Friday, September 29, 2023



This commentary isn’t about the TLM, but about the modern Mass, but reformed to be in continuity with the TLM. 

Everyone has their own opinion about why so many Catholics, up to 83% of them, do not go to Mass and certainly don’t think anything special is happening during the Mass. It is social change, individualism, loss of faith, loss of confidence in the bishops and priests of the Church, to include the pope, loss of transcendence, dignity and reverence. Why go and be bored to death with blah and homilies that put most people to sleep or to a zoning out state of mind? 

The Modern Mass is here to stay, but its form and manner of celebration is not set in concrete.

I am angered and frustrated that Pope Benedict did not create a “new Consilium” to reform the Modern Mass, which is in need of reform more so than the TLM at the time of the Council was reformed fixing things that weren’t broken. 

Here is what needs to be done:

1. Restore the ancient order of the Mass. The Official Entrance Chant is required and in the form of the TLM’s but in the vernacular or Latin. The priest and ministers process to the sanctuary, but at the foot of the altar, after the chanting of the Introit, the priest begins in an audible voice with the sign of the cross and immediately introduces the Penitential Act with the prescribed words. The Confiteor is said by all with the modern absolution. The Priest ascends to the ad orientem altar as the Kyrie is chanted praying the TLM devotional prayers silently. The Gloria is chanted or spoken and then the priest turns to the assembly and says/chants “The Lord be with you.” Then he goes to the epistle side of the altar and prays the Collect.

All are seated for the Liturgy of the Word.

2. The lectionary is reformed to eliminate one of the first readings and to restore the Gradual/Tract. The Liturgy of the Word is carried out as it is now offered in the Modern Mass. Lectors are officially installed and wear the alb or cassock and surplice to perform their ministry. 

3. On Sundays the homily is required and should be 5 to 8 minutes long and relevant to people’s life, not a theological discourse or repetition of the readings. 

4. The Credo is prayed with the priest standing at the middle of the altar. The Universal Prayer is suppressed. The Offertory Antiphon is restored to the missal and always offered in the manner of the TLM’s.

5. The Offertory Procession is suppressed

6. The traditional offertory prayers are restored and prayed in a low voice.

7. After the prayer after the priest washes his hands, he turns to the congregation with the full “Orates Fratres” and then prays out loud the Prayer over the gifts.

8. The Roman Canon is prayed on Sundays and Solemnities. Eucharistic Prayer III is the alternative Canon, all the others are suppressed. The canon is prayed in a low voice with the TLM’s restored rubrics. 

9. The Communion Rite is restored to the TLM’s format. 

10. Holy Communion is distributed at the altar railing with reception on the tongue while kneeling. Only bishops, priests, deacons and formally instituted acolytes may distribute Holy Communion and the installed acolytes vested in alb or cassock and surplus. 

11. The concluding rite recovers the TLM’s order. The last Gospel is suppressed. 

Definitely my way will restore the vigor and health of the modern Mass and by its beauty and transcendence it will  attract the laity to the Mass and inspire non Catholics. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023



In Noting That Overlong Sunday Masses Are Driving Down Church Attendance, Cardinal Dolan Vindicates Critics of the Liturgical Reform


Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recently published an article about why Catholics are not coming to Sunday Mass any more. The top reason: Mass is too long. He also notes that the "Liturgy of the Word"— readings from scripture— now overshadows the "Liturgy of the Eucharist," leading the Eucharist to become an "afterthought."


CARA survey belief in Eucharist

 Our Sunday Visitor is reporting on the CARA study survey in 2022 just released:

(OSV News) — Almost two-thirds of Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but only 17% of adult Catholics physically attend Mass at least once per week, according to a newly published survey from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The survey also revealed a high correlation between belief in the Eucharist and weekly or even monthly Mass attendance.

The 2022 survey of self-identified Catholics published Sept. 26 and titled “Eucharist Beliefs: A National Survey of Adult Catholics” found 64% of respondents provided responses that indicate they believe in the Real Presence, that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist.

That conclusion was drawn from both open-ended and closed-ended questions respondents were asked about their understanding of church teaching about the Eucharist and additional questions to clarify their beliefs.

Read the rest at Our Sunday Visitor

 My comments and questions: What is not clear to me is 64% of respondents believe in the real presence as taught by the Church but only 17% of adult Catholics attend Mass at least once a week. What I am not clear on is if of the 17% who bother to attend Mass each week, is it 64% of them who believe what the Church teaches about the Real Presence?

At any rate, as is acknowledged in the article, we some 55 years into implementing Vatican II have failed miserably to do so. I don't see the Eucharistic Revival making much of a difference, although it won't hurt. What will hurt is the on-going confusion being sowed by the Vatican about the Church's doctrinal and moral teachings that will push more out of the Church and attending Mass. Even if the Vatican allows women's ordination, LGBTQ+++ "marriages" and people in mortal sin allowed to receive Holy Communion, even the non-baptized, these people, who have felt shunned by the Church will not return and more will leave who are put out with a Church ruled by the LGBTQ+++ political lobby and all that it represents.

