."

Separated from one another, gender and sex are no longer synonyms or interchangeable concepts but describe two different realities. Sex is seen as defining one of two biological categories derived from the original feminine-masculine dyad. Gender is defined as the way in which the differences between the sexes are lived in each culture.

8. "Transgenderism" views gender as dependent upon the subjective mindset of each person, who can choose a gender not corresponding to his biological sex, and therefore with the way others see him.

9. "Queer" refers to dimensions of sexuality that are extremely fluid, flexible, nomadic.

10. "Polyamory" is relationships involving more that two individuals. Duration of relationships and their binding nature should be flexible, depending on the shifting desires of the individuals involved.

11. "Kinship" is based on desire or affection, often marked by a limited time span that is determined, ethically flexible, or even (sometimes by explicit mutual consent) without any hope of long-term meaning. The important thing is the absolutely free self-determination of each individual and the choices he makes according to the circumstance of each relationship of affectivity.

12. GT calls for public recognition of the right to choose one's gender.

Dualism (physicalism and voluntarism) yields relativism.
GT speaks of a gradual process of denaturalization, a move away from nature towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject. Sexual identity and the family are thus to be founded a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence. The philosophical foundation for that idea is an anthropological dualism separating body (reduced to inert matter) from human will. The will is given absolute authority to manipulate the body as it pleases. Then gender is more important than being of male or female sex. However, this actually negates the relevance of each other.

If the body is irrelevant to the identity of the person, if it holds no true meaning, then what does it matter how you feel about it? Gender identity itself becomes irrelevant if sex is subordinate to it. The dignity demanded by gender is the dignity inherent in sexual difference. By hijacking the dignity inherent in the sexes, GT destroys the dignity of the sexes themselves. In the name of freedom to be different, difference itself is destroyed, because for things to be truly different, they must be absolutely inviolable, like male and female. Male and female are primary categories of identity within the human person which cannot be denied on the basis of a deeper "truth" or "reality." When you deny the inviolable supremacy of  the male and female difference, you irrevocably destroy the dignity of man, and no other principles will save it. That is what is meant by nature, it is inviolable. If you contravene it, it is gone, you cannot recover it or fabricate it. Nature rules, under God!

"In fact, the generic concept of 'non-descrimination' often hides an ideology that denies the difference as well as the natural reciprocity that exists between men and women. 'Instead of combating wrongful interpretations of sexual difference that would diminish the fundamental importance of that difference for human dignity, such a proposal would simply eliminate it by proposing procedures and practices that make it irrelevant for a person's development and for human relationships. But the utopia of the 'neuter' eliminates both human dignity in sexual distinctiveness and the personal nature of the generation of new life.' The anthropological basis of the family is thus emptied of meaning." 21

Christian anthropology
The Christian vision of anthropology sees sexuality as a fundamental component of one's personhood. You can't separate gender affectivity from biological sex because biological sex affects the soul of the person, and the soul of the person, which includes affectivity, is inseparable from biology. The totality of the human person consists of the integration of the biological, psycho-affective, social and spiritual elements, no one element can trump the rest. The person is an integral harmony of all those aspects which, in the healthy individual, are coordinated and work together in an essential dynamic tension of the human person, body and soul.

Unjust discrimination and a masculinist mentality are to be rejected. Children should be educated to respect every person in his particular differences and against unjust discrimination based on race, religion or special needs. The values specific to femininity and masculinity are to be upheld and promoted.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

"Gay"? Shame! Run for the Mountains!

You must oppose and resist homosexualism in all its forms!

Promote chastity, holiness, the truth!

Defend the rights of God!

Thus plinthos' response to the shameful New York display last Sunday and all the sensationalism surrounding it. The reading from today's OF Mass says...

"And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth..."

"...[The angels brought Lot forth with is wife and his two daughters], and set him without the city: and there they spoke to him, saying: Save thy life: look not back, neither stay thou in all the country about: but save thyself in the mountain, lest thou be also consumed..."

"...And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt..."

"...Now when God destroyed the cities of that country, remembering Abraham, he delivered Lot out of the destruction of the cities wherein he had dwelt..."

Cf. Romans 1:13-32, where Saint Paul exposes the source of homosexual pride: the rejection of the Creator fills man with every form of lustful confusion, an inordinate unnatural orientation toward God's creation, man on man and woman on woman, abandoning the natural way.

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