Thursday, February 22, 2018


Normally, one should wear a cassock under the alb. If it is too hot, as is the case in the south, many priests do not wear the cassock under the alb. But shouldn't a long sleeve clerical shirt be worn instead, either in black or white?

I think this photo shows why a long sleeve shirt or the cassock should be worn under the alb.
What do you think?


 From Sandro Magister blog, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter 


Granted the post-Vatican II Church was rife with divisions – disputes over doctrine, morals and the liturgy.  These disagreements continue still.  However, at no time during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI was there ever any doubt as to what the Church teaches concerning her doctrine, morals, and liturgical practice.  Both recognized that what truly made the Church one is her unalterable apostolic and universal faith, and her sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as fount and means of her holiness.  They, therefore, faithfully taught, clearly developed, and ardently promoted the Church’s doctrinal and moral teaching, and her authentic sacramental practice – all for the sake of guaranteeing and fostering her ecclesial communion.  Such is not the case, in many significant ways, within the present pontificate of Pope Francis.

The Four Marks of the Church: The Contemporary Crisis in Ecclesiology

by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM., Cap. *
Sydney, Notre Dame University (Australia), February 22, 2018
The Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed (381 AD) professes that we believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  Each mark, in its fullness, must be properly conceived and articulated, and yet only together, in their perichoretic relationship, do they form the theological foundation of the Church’s authentic self-understanding.  Without them the Church’s own self-identity would become opaque, possessing no discernable defining character, and so would be exposed to any and every imposed guise – either by herself or from without.  Moreover, these four ecclesial marks are most fully expressed and most abundantly nurtured within the Eucharist liturgy.

In this talk I will argue for the above in the following way.  First, I will examine, at some length, St. Ignatius of Antioch’s seven letters. Second, I will examine, more briefly, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.  Each text perceives the Church’s revealed identity within these four defining marks.  Lastly, with the aid of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, I will contend that these four defining ecclesial marks are presently at risk.  This threat comes not only from within the Catholic theological community, but even and regrettably from within Church leadership.  Because of this danger I will conclude by advocating the need to mount a robust defense and clear advocacy of the Church’s four marks.  Without such an apology, the Church’s identity – what she truly is – will become disordered, and so will enfeeble her ability to live and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This enfeeblement, then, will also be most visibly enacted within the Eucharistic liturgy which will not only cause scandal but also, and more importantly, demean the Eucharistic liturgy as the supreme enactment of the Church being One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. (My comment: what I have highlighted in red, red underlined and dark blue is the bombshell! It is a long article read it by pressing below:)



Let me preface this by saying that it is the press, both Catholic and secular, who tout Pope Francis' various gestures as acts of humility, such as not living in the papal palace but rather choosing the Vatican's Motel 6, not taking on the trappings of the papacy that Pope Benedict used or resurrected, driving cheap cars, less security and the like.

However, Pope Francis on day one when asked about living in the Motel Six rather than the papal palace did not say it was because of his humility but because of his concern for his mental health--he needs to live around people and not be isolated; he wants to be like other bishops and priests and not stand out as much, all for his own mental health.

There is a good article by Sandro Magister about Pope Francis' concern for his mental health and not placing him in situations that would compromise his mental health which you can read HERE.

At its root, the best description of being humble is being humiliated by that which one does not choose and would not choose that would appear to make the person less than humble, thus for Pope Francis to choose be carried aloft like Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I not to mention all the previous pre-Vatican II popes would make him appear to be haughty and not humble.

But in fact, when the Church gives you its dress code for various functions once you are ordained a deacon, priest or bishop, not to mention a bishop's coronation as the Pope and Bishop of Rome, one doesn't choose what one is to wear but in humility takes it on.

Thus, this triumphal look would be very humiliating for the personal tastes of the person of Jorge Bergolio, but for him to accept it and wear it truly would be a sign of authentic humility. But neither Jorge Bergolio or the press would understand it as such.

But could you imagine Pope Francis wearing this? No , not at this point in his papacy, no not at all, it would be so out of place for him and his needs and mental health:




Learn more about the stages of grief here. (Credit: Faces & Voices of Recovery)

Sudden, tragic death leads first to shock and numbness as well as a certain sense that the person dead is simply away.

Grief is inexplicable and not what most of us think it will be and it takes a couple of years of riding emotional tides to begin to heal all the while experiencing depression. It has to happen naturally and for many privately, contemplatively.
I wonder what impact the media's exploitation of those deeply wounded by tragedy but still in shock so soon after the deaths of so many will have on these young people who need space not exploitation?


With so many modern popes being canonized for Vatican II reasons, so much so, Pope Francis joked that he and Pope Benedict can't wait, should the first Protestant pope, Dr. Billy Graham be canonized?

And in a far off city I saw these words in an obituary again: A funeral Mass celebrating the life of John Doe will be held....

What the?


Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Yes, a good article from Praytell on fasting which you can read in full HERE.

A money quote:

In 1966, immediately after the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI placed the emphasis on the interior and religious character of penitence, which is done by prayer, fasting, and charity. The U.S. bishops provided for abstinence from meat on the Fridays of Lent the same year. The 1983 Code of Canon Law minimally requires fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, with conferences of bishops determining further regulations.

This review shows that historically, the rhythm of the liturgical year was experienced directly and intensely by the faithful, with fasting and abstinence being a striking way to mark seasons and fast days. Our contemporary era, with its rather minimal fasting and abstinence, is somewhat of an exception to most of church history.


All ad orientem, so what could go wrong?

I think the lifting of the chasuble should be discreet and not post-Vatican II big sign and too high. This is a right thing gone wrong:
But this is pre-Vatican II discreet and sober. This is a right thing done right:
If ad orientem is so right, what could go so horribly wrong? It is afterall a Solemn High Mass with deacon and subdeacon:


Vatican Sex Abuse Investigator Hospitalized in Chile

Associated Press via New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile — The special envoy sent by Pope Francis to investigate allegations that a bishop had covered up sex abuse was undergoing gallbladder surgery Wednesday in Chile, church officials said.
The curia for Charles Scicluna's archdiocese in Malta announced the surgery in a brief statement.
The spokesman for the Chilean Catholic bishop's conference, Jaime Coiro, said Scicluna was stable and conscious and said he wasn't expected to remain hospitalized more than two days.
The bishop's conference said Scicluna had been suffering pain since last week.
The Maltese archbishop entered the hospital Tuesday after starting his interviews with victims and others opposed to the appointment of a bishop accused of covering up for the country's most notorious pedophile priest.
Coiro said the pope has asked that interviews with witnesses continue Wednesday through Friday as planned. They are to be handled by Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest who has been serving as Scicluna's translator and notary.
Scicluna came to Chile to investigate complaints about Bishop Juan Barros, who has been strongly defended until now by the pope.


Not really, although neighboring Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is going to outlaw plastic bags very soon.  The fly in the poop, though is the plastic bags they have in handy reach all around for their dogs to place their poop into--they have smart dogs and phones so they don't know what to provide the dogs to place their poop into. What a conundrum for the poor beasts!

I could give up the other plastic, charge cards, but alas.

But shouldn't giving up something refer to food and drink as these have their basis in the Catholic Church's age old tradition of fasting as it is properly meant, not eating or drinking?  There is symbolism in being hungry and thirsty as it relates to God and Jesus' fast of 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.

I have no problem with helping preserve our environment from trash and preventing plastic bags from going into the ocean and creating havoc for marine life, but do we have to make it a Lenten observance? NO! NO! NO! but that's just my humble opinion.

The Church of England's Lent challenge: give up plastic



I first became aware of Dr. Billy Graham when I moved to Augusta as a small child. He was on television all the time (we only had two channels!) and I couldn't believe that the shows I wanted to watch were preempted by the local station for Billy Graham.

In those less than ecumenical days between Protestants and Catholics, Catholics looked at Billy Graham with disdain. But I was always fascinated by him.

Later in his ministry, he became more ecumenical as the Catholic Church did and I think he was less prone to be anti-Catholic but early on I think he was. But we Catholics were very anti-Protestant too.

At any rate, what a long and well-served life he had for his personal Lord and Savior!

Billy Graham, 'America's Pastor' And Noted Evangelist, Dead At 99

Jade Walker,HuffPost 1 hour 39 minutes ago
Billy Graham, the famed evangelist who became known as “America’s Pastor,”has died at the age of 99, The Associated Press reported.
Graham died at his home Wednesday morning from natural causes, a family spokesman told  ABC News.
Born in 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina, William Franklin Graham Jr. was the oldest of the four children of William and Morrow Graham. He was raised on a dairy farm, and little in his childhood suggested he would become a world-renowned preacher.
Then at 16, Graham attended a series of revival meetings run by outspoken evangelist Mordecai Ham. The two months he spent listening to Ham’s sermons on sin sparked a spiritual awakening in Graham and prompted him to enroll at Bob Jones College. When the conservative Christian school’s strict doctrine didn’t align with his personal beliefs, he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida) and joined a Southern Baptist Convention church. He was ordained in 1939.
Billy Graham, seen in 2010, has died at the age of 99. (CHRIS KEANE / Reuters) Graham received additional training at Illinois’ Wheaton College, where he met his future wife, Ruth McCue Bell. They were married for 64 years, until her death in 2007, and had five children.
After serving briefly as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, Graham launched his first radio program, “Songs in the Night,” in 1943. Although he left a year later, Graham liked the idea of sharing his message with a wide audience. As noted on his website, Graham took Jesus Christ literally when he said in Mark 16:15: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Graham was still in his early 30s when entered the public spotlight by giving a series of well-attended “sin-smashing” revival meetings that were held under a circus tent in a Los Angeles parking lot. The press took interest in the charismatic young preacher and began writing articles about him. To get his message to even more people, Graham founded his own ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham mat his wife, Ruth McCue Bell, at Illinois’ Wheaton College. They were married for 64 years and had five children. (Bettmann via Getty Images) Graham viewed the Bible as the infallible word of God. He believed that Jesus led a sinless life and that all men were lost and would face God’s judgment. Most importantly, he was convinced he must use “every modern means of communication available” to spread the Gospel throughout the world, and did so in print, on radio and television, online and in person.
Graham’s sermons promoted evangelism and railed against “godless communism,” drugs, sex and violence. And for the next five decades, his electric personality connected with audiences in more than 185 countries.
Graham was the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain, and during the Apartheid era he refused to visit South Africa until the government allowed integrated seating at his events. He published dozens of best-selling books, including Angels: God’s Secret Agents and The Jesus Generation, and wrote a weekly column that was syndicated in hundreds of newspapers.
After serving briefly as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, Graham launched his first radio program in 1943. (Toronto Star Archives via Getty Images) Graham received numerous honors, including the Horatio Alger Award, the George Washington Honor Medal, the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award and the Congressional Gold Medal. A highway in Charlotte bears his name, as does part of Interstate 240 near his home in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1989, he became the first clergyman to be granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as a minister.
Graham also had a major effect on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. His early crusades were segregated, but once the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, which found public school segregation unconstitutional, Graham integrated the seatings at his revival meetings.
Graham befriended the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as well, and together they preached to more than 2 million people in New York City. When questioned about his views on faith and race, Graham argued there was no scriptural basis for segregation.
Graham became the first clergyman to be granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as a minister. He's seen attending that ceremony in 1989 in Hollywood, California. (Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images) As his message spread, Graham was granted personal audiences with royalty, dignitaries and many sitting presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Three presidents were even on hand in 2007 for the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Despite being a registered Democrat, Graham opposed the candidacy of John F. Kennedy, and actively encouraged other religious leaders to speak out about the dangers of having a Roman Catholic in the White House.
Though beloved by millions, Graham was not without his detractors. Some fundamentalist Christians took issue with his ecumenical approach to evangelism, and after his 1957 crusade in New York, opponents of Graham’s more liberal theology began calling him “the Antichrist.” According to the biography Billy: A Personal Look at Bill Graham, the World’s Best-Loved Evangelist by Sherwood Eliot Wirt, one Christian educator even said that Graham was “the worst thing to happen to the Christian church in two thousand years.” More recently, detractors blasted Graham’s continued belief that homosexual behavior was a “sinister form of perversion,” and his intolerance against the very presence of gay and lesbian couples within Christianity.
As his health began to fail, Graham decided to announce his retirement in 2005. His final sermon, “The Cross ― Billy Graham’s Message To America,” called for a national spiritual awakening.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Cardinal Mahoney probably was more irresponsible/responsible than Cardinal Law in how he mismanaged perverted priests and enabled the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors in his archdiocese of Los Angeles. But the Los Angeles Times did not go after Mahoney as effectively as The New York Times owned Boston Globe went after Cardinal Law.

Thus one wonders how in the name of God and all that is Holy, Pope Francis could invite Cardinal Mahoney to be his representative for the anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Scranton which along with most dioceses in Pennsylvania and throughout the northeast have been reeling from this scandal in an apocalyptic way.

Is it the pope or his advisers who are incredibly out of touch?

Given the apocalyptic papal debacle in Chile concerning Bishop Baros who Pope Francis appointed, the Holy Father is slowly showing some humility and backtracking on some of his more arrogant, insensitive statements and appointments.

Cardinal Mahoney after major protests in Scranton from the laity has decided not to go to Scranton. Do you think Pope Francis nervously asked Mahoney not to go and was this at the insistence of Cardinal O'Malley who has courageously corrected Pope Francis on this apocalyptic scandal?