Only a return to the Liturgical piety, rules and ethos of the TLM, even if in the vernacular, will make a difference. And in a completely Modern Mass, kneeling for Holy Communion received on the tongue and distributed only by a bishop, priest, deacon or adult acolyte will turn things around! How you pray and how your receive is the law of belief and devotion!

Only the TLM could motivate and inspire this kind of belief and devotion:



FR. MICHAEL J. KAVANAUGH: My point is that, when something pointless becomes fetishized, liturgically speaking, it should be carefully examined and, if necessary, jettisoned. I would suggest that hem-lifting is one we could-and should-do without. 

Just who decides when something liturgical becomes pointless? The pope? The bishops? God forbid, liturgical theologians? 

Obviously, Pope Francis believes that more than 1,600 years of a particular order of the Mass, the TLM, has been fetishized and he examined it and in contradiction to previous popes, to include Paul VI, he is jettisoning it. 

But let’s look at the once and for all, definitive for all time to come, the reformed Mass of Vatican II. 

What has become fetishized? For some, it is the alb under the chasuble or dalmatic. 

For others, there is a good case to jettison the offertory procession which has become fetishized, enhancing it with liturgical movement (dance) and prolonging the Mass. Today, very few actually bring the monetary offerings to the altar, because most send their offertory via mail or electronic means. And we have to protect the money from being stolen, so it is placed in a vault rather than in front of the altar. 

It is time to jettison the Offertory Procession because, quite frankly, it is pointless. 

The Kiss of Peace needs jettisoning too! Who really understands the kiss of peace anyway? There is a theology that is good, but in practice it has become something altogether different. The stylized version of it in the TLM’s Solemn Sung Mass is hierarchical and highly stylized. 

The washing of the feet, speaking about fetishes—jettison it, please, please, please, especially kissing the foot after washing it—that’s a fetish gone way too far! Yuck!

And standing for Holy Communion is pointless and fetishized. The theological reason for recovering this posture (talk about going backwards!) has to do with the early Church practice that in the Latin Rite shifted to kneeling. Why stand? The fetishized reason is that it is a sign or symbol of being raised up in Christ, that standing, get this, is a symbol of the resurrection, as though simply being alive isn’t enough of a symbol of the resurrection, whether you are sitting, kneeling, standing, laying down or sleeping! Standing for Holy Communion need to be jettisoned!

Certainly Mass facing the congregation is a fetish and needs jettisoning. Anything else?


 Brian Fraga has a commentary in the NCR railing against orthodox Catholics who are complaining about the Synod as a way to create a different Church which, in fact, is another denomination. 

Fraga indicates that Pope Francis sees the synod on synods as an act of God. 

Creeping infallibility anyone?

All voices must be heard except Mueller, EWTN and anyone who has concerns about the synod itself. The left’s propaganda is to call their concerns “misinformation”. 

It’s fine if the NCR wants to critique orthodox Catholics. But the NCR reporter simply states the facts. He can’t repudiate what these orthodox Catholics are saying, he can only go backwards to the 1970’s and shame them as being “orthodox” or “conservative” the political term, not the religious one, which is what out of control heterodox did in the 1970’s. Back then, the “N” word they used was to call the orthodox so “pre-Vatican II!”

As I have written before, shaming those who want an orthodox Catholicism, open to its past, present and future, is the way of the heterodox. Words like fundamentalist, rigid, conservative, traditional, become the new “N” words. They use these terms to manipulate and shame and ultimately marginalize. 

They’ve lost not just the battle, but the war. The article below does nothing to show that the concerns of the orthodox is “misinformation”.  Truth or misinformation? You decide. 

The conservative Catholic 'misinformation' campaign against the Synod of Bishops

German Cardinal Gerhard Müller appears on Eternal Word Television Network's "The World Over" with host Raymond Arroyo during an Oct. 6, 2022, broadcast. (NCR screenshot/YouTube/EWTN)

Wednesday, September 27, 2023





I will embed in RED, my comments to Bishop Kemme's excellent treatise on what he expects for liturgies in his diocese. But let me say a couple of things.

The Mass, since Vatican II, as we all know and have experienced, is more clerical than it ever was prior to the Council. Bishops and priests make up their own rubrics or dismiss the rubrics present in the modern Mass in a minimalist way--that's clericalism especially if the words of the Mass are changed to suit the priest or bishop. 

Part of the clericalism is placed on steroids given the legitimate options in the Mass which include variations on the penitential act and which one is chosen and who chooses. The same with the Eucharistic Prayer, the Mystery of Faith acclamation. One can chant the propers, aka, introit and other antiphons, but other options allow something similar or completely different. 

