Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back to the Future, Sister!

When Sisters knew their place.

Russell Shaw in The Catholic World Report states that in 1965 there were 180,000 sisters in the U.S. There are now only 65,000.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Vision 012808

In the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar God presented me this vision:

The Sacred Host in the monstrance changes into the face of the Crucified Lord crowned with thorns. His eyes are closed, and there seems to be a serenity in his countenance. His face is marked by rivulets of sweat and blood. As I gaze upon this beauty I realize we are in the midst of the *Novena to the Holy Face. My spirit is drawn into the Blood upon His cheek. I fall into an infinite pool of His Blood. I sense waves of the warm Blood circling out from where I fell. His warmth comforts the winter aches of my body. I am at peace. I then find myself holding a precious chalice filled with this life-giving liquid. I drink, knowing I am consuming That which consumes and heals me. Henceforth, each drop of His Sacrificial Offering will bring me peace.

*Novena to the Holy Face Day 2

Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask Thy help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Psalm 51, 5-6a.

My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against Thou, Thou alone, have I sinned; What is evil in Thy sight I have done.

Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt Thee so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another, and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen

Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary?s, (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"...abandon the current practice..."

Considering my last post, The New Liturgical Movement's, Shawn Tribe offers a timely translation of Archbishop Malcomb Ranjith’s (Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) forward to the book Dominus Est by Bishop Athansius Schnedier, who analyzes the question of communion received kneeling and on the tongue.

Of note is the following statement by Msgr. Ranjith:

Then there are those who abuse takes away the sacred species to keep them as souvenirs, those who sell, or worse yet, who take them away to desecrate it in Satanic rituals. Even in large concelebrations, also in Rome, several times the sacred species has been found thrown onto the ground.

He goes on to say:

Now I think it is high time to review and re-evaluate such good practices and, if necessary, to abandon the current practice that was not called for by Sacrosanctum Concilium, nor by Fathers, but was only accepted after its illegitimate introduction in some countries. Now, more than ever, we must help the faithful to renew a deep faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in order to strengthen the life of the Church and defend it in the midst of dangerous distortions of the faith that this situation continues to cause.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008


Profanation wrought by communion in the hand:

Ebay again!

UPDATE: The consecrated host offered for bid has been removed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Conversi ad Dominum

Here is Father John Zuhlsdorf’s translation of an important portion of today's audience:

“Behold, the meaning of prayer: to open our hearts, to create in us a willingness which opens the path to Christ. In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the sermon, the bishop or president of the celebration, the principal celebrant, would say: "Conversi ad Dominum…Turn (around) toward the Lord". Then he himself and all there rose up and turned themselves toward the East. The all wanted to gaze toward Christ. Only if we have been converted, only in this turning toward Christ, in this common gaze at Christ, can we find the gift of unity.”


Monday, January 21, 2008


Pope Benedict blesses a lamb during the feast day of Saint Agnes at the Basilica Sant'Agnese in Rome January 21, 2008.

I found it!

The Spirit of V2 in a bottle.
BTW: Expiration date says 070707.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thus saith Don Marini

A succinct raison d’et of the Benedictine liturgical reforms has been uttered by papal Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini in an interview on Radio Vaticana.

“Non si deve parlare, dunque, di un ritorno al passato, ma di un vero arricchimento per il presente, in vista del domani.”

“We must not speak, then, of a return to the past, but of a true enrichment of the present in expectation of tomorrow."


True Wisdom

A large crowd attends the weekly Angelus prayer by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter's square at the Vatican January 20, 2008. Tens of thousands of students, politicians and ordinary Romans thronged the Vatican on Sunday in a major show of sympathy for Pope Benedict after protests led him to cancel a speech at Rome's top university this week. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli (VATICAN)

From the Holy Father today: "As a professor — shall we say, emeritus — who has met with so many students in my life, I encourage all of you, dear university students and professors, to always be respectful of other people's opinions and to search for truth and goodness with a free and responsible spirit." – AP Translation


Friday, January 18, 2008

Confident, assertive, provocative

Thanks to Fr. Z for directing us to this insightful opinion piece in the UK's Catholic Herald.