Monday, February 19, 2018


I wonder if this was staged for Pete's humble sake?:

Pope backs down, OKs resignation of divisive Nigerian bishop

ABC News 


Let me start with the short Low Mass. I had a parishioner who is a snowbird and lives in Richmond Hill for about 6 months during the colder time up north where his primary residence is. He told me while saying, hint, hint, that the Sunday Mass he attends up north at his home parish lasts about  35 minutes--which means that the priest races through the prayers and there is no singing.

Is this a good idea to keep Catholics in our pews by giving them a short Low Mass each Sunday? I can remember loving the Low Mass as a child, especially in the heat of Augusta's red hot summers when our pastor would mercifully tell us that he would dispense with the homily because it was too hot in the church and the loud humongous fans we had drowned him out anyway. Who needs the homily anyway, it's not really a part of the Mass or is it?

And now for Ash Wednesday. My new church seats about 1,200 people and if it were only standing room only, about 1,500 people could get in there if not more. The church was built with future growth in mind as Richmond Hill is about to explode as the up and coming premier suburban bedroom community of Savannah.

We have a Saturday Vigil Mass and two on Sunday with the 11 AM Mass what I would call our principle Mass or the most heavily attended. However, we seldom have more than half the church full, but that is about 500 or 600 people which would have been a packed church in my Macon parish church that only could seat 550.

But on Ash Wednesday, our 7 PM Mass was packed, absolutely packed. Many there I did not recognize so I suspect they were Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday Mass attendees only.

What is it about Ash Wednesday that we get so many inactive Catholics attending Mass?

And how can we get the nearly 70 to 80 % of Catholics who don't attend Mass, but still consider themselves Catholics, not "nones" to come to Mass more frequently--where did the reforms of Vatican II go wrong?  Does the fact that in many places in the world almost 90% of Catholics no longer attend Mass indicate that Vatican II must see the advent of Vatican III, especially on the nature of the Church and her liturgical style to reform Vatican II? Is it Vatican II that needs reform and not the Church?

Let me say this. Today inactive Catholics aren't looking for Latin and their moral lives could better be described as amoral not even immoral. And there is so much more for them to do on the weekend than in years past.

So is it the poor liturgies we have which are uninspiring? Or is a Low Mass that is short,  more appealing to the 80% or more Catholics who don't attend? Would they be more likely to attend a 15 minute Mass with no homily even an EF Mass?

Sunday, February 18, 2018


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It is my contention that pre-Vatican II parishes were much, much more inclusive of a wider variety of Catholics than rigid post-Vatican II parishes are. So what I am about to write is to preface what Fr. Anthony Ruff writes about why Catholics come late and leave early,  but my thoughts on pre-Vatican II inclusivity first:

In the old days, traditional Catholic practice allowed for people to arrive before the Gospel and to leave after Holy Communion or during its distribution of Holy Communion and still fulfill their Sunday obligation. This was touted as an exception but allowed nonetheless even though I was taught prior to Vatican II that good Catholics arrived at Mass about 15 minutes early for prayer and adoration and remained until the priest departed the sanctuary (usually by the side sacristy door).

Thus the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church allowed for "bad" Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation with a shorter Mass by coming late and leaving early; it was codified!

Because of the lengthy fast in order to receive Holy Communion, most Catholics did not go to Holy Communion on Sunday, not so much because they were in mortal sin, but chose, without sin, to break the fast and not receive Holy Communion. "Bad" Catholics could fulfill their Sunday obligation by coming late and leaving early, were not stimatized as mortal sinners since even the holy, good and pious Catholic seldom went to Holy Communion either and all that was required was the Easter duty, meaning a Catholic must go to Confession at least once a year and receive Holy Communion during the Lenten/Easter season.

Thus pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism was way more tolerant of "bad" Catholics allowing for minimum requirements for them which encouraged Sunday Mass attendance in a very inclusive way for these less than disciplined Catholics.

Thus prior to Vatican II, bad and good Catholics went to Mass (if only partially for the bad) which meant that up until the silly liturgical theologians tried to purify the Church of these less than perfect Catholics and their allowed for bad practices were told they had to come at the start of Mass and remain until the end because Vatican II did away with fulfilling one's obligation by arriving right before the Gospel and leaving at Communion time.

In the pre-Vatican II days, nearly 95% of Catholics, good and bad, went to Mass, but once perfection was touted after Vatican II, the majority of  these bad and good Catholics gave up altogether and today we have only 12% to 25% more or less attending each Sunday of the good and bad Catholics since liturgical reformers ran off all the other good and bad Catholics with banal and irreverent  liturgies that all had to experience in its miserable totality!

Today, with fewer and fewer Catholics attending Mass in the 50 years following the reform of the Mass and the reform of Catholics, we have a priest quoting the pope who said that it takes 100 years to implement reforms of an ecumenical council. Fr. Anthony thinks and evidently Pope Francis thinks that all we need to do is 50 years more of what was tried for the last 50 and its dismal results and somehow by magic we will get good results!!

So, in 50 year, be prepared to see about 1% of Catholics attending Mass with about a third of those still leaving Mass early and coming late!

Mental illness involves doing the same thing over and over again and getting bad results  but thinking good results will eventually happen. (Think of liberal orders who reformed themselves out of business and continue with their same stale reforms  thinking that eventually people will join them.)  It is time to be more inclusive of lax Catholics and less rigid toward them or we will lose everyone!


Below is a money quote from him. What do you think? :

Be it noted: leaving after Communion is entirely compatible with a deeply “traditional” Catholic piety and understanding of priesthood, sacrifice, and real presence. Leaving Communion fits quite well with a “sacred” and “reverent” liturgy conducted in Latin. Centuries of history suggests that there is even a sort of inevitability about the liturgical culture and the resulting lay practice. There is a reason why the liturgical reform happened, and there is a reason why the magisterium (Pope Francis) considers it “irreversible.”
And a half century of liturgical renewal since Vatican II shows that thingism, quantityism, dispenserism, and obligationism have amazing and distressing staying power, even as the form of the liturgy is now more communal, scriptural, and imbued with the paschal mystery.


While it is easy to be hyper critical/negative about some of the 1970's aspects of the current papacy, one thing that is truly outstanding is Pope Francis' emphasis on the devil, his influence in the world and our personal lives and the means by which we are to do spiritual combat.

It is a part of Pope Francis' overall emphasis on the "world, the flesh and the devil" although His Holiness doesn't seem to mention the "flesh" too often from what I can read or hear. But two out of three ain't bad.

This is a great Angelus address this Sunday morning:

Angelus for 18 February 2018 - Full text

Full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks at the Angelus for 18 February 2018. Translation by Vatican News.


Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

In this first Sunday of Lent, the Gospel recalls the themes of temptation, of conversion, and of the Good News. Three themes: temptation, conversion, and Good News.

The Evangelist Mark writes, “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.” Jesus goes into the desert to prepare Himself for His mission in the world. He has no need of conversion, but, insofar as He is man, He must pass through this trial, both for Himself, to obey the will of the Father, and for us, to give us the grace to overcome temptation. This preparation consists in fighting against the spirit of evil, that is, against the devil. For us, too, Lent is a time of spiritual "training" [It: agonismo], of spiritual combat: we are called to face the Evil one through prayer, to be able, with God’s help, to overcome him in our daily life. We know, unfortunately, that evil is at work in our existence and all around us, wherever violence, rejection of the other, being closed, wars, or injustices occur. All these things are works of wickedness, of evil.

Immediately after the temptations in the desert, Jesus begins to preach the Gospel, that is, the Good News, the second word. The first was "temptation,", the second, "Good News." And this Good News requires of human beings conversion — the third word — and faith. He proclaims, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” — believe, that is, in this Good News that the kingdom of God is at hand. In our life we always have need of conversion — every day! — and the Church has us pray for this. In fact, we are never sufficiently oriented toward God, and we must continually direct our mind and our heart to Him. To do this we need to have the courage to reject all that leads us astray, the false values that mislead us, by attracting, in a deceitful way, our selfishness. Instead we must entrust ourselves to the Lord, to His goodness, and to His project of love for each one of us. Lent is a time of repentance, yes, but it is not a sad time! We must be attentive to this: it is a time of repentance, but it is not a sad time, a time of mourning. It is a joyful and serious duty to strip ourselves of our selfishness, of our ‘old man,’ and to renew ourselves according to the grace of our Baptism.

Only God can give us true happiness: it is useless for us to waste our time seeking it elsewhere, in riches, in pleasures, in power, in careers… the kingdom of God is the realization of all our aspirations, because it is, at the same time, the salvation of man and the glory of God. In this first Sunday of Advent, [I am glad to see that even Vatican Radio can have a lapse in the editing unless the Holy Father actual said Advent and not Lent!!!! So don't blame me for mine since I am in good company!] we are invited to listen attentively and to take up this appeal of Christ to be converted and to believe in the Gospel. We are called to begin the journey towards Easter with commitment, to welcome more and more the grace of God, who desires to transform the world into a kingdom of justice, of peace, of fraternity.