But the one thing that trumps all other problems with the Modern Mass boils down to taste! A variety of styles of music and instrumentation, which are all over the place, in terms of options, makes the chanting of the Mass based upon taste, not tradition. And whose taste? We all know what kind of music we all like. To demand that my likes be included and my dislikes be removed is the height of clericalism. But that's the modern Mass. 

What is sung and how it is sung in the Mass has caused me more stress as a priest than any other liturgical issue.

 Let's face it, many who have an opinion on music for the Mass, prefer kitsch to art. And they prefer it in a vociferous way!

Let's dig into Bishop Kemme's pastoral letter on the liturgy with my astute comments embedded in RED.

‘Let us sing with the Lord,’ Bishop Kemme urges in pastoral letter

Bishop Kemme’s pastoral letter focuses on making the liturgy a transcendent experience. (Advance photo)

Dear Priests, Pastoral Musicians, and Lay Faithful,

A few years ago, I came across a promotional video for a program for liturgical music called “Source and Summit.” The video outlined how restoring the sacred nature of music in the liturgy significantly impacted the Sunday worship of a parish, which, in time, brought the parish from the brink of closure to a great renewal of parish vitality and growth. Seeing this video reignited in me a desire that I have had throughout my priesthood, serving for many years as a pastor and now as a bishop, to restore sacred music in the liturgy. (Excellent!)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme

When done well, I am convinced that music in the liturgy facilitates a transcendent experience, lifts our hearts and minds to God, and helps to bring about a fully conscious and actual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Because of this, I have asked the Office of Worship to implement certain principles for Sacred Music as a model for what I would like to see at the liturgy throughout our diocese. I hope our episcopal liturgies will inspire priests and musicians to take a serious look at the Sacred Music in their parishes and help align it with the vision for music in the Church. In the following words, I would like to share my vision for Sacred Music in the Diocese of Wichita. This vision is less my own; I consider it to be the Church’s vision for sacred music.

“On Sacred Music: Let us Sing with the Lord.”

I have entitled this pastoral letter “On Sacred Music: Let us Sing with the Lord.” I believe this title expresses a profound reality about the liturgy. The Mass is the action of the whole body of Christ. In the liturgy, we, and the entire Mystical Body, participate with Christ the head in offering the one perfect sacrifice to the Father. This reminds us that the liturgy is an act of worship to the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In the Liturgy, Christ offers God the Father the perfect sacrifice. By baptism, we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and can partake in this offering.

Christ left us the memorial of his sacrifice so that we might learn what it means to offer ourselves as a complete and total self-gift to the Father. By participating in Christ’s sacrifice to the Father, we also learn to give our lives as a living sacrifice. When the entirety of the liturgy is prayed, ad Deum, which in Latin means toward God, the liturgy sends us back into the world to live life as self-gift ad Deum. (Thank God the good bishop encourages ad orientem and the simple cogent reason why!) Indeed, many aspects of the liturgy portray the idea of self-gift; however, I want to emphasize how it is revealed in sacred music.

As we begin the liturgy, the priest and assisting ministers process toward the sanctuary. This represents our ascent to the Heavenly Jerusalem, where we pass from this world to the world to come. In the liturgy, we transcend space and time to participate in the sacrifice of Christ at the one altar that remains in the temple of the Heavenly Kingdom. From the onset, the music accompanying this procession should direct our thoughts to the particular mystery being celebrated, and it should resemble the song of the angels and the saints revealed to us in the scriptures. However, too often, we sing music that focuses not on God but on us. When this happens, the liturgy loses its focus on God and can become self-serving rather than self-giving. (Amen! Bishop Kemme! You get it!)

The church invites us to sing

Rather than entering into a discussion about which hymns may or may not be appropriate for use in the Mass—a subjective judgment that too often relies on personal taste and preference (personal taste and preference is clericalism pure and simple!)—my humble guidance is to turn our attention toward the texts of the Mass, which the Church herself invites us to sing. For example, just as the Church proposes texts for us to sing for the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia, we also have proper texts intended to be sung at the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion processions.

These scripture verses, commonly called the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion Antiphons, are chosen by the Church to help reveal the particular mystery being celebrated. Therefore, rather than agonize over which hymn to choose, it seems fitting and preferable to use the texts provided by the Church as they are found in the Roman Missal and the Roman Gradual. (Wow, I am out of breath! Bishop Kemme gets it. So often choices are made with these chants which enables the congregation to sing along. But these are Sacred Scripture, for the most part, and like the liturgy of the Word, we don't pick and choose Scriptures so the entire congregation can say it along with the reader or understand the reading! We are given the Scriptures which must be implemented!)

Throughout the tradition of the Church, most of these proper texts provided have been set to different Gregorian melodies, and even at times, the texts have been set in pieces of polyphony. A distinguishing characteristic of these texts is that the word always comes first and is more essential than the musical composition. This is important because the sung word in the liturgy is the Word that became flesh. (Just wow!!! He gets it!)