A breath of fresh air is wafting through St Peter’s | James MacMillan | Friday January 18, 2008

There is a bewildering array of American Catholic blog sites these days. Some are liberal, but the overwhelming majority seem to express an ever-more confident Catholic orthodoxy on matters of faith, morals and liturgy. Many of the posters seem to be young, and take an apparent delight in winding up that generation of post-Vatican II Catholics still moaning about not getting their way in the contemporary Church.

One particular American blogger, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, has recently hailed what he calls “the return of triumphalism”. Ever since Vatican II this has been a taboo word in the Church, but he sees it as a good thing. Is this yet more evidence that we are moving into a new, more confident era for the modern Church? That Catholics are more and more prepared to stand up for their identity and their core values? That liberal secularists and liberal Christians have failed in bullying orthodox Catholics into submission? Is it really time to become assertive about the faith in the public square?

To be honest, there is nothing particularly serious, scholarly or analytical about Fr Zuhlsdorf’s site. There is, however, a knowing lightheartedness in appearing to indulge some guilty pleasures. He is in raptures about recent liturgical developments in St Peter’s, and that “more and more, Pope Benedict’s intentions are being clarified in regard to the Church’s traditional liturgical expressions”. There is great enthusiasm for the increased reappearance of Gregorian chant, flappable excitement at the use of the correct, ornate vestments, and at the good taste of medieval images of Mary chosen for the ceremonies. The Holy Father is hailed for his “dedication to formal liturgical ceremony and also popular devotion, which is also of great importance in the life of the Catholic people. They strengthen each other, and the Holy Father understands that.

“He is giving a good example as Bishop and chief pastor of Rome to his city and to the world… his way of showing the bishops and priests of the world how this is to be done”. Confident, assertive, provocative stuff.

It is not just in the liturgical sphere that we see a new impatience with the comfy laxness of the previous generation. For many years successful professional Christians have sought to ingratiate themselves with their liberal secular associates by playing down the parts of the Church’s teaching that caused most offence. Nevertheless there was more at stake here than just their incorporation into trendy sophisticated company.

Secular liberals have gladly gobbled up all these concessions and now want more – the complete obliteration of religion from public life. In the process liberal Christians have lost the respect of their secular peers. They gave no indication of intellectual rigour or ethical integrity in their eagerness to ditch bits and pieces of the faith. Their faith has been caught in a cruel light – their Christianity is bland, sentimental and anaemic.

History will look back unkindly on the generation of Vatican II Catholics who were handed such a precious pentecostal gift of grace – a unique opportunity to purify the Church, only to squander it disastrously. They bent over backwards to accommodate the zeitgeist, rather than open a generational heart to the Heilige Geist. This is not what John XXIII foresaw when he inaugurated his great reforming council. He would have been horrified to see how many Catholics fell prey to the trendy nihilism of the 1960s, duped by a destructive iconoclasm which has eroded so much of the West’s culture and morals.

This is the basis of the new positivist impulse among young Catholics, disdained and dismissed by some of their elders as conservative and reactionary. In the new generation, we need to rediscover the optimism that lay at the heart of Vatican II. We need to confront the radical dissatisfaction that led many 1960s Catholics to turn away from or against the Church. We need to challenge their disdain for tradition and that smug superiority that many Catholics of a certain age display towards the deep pieties of the ordinary, “old-fashioned” faithful. Catholic liberalism has had its day, and the legacy of Vatican II requires us to understand the pernicious, corrosive effects of the pick-and-mix tendency.

The recent experience of our sister faith communities in the Reformed tradition has shown that those who strive to make their churches “acceptable” to the prevailing, but probably transitory zeitgeist, have triumphed. There are those, within and without the Catholic Church, who have been encouraged by this and are forever pushing in the same direction. They see no problem in being fully communicant while urging the rejection of the most precious doctrines on faith and morals. This rejection can sometimes cover the divinity of Christ Himself, can involve a campaign to legitimise abortion and euthanasia (there is an organisation in America called Catholics for a Free Choice), and the defeatist acceptance of the sexual hooliganism which has so harmed the position of marriage and the family in modern life.