May Mary Most Holy help us to live this Lent with fidelity to the Word of God and with incessant prayer, as Jesus did in the desert. It is not impossible! It means living the days with the desire to welcome the love that comes from God, and that desires to transform our life, and the whole world.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Pope Francis also jokes with the Roman clergy that he and Pope Emeritus Benedict are on the waiting list for canonization.


It seems to me when the emphasis is on the congregation as is the case in many Ordinary Form parishes, factions do develop both on the left and the right. By this I mean that those on the left encourage those who do not conform to Church teaching to be flamboyant about it by making it known they are gay, or bi or trans or lgbtq and to look the part if they so desire. In allowing this the parish is  being  very inclusive not only of the person(s) but also the sin(s) of the person.

On the right in these kinds of parishes, with the focus on the congregation, one only wants those who are like them and don't want to be associated with those who flaunt their sins in a public way. In this scenario where even conservative Catholics in ordinary form parishes focus on who belongs to the parish, there is an exclusivity of sorts.

Whereas prior to Vatican II, Catholics and their visitors knew to go to Church in their Sunday best to please the Lord and not offend the sensitivities of reverence and awe before God or scandalize others.

A homosexual Catholic in the 50's who might have been living a secret life but going to confession regularly about it, no one would have known his sex life business or try to "out" the person or peer into the person's personal life. And no one would have cared to know about anyone's sex life in or out of marriage. Voyeurism was frowned upon. And certainly voyeurs would have kept it a secret from the congregation if they were one.

Thus, I would say the inclusiveness of the pre-Vatican II Church was expected. All Catholics, be they sinners, even public sinners, were required to attend Mass by way of fear of mortal sin and eternal punishment if one freely chose not to attend Sunday Mass.

But there was respect and prudence for the Church, her teachings and expectations about proper attire and not impinging on other people's space by hand holding, kissing, touching, and revealing the details of one's life be it holy or not. 

In other words, pre-Vatican II inclusiveness was and is more inclusive than the faux inclusiveness of today's Church.


An example of a "Mass" in desperate need of renewal in continuity; is this in any way visually appealing, inspiring or satisfactory?

DSCN4057 crop.jpg

Paul Knitter presides at a service at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd)

While there are pockets of renewal of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, I often wonder just how prevalent it is. I don't think that it is very prevalent nor a desire to change the bland status quo.

I was on vacation last weekend and attended Mass in a very large parish with almost 900 people there. The priest in his homily lamented that so many people don't go to Mass anymore despite the fact that his Mass was packed with people who do go.

But the Mass was blah and visually uninspiring. Thus I kept my eyes closed for the most part and only looked in adoration during the elevations and "Behold the Lamb of God." I found nothing edifying to my personal sanctification by looking at the face of the priest who was front and center the entire time.

The two major renewals that could increase the visual appeal of the Mass and and bring about the traditional devotional qualities and reverence for the reception of Holy Communion are despised by way too many people in places where these decisions could be made.

What are these two reforms? Ad Orientem and Kneeling for Holy Communion. These two powerful helps for the renewal of the Mass are totally dismissed by the majority of people, in particular bishops, in a phobic sort of way or a prejudice towards anything that appears to be pre-Vatican II.

Until hearts of bishops and lower clergy are renewed and there is a willingness to have a powerful catechesis about these two awesome ways to renew the Mass in our day, the status quo  of  the blah and uninspiring will continue unabated.

Friday, February 16, 2018


This article from The National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) tells you why there is what some might call an over correction because of progressive/heterodox so called liturgies but called "services" in the article below.

Please note how the article denigrates traditional forms of the Mass and upholds as ideal the aging hippies having a "Service." These photos are worth a thousand words as to the wisdom of the need for a radical correction that some might say is an over correction:

Disenchanted Catholics look afield in Madison's Morlino era

This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

DSCN4046 crop.jpg

The community at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin, holds a worship service. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd)
The community at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin, holds a worship service. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd) 
PLATTEVILLE, WIS. — At the 4 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass at St. Mary Church here, Fr. John Blewett recites the prayers with his back to the congregation. Only occasionally does he turn around to face the worshipers gathered on this typical Wisconsin winter afternoon of 9-degree temperatures.
Blewett is accompanied by three altar boys (the parish prohibits girls from serving). His hands are neatly folded in the formal prayer position. At Communion, there are no lay ministers to dispense the sacrament.
There is no small-talk banter among the congregation about the weather or football. The Mass is preceded by a half-hour recitation of the rosary, setting the somber liturgical mood.
Before Mass, some parishioners turn to the parish bulletin, which features an article arguing that a Milwaukee pastor — who declared himself gay in an NCR article — has endorsed sin.
Blewett is a member of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, a community based in Spain brought to the Madison Diocese eight years ago by Bishop Robert Morlino. Blewett oversees a parish recovering from turmoil, riven by a gap between those uncomfortable with pre-Second Vatican Council practices and supporters who welcome a more traditional flavor of Catholicism.
Located 71 miles southwest of Madison, near the Iowa border, the parish is the centerpiece in Morlino's efforts to reshape the diocese after arriving in 2003 from Helena, Montana. As Pope Francis declares a welcoming church, the parish leadership here has dug in its heels. Morlino, a former Jesuit and seminarian professor with roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania, publicly says he is in accord with Francis. At the same time, he embraces the concept that the church is better off smaller in number if its adherents remain zealous.
"Who am I to judge?" has become the emblematic public utterance of Francis. By contrast, critics see a regular cascade of judgments from the chancery offices and Morlino himself. During his 15-year tenure in Madison, Morlino has:
  • Endorsed the diocesan chancery's letter to priests denying Catholic funeral ritesto LGBT people;
  • Stopped the distribution of eucharistic wine, saying Wisconsin Catholics lacked sufficient devotion;
  • Recruited a cadre of young priests, particularly those from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, who embrace a return to pre-Vatican II liturgical practices;
  • Fired a director of religious education for her refusal to recant an academic dissertation that discussed the ordination of women;
  • Opined that the hymn "All Are Welcome" contains a wrong message — Morlino argued that the church is a community that embraces only those willing to accept its precepts;
  • Castigated the values of Madison, arguing that the college town and state capital's liberal attitudes were contrary to Catholic faith;
  • Wrote a column in his diocesan newspaper before the 2016 election widely interpreted as an endorsement of presidential candidate Donald Trump;
  • Provided a diocesan home for Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a blogger and frequent critic of Francis.
Regarding St. Mary and St. Augustine, an adjacent parish that serves the university community at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Morlino has held firm, resisting petitions to change the priests there.

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St. Mary Church in Platteville, Wisconsin (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd)
St. Mary Church in Platteville, Wisconsin (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd) 
Liturgy frequently becomes a battleground when Catholics argue with each other, and so it has at St. Mary. When the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest came here in 2010, controversy over changes they instituted filled the pages of the local Platteville Journal. The priests of Society of Jesus Christ the Priest instituted Mass in Latin, and while the Saturday vigil Mass remains in English, the celebrant's back to the congregation is a pre-Vatican II practice largely abandoned in most American parishes.
Parishioners were told that non-Catholics were going to hell. Liturgical rubrics were enforced in a restrictive manner. A confirmation sponsor requesting Communion in the hand, a common practice in most U.S. dioceses, was refused the sacrament.
The reaction was swift. Forty percent of the parishioners signed a petition urging the bishop to oust the new leadership. Morlino responded by threatening an interdict, a punishment rarely invoked, that would deny the sacraments to those opposed to the pastors he installed.
St. Mary suffered a decline in attendance and finances. Weekly collections went from $11,500 to below $3,000. The parish school closed, with many of its supporters blaming the uproar in the parish created by the new clerical team.
Many of the parishioners who were upset with the direction of the parish moved on to other congregations. Richard Wagner, a member of a local Presbyterian church, estimated that his congregation has brought in some 30 families who used to attend St. Mary.
"They're not being fed," he said over lunch at a local restaurant, describing why some Catholics exited the parish. At St. Mary, "you have to eat Latin."
His wife, Kristie, raised a Catholic, is a Sunday school teacher at the Presbyterian church, assisting fellow teachers there in understanding the Catholic questions of some of the students.
Other former St. Mary parishioners have landed at the local Methodist congregation. Some attend Mass at Catholic parishes in nearby towns not under the jurisdiction of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest priests.
One former parishioner, a local business owner who wanted to remain anonymous, told NCR that the Catholics in Platteville are still divided. Even after eight years, emotions are still raw.
He was bothered by the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest regularly repeating that non-Catholics were damned.
"I'm not a hypocrite. I don't believe that. I have a lot of friends who are non-Catholic. I don't believe they are going to hell," he said.
If St. Mary is the prototypical parish for the Morlino era, the community at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, on a hilltop overlooking the city of Madison and its picturesque lakes, is its antithesis.
The Sunday service at Holy Wisdom retains most of the Catholic liturgy, but includes women preaching and presiding. Congregants pass the eucharistic bread and wine among themselves. Holy Wisdom declared itself an ecumenical community in 2006, with a congregation drawn from many faith backgrounds. It is independent of the diocese and Morlino has warned priests to stay away.
For some Catholics disenchanted with Morlino, the community has become a spiritual home. Yet members of the congregation emphasize that the ecumenical thrust of the community, rooted in the Benedictine tradition, is not just a haven for those opposed to Morlino.
"It's much more than that," said Dick Wagner (not related to the previously-quoted Richard Wagner), a member who was attracted to the community by its prayer rituals, including Taizé days of reflection and other forms of monastic prayer. The monastery community bulletin notes a series of parish-like activities, including religious education for children, social justice committee meetings, and pastoral support for those encountering difficult times.

