Thursday, August 31, 2006

Miserere mei, Deus

I was reminded today of the need -- since we do not know neither the day nor the hour when we will pass into eternity -- for me to put in writing my funeral plans and desire for a Traditional Latin Requiem Mass.

Unwelcome controversies

Your Holiness, Please cancel these pop concerts also.

Vatican Drops Annual Christmas Concert

Vatican, Aug. 31 ( - The Vatican's annual Christmas concert has been cancelled, apparently at the wish of Pope Benedict XVI.

The simple
Vatican announcement on August 31, indicating that the concert would not take place this year, prompted Italian reporters to conclude that the decision came from the Holy Father. The daily Il Stampa announced: "Pope Ratzinger prefers Mozart and Bach to pop music and thus after 12 years the traditional Vatican Christmas concert comes to an end."

Pope John Paul II had instituted the annual concert, and shown his support by greeting the performers in a private audience. Pope Benedict, who has cut down sharply on the number of papal audiences, did not meet with the participants in last year's concert, nor did he attend the event in the Paul VI auditorium.

The Christmas concert has caused some unwelcome controversies at the
Vatican. In 2003 the American singer Lauryn Hill outraged some prelates when, instead of performing the hip-hop song that had been listed on the schedule, she launched into a harsh criticism of corruption in the Church. Last year the Brazilian artist Daniela Mercury was dropped from the show after she told reporters in Rome that she would use her appearance to promote the distribution of condoms.

The Christmas concert had been held each year in December, and recorded for a television broadcast on
Italy's Canale 5 network on Christmas Eve.

When it was first staged in 1993, the proceeds from the concert were used to build 50 new parish churches for the
Rome diocese. Last year, for the first time, the revenues were collected for missionary work in Asia, in recognition of the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xaiver, the patron of the missions.

Italian media reports indicate that Prime Time Productions, the firm that had organized the
Vatican concerts, will hold a similar event in Monte Carlo on December 9 of this year. No announcement has been made regarding the use of profits from the concert.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


May the angels lead you into paradise.
May the martyrs come to welcome you;
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

I have celebrated nearly 300 funerals during the course of my priesthood. Long ago I left my emotions behind to professionally serve the families and community during difficult trials. I am not alone in this. I know many bereavement ministers, and funeral directors who do the same.

Today was different. I celebrated Mass and graveside service for a young mother of three who fought a good fight against cancer. During the course of her illness, our parish community was there to help. Funds were gathered to assist the family as medical expenses rose to an astonishing number. A funeral home and cemetery worked with us to provide a dignified farewell. We prayed, we sang, we cried as we said our goodbyes.

The sight of the three little ones, aged 7, 8, and 9, placing flowers on their mother's casket was almost too much to bear. Our hearts broke at that moment. I looked around to see everyone's teary eyes (the funeral director and cemetery workers included.) The little boy seemed so brave as he held his sister's hands. We commended the soul of the faithful departed into the arms of our loving God. He commended us the care of these little ones.

The simple casket was lowered into the ground. Our leave-taking was complete. Or was it? I will remember this particular funeral for years to come. I will probably preach about it in future years. I have been changed by the sight of those three.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And may the perpetual light shine upon her.

May her soul
and the souls of all the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Requiescat in pace

Today I received a surprise gift.

A parishioner gave me a nine-page account of her stepfather’s passing into eternal life five years ago. It is replete with vivid imagery of his declining physical health and his nascent, but rapidly-evolving, spiritual health. It is also gave me a glimpse into the depth and breadth of the author’s spirituality. I am in awe. I know this woman to have a profound love of God; for I have noted a keen expression of familial and communal life. Her prayer is exquisite, and I find her spiritual discernment to be acute.

I am gifted by her willingness to share with me this personal account of God’s Divine Plan.

Ad orientem

In my worship and adoration of the Lord, I want to be facing East when He returns.

The Prophet Zacharias says:
"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is over against Jerusalem toward the east: and the mount of Olives shall be divided in the midst thereof to the east, and to the west with a very great opening, and half of the mountain shall be separated to the north, and half thereof to the south." -- Zacharias 14:4-5, Douay-Rheims Bible

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ss. Mater Boni Consilii Ora Pro Nobis

Continue to invoke the intercession of
Our Lady of Good Counsel
for the people of the city of New Orleans.


I'd like to thank my brother priests for the fine meal and good conversation we had Monday evening. It is always good for us to get together in supportive fraternity.

Once again I quote Psalms 132:
Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum. -- Latin Vulgate.

See how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. – Douay-Rheims Bible.