The western world’s love affair with self may have taken off in the 1960s but it will only get worse. The Catholic Church must provide a counter-cultural challenge to this, and offer the alternative of Christ’s own way.

It is not triumphalist to say this, but it requires the Church to be happy and confident in its own skin. Catholics need to know what it means to be Catholic – to understand what our core values are, and to feel they are not just worth defending, but worth proclaiming from the rooftops. The young generation of Catholics are right to be assertive about our beliefs in the public square. If we do not speak boldly and honestly to power in these contexts, if we run scared in the face of the new anti-religious elites, we will be expelled from the public square, never to return.

Perhaps American bloggers like Fr Zuhlsdorf know this. Our British reserve can make us cringe with embarrassment in the face of such brash self-confidence, but we may have to develop our own ways of being assertive.

We can begin with the liturgy. Nothing signals the weakened state of the modern Church more than the contemporary practice of Catholic liturgy in hundreds of churches throughout the land. A breath of fresh air is wafting through St Peter’s, and in his own gentle way Pope Benedict is inviting the universal Church to taste the beauties and spiritual sustenance of true Catholic worship. I am convinced that from the liturgy everything else will flow. We British don’t flap with excitement, but there may be good reason for us to pray for Christ’s Church with a warm glow of expectation and confidence as we look with hope to the future.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Excerpts from Phil Lawler at CWN Forum on the Benedictine Reforms

Actions speak louder

Before he ascended to the throne of Peter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote frequently about the liturgy, and explained his love for the Mass celebrated ad orientemwith the priest facing toward the altar, toward the east. Now as Roman Pontiff he has made his argument all the more eloquent, simply by celebrating Mass ad orientem himself in the Sistine Chapel…

When the priest-celebrant faces the altar, he looks like what he is: the leader of a community at prayer. Everyone is facing the same way; everyone is involved in the same action. When the priest faces the people, on the other hand, he appears to be a performer, with the people as his audience.

The liturgical changes of Vatican II were intended to encourage more active participation by the laity in the Eucharistic liturgy. But think of any other situation in which one man faces a group: a classroom lecture, a musical concert, a product demonstration, an after-dinner speech. In those situations we ordinarily expect the group to be passive: to listen but not to participate. The speaker or soloist is the focal point of the action; he commands the spotlight…

When priest and congregation face in the same direction, toward the altar, their posture reflects the unity of the Catholic community at worship. When they face in opposite directions, with the priest facing toward the people, that unity is broken. Liturgists refer to the usual posture for Mass today as versus populum. The Latin phrase sounds as if the priest is in competition with the people, and sometimes I think that is true.

As it happens, however, no reform is necessary. Neither Vatican II nor any subsequent liturgical directive required priests to face the people. In 2001, when asked whether priests could still use the ad orientem posture in celebrating Mass, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship replied that both postures, ad orientem and versus populum "are in accord with liturgical law; both are to be considered correct." In fact, the Congregation added, "there is no preference expressed in the liturgical legislation for either position. Now, with his own public celebration of Mass ad orientem, Pope Benedict has called public attention to this option and shown the beauty of the liturgical tradition…

Read the entire article at


Viva Papa Benedetto! Viva!


Monday, January 14, 2008


Baptism is a Sacrament, not a pool party!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1000 WORDS


People Look East!

Ad Orientem at the Sistine Today


Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Baptism of the Lord @ the Sistine Chapel

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Solemn Mass (according to the Missal of Paul VI facing the Altar of the Sistine Chapel) for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the Sacrament of Baptism live from the Sistine Chapel in Rome. EWTN broadcast Eastern US Standard Time-- Sunday, January 13, 2008 4:00 AM LIVE , 12:00 PM, Monday, January 14, 2008 12:00 AM.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

True reverence

Bishop says Catholics should kneel, receive communion on tongue

By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service | United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The reverence and awe of Catholics who truly believe they are receiving Jesus in the Eucharist should lead them to kneel and receive Communion on their tongues, said a bishop writing in the Vatican newspaper.