At first, singing the antiphons may seem like a significant shift; however, it is a form of singing that we are already familiar with since singing the antiphons with their Psalm verses resembles the singing of the Responsorial Psalm. The antiphons, with their Psalm verses, are a part of Christ’s prayer to the Father, and when we sing them in the liturgy, we unite our voice to the voice of Christ. (Indeed! these are never omitted, sung or spoken, in the Traditional Latin Mass!)

Sing the Mass

What I desire most for sacred music in the liturgy is to shift our mindset from singing AT Mass to singing THE Mass. (I'm beginning to think Bishop Kemme has been reading my most humble blog. I have written this over and over and over again!) This may seem like a minute distinction, but I believe it is crucial. Utilizing the texts Christ has given us through the Church, we can restore the sacred and transcendent nature of the liturgy, emphasizing three important principles: the sanctity of sacred music, the intrinsic beauty of sacred music, and the universality of sacred music.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document of the Second Vatican Council, calls for a reform of the liturgy. Paragraph 112 reminds us how to evaluate the sanctity of sacred music when it states, “Sacred music is to be considered the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the liturgical action, whether it adds delight to prayer, fosters unity of minds, or confers greater solemnity upon the sacred rites.”

A transformation

This way of understanding sacred music in our churches could truly transform how we approach liturgical music in the Mass. I believe that giving our attention to choosing music that is closely connected with the liturgical action will help us foster an encounter with the Divine. (Who chooses? What is it they choose, what is not allowed, if anything today, is part of the problem.)
When sacred music is closely associated with the liturgical action, it facilitates a more profound encounter with beauty, which is the second characteristic or principle of sacred music. In an audience with International Choirs, Pope Francis said, “Liturgical and sacred music can be a powerful instrument of evangelization because it gives people a glimpse of the beauty of heaven.” Earlier, I mentioned that in the liturgy, we ascend to the altar in the heavenly Kingdom.

A heavenly reality

In other words, we can say, through signs and symbols, the liturgy presents the beauty of the heavenly reality. There can certainly be a temptation to try to sanctify popular or secular music, even secular Christian music, by admitting it to the liturgy. However, we should avoid this temptation because the liturgy is meant to be something totally other so that when the priest dismisses us from the liturgy, we can go eagerly back into the world to transform and consecrate the world to God in our daily lives. (Wow, just wow, a bishop writing this as though he is an authority on the liturgy! Of course he is, but a bishop's authority comes from knowing the liturgy and Bishop Kemme does!)

To exhibit the uniqueness and beauty of sacred music, we should hold fast to our tradition and give pride of place to the Church’s preferred musical instruments, which are the human voice and the organ, and to musical repertories of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. When liturgical music holds fast to these elements of our tradition, it expresses heaven’s true beauty because these particular traditions are primarily reserved for the liturgy. When an environment of beauty is cultivated, we encounter something other than ourselves, someone other than ourselves: we encounter God. (Wow! What more needs to be written! God bless Bishop Kemme!)

Music is universal

Lastly, we should consider the universality of sacred music. By this, I mean music should not be based on personal preference or overly dependent on cultural expression. We should avoid the ever-present temptation to sing what is popular or expedient. Still, considering the other fundamental principles of sanctity and beauty, we should strive to employ music that transcends personal preference and leaves all who have attended with a sense of encountering something marvelous, regardless of cultural experience or other subjective factors. In summary, when liturgical music is sacred, beautiful, and universal, I am convinced that we can truly sing with the Lord during the celebration of the Mass, which offers us a powerful and life-changing experience. (Every bishop in the world should read this document!)

Some may question why it is necessary to outline a vision for Sacred Music in the Diocese of Wichita. Some may consider other issues to be of greater importance. However, I believe that promoting and restoring sacred music aligns with two important priorities in our pastoral plan. The third priority of our diocesan pastoral plan is the “renewal of parish and family life by reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day.”

The Mass must be given the highest priority to achieve this goal. The worship of God each week on Sunday is, without a doubt, the most important thing we do as individuals, families, and parishes. Since it is the most important thing we do each week, we should treat it as such. The liturgy should be carefully prepared and thought out. (Sunday Mass is where we reach the majority, the vast majority, of our Catholic parishioners and others who attend. Yes, Bishop Kemme, you are right--Sunday Mass is Sacred and the most important thing we do each week!)

Offer our best to God

It should be evident that every detail was given attention and that we took the time to ensure that we would be offering our best in worship to God. The liturgy should never become an afterthought or just something we do. The Mass is at the core of our identity as Catholic Christians, and by celebrating the liturgy well, we can, as I have said, more fully direct our hearts and minds to God. (Amen! Alleluia!!!!)

Reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day becomes easier when we do this. It has now become clear that Sunday is something special. It is a day where we pause, think of holy things, re-center our lives on what is most important, and remember who God is and His message of his salvation. (Bishop Kemme, we need to also celebrate Sunday Mass on Sunday, even if early in the morning to reclaim Sunday as the Lord's Day. People go on Saturday night so they don't have to worry about Mass on Sunday morning! What does that say to Catholics about the Lord's Day?)

When our Sunday celebrations of the liturgy allow us to encounter the heavenly liturgy, the Lord’s Day becomes a day of re-creation so that throughout the week, in the ordinariness of life, we can consecrate the world to God. When the liturgy is well prepared, carefully thought out, not rushed, and prayed with reverence and devotion, we begin to see that we can carefully plan our whole day in a similar way.

Renewing stewardship

Additionally, I think that appropriate attention given to the liturgy can help with the second priority in our Diocesan pastoral plan, renewing the Stewardship Way of Life. At the heart of our understanding of Stewardship is the belief that everything we have received is a gift from God and that we are called to offer all we have received back to him as a gift. In short, the Stewardship Way of Life is characterized by how we live out self-gift, self-sacrifice, and giving our lives to God in grateful response for all we have received. In no better place is this modeled for us than in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we re-present the moment Christ gave himself freely so that we might have an abundant life. (My title says that Wichita is first in Stewardship, so much so, that if you tithe to your parish, you pay no tuition for the Catholic school your child attend! That is breathtaking to say the least!)

Christ, the perfect gift

The sacrifice of Christ is the perfect gift given once and for all. Christ’s self-gift inspires us and expresses how we are called to offer ourselves as an offering to God. I desire that careful attention to the liturgy will fan into flame in our hearts the desire to give of ourselves freely. The renewal of the Stewardship way of life separated from the authentic renewal of the liturgy and, with that, sacred music, would be to lose our identity as people who are primarily called to join ourselves to the perfect gift of Christ to the Father as we participate at Mass.
In the Mass, we are taught what it means to live a “Stewardship Way of Life,” and it is there that we receive the abundant grace necessary to live as faithful stewards. Without this grace, our efforts are doomed from the beginning because, without God, we can do nothing. The renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of stewardship go together. (Do I hear an Amen?)

A grateful response

In the liturgy, our grateful response as Christian disciples is most perfectly manifested; it is there that we recognize that all we have received is God’s gift to us, and it is there that we return to the Father all that we have shared in love of Him and neighbor. I sincerely hope we can relearn what it means to be faithful stewards through the restoration of sacred music and the liturgy as a whole.

I humbly offer these reflections on the importance of sacred music as an encouragement and exhortation to us all. I reiterate my hope that we will not merely sing AT Mass but sing with the Lord. We want everything we do and say to be directed toward God (ad Deum) and to offer fitting worship to him. (This tells us that ad orientem assists clergy and laity in directing everything we do toward God, not the closed circle of a "narcissistic congregationalism!")

In our episcopal liturgies, I have asked that we model the preference for singing the antiphons given to us by the Church, also incorporating some elements of Latin as the Second Vatican Council suggested, and singing by the priest celebrant at the times asked for by the Church. At the very least, I ask that we carefully choose our music to be theocentric – that is, focused on God. When the liturgy becomes about me or inordinately focused on the gathered assembly, we have lost our focus. I sincerely hope our music can always bring us into an encounter with the transcendent. (Wow! However, take the bold step and mandate the chanting of the official propers and the diocese should provide workshops for parish music directors to learn how to do it in a beautiful and inspiring way!)

Lastly, I encourage you, my dear priests, liturgical musicians, and lay faithful, to give due consideration to these thoughts on the sacred music in our liturgies. I know many demands require your attention, but none can be more important than the way the sacred liturgy is celebrated in your parishes. I want to thank you for the many ways I am already seeing this vision becoming a reality across the diocese.

I pray that the music we choose for our Sunday celebrations will reflect Christ’s prayer to the Father. The Mass is the sung prayer of Christ to the Father, and our Church has a rich tradition of setting the texts of the Mass to sacred music. My brother priests, I encourage you to sing the Mass. I realize this is more challenging for some, but I sincerely believe it sets the liturgy apart. (I have mixed feelings here. If a priest can't chant and it is a penance for him and others to hear him, he should not chant. The same with a schola. If they can't chant the propers in a beautiful way, but make it tedious and embarassing, don't chant them!)

Sing – even a single note

Even if it is sung on a single note, I hope you will offer your best efforts to sing with the Lord. I recommend that you consult documents such as Musicam Sacram, which implements the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on sacred music, as well as Sing to the Lord from the USCCB, which outlines the Church’s preferences for which texts are intended to be sung. Let us give greater attention to preparing sacred music for the liturgy. Let us lead the people in reclaiming Sunday and renewing the “Stewardship Way of Life” by emphasizing that the Mass is Christ’s sung prayer to the Father.