The Martyrdom of John

The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy. –
Apolytikion of the Beheading of the Venerable Head of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

Today's Feast

Augustine is baptized by Ambrose

The text behind his head is the famous mediaeval hymn, Te Deum, which legend says had been penned by Augustine and Ambrose, improvised at the moment depicted.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reform of the Reform

This summer’s issue of Inside the Vatican magazine includes an article by Alberto Carosa, Stepping Closer to the Reform of the Reform. In this article the Italian journalist and writer comments on the possible liturgical reform necessary to spark a recovery of the sacrificial dimension of Christian worship, which many traditional Catholics have anticipated since the election of Pope Benedict XVI. One of the hot-button issues is the celebration of Mass with the priest and the faithful facing East.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It wasn't his fault

The Question of Incorruptibility by Fr. William Saunders

On January 16, 2001, Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State of the Holy See; Cardinal Noe, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; and Leonardo Sandri, opened the tomb of Blessed Pope John XXIII, who was beatified on September 3, 2000. (Blessed Pope John XXIII died on June 3, 1962.) The identification of the mortal remains is part of the normal canonization process. The mortal remains of Blessed Pope John XXIII were to be transferred from their present tomb in the crypt beneath St. Peter’s to a new tomb upstairs in the basilica itself at the altar honoring St. Jerome. Pope John Paul II ordered the transferal to affirm the holiness of the late pontiff and to enable the faithful to more easily venerate him.

When the inner casket was opened, Cardinal Noe said that the face of Blessed Pope John XXIII appeared "intact and serene." The official report stated, "Once freed from the cloth that covered it, the face of the blessed appeared intact, with the eyes closed and the mouth slightly open, and bearing the features that immediately called to mind that familiar appearance of the venerated pontiff." The pope’s hands, still holding a cross, were also preserved.

While trying to avoid any sense of the macabre, such an investigation is integral to the canonization process. Prospero Cardinal Lambertini (later Pope Benedict XIV, 1675-1758) wrote a five-volume work entitled De Beatificatione Servorum Dei et de Beatorum Canonizatione in which he included the chapter De Cadaverum Incorruptione. This work remains the classic reference for such matters. The only incorrupt remains considered extraordinary and thereby miraculous would be those which had not undergone some preservation process but had retained their lifelike color, freshness and flexibility for many years after death. Spiritually, such a sign is indicative of the person’s mortal remains being prepared for the glorious resurrection of the body. Although the Church is very reluctant to accept incorruptibility as a miracle in itself, it nevertheless does testify to the holiness of the person.

Coupled with incorruptibility is the sign of "sweet odor," a phenomenon in which the body or the tomb of a saint emits a sweet odor. In the Old Testament, a sweet-smelling odor was a metaphor used to indicate a person pleasing to God and holy in His eyes. Usually, the odor is unique and cannot be compared to any known perfume. Cardinal Lambertini posited that while a human body may not smell bad, it is highly unlikely, especially in the case of a dead body, for it to smell sweet. Therefore, any odor of sweetness would have to be induced by a supernatural power and be classified as miraculous. Note, however, that the devil too can induce the "sweet odor," so this sign must be corroborated by the overall holiness of the life of the person.

In weighing these phenomena, other mitigating factors must be taken into account. For instance, the body of Blessed Pope John XXIII was kept in a marble sarcophagus that contained three caskets — one of oak, one of lead and one of cypress. Although the body had not been embalmed, it had been sprayed with some chemicals so that it could be displayed prior to burial. Nazareno Gabrielli, a technician with the Vatican Museums, stated, "When he died, some measures were taken for the display of the body for the veneration of the faithful. It also should not be forgotten that the remains were kept in three caskets, one of which was sealed lead." Therefore, probably little oxygen penetrated the caskets and affected the remains. (After the body was officially recognized, it was sprayed with an anti-bacterial agent, and the casket was hermetically sealed.)

In all, incorruptibility remains a sign of the holiness of the life of the individual. The bodies of
St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) and St. Catherine Labouré: (1806-1876) remain incorrupt, even though their bodies had not been embalmed and had been exposed to various elements for years prior to their exhumation. Therefore, one safely could see the hand of God in the preservation of the body of Blessed Pope John XXIII, but what is more miraculous is the holy life he lived.

A chemical reaction

In Life Certain People Are 'Toxic' and the Antidote is Found in Transcending Evil

You know how it is. There are simply people with whom you have trouble getting along. Sometimes, it's right there in the open -- in confrontation, in tension, in bickering.

More often, it's something that's below the surface: You're feeling great and then when you enter into the presence of someone, or a group, your spirit is suddenly -- inexplicably -- agitated.

You lose your peace. You feel antagonism or simply don't feel "yourself." You feel arid. For no reason, you become angry.

These are warning signals. There are people who rub each other the wrong way -- who seem nearly allergic to one another -- and often there is a spiritual component behind it.

We know such from Scripture.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places," St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 -- which we should all read on a regular basis.

Often it isn't the person who is aggravating us, but a spirit attached to that person. Such can come from sin, of course, but also from family lines or from inner wounds which darkness has hooked into.

That's why Jesus said not to judge. We are never sure why anyone is how he or she is. It's also why He said to look for the lumber in our own eyes first. We could have something that is causing the tension, or enhancing an effect that comes from others (like a volatile chemical reaction). We could also be exaggerating the effect, or even imagining it. Whatever the case, we must always see beyond spiritual disturbance to the goodness of people.