"If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would 'fall down and worship God, declaring, God is really in your midst,'" wrote Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, quoting from the First Letter to the Corinthians.

In a Jan. 8 article labeled a "historical-liturgical note," Bishop Schneider reviewed the writings of early church theologians about eucharistic reception and said the practice of laypeople receiving Communion on the tongue was the predominant custom by the sixth century.

The article in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, appeared under the headline, "Like a nursing child in the arms of the one who nourishes him."

Bishop Schneider said that just as a baby opens his mouth to receive nourishment from his mother, so should Catholics open their mouths to receive nourishment from Jesus.

"Christ truly nourishes us with his body and blood in holy Communion and, in the patristic era, it was compared to maternal breastfeeding," he said.

"The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received," the bishop wrote.

In addition to demonstrating true adoration by kneeling, he said, receiving Communion on the tongue also avoids concerns about people receiving the body of Christ with dirty hands or of losing particles of the Eucharist, concerns that make sense if people truly believe in the sacrament.

"Wouldn't it correspond better to the deepest reality and truth about the consecrated bread if even today the faithful would kneel on the ground to receive it, opening their mouths like the prophet receiving the word of God and allowing themselves to be nourished like a child?" Bishop Schneider asked.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

St Lawrence Pray for Me

St. Lawrence Jubilee Under Way

3rd-Century Martyr Considered the Poor as Church Treasure

ROME, JAN. 8, 2008 ( Benedict XVI's vicar for Rome launched the jubilee year of St. Lawrence, which marks the 1,750th anniversary of the martyrdom of the saint who considered the poor as treasures of the Church.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini presided over the opening Mass of the jubilee year Jan. 1, held in the Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.

Lawrence was one of seven deacons of Rome condemned by Emperor Valerian I to die on a grill in 258. Tradition says he was originally from Osca in Roman Spain.

The complete program for the jubilee year that will span all of 2008 is not yet finalized. But the pastor of St. Lawrence's Basilica, Father Bruno Mustacchio, gave a preview of some of the events: "On the feast day of St. Lawrence, Aug. 10, we are organizing a procession in the neighborhood, preceded by a triduum of special preparation."

The pastor said the celebrations will also have a cultural dimension: "Most likely we will organize a cycle of conferences about St. Lawrence the martyr and the history and architecture of this church."


Lawrence lived in Rome when Sixtus II was elected Pope in 257. As a deacon, Lawrence had the mission of administering the goods of the Church and was entrusted with the care of the poor.

During the persecution of Emperor Valerian I, in 258, many priests and bishops were condemned to death, while the Christians who belonged to the nobility or the senate were deprived of their possessions and exiled.

Pope Sixtus II, one of the first victims of this persecution, was crucified on Aug. 6. The death of Lawrence and other Christians came shortly afterward.

Tradition says that authorities sought out Lawrence because they knew he administered ecclesiastical possessions destined for worship and for the poor. They ordered Lawrence to hand over the "riches" of the Church. The deacon promised to do so and arranged a place for the meeting. Meanwhile, he gathered all the poor of Rome. When the attendants arrived to claim the supposed "treasure," Lawrence pointed to the multitude of underprivileged people and said: "These are the riches of the Church."

The basilica was constructed in the area where Lawrence was buried after his martyrdom.

Succeeding pontiffs embellished the old structure until a new basilica was built in the time of Pope Honorius III (1216-1227). The most recent works of restoration were repairs in 1946-1949, after the Second World War, due to damage from the bombing of Rome.

St. Lawrence is also the patron of the city of Huesca, Spain, where people venerate the memory of his parents, Sts. Orencia and Paciencia.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

"We need a greater hope"

Pope decries world with luxury for few and poverty for many

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday criticized a world with luxury for a few and poverty for many and called for moderate lifestyles to ensure fair distribution of wealth amid a scramble for natural resources.

"One cannot say that globalization is synonymous with world order — it's the opposite," Benedict said in his homily in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the Catholic feast day of the Epiphany.

"The conflicts for economic supremacy, and the scramble for energy and water resources and raw materials render difficult the work of all those who strive to construct a more just and united world," Benedict said.

"We need a greater hope, which allows us to prefer the common good of all to the luxury of few and the poverty of many," the pontiff said.

"If true hope is lacking, you search for happiness in intoxication, in the superfluous, in excess, and you ruin yourself and the world," he said. "Moderation is not only an ascetic rule, but also a way of salvation for humanity."

"By now it is obvious that only by adopting a sober lifestyle, accompanied by a serious commitment to a fair distribution of wealth, will it be possible to install a just and sustainable model of development," Benedict said.

On the Epiphany, the Church marks the visit of the Three Magi, or Wise Men, to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, and Benedict praised their courage for undertaking a long journey guided only by the light of a star.

"We all need this courage, anchored to solid hope," the pope said.

Benedict's remarks reflected the 80-year-old German pontiff's worry for the environment, a developing theme of his papacy.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi elaborated on the pope's concerns in an interview with Vatican Radio.

"Until a little while ago, environmental issues seemed the concern of the rich rather than of the poor, of developed countries rather than of more backward ones for which economic development was instead the priority," Lombardi said.

"Now, frequent disasters due to environmental imbalances hit hard those who have few resources to defend themselves," the spokesman said. "Today, humanity fears for its future ecological balance, and to this observation, the pope links a strong moral call to solidarity," Lombardi said.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

To the East

"It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the east. On the contrary, since we are composed of a visible and in invisible nature, of an intellectual nature and a sensitive one, that is, we also offer a two-fold worship to the Creator. It is just as we also sing both with our mind and with our bodily lips, and as we are baptized both in water and in the Spirit, and as we are united to the Lord in two ways when we Sacrament and the grace of Spirit. And so, since God is spiritual light and Christ in Sacred Scripture is called 'Sun of Justice,' and 'Orient,' the East should be dedicated to His worship. For everything beautiful should be dedicated to God from whom everything that is good receives its goodness.

Also, the divine David says: 'Sing to God, ye kingdoms of the earth; sing ye to the Lord; who mounteth above the heaven of heavens, to the east!' And still again, Scripture says: 'And the Lord had planted a paradise in Eden to the east; wherein he placed man whom He had formed,' and whom He cast out when he transgressed 'and made him to live over against the paradise of pleasure,' or in the West. Thus it is that, when we worship God, we long for our ancient fatherland and gaze toward it. The tabernacle of Moses had the veil and propitiatory to the East; and the tribe of Juda, as being the more honorable, pitched their tents on the east; and in the celebrated temple of Solomon the gate of the Lord was set to the east.

As a matter of fact, when the Lord was crucified, He looked toward the West, and so we worship gazing towards Him. And when He was taken up, He ascended to the East and thus the Apostles worshiped Him and thus He shall come in the same way as they had seen Him going into heaven, as the Lord Himself said: 'As lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.' And so, while we are awaiting Him, we worship towards the East. This is, moreover, the unwritten tradition of the Apostles, for they have handed many things down to us unwritten." -- St. John Damascene


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

010108 @ The Vatican

Mass on the
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
at Saint Peter's Basilica.

(Nice miter!)


In Circumcisione Domini

O God, Heavenly Father of Mercy, God of all Consolation!
we thank thee that from our birth to this day,
Thou hast so well preserved us,
and hast protected us in so many dangers;
we beseech Thee, through the merits of Thy beloved Son,
and by His sacred blood which He shed for us
on this day in His circumcision,
to forgive all the sins which, during the past year,
we have committed against Thy commandments
by which we have aroused Thy indignation
and wrath against ourselves.
Preserve us in the coming year from all sins,
and misfortunes of body and soul.
Grant that from this day to the end of our lives,
all our senses, thoughts, words. and works,
which we here dedicate to Thee for all time,
may be directed in accordance with Thy will,
and that we may finally die in the true Catholic faith,
and enjoy with Thee in Thy kingdom a joyful new year
that shall know no end.