My dear musicians, choirs, cantors, and all those assisting with preparing the music for Mass, I encourage you to think and act with the mind of the Church. Let us sing the words that the Church asks of us and do so to the best of our ability. I realize that this task is not without its challenges and limitations. Still, we can all take small but determined steps to align ourselves more closely with the principles of sanctity, beauty, and universality.

Glorify God with song

Finally, dear lay faithful, I ask for your openness to our efforts to align the music in our churches with the vision of the universal Church. Change can be difficult, but our efforts to glorify God most fitting will unquestionably be blessed. I encourage you to participate in the singing of the Mass and allow the sung Word of the Mass to transform your interior disposition. When we arrive at Mass, let us come prepared to participate as fully as possible in Christ’s offering to the Father. (To chant the propers and have the priest chant his parts, both done well, is a challenge to the kitsch that is sung in so many parishes, completely disconnected from the texts and rubrics of the Mass!)

To all I say: let us sing with the Lord.

Humbly Yours in Christ,
+The Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme
Bishop of Wichita

Monday, September 25, 2023


 Here’s a screen shot of the magnificent Church and the magnificent liturgy that teaches us how well Vatican II has been implemented as it concerns Ireland and Sacrosanctum Concilium. And just think that they have been able to accomplish this in less that 100 years!

Thank God that Pope Francis has canceled Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s going backwards. If they had their way, we wouldn’t have this well implemented Vatican II Liturgy, that took only about 55 years to establish, not 100 years!!! 

Watch the magnificent video on Facebook by pressing HERE


 This is not good…

From Catholic World Report:

The Rupnik business will stain and possibly define Pope Francis’s legacy

Over the past several days, hard-boiled newsman Ed Condon reluctantly conceded that “there is a motivating force for the protection of Rupnik,” and Robert Mickens—a veteran Vatican hand generally well disposed to Francis—openly asked whether Pope Francis isn’t the one protecting him.


And this from La Croix and very progressive Robert Mickens:

Is Pope Francis protecting Marko Rupnik?
By Robert Mickens 

As these lines are being written, Pope Francis is in the middle of an overnight visit to the southern French port city of Marseille. And he's made some very bold and extremely important statements that Europe and its elected leaders needs to hear regarding the Old Continent's policy (or, rather, lack of policy and foresight) regarding the arrival of migrants and refugees from various parts of Africa, the Middle East, and other so-called "third world" areas of the Global South.

Europe, with its aging population and dangerously low birth rate, needsimmigrants. The question, as the pope rightly points out, is how to integrate them in a way that preserves and enriches European civilization. There is much to discuss on this issue and Francis is to be credited for pushing the continent's political and societal leaders to do so more seriously and with greater perspicacity.

But there is an ugly shadow quietly looming over the papal visit, which has nothing to do with the Jesuit pope's prophetic leadership on the migration issue or whatever else he's addressed in Marseille. Indeed, it is a matter that could badly tarnish his entire pontificate and legacy. We're talking about the way Francis has handled the case of Marko Rupnik, the (former Jesuit) priest-mosaic artist who has been credibly accused of sexually and spiritually abusing numerous women religious.

Try La Croix International now for just USD 1 a Month!

The Society of Jesus expelled the 68-year-old Slovenian from the religious order earlier this year after he refused to follow the restrictions (penalties for the abuse) that his superiors placed on him, his artistic work, and his ministry.

Read More

Sunday, September 24, 2023


The Vatican News translation into English of Pope Francis’ high altitude interview differs greatly, in terms of opinion, from Crux’s report on the interview. I will write about that below the two different translations into English. Please note what I highlight in blue as that will be the basis of my comments. The question is on France soon to liberalize its euthanasia laws.

This is Vatican News’ translation of the pope said:

(I) did not speak on this issue (euthanasia) today, but we (Macron) talked about it on the other visit when we met. I spoke clearly, when he came to the Vatican, and I spoke my opinion clearly: life is not to be played with, neither at the beginning nor at the end. We cannot play around. This is my opinion: to protect life, you know? Because then we wind up with a policy of “no pain”, of a humanistic euthanasia…

…Today we should be careful with ideological colonizations that ruin human life and go against human life. Today, for example, the lives of grandparents are erased, and when human wealth comes into play in the dialogue with grandchildren, they are erased. ‘They are old so are of no use.’ We cannot play with life.

This time I did not talk to the president [about this topic], but last time I did. When he came, I gave him my opinion that life is not something to be played with.Whether it's the law of not letting the baby grow in the mother's womb or the law of euthanasia in disease or old age, I'm not saying it's an issue of faith. It's a human issue, a human issue. There exists an ‘ugly compassion’. Science has come to turn some painful diseases into less painful events, accompanying them with many medicines. But life must not be played with.

This is Crux’s translation of what the pope said:

Asked about a controversial law France is preparing to consider on euthanasia, the pontiff, who condemned the practices of abortion and euthanasia in his final Mass on Saturday, said he did not address the issue in his private conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier that day.