This is very important to keep in mind. Often, we must separate the person from the spirit. Good people, nice people, ostensibly kind people can have demons attached to them. It is a trial for them and those around them.

When we are consistently attacked, we have to ask why God is allowing it. Is He trying to make us more accepting? Is He trying to enhance our patience?

At the same time, a smiling face may be hiding resentment or jealousy that unleashes a demon. Against this too must we be on guard. The Spirit of Truth will guide us. There is "smoldering" dislike. Someone is "caustic." He has an "air" about him. He is "volatile" or "fuming" (and causing us to fume!).

It's like a chemical reaction.

Without love and attention to our interior lives, we pollute each other and potentiate the acid in others.

How are we to react when the mere presence of someone causes our blood to boil? What are we supposed to do when out of the blue the interaction with a "toxic" person causes us to say things we don't even mean and go into a frenzy of anger?

Before exposure to such a circumstance, we should also put on protective "gear." This starts with love. Love the person who causes you spiritual agitation and you will have started a process of insulation. Forgive, purify yourself -- and watch what you think. A bubble of protection will sprout around you.

Have joy. Joy spreads around you like an umbrella. It neutralizes. It is infectious -- in a good way.

If you have joy you have closeness to God and closeness to God causes the devil to fumble with his vials of chemicals. Don't drink of his poison!

Forgive even before the person causes you distress. Our very Mass starts with a request for God to forgive us for what we have said, what we have thought, what we have done, what we have failed to do -- telling us right away that thoughts are actual!

Take "the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Simply put, let faith keep your head above the roiling waters!

Identify the spirit with whomever you are fighting and odds are the conflict will end soon or immediately. Cast out that spirit by the Flame of the Sword of Bethlehem, which is the power of the love of the Infant. This is very potent -- when said in the name of Jesus. Cast spirits out. The saints can help you.

If the trial persists, it may be that the person is doing something that's giving a spirit the legal right to remain, and in this case it is wise to distance oneself, at least for a time. If you can approach the person, and explain the situation, or pray with the person, all the better.

There must be adequate prayer, which means that we are at peace at the end of praying.

Be good. Be positive. Know that you can rise above the negative. Don't drink of the poison. Don't return one toxic effect for another.

Do you realize how many marriages could be saved if couples who are locked in bitter disputes knew where the energy was originating?

One toxic effect can cause a chain reaction.

Recognize that a spirit is there when there is tension, when there is inexplicable anger, when there is rage, and knowing that you will not only neutralize it but (if you persist) transcend it forever. – August 25, 2006 Spirit Daily

Ego te baptizo...

The former pastor of the parish I now shepherd had incorporated baptisms into Sunday Masses. In doing so, he and his liturgical "consultants" truncated the Rite of Baptism and Mass by eliminating the Gloria, as well as finessing the Profession of Faith and Prayers of the Faithful in order to meld the two ordos. The anointing with the Oil of Catechumens, and the ephpheta were also eliminated. There were often as many as five baptisms scheduled at each Mass.

I do not understand the Modernist notion of including the "community" in every aspect of community. Long ago I abandoned the "let's build community by innovation A, B, C..." Having lived in a religious community, I believe that communio happens by the grace of the Holy Ghost, not by contrived efforts.

This morning we presented the first Baptism preparation retreat for parents and Godparents who will be baptizing on September 9 using the complete Rite of Baptism in it's own ceremony apart from Mass.

So far I have received only one complaint--that being from a catechist who states that she is unhappy and will "miss" the baptisms at Mass. No matter how much I explain to her my reasons, she will never be satisfied since she is one of several parishioners who have accused me of taking "community" out of community. Once again, I am left speechless by their inability to hear and listen to reason.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Interesting book review

The Tidings, the Los Angeles Archdiocesan newspaper, has printed the following review of Kenneth Briggs Doubleday book, Doublecrossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church's Betrayal of American Nuns. The reviewer is Anita Caspary, IHM, former Mother General of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and founding President of the Immaculate Heart Community. She writes:

"Readers of books about nuns may be startled by the title "Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church's Betrayal of American Nuns" as more typical of a murder mystery than of the saga surrounding the disappearance of American sisterhoods. The purpose of Kenneth Briggs is to uncover the betrayal of nuns by the time of renewal after Vatican II by some members of the U.S. hierarchy.

The Introduction lays out the startling figures: "In 1965 sisters numbered 185,000 in more than 500 orders." By 2005, the total had dropped by more than half, to 68,963, and of those fewer than 6,000 were under 50. Anyone even slightly interested in nuns' stories must question the meaning of this drop in the population of convents as well as the succeeding changes in ministries, especially in education in elementary and secondary schools and in the broad fields of nursing and hospital administration.

Briggs traces the problem of the dramatic drop in the number of nuns to the process of renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council followed by the opposition of some members of the U.S. hierarchy to this process. Abandonment of habits, changes of prayer schedule, more flexibility in the understanding of obedience --- these and other new factors of religious life were looked upon as dangerous and life threatening to the sisters: This was the fear of some bishops, priests and lay Catholics as well as some of the sisters themselves.

