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Thursday, December 29, 2011

All Are Welcome In This Place!

Over at US Catholic (forgive me for not linking directly), the following was written in response to an article entitled Hold the applause: Save the praise for God alone!  You will be able to see where this goes quickly....

James a poster over there writes:

You know those regularly blessed minister-ettes and minister-ines? What if I want to be jackwagon this morning and remind the entire world once again that Pope Paul VI made it very clear that the liturgical roles of acolyte, lector, and cantor are for men (viri) of demonstrated upstanding character who have been "formally instituted by the ordinary". These men (viri) can be drawn from either the non-consecrated or the consecrated faithful. Pope Paul VI goes on to remind us that these formally instituted men who do not hold full-orders are called sub-deacons. This is why both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said that women are not to sing (read) the epistles, psalms, and canticles. Those are roles that are properly liturgical and a harkening of John the Baptist. These roles exercise some aspect of the priesthood which corresponds to the hierarchy in the natural and spirtual realms.

The implications are this. All liturgical roles are for the viri (Don't get me started on the foot washing rite). All of them from the porters (in proper English they are called sub-sacristans and in Latin the word is custos and it is for lay men who are young like St. Joseph... This is one of Joseph's titles. Sub-sacristans are properly tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, or maybe carpenters.) Nevermind the sacristan who is to be a consecrated man if at all possible. The other option and perhaps more common in the secular church is a pious older fella. Exercising these two roles is particularly important to understanding the Theology of the Salvation, as they didn't suddenly pop-up from out of nowhere. In many ways we have mythological ecretions that cause us to forget the living symbols. I dare say the forgetfulness was forced on us intentionally, but I will not go far with the accusation. Anyone familiar...

To which I responded with sarcasm, because there is nothing better than parodying the parody:


Why are you focusing only on one side of the priesthood?  The priesthood is for all!  Praise God for that!!!  If we all celebrate the Mass and the ministerial priest merely presides, doesn't that say something about just who can approach the "Table of the Lord?"

Doesn't it speak directly to the idea that "all are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place?"  Your analogy is too much of a dies irae, dies irae, dies irae.  It's much more fun when everyone can play ministerial priest and assume that they can celebrate the Mass!  That way....yes, that way men and women can all be celebrants in the Liturgy of the Word!  And even in the Liturgy of the Eucharist....which begs a very important question...

If we are all celebrants how can we justify having our backs to our neighbors as we celebrate the Mass?  That isn't inclusive and welcoming.  I don't want to stare at Suzy Snodgrass's braids while I celebrate the Mass.  I would much rather stare at her deep blue eyes and her freckled face!  That way I know she knows that I know that she knows I'm paying attention to her, while the words of institution are being proclaimed by the presider so all of the celebrants can commune together in this most wonderful of liturgies!

You speak of men (viri).  Are you saying that men are virile?  How dare you make men something other than what women are?  Men and women are all the same in God's eyes and they are a People of God inclined to be so much more than their physical selves!!!  That is such a narrow view.

James, James, this new year approaches, I would suggest that you embrace your inner Haugen and remember that "all are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!"  Because it is where love dwells!

Happy Holidays!

Obviously, James was right.  His view is spot on, but if we take a look at my response, we'll see that there is a widespread misunderstanding of several things...

1.  The priesthood
2.  The Mass
3.  Gender equality
4.  Hospitality in worship

Once the new year starts, I will explore this a little more, but I thought a little humor before the end of the year would be fun!  I wish everyone a blessed and happy New Year!  Please pray for me this upcoming year.  I will certainly be praying for you!  It will be a good 2012,  I just know it!!! 

I'll be back after the first of the year!!!!  God Bless.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

RealCatholic TV...And Here Begins the Persecution....

The Church today has some very staunch supporters.  Unfortunately those staunch supporters are not getting the support THEY need from the leadership of the Church.  We are beginning to see the logical end of the reforms which have taken place since Vatican Council II.  First the Mass, then the CIC and finally the CCC.  There is no defending the both/and mentality, because both are correct.  RealCatholicTV is both right and wrong at the same time...

Herein lies the problem though. Catholicism isn't a "brand." It is a religion. While it is the responsibility of the bishops to protect Holy Mother Church, the idea that to prohibit someone from using the word "Catholic" is ludicrous, especially since there is nothing in the material which SHOULD be offensive to Catholics.

I'm no apologist for RealCatholicTV. I am an apologist for the Catholic Church. I think that as we look at the CIC, we see a big issue which is a huge issue for the leadership of the Church since the reforms after Vatican Council II. It is another instance of both/and....either/or. It is a false dichotomy. How can a just law say that there is the freedom to do something, yet in the very next paragraph limit that freedom? It is illogical.

It would be akin to saying you may approach an intersection without any marking and proceed through, but you can't proceed through unless the police allow you to. The ability to use prudent judgment has been completely compromised.

This is the big issue which faces the Church today. Her leadership is so directed by a mentality of opinion and subjectivity, that even the most basic of understandings are in peril. This may sound harsh, but it is part of the problem with the shift of philosophy from Thomistic to Phenomenonological. When the shift took place, the only real end that could happen would be a move to the subjective. The person is the center and that is how he relates to the objective truths. That isn't right. That is the both/and...either/or mentality which rules the Church today, philosophically. What's right is that the truth is at the center and man relates to the truth by applying it to himself in a just way. This is clearly not how can. 216 operates.

I think that what we see in the persecution of RealCatholic TV is a logical outgrowth of the movement away from objectivity and the move toward subjectivity. When the subjective becomes the focus, then it is much easier to offend the senses. When the objective becomes the focus, there are no senses to offend, because the truth is the truth.

If it can be substantially proven that Michael Voris and RealCatholic TV have done anything other than to focus on the truth, then they should be chastised. To date, I have not found anything that RealCatholic TV has done or promoted, or stated which is anything other than consistent with 2000 years of Catholic teaching.

And that's the real problem now isn't it? The reformers wanted to reimagine the Church in their image starting in 1967. It started with the Mass, it then moved to the CIC, and finally to the CCC. Three of the major defining points of the Church have been re-invented into something of a super dogma. Interesting times...and one which should base itself on 2000 years, not 40.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cardinal Ranjith Pulls No Punches!!!!

From my friends over at NLM:

The 20th general assembly of the FIUV (Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce) was held this past November 5-6 in Rome, and on December 19th the same issued their written report coming out of that general assembly.

Within that context, there were a few presentations delivered which I hope to share with you here on NLM in the next few days as I am sure they will be of interest to many of our readers. But before I do so, I wanted to share with our readers the contents of a letter which was written by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith -- former secretary of the CDW -- to the participants of that assembly.

The letter is quite powerful and pulls no punches as you'll see. [NLM emphases]

I wish to express first of all, my gratitude to all of you for the zeal and enthusiasm with which you promote the cause of the restoration of the true liturgical traditions of the Church.

As you know, it is worship that enhances faith and its heroic realization in life. It is the means with which human beings are lifted up to the level of the transcendent and eternal: the place of a profound encounter between God and man.

Liturgy for this reason can never be what man creates. For if we worship the way we want and fix the rules ourselves, then we run the risk of recreating Aaron's golden calf. We ought to constantly insist on worship as participation in what God Himself does, else we run the risk of engaging in idolatry. Liturgical symbolism helps us to rise above what is human to what is divine. In this, it is my firm conviction that the Vetus Ordo represents to a great extent and in the most fulfilling way that mystical and transcendent call to an encounter with God in the liturgy. Hence the time has come for us to not only renew through radical changes the content of the new Liturgy, but also to encourage more and more a return of the Vetus Ordo, as a way for a true renewal of the Church, which was what the Fathers of the Church seated in the Second Vatican Council so desired.

The careful reading of the Conciliar Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilum shows that the rash changes introduced to the Liturgy later on, were never in the minds of the Fathers of the Council.

Hence the time has come for us to be courageous in working for a true reform of the reform and also a return to the true liturgy of the Church, which had developed over its bi-millenial history in a continuous flow. I wish and pray that, that would happen.

May God bless your efforts with success.

+Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
Archbishop of Colombo

* * *

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Christmas!!!

When the Holidays come around I try to use the term Happy Christmas!  It's done for a couple of reasons, but mostly because the term Merry means agreeable or pleasant.  Christmas is more than that.  From a Catholic point of view, the Nativity is a happy moment.

I'm not going into a large treatment of the philosophy behind happiness, but suffice to say that it is a far superior greeting than merry.  We don't say Merry Easter, or Merry Feast of Christ the King, but we do call my birth month the Merry, Merry month of May.....

So, when you hear me say or see me write Happy Christmas, it's because I understand the importance of happiness, from a theological and philosophical point of view.  If you would like a more complete understanding, I would suggest starting with this and then move forward from there.

As Midnight Mass approaches, I'll simply say this and I mean it to each and every person I come across....Happy Christmas!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why Anarchy...???

In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society without a publicly enforced government or violently enforced political authority.

By the classical definition one can say that anarchy is a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.

Sooooo....where am I going with this?  Some of you know that I'm currently in a conversation with the pastor of the home parish I grew up in.  The conversation is about trying to bring the liturgical life of the Church in that parish in line with the expectations of said Church.  It has been a monumental struggle.  I've contacted the bishop.  He has responded and is hoping for a dialogue between the pastor and myself.  Frankly, I'm hoping for that too.  As of now, it hasn't happened.

Yesterday, I had an email exchange with a reader and something he said to me rings true.  I think that the liturgical life of the Church is in a state of anarchy.  I think that it's applicable under both definitions above.

What does the Church demand of the liturgy for the faithful?  It demands that the faithful have a right to the properly celebrated Mass.  Redemptionis Sacramentum makes this clear from the beginning to the end.  Yet, widespread abuse still takes place in virtually every parish in the USA.  It certainly is happening in my home parish. 

At first, I thought that maybe there was a sense of ignorance, because priests haven't been properly trained over the last 40 years.  I don't buy that anymore.  If I can know what is supposed to happen and articulate it, then there is no reason any priest shouldn't be able to do the same.  By definition, the change of the rubrics from law to a norm is the first step into anarchy.

Tell me if this sounds familiar....the Mass is guided by a set of norms, but the inculturation of the Mass allows for options which may or may not allow for the Mass to be more accessible to the "people of God."  That fits the definitions above...and we, as Catholics accept this.  In this sense, the 1960s hippie movement has worked....the "social inculturation" of the Mass took place 100%.  But is this what the Council Fathers intended?  Clearly not.  It is what the reformers wanted.  And they got it.  And those of us who are trying to be faithful Catholics are now subject to anarchy.  The thought that has brought me to this comes from the following portion of the email I mentioned above:

I commend you for what you are doing, but, unlike a civil court of law, you can have the facts and the law on your side, still lose and have no recourse. This is all indicative of the extent of the permeation of the smoke of Satan into the Church.

If the Church says we have recourse, but the reality is that we don't, then isn't that the definition of anarchy?  Living in the Church means we must stand up to that which is unjust.  Anarchy is never justified, not in a civilized world.  If the Church is being undermined, because the law isn't law and it is merely a norm, what can be done?

In short, we must fight!  We must fight the anarchy and the tyranny which prevents sensible and legal celebration of Holy Mass.  Clearly, clearly we must do what we can, EACH ONE OF US, to ensure that we have an authentic experience in the Mass.  That is our right.  I'm going to paraphrase a very famous speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for orthodoxy in the history of our Church.

Two millinea ago, a fisherman was given the keys, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, proved that the great forgiveness of Christ exists. This momentous moment came as a great beacon light of hope to all mankind who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.


 But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this Church. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Catholic community must not lead us to a distrust of all Councils, for many of our brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

I have a dream that one day this Church will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "One, Holy, catholic and apostolic."

I have a dream that one day on the seven hills of Rome, the sons of the TLM and the sons of Novus Ordo adherents will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the United States, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of authentic freedom and justice.


I have a dream today!


I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the parish with.

We have to start getting it!  We have to understand that the movement to the authentic expression of the Mass lives in each of us...not just in the liturgists and the priests.  Authenticity!  I do have a dream!  And it is to see the proper implementation of Vatican Council II and the clarification of the difficulties which have come forth!

May God Bless you and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Odds/Ends and Clearing Some Thoughts...

First things first, I guess....Mother had her hip replaced on Thursday.  The surgery went well, but she didn't respond quite like the docs would have liked, so she ended up having a blood transfusion to lift her platelets.  She also had a tough time absorbing and voiding all of the medications, so she stayed a little more sedated than expected....all of this wrapped in with the fact that she has a new hip and an extra day is probably warranted.  I, for one, know first hand that staying an extra day is a good thing most of the time and with someone undergoing the procedure she did, at her age, I feel better about her taking the extra day.

Please if you would, say a prayer for Mother.  I would appreciate it.

Moving on...some of you know that I've been in contact with the Bishop of Sioux City regarding some liturgical seems that while the bishop is on my side, the pastor is not.  I have corresponded with the pastor as well, and nothing has changed.  For those of you who think that the "liturgical changes" are going to make things better liturgically, well, you'd be wrong.  It can.  But for the most part, all it has amounted to is changing 1 book.  Sad.  In my humble estimation, there needed to be two things that SHOULD HAVE happened to help the liturgical life of the Church...

1.  Giving the rubrics force of law and restoring the singularity of action.  The rubrics now, are simply norms and there are too many options.  A priest is given the ability to take that which is perfectly objective and make it subjective.  It doesn't work.  The restoration wouldn't be difficult, but there would need to be several things to take place:

a) Remove the options during the introductory...make the Confiteor mandatory, as well as the Kyrie.  Make the introit mandatory as well.
b) Put the Liturgy of the Word in the hands of the priest.  It shouldn't be celebrated by the faithful.  It simply isn't their role.  There is nothing wrong with the priest proclaiming the readings (or deacons if applicable), but the idea that the priest merely presides undermines the whole of the theological significance of the Liturgy of the Word.
c) Remove the options for the "Eucharistic Prayers."  There is no basis in Tradition for them.  The Roman Canon should be restored as the singular Canon.  Look up the definition of Canon and you'll see why.

2. Restore the musical patrimony of the Church.  These new settings are crazy!!!!  I literally heard Stephen Curtis' new setting at Mass yesterday and I could only think of one thing....he stole the music from RENT, the broadway


See what I mean...don't think of the lyrics...think of the music...what on God's (formerly) Green Earth has the liturgical life come to?  Don't get me wrong....I like this kind of music.  I don't have a problem with it...ON BROADWAY!!!!  How about something like this for Mass:

I can tell you a couple of things...first, the chant is easier to sing.  It is in unison and it can be taught simply and with modern notation.  Stephen's music is very hard to sing...especially from a congregational point of view.  Which leads me to my next clearing of my head...

If these "renewers" of the Church are constantly preaching diversity and inculturation and tolerance, yadda, yadda, yadda....why don't they listen to all the Catholics who come to them?  Could it be that they aren't really all that open?  Could it be that they have an agenda that they want to pass, rather than simply doing what is asked and expected?  I think so.

What would happen if, take me for example....started improvising at work.  What if I decided that it was better to do task A by improvising and not following the plan as boss would be on my six faster than you can shake a stick!  Yet these priests and liturgists just do what they want....and with no repercussion.  As I said before, I have been in contact with the bishop and I have been in contact with the pastor.  Yet here's what happened yesterday at Holy Mass....

1.  Father wore red and not violet.  Don't ask me why, I have no idea.  Father has been a priest for more than 50 years, so the whole...I forgot excuse won't cut it.
2.  The homily was on literally nothing.  He stood at the ambo and literally blathered for 15 minutes...he told a couple of corny jokes....made some comment about a doctor who recently passed away and told his kids that they could go to college anyplace and if they went to Creighton in Omaha, he'd pay....yucka, yucka.  Then he said something about not liking commercials and how he muted the tv when they came on...then this happened...
3.  When he sat down for the imposed silence between the Creed and the homily, one of the Knights of Columbus came from the church hall, to the presidential chair (we don't have a sedilia anymore) and offered Father a plate of pancakes and sausage!!!!  No lie!  I was mortified.  The Mass is NOT an advertisement for the  KofC's it's the Mass!!!

This is a true story and this is a perfect example of what I have been banging on this blog....The Mass has ceased to be a sacrifice and it has become an assembly of believers who commune together.  Have we lost sight of the meaning of the Mass?  You decide....I know my answer....I buried my head in my hand missal and tried to forget the sacrilege....yes, that is exactly what it was....sacrilege.