He said he and Macron discussed the issue of euthanasia during one of Macron’s three previous visits to the Vatican, and on that occasion, “I told him my view, clearly, [that] you don’t play with life, not at the beginning, and not at the end. You don’t play with it.”

“It’s not just my opinion, it’s safeguarding life, because then, you end up with the politics of non-pain, a humanistic euthanasia,” he said. He once again referenced a 1903 futuristic romance novel titled The Lord of the World by a British convert to Catholicism which, Francis said, depicts “how things will be in the end. It takes away the differences of everyone, and also, they take pain, etc., and euthanasia is one of these things.”

“Sweet death, selection before birth. This shows how this man saw current conflicts,” the pope said, saying, “today let’s be attentive to ideological colonization that ruins human life and goes against human life.”

My commentary: Just which is it, Crux’s “It’s not just my opinion” or Vatican New’s “This is my opinion” and other variations of that??? Throughout his papacy, the pope has been clear about “his opinion” about abortion and euthanasia. In my opinion, I agree with his opinion. 

Therein lies the problem. Vatican News more than once states the good and orthodox moral teachings on these two life issues, abortion and euthanasia as the pope saying these teachings are his opinion! 

Crux, though, indicates he said, “It’s not just my opinion.”

The loose talk of Pope Francis is, in my most humble opinion, the problem of this 10 year papacy. 

If what the pope is teaching President Macron is just the pope’s opinion, as Vatican News translates his answer to a reporter, then is President Macron’s opinion just as good and equal to the pope’s opinion?

The pope would do better to speak of these moral teachings in a more theologically rigid way so as to make clear these teachings are no mere mortal pope’s opinion, but Divine Truth and divinely revealed..

Otherwise Catholics in France and throughout the world will think all opinions are equal and you can pick and choose among men’s mere mortal opinions. 

And therein lies what, in my most humble opinion, is the fatal flaw of Pope Francis’ synodal way: All opinions are equal and we must listen to all opinions and respect them all. 

Certainly if this is true, this ideology is a joke as is Pope Francis’ vision of the synodal way. 

This is a “Google Translation” of his Italian answer to this same question. The article where I found the Italian, also included a photo of the pope sitting alone for several minutes awaiting President Macon to speak with him—The caption says the pope was visibly annoyed to have been kept waiting!

Here’s the Google version:

Pope Francis: Today we didn't talk about this topic, but we talked about it during the other visit, when we met, I talked about it clearly, when he came to the Vatican; I told him my opinion, clearly: you can't play with life, neither at the beginning nor at the end. No playing. It's my opinion: cherish life, you know? Because then you will end up with that policy of non-pain, of humanistic euthanasia. On this I want to quote a book again, read it, it is from 1907 but it is a novel, it is called The Lord of the World, The Lord of the World or The Lord of the Earth, written by Robert Benson the author, he is a writer who it talks about the future, it shows how things will be in the end. And the differences are removed, all of them, and the pain is also removed... and euthanasia is one of these things, gentle death, selection before birth... This shows us how this man had seen current conflicts. Today we are careful with ideological colonizations that ruin human life and go against human life. Today the lives of grandparents are being erased, for example; when human wealth goes into the dialogue between grandparents and grandchildren... it is erased: they are old, they are of no use. You don't play with life. This time I didn't speak to the president, but the other time I did, when he came and I told him my opinion: you can't play with life, let it be the law not to let the child grow in the mother's womb, the law of euthanasia in illness or old age, I'm not saying this is a thing of faith, it's a human, human thing; there is bad compassion. Science has managed to make some painful illnesses less painful and accompanies them with many medicines. You don't play with life.

Another answer the pope gave about the war on Ukraine by Russia was truly befuddling to understand just exactly what the pope was saying as it was so convoluted and incoherent. This caused Vatican News to issue a clarification and this is it:

The Vatican later issued a clarification, saying the pope’s point was that arms merchants never pay the price of their choices, which fall upon “martyred” peoples such as the Ukrainians.


 I drove 30 miles to Hardeeville, SC early this Sunday morning to go to the bank! The bank on Sunday, you ask? Well, not exactly, but to Saint Anthony Catholic Mission, housed in a former bank building. I asked a parishioner there to take a picture of me prior to the procession at their 8:30 AM Mass. It wasn’t until I post this photo that I saw that the carpet I am standing on has the name of the Church. God forgive me for stepping on Catholic! The photographer must have known to include it in this picture. Cool! I gave a five minute homily and used the Roman Canon and the 8:30 AM Mass was mercifully ended by 9:10 AM! God is Good!