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Paul Knitter presides at a service at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd)
Paul Knitter presides at a service at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd) 
Joyce Wodka said the Wisdom community experiences an increase in membership whenever Morlino issues another controversial edict or makes an inflammatory statement. On one recent Sunday, the meeting space was nearly filled with more than 200 congregants.
"Since Morlino has been our bishop, the Catholic Church has become less inclusive," said Wodka.
The Wisdom community tries to fill that void. Welcome are Methodists, Lutherans, other Protestants and the occasional Buddhist. Sometimes the Sunday service is led by an ordained Protestant minister (the duty of Sunday presiding and preaching is rotated among members, with 16 homilists and six presiders). Maintenance of the expansive grounds focuses on the environment, keeping it as close as possible to its natural Wisconsin prairie state.
"It's catholic with a small c," said Wodka. She added that the Wisdom community is about "imagining the church of the future."
A particular sore point in the Morlino tenure has been strained relations with the LGBT community. The Wisdom community consciously offers welcome.
Vicki Clark, who is in a same-sex civil marriage with her partner, Lynn Lemberger, said that the Wisdom community is accepting. "People know us as a gay married couple. We are allowed to be who we are," she said.
If the Wisdom community is the church of the future, for many Madison diocesan Catholics the church of the present continues in their parishes. Some pastors take the suggestions of the bishop seriously. Others less so.
Joseph Hasler, a Reedsburg attorney and Catholic, said that Morlino has introduced to the diocese a vision of 15th-century Catholicism. "He believes he is the sole arbiter of all that is Catholic," he said.
"You hear the positive news emanating from Rome," said Hasler, referring to the direction Francis has taken the wider church. "But it isn't going to happen here." 

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Madison, Wisconsin, is seen from nearby Middleton. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd)
Madison, Wisconsin, is seen from nearby Middleton. (NCR photo/Peter Feuerherd) 
Morlino, by contrast, has brought a culture-warrior emphasis to the diocese, focused on sexual morality and using demands for reverence at Mass as a way to exclude, said Hasler.
Groups such as Call to Action, once active in opposition in the early Morlino years, have largely dropped their efforts. A frequent complaint among them is that the optimism Francis has brought to the wider church has largely bypassed southwest Wisconsin. They await four years for the retirement of Morlino when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75.
Morlino and the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest declined NCR requests for comments.
Meanwhile, the work of the diocese and parish continues. St. Mary is marking its 175th anniversary. A banner outside St. Mary promotes a planned re-opening of the parish school this year. The campus ministry at nearby St. Augustine has been infused with new building projects despite the decline in income. Still, priestly edicts struggle to find an audience at the parish.
Parishioners are urged to kneel for Communion and receive the host on the tongue. At St. Mary, many parishioners still accept the option of Communion in the hand. At each Communion post are temporary kneelers, used by some before receiving the sacrament. The congregation is split, as the options can be bewildering.
Parish shopping is a regular endeavor. "There are many Catholic churches. I can go down the road 10 minutes from here and go to a church that doesn't preach what these guys preach," said the estranged St. Mary parishioner quoted earlier.
Perhaps the divisions in the Madison Diocese are best reflected in differing metaphors about smells, both pleasing and rancid.
In a 2009 ordination ceremony for the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, Morlino congratulated the new clergymen. He offered some advice, telling them that their goal should be "to smell good to the people. You will be aromatherapy for those of a spiritual sort."
By contrast, four years later, Francis suggested that pastors should accompany their people, welcoming both saints and sinners. He urged them not to be "collectors of antiquities or novelties." Rather, he said, they should be like shepherds who take on the smell of their sheep. He did not mention aromatherapy.
[Peter Feuerherd is a correspondent for NCR's Field Hospital series on parish life.]