(For my Protestant readers, this is not how the Mass should go.  The Mass, for Catholics is two is the unbloody sacrifice of calvary represented for our Salvation, by the command of Christ  and it is the public worship of the Church, in which we participate by uniting our minds, hearts and souls to the sacrifical action of the priest...while this may sound and feel foreign, it is the reality of the Catholic Church's form of worship.  I understand you have your own forms, but this is what Catholics are to believe at their base.  It isn't a discussion, it is a statement.)

OMG!!!!! smh....When will enough be enough?  Cute and Schmaltzy have no place in Catholic worship.  It is offensive and it is sacrilegious.  And most of all, it is sad.  Sad, because the priest allowed for the sacrilege to take place and reduced the amount of grace the faithful were able to attain.

My final bit of ranting is this...we have a new translation for the English.  ENGLISH!!!!  The priest has a book, the faithful have either missalettes or they have cards to help.  I was under the impression that the whole point of having Mass in the vernacular was so that it would be more intelligible.  As it is, the language is great!  The meaning is clearer, but the priest and the faithful NEED TO READ!!!!  If participation in the Mass is through our responses and our doing stuff (as is always used as a rebuttal to participatio actuosa), then why are priests and the faithful having such a hard time transitioning.  It isn't like learning a new language, right?  Right.  I don't buy the whole....we knew it from rote memory, crud.  That goes nowhere with me.  I give the faithful enough credit to be able to say that they can read and they can respond.  Priests have a Masters degree, but they are tripping over words?  Nope, don't buy it.  If there is so much trouble with the ENGLISH (!!!) then perhaps we should just bag the whole thing and go back to Latin.  If not, then START READING WHAT IS ON THE PAGE!!!!!  I vote for Latin.

The biggest problem with all of this is that there is no continuity.  There is only rupture.  All of the things which I just described are examples of the departure from authenticity...and they all happened in the span of one hour on Sunday....The Novus Ordo is a failure.  It is designed to do just what I described.  While the validity of the Novus Ordo isn't in question, the practical application of it is so broken, that the amount of time it would take to fix it is unjustifiable.  This is not what was envisioned by Vatican Council II.  This is not what was in the mind of the Council Fathers at large.  This is the logical end for something which by design is objective, but has been cobbled to be subjective.

The Mass won't be fixed until the rubrics are fixed.  Bottom line.

And finally...on a personal note...away from Sunday....I had a really good weekend.  I hung out with some pretty good people, who I've known most of my life....and I also spent the weekend connecting with times gone by, and you know was good!  Really good!  I hope that continues!!!  I'll keep that to myself for awhile, I just want to take the time to enjoy it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Clarification on Ordination of Women....

To those who think that denying ordination to women is not doctrinal, whether it be deacon or priest, I offer the following for your consideration....

A) The Apostles restricted the diaconate to men only:  The office of deacon is created in Acts 6:1-6.  And the Apostles give clear instructions in Acts 6:3 — “brethren, select from among you seven men
of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put
in charge of this task.”  The seven chosen are all men: Stephen, Philip,
Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas (Acts 6:5).  That’s not a coincidence.

B) Scripture is clear that the diaconate is male-only: In addition to the above, St. Paul lays out the requirements for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, and says things like “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity…” (1 Timothy 3:8).  If God wanted (or permitted) women to serve as deacons, then 1 Timothy 3 is wrong: it’s not required
for deacons to be men of dignity: they can be women of dignity, also.
 Obviously, we can’t conclude that Scripture was wrong, so it must be
the push for a female diaconate that’s wrong.

C) As I've mentioned before, the Greek word for deacon isn’t always a clerical title:  The Greek word here literally means servant or server.  That’s because the first job of the deacons involved the daily distribution of food to widows (Acts 6:1).  So when St. Paul refers to Phoebe as a diakonos, he might be calling her a deaconess of God, but he might also be calling her a servant of God.  There is no conclusive proof that diakonos is specifically a term for the ordained from antiquity.

D) There were deaconesses in the early Church:  Whatever St. Paul may have meant in Romans 16:1,
there’s no question that there were women referred to as deaconesses in
the early Church.  They were tasked with things like women’s adult
Baptisms (since Baptisms at that time were done in the nude).  But
what’s also clear is that they had different requirements than the requirements for deacons, and were considered part of the laity.  Once these sex-specific roles were no longer needed, the job of deaconess disappeared.

and finally,

E) The Council of Nicaea ended any controversy: Canon 19 of
the First Council of Nicaea (the same Council giving us the Nicene
Creed), said in relevant part: “Likewise in the case of their
deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled
among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean
by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have
no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.”
 That’s incredibly clear. But just in case it wasn’t, the Church
addressed this issue in later Ecumenical and regional Councils, as well.

As you all can see, there is no basis from Sacred Scripture or from Tradition which support the idea of women as being ordained.  Yes, they held positions of service during a time of need.  But this wasn't incumbent upon imposition of hands, as Nicaea rightly points out.

While some will argue that there is nothing "doctrinal" about this, there doesn't need to be, although that has now been put definitively to bed with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.  The Church through speaking through her Ordinary magisterium and through Sacred Scripture, then reaffirming through both teaching and practice through the centuries in a very clear and consistent manner have shown that the Church has no right to impose Sacred Orders on women.

This is not a belittling of women nor is it a form of discrimination.  This is a clear teaching of the faithful understanding their roles within the Church.  Clearly, from the two foundations of the Church; Scripture and Tradition, we have a clear teaching about the lack of necessary impotice for the ordination of women.  I'm sure that there will be a rebuttal, but I stand on Sacred Scripture and I stand on Tradition.  Women, while vital to the Church, not just in a temporally powerful way, but also in an example of meekness and humility of heart, were never meant for Sacred Orders.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


So, I received this email from US Catholic...In Conversation with American Catholics.

Dear Andy,

It has come to my attention that your commenting on our website has gotten a little out of control. While we respect a variety of opinions on church matters and certainly want all voices to be heard, you are disguising your comments as respectful by simply writing, “I mean this respectfully,” when you immediately follow this remark with a statement such as “So what?” or “You’re wrong.” While we’re glad to have passionate and even somewhat heated conversations on our website, your commenting has dominated the conversation as you continuously attempt to silence others by always having the last word and telling them when they’re simply wrong about matters that actually are contested. Part of our duty as Christians is to listen, and I’m afraid that your responses are not reflecting this call at all.

I’m sure this isn’t a pleasant to hear and you likely disagree with me. However, as the one who has to control the level of conversation on our site, I have to ask you to limit your comments to 5 per day. Please note that I’m not banning you from our site. Your voice is still valued. However, I hope that that this limit will help you to be more considerate and wise about how and where you choose to comment. If you are unable to stick to this limit, I will have to take more restrictive measures.


While the associate editor (I feel very special) thinks it isn't pleasant to hear, which it isn't, here is the exchange which prompted this...btw, the exchange wasn't with just any poster in the comboxes, it was with a blogger for US Catholic who was commenting....His (that's right, his) repsonse:

In Dr Zagano's defense, I think that the church's proclamation of the gospel is indeed impeded by the fact that women do not proclaim it "officially"--indeed have been barred from preaching homilies at Mass, even. That's not the same as saying a woman is better than a man, just that the gospel isn't getting its fullest possible proclamation--an analysis I think is dead on.

I think it's a major stretch to say that Jesus instituted the three-fold pattern of orders--especially since for centuries there were seven holy orders! And if you don't think women were really "ordained" to the diaconate, you'd have to say the same of the men, since the ordinations appear together in the ancient liturgical books.

My response:

I don't follow your logic.  How is a woman not proclaiming the Gospel at Mass or preaching a homily "impeding" the message that a priest (or in some cases a deacon) would do anyway?

Don't women "preach" the Gospel by how they live?  Isn't that the bigger message.  I hear all the time that it isn't about what one hears in the homily, but how one lives his life after the homily is what REALLY matters.  Is that not the case?

I think that there is a double standard.  I think that some women want to have their cake and eat it too.  Not all, but some.

Regardless of that, I just don't see how your logic pans out on this.

His response:

Because I think a woman would proclaim the gospel differently than a man, and so would open new meanings to the gospel message. If you think the gospel is a set or principles or something, I imagine you would not agree. But if you think that the gospel is an encounter with God, then it seems obvious to me that we would want as many perspectives on the gospel as humanly possible.

The other "impediment" is evangelical: In a world that is coming more and more to the realization that women should share equally in all roles in society, a church that insists its message can only be announced liturgically by men is making it hard for contemporary people to hear the message. I think the fact that the church has no ordained women at all gets in the way of people hearing the gospel (because they think the church is sexist.) If there is no obstacle in tradition to the ordination of women deacons--and I think it obvious there is not--then we should ordain them for that reason alone.
My repsonse:

This isn't about what you think though.  If it were merely that, then the answer would be easy.  So, you have an opinion, as a Catholic, it must conform to Catholic teaching on Catholic matters.  That is how we assent our wills.

The Gospel in the context that you are speaking of is a written record of Christ's deeds.  If you want a more ethereal view of what the Gospel is, I would say that it is the reward of good tidings.

Now, all that being said, every member of the Church has the right to that being brought to them in an orthodox way.  But we're talking about the canonical gospels.  There is a second "form" of Gospel, the oral gospel, which we are all implored to pass along.

The proclamation of the canonical Gospels is the privy of the ministerial priesthood.  It is proclaimed and it is preached by the ministerial priesthood, because they are the arbiters of the Truth.  We can share in that Truth, but we must hear and learn that Truth first.

The second type, the oral gospel is one that all mankind regardless of gender should be promoting.  They hear the canonical Gospel, they learn from it and they go out and spread that message.  That spreading is the oral gospel.

To confuse the two is to say that women have the right to "proclaim the gospel."  Not so.  Men don't have the right to "proclaim the gospel" unless they are ordained.  So, I don't see where the problem is.  Both men and women are supposed to take the oral gospel out and bring it to the world in how they live and in what they do.

Ultimately, your premise lies in a false one...there is an obstacle in ordaining women.  It lies the fact that the Church can't make the ordination of women valid.  Men can, but there is nothing sacramental in men's actions if there is nothing to support the action sacramentally.  The Church has been clear from the beginning that the ordination of women is not applicable.

His response:

Andy, there is no doctrinal teaching against the ordination of women to the diaconate; there is a dispute about how to read the substantial evidence regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate. As it stands, the possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate is simply a matter of law, and Catholics are free to think what they want about the matter. My considered opinion is that women (1) were ordained to the diaconate in certain places in the church, both East and West; (2) there is no theological obstacle in the church's current teaching regarding the diaconate to admitting woman; (3) therefore women can be ordained as deacons; and (4) I think it would be fitting and helpful to do so.

My response (and the zinger is contained herein):

I've read most of it.  The problem is that there is NOTHING conclusive to support ordination of women to the diaconate.  Nothing.  One can say that women were employed to help baptize women, but there is NOTHING to say that there was an ordination to take place.

Insofar as that is the case, logic dictates that if a woman is not able to be ordained a priest, then she cannot be ordained a deacon.  The Church cannot make something happen which cannot happen.

This is confirmed by Vatican Council II which through thorough study Paul VI allowed for celibate and married men to be ordained.  At that time, there was no indication that women would be allowed to approach orders, for the very same reasons I list above.

Canon 835 says that the sanctifying office is principally completed by the bishop.  If Sacred Orders are completed in the bishop and a woman cannot become a bishop, how is that supportable, from a logical or theological position?

So, to speak to your points:

1. There is no conclusive evidence to support "ordination."  The term διάκονος in Greek does not assume ordination.  It assumes ministry.

2.  There is a theological obstacle insofar as the admitting to Sacred Orders is completed in consecration/ordination to the Episcopate.  This is not possible for a woman and is a huge theological obstacle.

3.  Because there is no conclusive evidence to support ordination and there is a theological obstacle, then by pure logic, there is a dubium to admit women to Orders.

4.  I mean this with all what?  Your two main points are indefensible theologically and philosophically; as well as your opinion being simply an opinion.If you can theologically clear the obstacle presented and if you can show conclusively that women were ordained, I'll revisit my position.  But showing the few heretical sects as being a proof will not suffice.

This is pretty laughable to be honest...but the jist of all of this is contained herewithin, my response to the associate editor:

I respect your position.  Please know that I will abide by that rule going forward.  However, I do hope that you're taking the very same measures with those who are treating me in kind.  I have been treated with great consternation by more than a few and have voiced my concerns to you and other "leaders" of the comboxes to no return correspondence that it has been addressed.

I would hope that if you value consistency and honesty that you will follow through on my previous requests, if you have not already and limit those who have been antagonistic toward me in the very same way.

As I said, I will restrict my postings to 5 per day, but be assured that I hope that you hold all of your readers to the same level of scrutiny.

Thank you,

Now, all of this is in light of a couple of things...this was posted in direct response to me in the same combox;

I don't care what scripture, tradition, dogma, or theology you quote, sexism is alive and well in the Church.  If you can't see it and feel it in your heart, then no arguments I make will convince you otherwise. 

...It might do you well to remember the lay women of the parish who do much more than just "work the kitchen."
 So, it certainly seems that there is a bias, considering I have not yet received a response from the associate editor.  I would certainly hope that the two posters would receive at the very least same limitations.  For what they've said is far more hurtful and slanderous than " what?"

Women's Ordination....Really, This Is Still Going On....

I've been in a conversation recently about women's ordination.  But not to the priesthood.  No, they're taking another angle at it now.  Now they're talking about the diaconate. I think that they think if they can enter into Orders through the diaconate, that they will then start with the priestly ordination argument again, saying something to the effect of this, "Well see, we're able to be deacons.  If we can be deacons, why can't we be priests?  It only follows logically that if we can be deacons, we can be priests..."  yadda, yadda, yadda.

What they refuse to understand is that ordination is closed to women at all levels.  The diaconate and priestly ordinations are closely related and it is fulfilled in the consecration of a bishop.  I also think that the so-called elimination of ordinations to the minor orders has hurt the concept of Holy Orders.  I say so-called, because since 1972-1976, the SSPX (while legitimate) was ordaining according to the 1962 (and previous) books with full recognitio of the Holy See.  From 1988 to the present, the FSSP and traditional orders such as the ICRSS have been ordaining minor orders, and since 2007 any bishop may ordain minor orders according to the 1962

This begs the question then, if ordination is open to women in the Novus Ordo, wouldn't it have to be open to them in the 1962 books?  And it is strictly forbidden in the 1962 books, so...well, that is one argument.

Going forward this post may seem a little disjointed because I'm going to present it in more of a "stream of consciousness" posting as opposed to linear.  So, please read along and think of it as me talking to you directly as opposed to trying to map it out in text.  I don't do this very often, but I think that for this I'll give it a try.

The problem is that there is NOTHING conclusive to support ordination of women to the diaconate.  Nothing.  One can say that women were employed to help baptize women, but there is NOTHING to say that there was an ordination to take place.

Insofar as that is the case, logic dictates that if a woman is not able to be ordained a priest, then she cannot be ordained a deacon.  The Church cannot make something happen which cannot happen.

This is confirmed by Vatican Council II which through thorough study Paul VI allowed for celibate and married men to be ordained.  At that time, there was no indication that women would be allowed to approach orders, for the very same reasons I list above.

Canon 835 says that the sanctifying office is principally completed by the bishop.  If Sacred Orders are completed in the bishop and a woman cannot become a bishop, how is that supportable, from a logical or theological position?

So, to speak to the major dissenting points:

1. There is no conclusive evidence to support "ordination."  The term διάκονος in Greek does not assume ordination.  It assumes ministry.

2.  There is a theological obstacle insofar as the admitting to Sacred Orders is completed in consecration/ordination to the Episcopate.  This is not possible for a woman and is a huge theological obstacle.

3.  Because there is no conclusive evidence to support ordination and there is a theological obstacle, then by pure logic, there is a dubium to admit women to Orders.

4.  The two main points are indefensible theologically and philosophically; as well as the opinion being simply an opinion. If you can theologically clear the obstacle presented and if you can show conclusively that women were ordained, I'll revisit my position.  But showing the few heretical sects as being a proof will not suffice.


The fact that we are all one in God's eyes doesn't mean that all vocations are to be the same.  Can anyone point me to where the Church has ever taught that?

Being counted among the faithful gains you exactly one thing, being counted among the faithful.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It doesn't allow for us to be able to demand/request/implore admittance to anything.

The Church is clear on how vocations are to be viewed, for both men and women.  This isn't a matter of dignity, this isn't a matter of power.  Those ideals are modern and have been only made manifest since the admittance of women to "ministry" in Protestant ecclesial communions.  This is yet another reason why those things which are deigned by man hold very little weight in the economy of Truth which authentically belongs to the Church.

The Church has definitively taught that ordination is not open to women.  We are to assent our wills to that.  We come to understand it by embracing the teaching of the Church on a rational level.


How exactly can the Church be wrong?  I'm at a total loss.  The Church is not a person.  The Church is an entity.

One can say that certain leaders of the Church have been wrong in the past, etc...but one cannot say the Church has been wrong.

Plus, if one believes that Christ is the head of the Church and if one believes that Christ is God, how can God be wrong?

The teaching of the Church doesn't fall on one person, but from the very Tradition of the Church itself.  So, it doesn't follow that women are blaming the Church for something it is not capable of doing...Nemo dat non quod habent.


 All of the "reasons" some list as valid are human failings not institutional.  Man misunderstands interpretation, man is sinful (as it can be pointed out), but that speaks to us, not to the Church. 

The Magisterium is also an entity and not an individual either.  So, the same position I put forth previously stands with that argument as well.

I constantly talk about the faithful being "empowered."  I just don't talk about the faithful usurping power.  Being empowered, in an authentic sense, is understanding and participating in their vocation in a way which is consistent with Catholic teaching.  I also believe that the hierarchy is empowered with leadership, both spiritual and temporal with regard to the Church, but that is a very limited role and very specific.

So, men and women are not so different.  We just have a different understanding of empowerment.  I don't mean it to be a societal (in this case, society = Church) liberation, but rather finding freedom within the spirit of the law as applied to the letter of the law.  The justification doesn't have to come from me, I know from Tradition that this is the case, the justification must come from you, as your view of "empowerment" is not an authentic understanding what it means to be empowered.


A point of clarification.  The Church ORDAINED porters, lectors, acolytes, exorcists and sub-deacons after their entrance into the clerical state with tonsure, until 1972.  At which point the minor orders were suppressed for Novus Ordo installations and the lector and acolyte were then installed, with no entrance into the clerical state until deaconate ordination.

This suppression while still being the norm is now merely one way of looking at ordination.  If a man is formed according to the practices of the books of 1962 (which is utterly and completely legitimate), he does in fact still enter the clerical state, he is ORDAINED to the minor orders and this culminates in ordination to the deaconate and ultimately the priesthood.

It is utterly illogical to think that if the books of 1962 still hold force (which they do) that a gender change is somehow available to the books of 1972.

The only way this can be legitimized is a completely fallacious view of the priesthood and the roles one plays in the ministerial priesthood v. the royal priesthood.  Admission to the royal priesthood via baptism does not assume that any one person, male or female will be admitted to the ministerial priesthood.


The idea of having a transitional deaconate is clearly one of understanding that there is a fullness of the episcopacy.  If one does not go through the process of ordination without the possibility to become a bishop then what value is there.  The Apostles had to go through a similar process whereby they were servants, then they were ministers pro tem, then they were bishops.  This is clear in looking at their relationship with Christ, both before, during, and after the PDR.

The idea of being a transitional deacon is very important for one who is studying to become a priest.  It teaches the seminarian how to minister, how to serve and how to be charitable.  While a layman can certainly do this, having it formalized is certainly a very worthy application.  Also, the ordination also solidifies two things, a formal commitment to celibacy and a promise of obedience to his Ordinary.

I think that the biggest travesty is related to this though.  I think that the 19 year hiatus from ordaining the minor orders seriously undermined the whole of the ordained ministry, not just the transitional diaconate.  The admission of candidates to the clerical state and then ordaining them through the processes seems to be a much more logical step.

I do understand the permanent diaconate.  I just don't like it.  I think that the idea behind it is illogical.  By and large the idea behind the permanent diaconate has failed.  The idea that the Church would become inundated with deacons as a "salvation" of vocations simply hasn't come to pass.  I would say that by and large it has failed, so much so that one bishop has forbidden his deacons from preaching during the Mass on a regular basis and another has suspended the program in his diocese altogether.  The intention of the permanent diaconate wasn't to be a replacement for the priesthood and essentially that is what has been envisioned by those who advocate it.  It is seen as an alternative to the priesthood and that neither follows the charism as traditionally understood in the early Church nor is it what Pope Paul VI understood it to be with his promulgation  of the motu proprio.


So, how do we, as faithful Catholics respond to this:

"After thorough consultation, it was determined that it is not
in the church’s power to ordain women — not just that it won’t, but
that it can’t. There is nothing the church can do to “make” the
ordination of women valid.

This is because the Catholic Church does not manufacture what is true, but looks at the way things are, the way God has given them to us.

Over time, the question “So, do you want to be a priest?” has become, to me, offensive.
It implies that the ordained ministry is the only way to be “in” the
church, and that my current roles as a lay Catholic woman are somehow

--Katherine Thomas

It sure seems that Ms. Thomas is on to something.  It sure seems to me that by "pushing" for the ordination of women to any ministry is pigeon holing women?  Why would a woman of Ms. Zagano's obvious liberal acumen want to pigeon hole women into only being truly relevant if they be ordained?  It sure seems to be a smack in the face of authentic diversity.


Lincoln is the only diocese I know of that has not allowed females to serve at the altar.

And how can anyone possibly be serious in any contention that women are not referenced in the liturgy.  Women are lectors and women are servers and women are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.  Women serve as ushers, women bring up the gifts, women are organists (and god forbid, piano players) and women are cantors.  Women make up large parts of choirs. Often to the purposeful exclusion of men.

Perhaps it is because they want to have their cake and eat it too?

I really think that they need to check their view over.  Women are not excluded, and I even daresay that if they would buck up and DEMAND that their pastor pray the first Eucharistic prayer, they'll see several invocations of women.  Actually, I think that realistically if they DEMAND that their pastor pray the Eucharistic Prayer I, they'll see 8 specific mentions of women proper and we can assume that the priest and the faithful will pray for females during the two mementos (of the living and of the dead).

So, if they REALLY want to be inclusive of women, then be inclusive and stop complaining about things which are an illusion.  The Church includes women in her formal prayers, but it is so rarely used that most women don't realize the importance that the Church put on women in her formal prayers.

As an about they start championing the rosary, if they don't is a great laudatory prayer for women, invoking the Blessed Virgin 154 times.  But it is so much more...But hey, we have to start somewhere, right?

Monday, December 12, 2011


I've commented on this before.  I've talked about this before.  I think that it cannot be discussed enough, because it is wrong headed thinking when it comes to a proper understanding of how to apply oneself to Holy Mother Church.

My friend, Fr. Johnathin Choiri Seraiah, over at The Maccabean has this to say:

Subjectively Attached

Pope John Paul II:
An increasing number of Christians seem to have a reduced sensitivity to the universality and objectivity of the doctrine of the faith because they are subjectively attached to what pleases them; to what corresponds to their own experience; and to what does not impinge on their own habits.
I could write volumes on this quote, and talk for literally hours on end about it. It focuses into one concise statement the root of the majority of problems that exist in the Church today. Especially in what is, at present, plaguing the Church throughout the world. This "individualism" (for want of a more comprehensive term) is the cause of priestly sexual abuse, poor (or nonexistent) episcopal oversight, apathy among the laity, carelessness in liturgical celebrations, and the list could go on. Meditation on each of the phrases would do all of us a world of spiritual good. I am not about to try to improve upon the words of Blessed John Paul II, but I would like to comment on them. In doing so, I hope to enable you to apply what he said to your own personal spiritual state. Let me break it down into three basic points.

First, the subjective attachment to that which pleases self. In itself, it is not wrong to seek to please self. After all, this is at the very core of what we are doing when we seek salvation in Christ. We want to be saved from damnation and granted a place in the presence of God (because Hell is not a pleasing place to go). Yet, when our attachments become subjective they get clouded. It is not easy to find an objective attachment to things that please self, but it is worth it. Think of the simple act of eating. Objective attachment to the pleasure of eating would lead one to recognize that food is good for health, and necessary for survival. This allows one to appreciate the enjoyment of certain flavors; nothing wrong there. Subjective attachment to food, however, leads one to see the enjoyment of the taste of the food as a good in itself. Thus, the individual can quickly degenerate into gluttony (as well as a host of other culinary sins). Subjectively, the person thinks of his enjoyment of the food as "I like it", and that alone. That leads to other subjectivist problems.

Consider the following subjective errors: "I attend a traditional liturgy because I enjoy the way it feels"; "I watch that movie because I like the characters"; "I listen to that music because it has a nice beat". I could add many more to the list, but it should be obvious how the subjective nature of these attachments is centered on the person's pleasure, and thus excludes the more important questions. To use the examples above, we need to ask things such as, "is the traditional liturgy inherently better, even if it makes you feel bad?" (I think it is, but that is the subject of another post); "does the movie teach a philosophy that is contrary to the Christian faith?" (many do); and "what is the message within the lyrics of the music and what does the morality (or lack thereof) of the musicians say about the music they write?" (they are related subjects).

Second, the subjective attachment to that which corresponds to personal experience. In Protestant circles, if one studies deeply enough, it soon becomes obvious that the vast majority of splits and divisions (often called denominations) resulted from one person saying that his experience is the only right way, and that this is what everyone else needs to experience. "The way that it happened to me is correct [determined by personal choice] therefore it must be correct for everyone else also." Yet, this is not only present in Protestant circles. I have met more than a handful of Catholics and Anglicans who have the same perspective on their personal experiences. "If it is not the way I am used to it, then it must be wrong." Something other than what your experience is may very well be wrong, but it is not wrong merely because it is different from your experience. The subjective attachment to one's personal experience makes this hard (if not impossible) to see.

This attachment is seen in many of the different particulars of life that we are used to. I am very eclectic with the music that I listen to; from rock, to classical, to soft jazz, to Celtic folk music. Yet, there are some styles of music that make me wish that I was deaf. So the question would be, is the attachment to "personal experience" here one of objective quality or a subjective comfort zone? Another example can be seen in ecclesiastical matters. Married priests are not the common "personal experience" of most Latin Rite Catholics (though common to all Anglicans). Yet, Eastern rite Catholics are very used to the concept of a married priesthood. This (by itself) does not make it either right or wrong; it merely shows that not everyone's personal experience is the same. Thus, for a Catholic to reject the married priesthood based on the fact that it is not his own personal experience is a grave error; and in the same way, for an Anglican to demand the married priesthood because it fits with his personal experience is equally errant. Meaning, therefore, that the person's attachment to the personal experience is subjective rather than objective. An objective attachment would sound like this, "This is what I am used to and I appreciate it, but I acknowledge that my experience does not represent the totality of what is good and right in the world."

Third, the subjective attachment to that which does not impinge on personal habits. We get used to certain things, and those things influence greatly how we look at the world. I am used to a certain routine in the evening; children's bedtimes, time alone with my wife, time for work after everyone else is asleep. Those experiences influence my emotions and thoughts. When those things are disrupted, it changes my attitude. Are they disrupted for normally expected things (like a call from a parishioner in need), or are they disrupted for extraordinary occurrences that are unexpected (like children getting sick)? How we respond to the disruptions shows the type of attachment we have. If I were subjectively attached to what my personal experience is, then I will get very defensive of those things, and even angry when something changes.

What are your habits in regard to personal or family prayer? Are there things that can impinge on those habits? Which habits are "untouchable"? The time of prayer? The words of the prayer? The quantity of the prayers? Similarly, if there is a habit of watching or attending a football game, how do you deal with disruptions? What happens if a solemnity falls on that day and the service is at the same time as the game? Many today would choose in favor of the game and skip Mass. What happens if God throws a wrench into your life and your personal habits are completely disrupted? If you come unglued as a result, then you likely have a subjective attachment to your personal habits. In this state of mind, it is easy to attach oneself to those things that do not touch that which you are used to doing, but when something comes to that "no-man's-zone", there are problems for all involved.

Subjectivism occurs. We cannot avoid it perfectly (and in some areas it does not matter--like flavors of ice cream), yet we are called to be careful of it. Surrendering to it is exactly what the Apostle Paul warned us about in many ways (e.g. 1 Cor 6:12). Seeking to understand the world more objectively helps us to avoid the horrible temptation of individualism. We are individuals, but individualism makes us see our individual nature as an ultimate good that is incorruptible (as the Enlightenment heresy that "man is the measure of all things"). Where do we go for objective truth then? Protestants are forced to go to a subjective determination of what is objective (often called "private interpretation"), and pagans will often go so far as to say that there is no objective truth (which is a self-contradiction). Only in the infallible magisterium of the Church can we find absolute and reliable objective truth, and only by Christ is that truth protected perfectly, for He Himself is that very same Truth.

Fr. Seraiah is rector of St. Aidan's Anglican Church in Des Moines, IA.  Soon, he and the entire parish will be accepted into the Church.  Please pray for them.

A Rose By Any Other Name....

One of the biggest peeves I have is when anyone refers to rose vestments as pink.  The liturgical color of Rose is not, I repeat NOT pink.  While some may think it's funny, or some may think that it's cute, the reality is twofold.

1)  Liturgically it is incorrect.  I will go into that shortly.
2)  It is yet another ploy to emasculate the priesthood.  Men wearing pink is not generally thought of as being masculine, yet so many priests and faithful are quick and wont to try to diffuse this by making light of it.

Bottom line, it's not funny.  Those of us who are part of, or want to be part of the new liturgical movement, which is attempting to bring the Church back into a hermeneutic of continuity, must realize that while certain things are funny and can be made light of, anything which disparages a priest, unjustly is simply bad form.

So, as we look at the various blog posts around in the last couple of days, we see an abundance of "pink" references.  THE LITURGICAL COLOR IS ROSE, NOT PINK!!!!!

It is offensive and it is incorrect to assume so.  I don't know if I can say it enough, so I won't try to edit my outbursts about it in this post.

The Rose vestment serves a very specific purpose, so specific in fact that it is worn only twice a year.  It is worn at the halfway point of Lent on Laetare Sunday and it is worn at the halfway point of Advent on Gaudete Sunday.  The names of the Sunday's are based upon the Introit of the day.  What is an Introit, you ask?  Well, if your pastors were celebrating Holy Mass properly you'd know.  As it is, the Introit is the opening verse of Holy Mass.  That simple.  By and large most Novus Ordo parishes have abandoned the Introit in favor of the more Protestant notion of using a hymn to begin Holy Mass, which does not have an Asperges.

I digress....

Rose vestments are called Rose, due to the Latin name rosacea.  As for the timing, it is the halfway point of the season.  It marks the time when we begin to see the light of the Joy which impending.  The liturgical color Rose is a sign of hope.  During Advent, we know that Rose means the Lord is near.  It is a herald in the night, calling us to be prepared for the coming of the Lord.

If violet represents the darkness of night and preparation for that which we do not yet have, Rose is the dawn right before the light.  It is that time when the night is passing and the day is upon us.  We know that it is not quite here, but that the joyful coming is imminent.  This is why Rose is worn.

The Church embraces all of our senses in the liturgical action, in this case, it invokes our sense of sight.  We see the clear break from the darkness of violet and we see the beginnings of light, which is only a short time off.

When we look at Rose vestments, we should not see pink, but rather we should see hope.  We should not see something which is negative in it's application (ie. the emasculation of the priesthood), but rather we should see daybreak.  To assume that there is something as sinister as a homosexual undertone or something as diabolical as the emasculation of the priesthood is wrong.  That just is not the case.  The liturgical color is not pink.  It is Rose.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What Traddys Can and Should Know About the Movement....

The movement afoot isn't about any one person.  It isn't about me.  It isn't about you.  It isn't about Father who is celebrating Holy Mass.  It is about knowing the truth of Catholicism.  How we apply the consistent teachings of Holy Mother Church to today.  One of the great faults of the ecclesiology which followed Vatican Council II is that it created cults of personality.  This is a Protestant idea.  The Church is about knowing the truth and assenting one's will to it.  Far too often since the 1970s we've seen priests take on cults of personality.  A clear example is Fr. Pfleger  in Chicago.  It isn't a particular brand of Catholicism and it isn't a particular brand of spirituality which exists.  The diversity of the Church is made manifest in that regardless of the celebrant, homilist or theologian the truth of Catholicism is most important.

As I was driving back, I was listening to the podcast of Patrick Madrid.  He was interviewing, Francis Card. Arinze.  His Eminence made a very clear statement, it is the Church we should be concerned with.  Bishops will come and go.  Popes will come and go.  Priests will come and go.  The Church remains.  When we approach the altar rail we should remember that.

I think there is great wisdom in that.  Far too often we put our eggs into the so-called clerical basket.  I have a friend from my days in the Cities who has made it a habit to befriend and support (prayerfully and sometimes with a meal or a small gift) seminarians.  He has done this with many over the years.  He doesn't expect much in return, but he does expect the friendship to remain.  Now, he is quirky.  He has spent his entire life taking care of his mother (who recently passed away, at age 90) and brother who (at age 53) has Down's Syndrome.  He never married and he lived at home his entire life.  As it is, the majority of the time these seminarians are ordained and they completely forget about my friend.  Some stick around for a few years, but by and large they pass him by.  This is the great sadness of his life.  He feels betrayed and he feels abandoned by these men.  He has a point, to a point.

The reality is this....priests come and go.  That is part of their vocation.  We need to be prepared to let priests come and let priests go.  Their life is hard enough, we don't need to be complicating it with our own worries and our own "dramas."

As traditionalists, we have a very hard job ahead of us.  It is going to fall on us to correct the erroneous mentalities which have dominated the landscape since the close of the Council.  We have to rely on our priests for the Sacraments and for sound theology.  But we need to let them do that and we don't need to be attaching ourselves to them, to the point where we are following them everywhere they go.  Look at what it has done to my friend in the Cities.  He has a life full of regrets over priests who could not reciprocate.

When we adhere to tradition, we adhere to the Church.  We have the right to 4 things:

1.  The Mass properly celebrated and authentic worship
2.  Proper Ecclesiolgy
3.  The Authentic Ordinary Magisterium as has existed from the beginning until today
4.  A proper understanding of the Catholic role of Religious Tolerance and what we can do to further that.

Outside of that, any priest, who is orthodox can give us the answers we need.  So rather than hanging our hats on a particular priest or priests, we should hang our hat on the Church.  In the long run it will allow our priests to do what they were ordained to do and it will allow us to fulfill our mission within Holy Mother Church, which is to promote the four things I just listed.  Everything we have is bound there within the Church.  If we promote those things, we cannot go wrong....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My "Personal" Faith????

I did make a choice to become Catholic.  I was 14 days old.  That was the day I was baptized.  I became a Catholic that day and as I grew older I came to understand the importance of the choice made when I was baptized.  I ceased to be a heathen and I was clothed in the eternal light of Christ in His Church.  Surely, you can understand and appreciate that.  As a matter of clarity, there has never been a time in my life when I thought or recognized otherwise.  I am a Catholic.

I am committed to my role as a catechist to Protestants, and other Catholics.  I am committed to my role as an ecumenist when I speak to the Orthodox.  I am committed in my role as an evangelist when I speak to non-Christians.  My "discipleship" as you put it is grounded in a couple of things...1)  It is grounded in a proper understanding of Religious  Tolerance, to which I just described to you in a nutshell.  2) It is grounded in a proper sense of Ecclesiology which is made manifest through the 2000 year history of the Church.  3) It is grounded in the Mass, authentically celebrated as witnessed by the saints and faithful of the Church from the beginning until today.  4) It is grounded in the Authentic Magisterium of the Church which, by it's union with the Holy Father brings about the salvation of mankind through orthodox theology and right thinking when applied through philosophy.

 What I believe is contained in the Faith of the Church.  I accept that faith.  It isn't a personal choice so much as it is an assent of the will, illuminated by the sacramental graces which have been afforded to me.  The Faith of the Church will remain unchanged regardless of my belief, so it is, in my estimation, not my belief, but rather my assent of the will which bolsters my "personal" faith.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Response to an Email Regarding Fr. Pavone...

I received the following email from Troy Newman, apparently from (forgive me if I don't link to it directly).

It reads;

I saw the comment below at where she posted her letter to Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, TX. It was written by a Catholic priest, who had his own experience with Bishop Zurek while he was a seminarian, under then-Father Patrick Zurek acting as vocations director for the Diocese of Austin, TX.

Please let me know what you think.

Troy Newman

Famijoly says:
December 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm
First things first: Praise be God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for what the Holy Spirit has wrought in your life!!! I rejoice with you and for you, Abby!

Second, the title of this column and the date of your entry into the Catholic Church is my birthday. I am honored to share December 4 with you for separate but equally special reasons.

Third, I applaud on you on your decision to write your letter to Bishop Patrick Zurek and on the tone of your letter. You simply stated the facts and your feelings about those facts.

Although I have never met Fr. Frank Pavone, I can empathize with him in his current situation with the Diocese of Amarillo. Before he was ordained a bishop, Fr. Patrick Zurek was vocations director for the Diocese of Austin. In the face of strong recommendations from many sources he himself sought out that I should continue in formation to the priesthood, in 1988, he unilaterally discontinued me as a seminarian for the Austin Diocese. He told me, on the telephone, not in person, that I would never be a priest. He never replied to my letters to him or my requests to meet with him personally. My letter to Bishop John McCarthy was met with a reply that rubber-stamped Fr. Zurek’s decision.

In 1996, I was ordained to the priesthood for another diocese.

I pray, Abby, that your letter will be an instrument of Divine Mercy for Bishop Zurek, that he will submit to God’s call to be the representative of Christ on Earth that a priest and bishop is supposed to be. I pray that as you, Abby, were called from the darkness of error and sin though His unfathomable Divine Mercy, so, too, may Bishop Patrick Zurek be called from the darkness of his cold, manipulative, passive-aggressive ways to embrace and extend the warmth and compassion of the Father’s love in Jesus Christ.

Barring a sudden change of heart between now and Sunday, you will receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divnity of the Father’s dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion for the first time from someone other than Fr. Frank Pavone. That someone will be a priest whose ordination is equally valid to that of Fr. Pavone and whose good standing as a priest in the Catholic Church is just as strong as that of Fr. Pavone. And while you are disappointed on the human level, you have it right on the grander scale: It is not who you receive from, but Who you receive.

Sunday will be a joyous day, Abby! You will say, with all of us, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” He has said the Word of healing. His name is Jesus.

God bless you and keep you.

Welcome to the Catholic Church! WELCOME HOME!
I don't know if Troy expected a response from me, but since he took my time in sending the email, I thought that I would return the favor.  Here is my response;


At this time, I can only say one thing.  Fr. Pavone must submit to his Ordinary.  If he be a priest of the Diocese of Amarillo, he promised obedience to that Ordinary and his successors.  This is not something to be taken lightly.  Fr. Pavone should meet with Bishop Zurek and he should joyfully and completely accept whatever assignment His Excellency has for him.  As you know, Fr. Pavone's life is not his own.  While he has done wonderous things for the Pro-Life movement, he is a diocesan priest and that comes first.  Fr. Pavone is bound by his promise at Ordination to be obedient, to follow through.

As for the response of the priest to Ms. Johnson.  Praise God he was able to be ordained to the priesthood.  While I certainly am grateful that Father X was able to find another diocese, I trust that His Excellency had his reasons for excluding the good Father from further studies.  I am sure that there is more than one side to this story (as is normally the case).

This may not be what you want to hear, but I am a very firm believer that Father Pavone should be obedient to Bishop Zurek and he should submit to the promise he made when he was ordained to the priesthood.  In my estimation, this is not a matter of public debate or opinion.

I will continue my prayers that both Fr. Pavone and Bishop Zurek are treated and portrayed in a charitable light and that Fr. Pavone follow through with his promise of obedience to the Ordinary of his diocese and his successors.

May God Keep You Close,


Worship...A Gentle Reminder as We Enter Into Christmas....

The Mass, first and foremost is a prayer to God the Father.  It is offered by the priest as mediator who celebrates the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary anew.

We, the faithful, should not primarily concern ourselves with the words of the Mass.  Our inward participation should first lend itself to worship while the priest, on our behalf as mediator, prays the Mass.  We may assist, him by uniting our prayer to his.  THAT IS OUR ROLE!!!

While it is a noble undertaking to know and pray the words of the Mass as the priest says them, it is not necessary to attain the grace of the liturgical action.  One may attain those same graces while meditating on the Passion.  One may attain those same graces while praying the rosary.  One may attain those same graces while meditating on the scriptures of the day.  How one unites himself to the prayer of the priest is immaterial.  It is just that he does so.  This is not to say that one may act willy nilly.  No.  We are talking about an inward participation.  The outward participation, which should be done according to our state in life AND our vocation is dictated by the rubrics of the Mass.

Please don't confuse the two.  The inward participation which is primary is pariticipatio actuosa.  The outward participation which is always secondary is participatio activa.

The Mass is an opportunity for us to get a glimpse of the heavenly liturgy.  While it is imperfect here on earth, it is formulated according to  the heavenly liturgy when PROPERLY celebrated by the priest.

So, bottom really doesn't matter if we understand or don't understand the words.  If one person thinks they are poorly worded or 1 million, it matters not.  The Mass is not primarily there for our aural pleasure.  It is a vehicle by which we can place our offerings at the foot of the altar for the priest to offer on our behalf as we worship in an authentic way.

This Is Getting Good....

If you want to see how a liberal squirms, read through the combox regarding the posting from yesterday, at US Catholic: Bishop of Covington Stop Holding Hands!

If you didn't think I was a bulldog about Catholicism, au contraire.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mentality Change....It Makes Me Sad....

I often times tell a story which was told to me by Mons. Schuler.  He told the story in his article on Participatio Actuosa.  But I heard the story around the dining room is the story:

Let us say that a pious Hindu attends Mass, takes part in the singing and even walks in a procession with great piety. In the same church is also a Catholic who is blind and deaf and who is unable to leave his chair; he can neither sing nor hear the readings nor walk in the procession. Which one has truly participated, the one who is very active, or the one who has confined himself solely to his thoughts of adoration? Obviously, it is the baptized Catholic who has exercised participatio actuosa despite his lack of external, physical movement. The Hindu even with his many actions has not been capable of it, since he lacks the baptismal character.
 I share that tome with you because I just had a conversation with someone which literally made me sad.  And this person is a "post-Vatican II" Catholic.  So, he is to be more compassionate, more open, more is what was said:

There is an elderly lady at my parish who puts her head down and ignores anyone's offered hand.  Those of us who have encountered her refusal normally respectfully do not bother her.

There have been a number of times when individuals did not want to shake hands due to having a cold.  

There are all kinds of reasons why a person might not want to shake hands.  They should not be compelled against their will.

You do not bother....

Isn't that a sad commentary on our brethren.  How about joining her in prayer, worshipping, which is what we are called to do through our participatio actuosa.

Perhaps it isn't so much that she would be bothered, but rather it is that she is engaged in the inward prayer which is proper to each of the faithful when worshipping at Holy Mass.

You're right, you do not bother....and that sums up the attitude of most Catholics today.  Rather than look to her as an example, you see her as a hindrance.  A hindrance to what?  Community?  Participation?  Well, that understanding of participation is wrong headed.  That is participatio activa.  While it does have a place, it is NEVER to be imposed and it is meant more as a way of external service, such as a schola, or altar boys, or a choir...not bemoaning the fact that the lady next you is a bother, because she doesn't shake hands and hug and kiss and have a 3 minute conversation on how the grandkids are, cued back into the Mass with Haugan's rendition of Lamb of God...which is liturgically incorrect.

What a slap in the faith (heh, I'm not going to change that, even though I meant to say face) to that lady and to all Catholics...change in mentality.  I should say so.  It speaks to that change in Ecclesiology.  This has nothing to do with her will; this has to do with your changed view of the liturgical action.  Sad that people think that way of other Catholics ....what if my generation just doesn't bother all the "post-Vatican II Catholics"...where will that leave them?

Two Churches?

I am involved in a very spirited discussion at US Catholic; which has become very involved and has ebbed and flowed from the original point made by the writer.  I'll let you read the original post, but I'll post my response to him and then I will get on to my point....

Mr. Cones;

Pax et Bonum...I am speaking to you directly sir.  You ask is the Bishop of Covington out of his mind?  The answer is NO!

The Mass, contrary to popular belief, is dictated by law, not by feelings.  The rubrics are lawful and we, as Catholics, are obliged to follow them.  The Church speaks to us legally in two ways, Canon Law and Liturgical Law.  Does it sound too rigid?  Probably, but it is not in our privy to change that.  We simply must accept it.  Much like, we must stop at that random stop sign, even if we don't like it's presence in the middle of the country on a county road.

I also wonder if you know what participatio actuosa is?  Participatio actuosa is the full, conscious, and active participation that Vatican Council II talks about.  It is the interior application of the mind and soul to the Mass, through the laws which bind the Mass to mankind.  Please don't confuse that with Participatio Activa, which is the "doing stuff" type of participation.  The faithful are not called to "do stuff" at Mass, that is an extraordinary function based on necessity, not on some sort of right or charism.  The "stuff" is to be done by the priest, that is his role.  The role of the faithful is to worship, interiorly first and only then exteriorly in making the responses which are proper to them.

I know this whole concept seems backward and antiquated to you, but in reality, it is the consistent teaching of Holy Mother Church and it is the proper way to think about worship.  The true "spirit of Vatican Council II" isn't found in looking left and looking right at Holy Mass, it is by looking inward and offering those prayers and intentions up by placing them at the foot of the altar, so that the priest who celebrates the Mass may present them to God on our behalf.

Vatican Council II implores us to find the spirit of the law in the letter of the law.  We have laws which bind us to the Mass.  They are liturgical laws and they are better known as rubrics.  The Church is clear through  Vatican Council II and specifically in Sacrosanctum Concilium that "no one may add anything of his own accord to the sacred liturgy, even if he be a priest." (paraphrase SC #22.2)

May God Keep You close.

This was written in response to the notion that holding hands at the Our Father was desirable and that Bishop Foys was "out of his mind" for suggesting otherwise....

The conversation progressed and eventually this was made in response to me, which brings me to my overall point of this blog post today:

I'm sorry, Andy, but I felt just as Catholic, and maybe even more so, when I am praying the Novos Ordo than I did when praying the TLM.  But that could be because when I was praying the TLM I was a child.  Indeed, I identified myself as a Catholic much more with the post-VCII church than I did the pre-VCII Church. 

So much of this is perspective.  So much of this is experience.

I responded to her: There are two different Churches?  A pre-Vatican II Church and a post-Vatican II Church?  I was under the impression that Vatican Council II was the logical updating of the Church in the Modern World.  To speak of two Churches is to define your Ecclesiology.  This is a much bigger problem than just perception.  Perhaps you didn't mean to speak this way, but the sad fact is that you did.  This is the exact reason why there is a break in continuity (re: Pope Benedict XVI).  The Church did NOT change.  The fact that the Novus Ordo is considered the "flagship" of a post-Vatican II Church embodies the flawed and sad notion that the pre-Vatican II Church was somehow left behind in a sort of archive.

Clearly, the post-Vatican II Church has failed.  People my age (39) and younger don't want the post-Vatican II Church, we want the Catholic Church.  That is why since the loosening of the TLM in 1984, this aspect of the Church has grown exponentially, when the rest of the Church has been the fastest growing.  Do you know the two seminaries in the USA which are the fastest growing?  Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, NE and St. Thomas Aquinas in Winona, MN.  Both are traddy seminaries, while seminaries like St. Francis in Milwaukee, WI and St. Meinrad in Indiana are woefully empty.

I'm sorry ma'am, I can't agree with you.  The Novus Ordo has failed as an experiment and it has done nothing but make it easier for a Catholic to relate to a Protestant and that should never be the goal of Catholic worship.


This idea that there are two different Churches, one that is of antiquity and one that was created after Vatican Council II is not a rare idea.  This is a very common thought.  Have you ever noticed how people talk about the Church?  Listen next time.  I've resorted to discussing in this manner, often times, because it is the only way Catholics can relate, but there is no question in my mind, there is one Church.  It started with the beginning of time, it was made manifest as an entity with the giving of the keys to Peter.  The bottom line, there are not two Churches.  When you hear Pope Benedict speak of a hermeneutic of rupture (or discontinuity), this is of what he speaks.  The idea that the Church was somehow re-imagined or re-created with Vatican Council II is improper Ecclesiology.  The reality is that Vatican Council II was another Council among the history of Councils, it is unique in that it didn't proclaim any dogma or doctrine, but was purely pastoral.  This doesn't, though mean that there was a new Church created.  Please do all you can every day to be clear that the Ecclesiology of the early Church is the Ecclesiology of the Church today.  Even if it makes you unpopular with your pastor and others in your parish.  The Truth is the Truth.  The Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.