All this is clear and fairly well known by readers of post-Vatican II literature on U.S. sisterhoods. Are these changes the cause of the dramatic drop in the number of religious women or are there deeper more complex hidden causes? There are no doubt further studies to be done on this subject, hopefully by the sisters themselves who lived through the period.

Meantime, Briggs is to be thanked for recounting the service the Sister Formation Conference (SFC) gave to the education of U.S. Roman Catholic sisters. The tragic circumstances surrounding the demise of the SFC is accurately written. Such names as Sister Emily Penet, Sister Ritamary Bradley and Sister Annette Walters are credited for their frontier and struggling work.

The phenomenal study of the Sisters' Survey headed by Sister Marie Augusta O'Neill is recalled as well as the continuing work of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. All of these programs met with opposition from some of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy who wished to control women's lives as they had before the Second Vatican Council.

Yet Briggs does not include the more obvious cultural and sociological issues prevalent at this time --- for example, the women's movement and the civil rights confrontation. As a former religion editor of the New York Times, Briggs fails to include a more nuanced and researched analysis of the period to supplement his account of the renewal.

And what about the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles? Briggs' account of the IHM efforts of renewal and Cardinal McIntyre's defense of the status quo is succinct but inadequately researched. The ultimate choice of the IHM's status as non-canonical is explained by Briggs as an alternative community, a middle way born of "strife, grit and integrity" (p. 116). A more extensive record of this unique part of American Catholic history would provide an accurate account for the reader.

Briggs' book is not an outstanding rendition of the post-Vatican II exodus of sisters from the convent. However, its readable style and the interest generated by the central thesis will contribute to the ongoing discussion of this period of U.S. religious life."

Join the Crusade

At the end of October, the Month of the Rosary, the SSPX intends to present the Holy Father with a spiritual bouquet of a million Rosaries. The Rosaries will be offered for the following intentions:

1. To obtain from Heaven for Pope Benedict XVI the strength necessary for him to completely liberate the Mass of all Time, called the Mass of St. Pius V.

2. The restoration of the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This is a call to a veritable Rosary Crusade. This prayer, so often recommended by the most Blessed Virgin Mary herself, has been presented as the great means of support, protection, and salvation for Christians in this time of crisis. For centuries, ever since the antagonism between the world and the Church began to grow more intense, this prayer has appeared as the weapon given us by Heaven by which Catholics may defend and sanctify themselves, and conquer.

Begin without delay to bring spiritual roses to the bouquet.

Today's feast

Saint Louis King of France

"Finally, my very dear son, cause Masses to be sung for my soul, and prayers to be said throughout thy realm; and give to me a special share and full part in all the good thou doest. Fair, dear son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father can give to his son. And may the blessed Trinity and all the saints keep and defend thee from all evils; and God give thee grace to do His will always, so that He be honored in thee, and that thou and I may both, after this mortal life is ended, be with Him together and praise Him everlastingly. Amen." -- The saint's final words to his son


Ms. Michelle Malkin has a very interesting article on her website ( regarding a Muslim convert to Catholicism.

In 1998, Azlina binti Jailani changed her name to Lina Joy and was baptized a Catholic in a church in Kuala Lumpur. Ms. Joy now wants the government to stop classifying her as a Muslim.

But it isn't that simple: While Muslim-majority
Malaysia is considered a largely moderate, modern society, renouncing one's Muslim faith still is considered both sinful and illegal by Islamic authorities -- who have gained increasing sway of late. Ms. Joy's apostasy case, now before Malaysia's highest court of appeal, has inflamed public debate, divided the legal community -- a Muslim lawyer supporting Ms. Joy has received death threats -- and threatens to set off political tremors in this Southeast Asian nation of 25 million people.

The landmark legal ruling, expected within a month, will help define
Malaysia's character as a nation.

"We are at a crossroad, whether we go down the line of secular constitutionalism or whether that constitution will now be read subject to religious requirements," says Benjamin Dawson, one of Ms. Joy's lawyers.

Malaysia has been governed for more than a half century by a tradition of civil law passed on by former British colonial rulers. A separate shariah, or Islamic, legal system has co-existed with civil law specifically to govern the religious lives of Muslim citizens, who are mostly ethnic Malays. About 40% of the population is ethnic Chinese, Indians and other minorities of other faiths.

But conservative Islam's rise as a political force in the 1980s and 1990s has propelled pro-Western
Malaysia -- and its legal system -- on a steady swing to the religious right. The government has ceded some powers once held by the civil-justice system to the shariah courts.

While the Quran states there should be "no compunction" in religion, Islamic authorities world-wide consider apostasy both a sin and a crime. In
Malaysia, Islamic courts can sentence apostates to "rehabilitation" in prison-like re-education centers that sometimes use caning as part of their program.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How about "Plan GOD" instead?

Let's begin with one man and one woman united in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, bringing forth new life as intended by The Creator, instead of this self-centered, irresponsible, atrocious sin of murder.

Washington, August 24, 2006 (

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized over-the-counter sale of the "morning-after" pill, with the proviso that non-prescription sales of the drug known as "Plan B" will be limited to consumers over the age of 18.

The FDA decision, coming after months of heated debate, is a severe setback for pro-life activists in
Washington. Judie Brown, president of American Life League, remarked that she was "overwhelmingly disappointed" with the announcement.

"Even more troubling," Brown observed, "is the fact that President Bush most likely helped to speed this approval with his recent comments suggesting that prescription sales were only necessary for women under 18." At an August 21 press conference the President had said that Plan B "ought to require a prescription for minors."

A year ago, the FDA had declined to authorized non-prescription sale of the abortifacient drug, in spite of heavy political pressure. But in late July, the President's new nominee as FDA commissioner, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, announced that the decision was under review. That announcement-- which came the day before the FDA nominee was due to face Senate confirmation hearings-- led to a general expectation that the FDA would authorize over-the-counter sales.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A very sad situation

Bishop excommunicates defiant priest
The Associated Press, August 22, 2006

JACKSONVILLE — A Catholic priest’s decision to join a national organization promoting a married priesthood has resulted in his excommunication, officials said.

Bishop Victor Galeone, spiritual leader of the Jacksonville-based Diocese of St. Augustine, excommunicated the Rev. Rouville M. Fisher on July 26. It was the first excommunication since Galeone became bishop in 2001, The Florida Times-Union reported.

The action disqualifies Fisher from performing or participating in any church rites, but it does not strip him of his lifelong Catholicism, said diocese spokeswoman Kathleen Bagg-Morgan.

Fisher was excommunicated because he joined Rent A Priest, an organization of Catholic priests removed from ministry because they married, The organization provides priests to perform baptisms, marriages and other sacraments for lay people who are often estranged from the Catholic Church.

A notice printed this month in a parish bulletin said Fisher is offering priestly services outside and apart from the Diocese of St. Augustine and is in violation of the directives of the bishop.

Fisher, 57, said he is merely doing what the Holy Spirit called him to do when he became a priest in 2002.

“That’s why I see my ministry as — reaching out to those who has been disenfranchised,” Fisher said.

Fisher has been married and divorced and raised two children and ran an insurance business. He said he plans to remarry soon.

He says his problems with the diocese began when it learned of his plans last summer.

Fisher was removed as associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. He previously served at Christ the King parish in

Reformers. 16th C. 21stC.

How long shall sinners, O Lord: how long shall sinners glory? -- Psalms 93:3, Douay-Rheims Bible

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Twins. Separated at birth?

"Veronica's Veil"

Pope's visit lifts hope icon will be recognized, Rome, August 22, 2006

Pope Benedict will make a pilgrimage to a remote monastery in the Abruzzo region east of Rome next week to visit a mysterious icon that many believe shows the face of Christ.

The icon is said by locals to be "Veronica's Veil", a piece of cloth that St Veronica used to mop Jesus' brow on his walk to the Cross and which later assumed his image.

The cloth, which measures 24 centimetres by 17 centimetres, is similar to the Shroud of Turin, but the eyes of its image are open.

Veronica's Veil is said to have been taken to Rome in 1297, but mystery surrounds its later movements. It is mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. People in the highland town of Manoppello believe it was brought to them 500 years ago by a wandering pilgrim.

In recent months, the icon's popularity has soared, and it has become a destination for tourists from Rome. Its fame has persuaded the Vatican to edge closer to recognizing it as a holy relic.

"There has been a great wave of people (visiting) — not of pilgrims, but of people coming from other tourist sites," said Father Emilio Cucchiella, a priest at the town's monastery. "There has not been enough time to welcome them all. They arrive from six in the morning until eight at night."

The Vatican has stressed that the arrival of the Pope, who treads a conservative theological line, does not amount to an official endorsement, but his visit will be interpreted as a papal acknowledgement that the relic is genuine.

Regina Caeli

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 21, 2006

And now, a word from His Holiness

Pope Warns of Excessive Activism, Castel Gandolfo, August 21, 2006

At his Sunday public audience on August 20, Pope Benedict XVI cautioned against constant activism, saying that an excessively busy schedule can lead to "hardness of heart."

The temptation to lose perspective is particularly dangerous for those who serve the Church, the Holy Father said. He stressed that the "primacy of prayer and contemplation" must be maintained, especially by those who feel the pull of "important and complex missions of service to the Church."

Pope Benedict centered his remarks on the example set by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast the Church celebrated on Sunday. St. Bernard, he said, is recognized as a Doctor of the Church in large part because "his example and his teachings show how we can spend our time more usefully."

In the life of St. Bernard, the Pope continued, a deep and active prayer life "did not stop him from undertaking intense apostolic activity." Yet the saint warned against undertaking too many tasks, which can show "nothing other than suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence, dispersion of grace."

St. Bernard, the Pope told the crowd gathered at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, fought against his own impulses to activism, and learned humility of heart through prayer. He encouraged the faithful to seek the help of the Virgin Mary in attaining the same simplicity and purity of heart.

Ecce quam bonum

Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum. – Psalms 132 Latin Vulgate.

See how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. – Pslams 132 Douay-Rheims Bible.

Applause/clapping in church

Applause (Latin applaudere, to strike upon, clap) is primarily the expression of approval by the act of clapping, or striking the palms of the hands together, in order to create noise; generally any expression of approval. Audiences are usually expected to applaud after a performance, such as a musical concert, speech, or play.

Applause is only appropriate in the Rite or Ordination of a priest when inviting the people to give their assent to the choice of these candidates for service.

“Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and has been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.”-- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Spirit and Truth

The nebulous "Spirit of Vatican II" debunked by the actual words of the Council:

"Therefore no other persons whatsoever, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on their own authority." -- Sacrosanctum Concilium #22.3.

May I be so bold as to suggest to "presiders," and "liturgy committees" to actually read, study, and apply the facts of the Council in their attempt to live their baptismal call to proclaim the gospel.

Have mercy on me

Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam; misericordiam tuam et;
secundum multitudinem
miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam
amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea et a peccato meo munda me

quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco et peccatum meum contra me est semper
tibi soli peccavi et malum coram te feci ut iustificeris
in sermonibus tuis et vincas cum iudicaris
ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum
et in peccatis concepit me mater mea

ecce enim veritatem dilexisti
incerta et occulta sapientiae
tuae manifestasti mihi
asparges me hysopo et mundabor
lavabis me et super nivem dealbabor

auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam
exultabunt ossa humiliata
averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis
et omnes iniquitates meas

dele cor mundum crea in me Deus
et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis
ne proicias me a facie tua
et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me

redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui
et spiritu principali confirma me
docebo iniquos vias tuas
et impii ad te convertentur

libera me de sanguinibus Deus Deus salutis meae
exultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam
Domine labia mea aperies
et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam

quoniam si voluisses sacrificium dedissem
utique holocaustis non delectaberis
sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus
cor contritum et humiliatum
Deus non spernet

benigne fac Domine in bona voluntate tua Sion
et aedificentur muri Hierusalem
tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae oblationes et holocausta
tunc inponent super altare tuum vitulos.
--Psalms 50 Latin Vulgate

Friday, August 18, 2006


Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.
And according to the multitude
of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee:
that thou mayst be justified in thy words
and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities;
and in sins did my mother conceive me.

For behold thou hast loved truth:
the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom
thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed:
thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness:
and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Turn away thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create a clean heart in me, O God:
and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Cast me not away from thy face;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,
and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
I will teach the unjust thy ways:
and the wicked shall be converted to thee.

Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall extol thy justice.
O Lord, thou wilt open my lips:
and my mouth shall declare thy praise.

For if thou hadst desired sacrifice,
I would indeed have given it:
with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit:
a contrite and humbled heart,
O God, thou wilt not despise.

Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion;
that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice,
oblations and whole burnt offerings:
then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.
-- Psalm 50 Douay-Rheims Bible

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Redemptive suffering

My meditation this evening has me once again turning to John Paul II Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, as I ask the Lord's help and guidance for several individuals, and their caregivers, who have suffered both physically and emotionally this week.
"Those who share in Christ's sufferings have before their eyes the Paschal Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, in which Christ descends, in a first phase, to the ultimate limits of human weakness and impotence: indeed, he dies nailed to the Cross. But if at the same time in this weakness there is accomplished his lifting up, confirmed by the power of the Resurrection, then this means that the weaknesses of all human sufferings are capable of being infused with the same power of God manifested in Christ's Cross. In such a concept, to suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man's weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. This also explains the exhortation in the First Letter of Peter: 'Yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.'" -- Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris #23, Pope John Paul II, February 1984

Submitting our wills to God

Continued reflection on the reception of Holy Communion.

"...when the faithful themselves receive Communion, they receive It kneeling at the altar rail, and directly onto their tongue. This is very significant. Receiving Communion whilst kneeling means that the faithful line up in a row before the sanctuary, and thus have time to prepare themselves for this most sacred of events: coming into spiritual and substantial union with Christ Himself. The communicant kneels down, and whilst he waits for the priest to make his way around, he can settle himself, concentrate on the upcoming Communion with our Lord praying intensely. When it is his turn, the priest says the prayer: "May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul until life everlasting. Amen". This means, besides the beauty and the significance of the words themselves, that the priest says the word "Amen" so that the communicant need not invoke his voice to receive the King of Kings, allowing a constant stream of prayer and thanksgiving to flow from soul to Saviour. The communicant simply needs to expose his tongue, and his side of the proceedings is complete. Upon receiving Christ, he can continue praying for a little while, and only then does he need to return to his seat, leaving room for the next communicant. Moreover, having the priest come over to the communicant signifies that Christ comes to us, feeds us with His own divine life, whilst we wait kneeling and unmoving like little children totally dependent on His love, mercy and compassion. This is the message of the Gospel: to become like little children, submitting our wills to His and depending totally on Him for everything. We cannot even feed ourselves without Christ's help, and the action of Communion in the traditional manner demonstrates this in a very vivid manner." -- from The Beauty and Spirituality of the Traditional Latin Mass by David Joyce, Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Deo gratias

For several years I have been wanting to acquire a relic of Saint Pius X. Long ago I had placed my priesthood under his patronage. Today, seemingly out-of-the-blue, I was given a first class relic of this great pope. Among other sacred vessels and vesture of a retired priest I found this treasure. The family of this fine presbyter desires that the items continue in service of God and His people. I have promised to make frequent use of the vestments, chalice/paten, and linens.
Prayer to Saint Pius X

Glorious Pope of the Eucharist, Saint Pius X, you sought "to restore all things in Christ." Obtain for me a true love of Jesus so that I may live only for Him. Help me to acquire a lively fervor and a sincere will to strive for sanctity of life, and that I may avail myself of the riches of the Holy Eucharist in sacrifice and sacrament. By your love for Mary, mother and queen of all, inflame my heart with tender devotion to her.

Blessed model of the priesthood, obtain for us holy, dedicated priests, and increase vocations to the religious life. Dispel confusion and hatred and anxiety, and incline our hearts to peace and concord. so that all nations will place themselves under the sweet reign of Christ. Amen.

Saint Pius X, pray for me

Happy Feast Day Rocco

Happy Feast Day
Rocco Palmo
Whispers in the Loggia.

Great reporting
on all things

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A simple exorcism

Holy Father Pope Leo XIII exhorted (May 18, 1890) all to say this prayer as often as possible as a simple exorcism to curb the power of the devil, and prevent him from doing harm. Its use is recommended whenever action of the devil is suspected, causing malice in men, violent temptations,and even storms and various calamities.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered and let them that hate him flee before his face. As smoke vanish so let them vanish away as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Judge Thou, O Lord, them that wrong me: overthrow them that fight against me. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul. Let them be turned back and be confounded that devise evil against me. Let them become as dust before the wind and let the angel of the Lord straiten them. Let their way become dark and slippery and let the angel of the Lord pursue them. For without cause they have hidden their net for me unto destruction: without cause they have upbraided my soul. Let the snare which he knoweth not come upon him, and let the net which he hath hidden catch him: and into that very snare let him fall. But my soul shall rejoice in the Lord and shall be delighted in his salvation.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Assumpta est Maria in caelum

"We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." -- Pope Pius XII, November 1, 1950

A Holy Encounter

This afternoon I had the great pleasure to have a conversation with a very holy, older, Traditional priest. (He was ordained two years before I was born!) The Lord brought us together today. I had wanted to meet him for quite some time, but never "made time" to visit. On my way home from the parish office, I made a u-turn straight to his rectory! Unannounced, I introduced myself; he responded with a huge welcome. He shared with me a bit of his personal history, and spoke of some of the troubles besetting our Church. It was as though we were speaking with the same voice.

One issue we spoke of -- Communion in the hand. (Communion in the paw." as Caveman says.)

"To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained, one which indicates an active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist." -- Pope John Paul II, 1980 Dominicae Cenae end of paragraph 11.

What happened?

We agreed on the need for priests to be men of prayer, spending time praying the Divine Office, the Holy Rosary, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Before I left, I spent some time before the Blessed Sacrament in his tiny chapel. I thanked the Lord for bringing us together. We parted promising to pray for one another. We will meet again. Deo gratias.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our Lady of Sorrows ...

Yesterday, the Feast of Saint Clare, was the 21st anniversary of my First Profession as a Friar Servant of Mary. It was, quite literally, a lifetime ago. I remember kneeling before the Provincial, vowing to live my life in accord with the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience as exemplied in the Constitutions of the Order. I was vested in the ancient habit of the Seven Holy Founders, Saint Philip Benizi, and Saint Peregrine Laziozi. Such was my life for nearly 20 years until May 2005 when I was released from Solemn Vows by the Vatican to live and minister as a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Feast of Saint Lawrence Martyr

"Grant to us, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, the extinguishing of the flame of vice, even as Thou didst enable blessed Lawrence to overcome his fire of sufferings, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen." -- Collect on the Feast of Saint Lawrence

Diocese reports to Vatican

Womenpriests Being Reported To Vatican By Diocese

(KDKA) Pittsburgh - The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh plans to send a report to the Vatican about a ceremony in which a dozen women claimed to be ordained as priests and deacons last month.

The diocese does not recognize the ordinations and says the women have excommunicated themselves from the church by participating in the ceremony on July 31.

Monsignor Lawrence DiNardo, a canon law expert with the diocese, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that someone can excommunicate themselves by their actions, but that the Vatican can then formally decree that an excommunication has occurred.

The report will include the names of the 12 women ordained, as well as the name of three female bishops who belong to a group known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

"An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication," -- Canon 1364 §1

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Regina Cleri, Ora pro nobis

Mutter Vogel's Worldwide Love
St. Grignon Publishing House
Altoting, South Germany

"One should never attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after My example!" -- 29.06.1929.

When a Priest falls we should extend him a helping hand through prayer and not through attacks. "I myself will be his judge, no one but I." "Whoever voices judgment over a priest has voiced it over Me; child, never let a Priest be attacked, take up his defense." -- Feast of Christ the King 1937

"Child, Never judge your confessor, rather pray much for him and offer every Thursday, through the hands of My blessed Mother, Holy Communion (for him)." -- 18.06.1939

"Never again accept an out-of-the-way word about a Priest, and speak no unkind word (about them), even if it were true. Every Priest is My Vicar and My heart will be sickened and insulted because of it. If you hear a judgment (against a Priest) pray a Hail Mary." -- 28.06.1939

"If you see a Priest who celebrates the Holy Mass unworthily then say nothing about him, rather tell it to Me alone! I stand beside him on the altar!" "Oh pray much for My priests, that they'll love purity above all, that they'll celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pure hands and heart. Certainly the Holy Sacrifice is one and the same even when it is celebrated by an unworthy priest, but the graces called down upon the people is not the same!" --28.02.1938

To fiddle, or not to fiddle ...

Shawn Tribe's article "On the Origin and Development of Vestments (Parts I & II)," posted July 29 and 31, 2006 on his blog, The New Liturgical Movement, has me rethinking my preference for the Roman chasuble. The original form of the conical chasuble (as shown in the illumination,) seems so much more graceful than the ridged Roman vestment. Although, the desert heat makes the fiddleback style seem much more comfortable.


"America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos...The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind any more than he can make up for lost time, is called tolerant and broad-minded." -- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

May 29, 2006 Vision

During Holy Hour today with my Jesus Caritas priest support group the Lord gave me a vision which I am positive was given to strengthen my ministry.

While meditating on "Disciples who follow faithfully must expect to follow Him into the depths of His passion and death." I saw myself crucified next to our Lord. My right hand was resting on top of His left. I felt a flash of extreme pain as the nail pierced my flesh, however, as soon as the nail passed through mine into His Holy hand, I felt His grasp and the pain left me immediately.

Per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Orate, fratres

I heard my first comment this afternoon from someone who was offended by the use of the word "brethren" in the English translation of fratres. She felt alienated, and began to cry upon hearing me speak the English plural of "brothers." Concerns such as these leave me speechless and unable to respond in an intellectual manner. Quoting documents doesn't hold-up when emotions rule a "discussion." I'd appreciate any comments.

"The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy." -- Redemptionis Sacramentum No. 59.

Reform of the Roman Liturgy

Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background by Klaus Gamber has been republished by Roman Catholic Books.

"What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it—as in a manufacturing process—with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true prophet and the courage of a true witness, opposed this falsification, and, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge, indefatigably taught us about the living fullness of a true liturgy. As a man who knew and loved history, he showed us the multiple forms and paths of liturgical development; as a man who looked at history from the inside, he saw in this development and its fruit the intangible reflection of the eternal liturgy, that which is not the object of our action but which can continue marvelously to mature and blossom if we unite ourselves intimately with its mystery. The death of this eminent man and priest should spur us on; his work should give us a new impetus." -- From the preface to the French edition by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Monday, August 07, 2006

Prayer for Priests

O MY GOD, pour out in abundance Thy spirit of sacrifice upon Thy priests. It is both their glory and duty to become victims, to be burnt up for souls, to live without ordinary joys, to be often the objects of distrust, injustice and persecution. The words they say every day at the altar, “This is my Body, this is my Blood”, grant them to apply to themselves, “I am no longer myself, I am Jesus, Jesus crucified I am, like the bread and wine, a substance no longer itself but by consecration another”. O my God, I burn with the desire for the sanctification of Thy priests. I wish all the priestly hands which touch Thee were hands whose touch is gentle an pleasing to Thee, that all the mouths uttering such sublime words at the altar should never descend to speaking trivialities. Let priests in all their person stay at the level of their lofty funcions, let every man find them simple and great, like the Holy Eucharist, accessible to all yet above the rest of men. O my God, grant them to carry with them from the Mass of today a thirst for the Mass of tomorrow, and grant them, laden themselves with gifts, to share these abundantly with their fellow-men. Amen

Sunday, August 06, 2006

July 31, 2006 Vision

Last Monday during Holy Hour with my monthly fraternal group I had a vision which most certainly is akin to today's liturgical feast.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was standing before His throne of gleaming white marble with its cushion of deep red. His right hand was held in blessing with His left at his breast. The nail marks of crimson were clearly visible on His hands and the one exposed foot. He was dressed in a brilliant white ample tunic tied at the waist with a knotted rope cincture. I stood before him in my black cassock. Behind me knelt thousands of people dressed in every color imaginable.

After considerable time in discernment, the meaning of this vision was revealed to me. The thousands behind me are the souls of those I have ministered during the course of my priesthood. We were all facing the Lord as He imparted His blessing upon us.

NOTE: I agree with His Holiness Benedict XVI who says that we should literally turn toward the Lord. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should be celebrated ad orientem.