Amy Welborn wrote a lengthy rebuttal with some thoughts of her own about Cardinal Dolan’ recent opining about Masses being too long. Cardinal Dolan’s article is HERE

At Amy’s long commentary there is a great comment that alerted me to Wichita’s Pope Francis appointed bishop, Bishop Kemme who wrote a Pastoral letter on the Liturgy released on September 13th. I found this by accident. Why are no other blogs reporting on it? It is a liturgical bombshell! The link to the letter is at the bottom of Stephanie Mann’s comment on Amy’s post below:

 Stephanie A. Mann:

Bishop Kemme in Wichita is leading us to re-orient ourselves at Mass “Ad Deum” instead of at ourselves in a recent Pastoral Letter: 

“Christ left us the memorial of his sacrifice so that we might learn what it means to offer ourselves as a complete and total self-gift to the Father. By participating in Christ’s sacrifice to the Father, we also learn to give our lives as a living sacrifice. When the entirety of the liturgy is prayed, ad Deum, which in Latin means toward God, the liturgy sends us back into the world to live life as self-gift ad Deum. Indeed, many aspects of the liturgy portray the idea of self-gift; however, I want to emphasize how it is revealed in sacred music. . . . 

“In the liturgy, we transcend space and time to participate in the sacrifice of Christ at the one altar that remains in the temple of the Heavenly Kingdom. From the onset, the music accompanying this procession should direct our thoughts to the particular mystery being celebrated, and it should resemble the song of the angels and the saints revealed to us in the scriptures. However, too often, we sing music that focuses not on God but on us. When this happens, the liturgy loses its focus on God and can become self-serving rather than self-giving.” 

I think it’s a good step, although when I attend the Sunday TLM at the one parish church it’s allowed at now, it’s all there already.


The title above this post is not mine, but rather that of the Deacon’s Bench. In the link below my comments is a good analysis of how poorly Vatican II has been implemented in these more than 50 years. 

Some say, it will take another 50 years to implement all aspects of Vatican II properly. But I don’t expect to see it even if it is 10 years. And most who once were practicing Catholics could care less. 

When you have at most 20% of all baptized Catholics attending Mass, and in some places it is less than 5%, who will be around in 10 or 50 years to see the new springtime for the Church that members of a utopian magisterium once predicted????

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s essay asking if Mass is just too long (the essay is linked in Deacon Kendra’s post), misses the point as Amy Welborn’s response (also linked in the Deacon’s Bench) points out. 

When I was in the seminary, our homiletic’s professor taught us that we should write an outline for our homilies, memorize that outline and speak without notes but not veering away from the planned “talking points” of the outline. He also said that the homily should be 5 to 7 minutes long, never more than 7 minutes but less that 5 minutes was fine. 

In my 44 years of ordination, I began to go 10 to 12 minutes, sometimes a bit longer. I never used notes, except for about a 3 or 4 year period between 2015 to about 2020. Why? Anxiety about speaking extemporaously from a memorized outline got to me. But the problem was that I was getting too theological and wanted to be more accurate in explaining what I was preaching. I sounded stilted.

Since 2020 I’ve gone back to an outline and preach no more than 7 minutes. In retirement, I usually preach no more than 5 minutes on Sunday. People like that I speak off the cuff. I tell them I don’t, but I speak from a memorized simple outline. 

My Masses at a packed church in Bluffton are no more than 45 to 50 minutes long. That is well appreciated, I can tell you.

The other thing that makes the Mass too long is the amount of time it takes to distribute Holy Communion. Kneeling at an altar railing reduces the time, believe I know. Of course, the priest gets a workout but just look it as spiritual works of mercy!

As it concerns music, if a hymn is sung that isn’t the official Entrance Chant, which is sad that the official chant is seldom heard in most parishes, it should end once the priest is at the chair or the altar, wherever he begins the Mass. The parts of the Mass that are sung should be crisp and not dragged out with repeated sentences or God-forbid, refrains, and please, no silly, childish echo parts! And once Holy Communion is distributed, no singing!! And at the recessional, the priest leaves immediately and once he goes the people go, no need to sing endless verses of a recessional hymn or entertain the people with a postlude, but postlude please as people leave!

As far as contrived silences, no more than 10 seconds before the Penitential Act, 5 seconds after the readings and no silence after the homily, unless the congregation needs to recover from an unusually disastrous homily, but most homilies don’t need silence afterwards. 15 seconds of silence after Holy Communion, no singing or instrumental music, is good too. 

My own suggestion might be too backwards for our papal magisterium today. Each parish should have a “principal” Mass which is your traditionally called “High Mass” or more accurately “Sung Mass” and by that I don’t mean singing added hymns, but singing the Mass, priest, choir, assembly, using incense, Holy Water, etc. Liturgy geeks who like all this know when to get it; others no how to avoid it. That Mass could go well over an hour and well appreciated by those who desire it. 

The other Masses can be more simplified, maybe use progressively solemnity or a hodgepodge of liturgical niceties. One or two Masses—no singing, just a. Spoken Mass. 

Deacon Kandra’s post raises many more issues. Press it’s title for it: