Sunday, May 29, 2011


Since I take Monday's off, that means that I miss all the national holidays since I don't also take Tuesdays off when a holiday happens. So I've decided to lump all the Monday national holidays I've missed together and leave Sunday afternoon for some R and R and return Friday. So I won't be posting new posts. However, if you send a comment, I'll try to post it from my blackberry, but last week I couldn't for some reason, but who knows that might be rectified now.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


These photos are from my first one in December of '09, but today's was just like it! Beautiful if I do say so myself!

If this reads as though I'm gushing, that's because I am!

Well, we did it again! A second couple has asked for and received the Extraordinary Form of the Nuptial High Mass here at St. Joseph. The GROOM is from Texas and came into the full communion of the Catholic Church through his experiences with the Extraordinary Form of the Sacraments. His new wife was a parishioner here, her parents still live here and she has been fully imbued with the Extraordinary Mass too.

It is serious, it is solemn and it is not frivolous. There was no introducing the bride and groom after Mass, not clapping, whooping or other silly noises from the congregation. A goodly number of the congregation were not of the Catholic faith.

I met a few of the young people from Texas who attend the EF Mass there. They go to weekly confession and are quite serious about their Catholic faith and very reverent, devotional and spiritual.

I asked a 20 something young man what attracted him to this form of the Mass. He said that he has leanings towards Eastern Orthodoxy spirituality and finds a great deal of that in the EF Mass--he's right!

I often wonder, if we could turn the clock back and not have changed our liturgy to much and maintained the quiet solemnity and the deep spirituality of the EF Mass and avoided the superficial, the creative and the frivolous, what impact it would have on our young and older Catholics. From what I saw today, a tremendous impact and for the better!

Thank you Holy Father, Pope Benedict for this marvelous gift returned to its rightful place in the Church and in our parishes!



"The Bridegroom Cometh" This is the traditional iconography image of Christ the Bridegroom of the Church which is His bride:

This is the "spirit of Vatican II" watered down version of the same:

When I was assigned to St. Teresa's Church in Albany in 1980, we were in the midst of renovating a church building built in the mid 1950's. Rambusch out of New York was the consulting firm. Of course the desire of the consultants was to bring the altar out into the congregation and to have seating on three sides of it. On paper it looked nice, in reality it was a debacle.

One of the things that was suggested and almost passed although I vehemently objected and finally persuaded others to reject was the removal of a large crucifix over the altar in the sanctuary. Rambusch said that the crucifix was "Pre-Vatican II" and that the trend today (1980's) was to replace it with an empty cross or the "Risen Lord" on the Cross rather than the crucified image.

I've never use to think of Christ the Bridegroom as He is depicted in traditional iconography, but in my mind's eye I've pictured Christ the Bridegroom as I picture most grooms on their wedding day, happy, vibrant and virile, ready to meet his bride and begin their life together. I've never pictured Christ the Bridegroom as iconography has done over the years as in the icon above, stripped, crown of thorns slammed on His head, bleeding and seemingly helpless, anything but strong, virile and handsome.

What do the two images of Christ the Bridegroom (and removal of crucifixes which is iconoclasm) suggest to you? How does it shape our understanding not only of Jesus Christ and His relationship to His Bride, the Church, but of how we understand the Church and ourselves who are baptized comprising the "Bride of Christ?" Just wondering.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Katie Smoak who received the first ever Msgr. John Cuddy Award (for religion and spirituality) chatting after her Mt. de Sales Academy High School Graduation exercises with yours truly over a funny incident as she received her award from Msgr. Cuddy. Her sister, Laura, an 8th grade graduate from the same school looks on:

What a busy two weeks:

May 15, special First Communion Mass
May 17, Catholic High School Baccalaureate Mass with Bishop
May 18, Confirmation Mass with Bishop
May 19, our 6th elementary school graduation Mass
May 20, our pre-K graduation ceremonies
May 22, non-sectarian private high school Baccalaureate service at our Church with me presiding at 3:00 PM
May 23, 8th grade graduation at our private Catholic school
May 24, the end of the school year Mass and awards for our elementary school
May 26, our annual calendar meeting that I absolutely hate, but we absolutely need, planning through December of 2012

I'm taking Memorial Day off and a few days after that too! Vacation in July and then guess what? The first day of our elementary school is Tuesday, August 9th!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011



After Vatican II and in order to promote the “priesthood” of the laity, most parishes in the United States began Parish Councils which were modeled after elected “legislatures” in cities, states and nations. It was based upon representation in the parish , electing members to the council and giving parishioners a vote in the parish.

Later, as experience dictated that this model was not appropriate for the Catholic Church which is hierarchical, governed by canon law and diocesan policies, parish councils developed into “pastoral councils.” These councils respected canon law which stated that all such councils are advisory to the pastor and do not usurp his canonical authority in making decision in the parish, but rather advise him in making those decisions.

Most Catholics though, believed parish councils and pastors should consult with the entire parish, take votes from a congregational view and adhere to the will of the people. Of course, that is a corrupt view of Catholicism. We see it especially in the “ultra-liberal” “Voice of the Faithful” movement in the Church following revelations about the sex abuse scandal. These tiny in number, but vocal lay Catholics want to run the Church, hire and fire their priests, elect their bishops and be more like the Episcopal Church in governance, locally, nationally and internationally.

The only problem with this approach is that it is not Catholic, does not follow our hierarchical structure of things, which the Church believes to be infallibly revealed, does not follow canon law and also leads small groups of laity fighting for more power in the Church.It becomes very divisive. They tend to have contempt for the hierarchy and the canon laws that govern the exercise of authority.Often they desire to usurp that authority over perceived and actual abuse of authority or mismanagement of authority. They want to call the shots, review all financial records, hire and fire and have a voice in micro managing the parish and its pastor. They want to know who is paid what, and they threaten to withhold their offerings until things are the way they want them to be. Don't you just love these pseudo-Catholics on the right and the left and in the middle?

In other words, we see the laity striving to become more like bishops and priests and striving to make the bishops and priests more like the laity. It is the clericalization of the laity and the laicization of the clergy! It happens not only in ultra-progressive, liberal parishes but also in even conservative, traditional parishes. The root desire though is control, to wrestle it away from its rightful canonical recipient. Those on the right who try to take over are as much a part of "AM-Church" that they so decry concerning those on the left!

Congregationalism becomes the flip side of clericalism when individuals or groups of individuals not knowing canon law and the limits of their advice to the pastor, begin to usurp the pastor’s role, challenge his canonical authority and strive to act as parishioners in the Protestant form of congregationalism as experienced in most Baptist Churches as well as in many Episcopal Churches. In other words, these parishioners strive to make the pastor’s life miserable.

We all know of the havoc that clericalism can bring to a parish when the pastor doesn’t follow canon law and rules the parish autocratically or so delegates his authority, that little kingdoms develop in the parish and power plays between various lay groups and paid staff members take place. Both extremes harm the unity of the parish.

Catholics should be Catholics--that means embracing the Catholic Church, her hierarchy in good times and in bad and giving advise where appropriate needed and requested.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Dangers of Clericalism (From the Tablet, A Catholic Publication, liberal leaning from the UK)
21 May 2011

(My comments below this editiorial)

To be against clericalism is not the same as being anticlerical. The latter signifies strong secular resistance to the Catholic Church’s social and political power. Clericalism is about an excessive emphasis on the role of the clergy in the Church’s internal affairs. It implies clerical elitism, the superiority of the priesthood over the laity. Anti-clericalism, as a concept in Continental European politics, is some way past its sell-by date. But clericalism is very much still in currency as a key concept in analysing the cultural factors that gave rise to the clerical sex-abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church. It has almost become de rigueur for church leaders to say they are against clericalism in this context.

Clericalism was dealt a heavy blow by the emphasis in the teaching of Vatican II on the priesthood of all believers and on common baptism. But there is evidence of a clericalist backlash among some of those undergoing training for the priesthood or recently ordained. In dress and attitude, some of them appear to hanker – almost narcissistically – after a restoration of the priest’s elevated status that characterised parish life in the 1950s. A softer form of clericalism is still apparent in diocesan structures and in the Vatican itself, where few lay people are to be found, and usually in relatively junior positions. And clericalism automatically marginalises or excludes women.
It is also sometimes implicit in the motivation of those who are pushing for the return of the Tridentine Rite to general use. While the post-Vatican II new-rite Mass emphasises the Eucharist as an activity shared by the whole community, the Mass named after the Council of Trent puts more weight on the separation of roles, with the priest active and the congregation passively watching.

The Vatican is continuing to put ammunition in the hands the pro-Tridentine lobby in the Church, as in the latest instruction, Universae Ecclesiae, issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Does it not realise how much this will encourage divisive tensions in the Church and a spirit of reactionary rebellion against local episcopal authority, not to mention the revival of a misogynistic and elitist clericalism?

The reinstatement of the Tridentine Rite was intended to unify the Church and reconcile those alienated from it; there is a real danger of it having the opposite effect. If bishops are not alarmed by this, they should be.

Meanwhile, the latest instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) regarding the handling of ­clerical abuse allegations moves in the opposite direction. It recognises that while bishops cannot shirk their responsibilities, they cannot be a law unto themselves in such matters. National episcopal conferences are being required to draw up guidelines and submit them to the Vatican. The importance of cooperation with secular authorities such as the police is emphasised, though curiously the CDF only stresses the duty to report all cases where that is already required by law. It needs to be more general than that: in many countries there is no obligation to report a crime. That apart, the instruction moves the Church into the real world, with best practice (as in England and Wales, perhaps) being made the common standard. As a result, the Church will be that much less clerical – and safer.

My comments:
The editorial is somewhat good, but as with all current day aging progressives, they are nostalgic for the good old days of chaos in the Church as it regards the ministerial identity of the priest.

Make no mistake, clericalism is bad when the priest looks upon the laity as inferior and treats the laity as "children" when they are adults. It is also bad when the priest thinks he is above criticism, evaluation and censure, either by the authority of the Church or his parishioners.

Clericalism can and did exist in the Church of the 1950's and it does in somewhat of a more innocuous way in the post-Vatican II, do your own thing world of the OF Mass and parish communities. Sometimes these parish communities composed primarily of laity are the most "elitist" and "clericalist" of anything prior to the Second Vatican Council. Try to critique a free wielding parish community and tell them to follow the rules of liturgy and begin an EF Mass, and you'll see what I'm saying is true.

The biggest problem in the post-Vatican II Church hasn't been priests wearing cassocks, praying Mass in Latin and knowing who they are as ministerial priests called to served the people of God through word and sacrament, rather, it has been the complete loss of a priestly identity and the majesty of that identity properly lived. It has been the "do your own thing" mentality and to hell with authority.

It is precisely the loss of a priestly identity that has complicated the serious issues of the loss of Catholic identity amongst the laity that is the greatest problem for the Church of 2011.

If a person wants clericalism, he can be such in or out of a cassock or priestly garb and apart for a love of the EF Mass. The OF Mass is the most worrisome place for clericalism because it is so innocuous and does tend to glorify the personality, charm and abilities of the priest to ad lib, perform and look good.

And now for the new English translation of the Missal, a good commentary on it from PBS:

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Playing the blame game in the sex abuse scandal

The John Jay report on the clergy sexual abuse tries to explain what happened. It also sounds like the blame game. That's easy to do from 20/20 hindsight. Suffice it to say,the following is true:

1. The sexual revolution combined with the revolution against authority combined with the upheaval in the Church after Vatican II which led to the loss of identity of priests, nuns, monks, brothers, sisters and a good number of laity of the 1960's and 70's is the greatest factor in this horrible chapter on sex abuse. Prior to Vatican II, there were strict laws and codes of conduct scripted in minute detail. Overnight that was thrown out the window and those who were mature dealt with it in a mature fashion. Those stuck in adolescence although they were in their 40, 50's and older went through their adolescence bringing heart break to those in their way and themselves.

2. This is as much an authority and power issue as it is a sexual one. Some bishops managed their priests during this period very well others didn't. In addition, sexual molestation of minors was viewed more as a sin that could be forgiven, an event the victim would get over and a fact of human life. But it was hush, hush. Not good from our 2011 perspective of things is it? We know better today.

3. Perfection through psychology reigned supreme in this period especially with pop-psychology. Psycho-analysis could cure your psychological problems (today it's medication). Bishops who supervised priests thought these priests who abused could be cured and they needed personnel. Jesus loves you and the Church shouldn't appear to be harsh any longer compromised many bishops leading them to make stupid decisions regarding priests who molested. Clericalism of course plays into this in a huge way.

4. Opportunity. Think about this. Even in the 1960's most parents would not entrust their daughters to a priest as they would their boys. They would allow their sons to go on trips with priests and to be with the priest unsupervised. For the most part, mothers and fathers would not have allowed that for their daughters. For priests who had an attraction to teenage boys, this was a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, this scandal is a scandal of "betrayal of trust" and "misplaced trust." Priests were idealized as being Christ--but a priest is not Christ, never forget that. Only Christ is Christ. I think this accounts for the overwhelming number of boys abused compared to girls. Parents and others would be more keen on not letting a priest be alone for long periods of time with their daughters. The current Virtus training we offer the laity now, informs them about protecting the boundaries of our youth and being vigilant.

5. The pundits in the liberal wing of the Church have used the scandal to blame celibacy and an all male priesthood. The conservatives have blamed the liberalization of the Church and unbridled homosexuality and allowing homosexuals to become priests. The John Jay Report says that it is neither of these, but cultural factors and changing sexual mores in the 1960's. I personally don't think you can discount either of these observations when combined with what else was happening in the Church and culture. The Church and bishops moved from being very austere, doctrinaire and rigid in their approach to discipline (just look at our Catholic schools prior to and after Vatican II) to very flexible, open, and "look the other way" (just look at what happened to the Mass in the '70's). This was a recipe for disaster and a disaster we had. If there is a "good old boy" system (keep in mind there is a "good old girl" system in women's communities too) then an all male institution without constraints or accountability will run a muck. In terms of "homosexuality" certainly there are mature homosexuals who are celibate and priests and would never take advantage of a teenager. The same is true of heterosexuals. But there are both homosexuals and heterosexuals who have compulsions towards sex and toward teenagers. If access to them is enabled by mismanagement by bishops and naivete by laity, then we see what happens. But if the laity believed that all priests are heterosexual and that's the reason they don't allow their priests to have the same access to their girls as they do to their boys, then what happened is what happened. It was a combination of naivete and trust--most laity just wouldn't believe that a priest would do something like molesting their child. The betrayal of trust by those priests that took advantage of the trust accorded to them and the mismanagement of clergy by bishops whether intentional or unintentional play the greatest role in this debacle as well as the naivete of the laity concerning the remotest possibility that a priest could be a molester. They let their guard down out of ignorance.

6. This scandal is not about pedophilia, although there is that part to the scandal, but miniscule. Pedophilia is a pathology that is incurable. Attraction to the adult body of a post-pubescent child is not pedophilia--it is physical sexual attraction. Mature homosexuals and heterosexuals recognize their attractions and have "impulse control" when it comes to sex. Immature homosexuals and heterosexuals who are attracted not only to the physical qualities of the teenagers developed body,but also to that teenagers immaturity or "seeming" maturity are the ones most at risk to take advantage of opportunities to have sex and if in the priesthood, to groom such individuals for such untoward relationships. If there is stress in the priest's life, he has problems with having chaste adult friendships with either sex and is himself a "teenager" at heart, psychologically, then danger lurks.

This is a very sad chapter in our Church. Most cases being litigated now come from the 1960's and 1970's, the overwhelming number from the 70's. Know your history and know what else was happening in the "spirit of Vatican II" Church of that time. Know too what was happening in our society in general at that time!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It seems that I was left behind. It is early in the morning, so I don't know if Fr. Justin or our seminarian Avery Hanna have been raptured and I certainly don't want to enter their rooms at this hour to find out.

It is dark outside and I can't tell if anyone remains. I should have stocked up on food since there will be no farmers, butchers or grocery store owners to service my needs.

And what about gasoline. Who will do the oil refining?

I think I have enough clothes for a while. I hope I don't break my glasses. I'd feel like Burgess Meredith in that famous episode of the Twilight Zone, when the world comes to an end through a nuclear holocaust and he's left behind having survived it. His only pleasure in life was reading and he finds a library with thousands of books only to drop his glasses and have them shattered!

I haven't been to any cemeteries to see if tombs have been opened and are emptied. I'm sure no one was raptured from the Catholic Cemetery in town.

I've always suspected that a goodly number of my parishioners were Protestant at heart and since only Catholics and non-believers will be left behind, I suspect these Protestant leaning parishioners squeaked into being raptured!

And of course, Macon, Georgia has the highest number of churches (protestant) per capita than any other community in America, so most of Macon as well as my Protestant leaning parishioners probably are gone! I might truly be alone! Does that mean Fr. Justin and Avery Hanna were really Protestants and thus saved?

Dear God, don't let me be alone!



Friday, May 20, 2011


This is an Ordinary Form English Mass in London. Just doing this with the current Mass would go a long way in authentic renewal in the Church:


The author of the article says that it is very difficult for many people to follow the older form of the Mass, the EF form because of the Latin and so many prayers are prayed silently. I agree! For the most part, I think the vast, vast majority of Catholics like the vernacular, but I think they would like the EF Mass in English too and would be drawn to it if they could understand and follow it better.

But we don't need to create a new form of the Mass, we need to reform the OF Mass so that it looks and feels more like the EF Mass. This should become the new OF Missal.

What would it look like?

1. Celebrate the OF Mass ad orientem,but allow for all vernacular, except maybe the Eucharistic prayer, keeping it in Latin.

2. Allow the traditional prayers at the foot of the altar to become an alternative to the penitential rite.

3. Re-complicate the rubrics as in the EF Mass, including all the genuflections, kissing of the altar when turning from it, greetings in the EF position, rather where they are in the OF Mass.

4. In line with rubrical changes, return to the choreography of the EF Mass for the OF Mass of the altar servers and priests and deacons.

5. Kneeling for Holy Communion, reception on the tongue and wider use of intinction, for every Mass if one so desires.

Simply doing this and keeping the OF Missal with all of its added prayers, prefaces, Masses, lectionary and order would be a wonderful hermeneutic of reform within continuity of the previous Mass. Keep the revised calendar too, simply return the season of Septuagesima and ember days and rename the two segments of the calendar currently called Ordinary Time to Time after Epiphany and Time after Pentecost.

We don't need to tinker too much with the OF, just do what I suggest. You know I'm clairvoyant, but maybe I'm not.


Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger and many of the Catholic Kennedy clan are pro-choice when it comes to abortion. That doesn't mean that they advocate for abortion or believe it is morally right, but they do not want to foist their religious belief, morality or "ethics" onto anyone else in a political or legal way. They want those who want to have an abortion to have the right to kill their unborn child.

When it comes to adultery, I wonder how "pro-choice" Maria is? She seems to have had second thoughts about it when it comes to marital infidelity. Given the logic of her reason and that of the pro-choice political community, shouldn't Arnold have had the right to choose to have an affair without any resultant negative ramifications, such as his wife separating from him and contemplating divorce?

Keep in mind, pro-choice politicians don't want those who provide abortions or have them to face any penalties. Their choice to have an abortion is private, between them and their provider.

Is not adultery a private affair between Arnold and his provider? Why can't he choose to live a double life right under the nose of his wife and family, have a second family and choose not to tell anyone about it?

Joe Pompeo who writes an article for "The Cutline" on Yahoo writes the following:

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's whopping breach of marital ethics has touched off a curious ethical dilemma in the media world: In reporting the ongoing fallout from Schwarzenegger's affair with the former housekeeper who gave birth to his child, has the press unduly invaded the privacy of Schwarzenegger's one-time paramour?

Indeed, hasn't Maria and the press invaded the privacy not only of Arnold's "one-time paramour" but his also, since his right to choose is now being called "a whopping breach of marital ethics" by the press no less! This is all about choice and the privacy that one needs to do it and not be held accountable!
In closing, I think that when the Sacrament of Matrimony is damaged by infidelity this is tragic and I do believe that married couples have a right to privacy when these sorts of mortal sins enter their Sacrament.

However, I would oppose a spouse who does not believe what the Church teaches about adultery or abortion and in a public way promotes immorality and being a choice that is neutral morally, ethically and politically, not to mention criminally.

With that said, I hope Maria and Arnold work out their differences, go to Retrouvaille, repent of their pro-choice immorality, go to confession and be reconciled to God, Church and each other.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Our bishop was in town last night to celebrate Confirmation with about 48 of our 9th graders and four adults who had missed it over the years.

It was a lovely OF "Solemn Mass." Our full choir was there, the men's schola sang the "Vidi Aquam" at the Rite of Sprinkling, we had organ, trumpet and timpani.

We used the Mass of Creation except for "Took's, Mass of the Holy Trinity" Lamb of God.

It was lovely and I had kids, young adults and old people come up to me and say how moving the Mass was especially the singing. And yes the congregational singing was outstanding, led by our fine choirs under the direction of Ms. Nelda Chapman.

I love the OF Mass when it is celebrated well, with dignity and without gimmicks or theatrics.

Then this morning I find this in my email:

Dear St. Josephs church this night of May 18, 2011 when I was attending the conformation mass I was highly pleased when I felt welcomed when the Bishop said that once baptized all religions Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, ect. are all equal in the eyes of God. This made me feel like I was as equal as the rest of the people in the church since I am Methodist. He was highly hilarious with the questions of what their favorite salad dressing was. Then when it came time for communion I went forward since I have been confirmed already at my church. How sad it made me when I was asked if I was catholic then told that I did not have the same religious rights to take communion because I was not. I was denied bread and shown that I was not equal as the Bishop had said. I just wanted to tell you that as a 15 year old boy who praises Jesus just as well as any catholic person does I felt that my religious rights had been infringed upon and I don’t agree with the fact that any child of god should be denied communion especially if they have gone through conformation. I just wanted to say that I don’t agree with the Bishop being religionist to me after he says that we are all equal he made me feel like he was hypocritical to all that he said and why should I believe another word of it. I might have understood if he would have asked everyone that went to communion if they were Catholic but no my 12 year old sister and my dad all who are not catholic got to have communion as well this made me want to leave in the middle of church and it is extremely disappointing when a religious leader can be religionist to one person in a church just because he is not catholic. My beliefs and what the Bishop said tonight we are all one under God and I just don’t understand how you can go against God and you own word and have your actions show different.

A disappointed child of God

In some ways this email made me want to cry because this young 15 year old boy loves the Lord and is a practicing Christian and takes our Christian faith seriously. I am impressed that he emailed me! How many Catholic teenage boys would do that?

But therein lies the rub in our ecumenical days of dialogue. We haven't yet reached full communion with other Christians even for special occasions.

Also his point that he felt singled out in being asked if he was a Catholic (I presume he appeared to the bishop as not knowing how to receive in a Catholic Church) would have made any Protestant a bit angry when his other family members who are not Catholic were not asked and did receive Holy Communion.

At funerals and weddings, I usually say we can only invite those practicing Roman Catholics who are properly disposed to come forward and receive Holy Communion.

We did have a program for the Mass last night and I suspect I should have included a disclaimer about who can receive Holy Communion in it similar to what is found in many missalettes from the USCCB although our missalette does not contain it.

What do you think. I am impressed though with this young man's religious desire for Holy Communion and willingness to state his displeasure at what he perceived to be a slight.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In the Catholic Mass there are things that we do in common and then there is some room for personal piety that is, well, personal.

When I was a child, many people after receiving Holy Communion would bury their heads in their hands or even put their forehead to the top of the pew. I thought they were upset or something, until my father told me that is the way they chose to pray and give thanks to God, but not everyone has to do it that way.

We had our First Holy Communion this past Sunday. In our rehearsal, I made sure to tell the children that before they receive Holy Communion, they should bow to the host as this is prescribed as the reverence that is shown prior to receiving Holy Communion in the United States.

However, we also have a custom in our parish and in many other places of making the sign of the cross after receiving Holy Communion.

So our children very dutifully bowed before receiving and made the sign of the cross afterward, one officially prescribed rubric, another a parish custom.

How much personal adaptation should we allow the laity at Mass:
holding hands in prayer?
Raising hands as charismatics do?
standing for the Eucharistic prayer?

What da ya think?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Sunday's EF Mass at the Altar of the Chair, behind the grand papal altar!

Receiving Holy Communion kneeling, a sign of things to come even in the OF Mass and the new one Roman Missal of the future?

The pope's long-term aim is not to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a "common rite" that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.


As you know, currently with Summorum Pontificum, the Holy Father has written that there now exists two forms of the one Roman Rite, the Ordinary and Extraordinary.

But Cardinal Kurt Koch speaking about Summorum Pontificum states that Pope Benedict's overall plan (Marshall Plan) is to eventually allow enough time for a new Missal that in my words combines the best of both and returns the Latin Rite Church to one Roman Missal!

What might that look like? As you know I'm clairvoyant, but maybe I'm not.

It doesn't take too much clairvoyancy to see the future in this regard. Just watch how the Holy Father celebrates Mass in the Ordinary Form since as Pope he has never celebrated the EF Mass:

1. The altar is decorated in the traditional manner.

2. While he does face the people in most of his celebrations of the Mass, he has also celebrated ad orientem showing that this is perfectly acceptable too!

3. He celebrates the Mass in the vernacular in Italy and on his travels, although in Rome sometimes for international events it is all in Latin. However, and this is to be noted, even when he celebrates the Mass in a parish Church in Rome, his more recent (last four years) custom is to always pray the Preface and Eucharistic prayer in Latin, although he does not confine himself only to the Roman Canon.

4. He distributes Holy Communion to communicants who are kneeling and they must receive on the tongue. For special occasions he intincts the host into the Precious Blood. (In Rome at St. Peter's even concelebrating bishops when they go to the altar to self-communicate, they take the host which is in the ciborium and dip it (intinct) into the chalice of the Precious Blood, they don't drink from the "common chalice."

5. I think the current lectionary will remain maybe with some revisions and adding the EF's one year cycle for Sunday as a 4th year, Year "D."

6. The Roman Calendar will be slightly revised to include the three Sundays before Lent called the season of Septuagesima, and to return to ember days and the season of Pentecost with an Octave for Pentecost.

Those of you who are clairvoyant, but maybe not, what do you think the new Roman Missal will look like? Fr. Z thinks it won't happen even in his lifetime and I think he's in his 50's. When do you think it will happen?

This is the Mass this past Sunday at St. Peter's Basilica at the "Altar of the Chair" which is directly behind the Papal altar. I've concelebrated Mass on this altar, but facing the people and without notice an altar boy shoved a microphone in front of me so I could say part of the Eucharistic Prayer (# 3) in Italian! I did it rather well, without having practiced ahead of time and despite the fact that I've never had a formal education in Italian, especially reading it! God's grace kicked in!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The article below was written by a priest of the Society of Pope Pius X. That group is the schismatic group that Pope Benedict XVI has been trying to reconcile to the Church but so far in vain. Apart from trying to be more Catholic than the pope, they've become actually more Protestant than Fr. Martin Luther.

But in the brief article below they get some things right although unwittingly. My comments follow this brief article:

An Opening in a Double Direction


In his homily for the beatification of his predecessor, Benedict XVI proposed an interpretation of the famous “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!”, pronounced by John Paul II at the beginning of his pontificate. For Benedict XVI, “what the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was the first himself to do. Society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ.” Vatican Council II, which was John Paul II’s “compass”, claims to be the council of the opening of the Church to the modern world, but Benedict XVI tells us that the Pope who for 27 years applied this council with zeal, “opened society to Christ”. A double question arises: is it the spirit of the modern world that entered into the Church? Or is it the Catholic spirit that has transformed the modern world?

Paul VI had answered the first question, without proposing any remedies: “Doubt has entered into our consciences, and it has entered in by windows that should be open to the light. (…) This state of incertitude reigns even in the Church. It had been hoped that after the Council a sunny day would shine on the history of the Church. Instead, it is a day of clouds, tempests, shadows, groping and incertitude that has come.” (Insegnamenti, Ed. Vaticana, Vol. X, 19972, p. 707)

John Paul II himself gave an answer to the second question, without drawing from it its concrete consequences, recognizing that the time we live in is one of “silent apostasy” in which there reigns a sort of “practical agnosticism and religious indifferentism, which leads many Europeans to give the impression of living without a spiritual loam and as heirs that have dilapidated the patrimony bequeathed to the.” (Ecclesia Europa, June 28, 2003)

In both cases, the desired opening turned into a tragic disappointment.

Fr. Alain Lorans


Fr. Lorans actually gets two of his points correctly. The first is that Pope Paul VI was very concerned and I would even suggest clinically depressed about what was happening to the Church worldwide in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council that collided with social unrest and political and sexual revolution of the 1960's. The secular revolution that affected also the Church was one that opposed authority, whether religious or secular. In America this led to the term "generation gap" which only people my age would get, which is really niffty when you think about it! I remember when it was cool to call cops "pigs" and anyone over 30 the enemy. But I digress.

Blessed John Paul II who ascended to the Chair of Peter in the fall of 1978 by shear force of personality tried to restore the great discipline of the Church and was quite successful on many fronts. He did not compromise Catholic identity in his dialogue with the world. That helped to bring down communism and liberation theology. That would not have happened if Blessed John Paul II compromised on our Catholic identity!

Fr. Lorains correctly writes what Pope Benedict said about Blessed John Paul II:

“What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was the first himself to do. Society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ.”

In other words, Pope Benedict gets the gist of Vatican II as teaching us that we should dialogue with the world in order to bring the world to Christ and His Church. Keep in mind that after the Protestant Reformation, the Church was in the "circle the wagons" mode and afraid of the assaults of Protestantism and modernism and this persisted until the Second Vatican Council. By the 1960's the Church's hierarchy was more than ready to open up that circle of wagons and create a dialogue with the world. The initial steps were not very fruitful, but what Blessed John Paul II showed the world is the right way to do it. Pope Benedict sees his own papacy in continuity with Blessed John Paul's.

Therein lies the rub, though. In this new and unbridled desire to be successful at dialogue and to become optimistically modern, so much of Catholic identity, especially little "t" traditions were thrown out the window. But worse yet, a solid foundation of knowing Catholic faith, spirituality, devotions, and moral teachings were also thrown out the window as that was seen by many modern theologians as the only way to dialogue successfully with the secular world and also with the Protestant world and non-Christian world.

When you throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to your identity and then think you can dialogue with those who oppose you, you will be the one who will lose in the long run. Rather than opening the world to Christ, the Church opened herself to the world who does not recognize Christ as the Church does and thus the Church began to conform or be converted to the world. Blessed John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI have sought to turn that mentality around. Especially the attention that Pope Benedict has given to the Liturgy, both the EF and OF is a rather significant development for it is in her liturgy that the Church finds the source and summit of her Catholic identity. A corrupted form of celebrating the liturgy will corrupt Catholic identity.

So a recovery of Catholic identity, including all our little "t" traditions, as well as the EF Form of the Mass, faithful celebrations of the OF Mass, our Catholic spirituality, doctrines and morality will go a long way in recovering what Vatican II presumed the Church would bring to the world, her unabashedly Catholic identity. This will lead the world to Christ, not Catholics who have lost their Catholic identity. In this way, we all will truly become Vatican II Catholics.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Do people give a "damn" about the secret lives of married clergy in Protestant denominations who cheat on their wives, divorce them, get married to their co-sinner? Voyeurism reigns supreme for those trying to change the discipline of the Catholic Church, but not so much when it comes to those pedestrian Protestant ministers. Who gives a flip?

Let's say that Fr. Cutie featured in the video below, who is now we presume happily married and with child, decides that his attraction to one of his married Episcopalian parishioners is so great that he should celebrate that attraction since sex is a gift from God.

Would he then push the Episcopal Church to change their discipline regarding marriage? Oh, I forgot, they have and no one cares! Never mind!



In England, meat and poultry will be forbidden each Friday of the year!!!

Your every Friday Penance will be to eat this!

It is still Catholic law that we should do some form of penance each Friday of the year. Back in the 1960's the general law that Catholics abstain from meat and poultry products was lifted, but it was said that each Catholic should decide individually what penance they would substitute. Abstaining was still recommended. However, very quickly most people did very little or no penance at all on Fridays except during Lent when we are required to abstain. We lost our Catholic identity in this regard as something that all Catholics commonly do.

The following is a report from England. It is great news and if only the American bishops and all the bishops' conferences of the world would follow suit-this I pray:

Fish on Friday re-established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

By Peter Jennings · May 13, 2011

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have re-established the Friday Penance of abstaining from meat on a Friday.

The law will come into force on Friday 16 September 2011, the First Anniversary of the State Visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom in 2010.

Following their Spring Meeting at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, Monday 9 to Thursday 12 May 2011, the Catholic media office issued the following statement (13 May 2011) under the heading Catholic Witness – Friday Penance:

By the practice of penance every Catholic identifies with Christ in his death on the cross. We do so in prayer, through uniting the sufferings and sacrifices in our lives with those of Christ’s passion; in fasting, by dying to self in order to be close to Christ; in alms-giving, by demonstrating our solidarity with the sufferings of Christ in those in need. All three forms of penance form a vital part of Christian living. When this is visible in the public arena, then it is also an important act of witness.

Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord. The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference.

The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognize that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.

Respectful of this, and in accordance with the mind of the whole Church, the Bishops’ Conference wishes to remind all Catholics in England and Wales of the obligation of Friday Penance.

The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this should be fulfilled by abstaining from meat.

Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake.

This is to come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011 when we will mark the anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.

Many may wish to go beyond this simple act of common witness and mark each Friday with a time of prayer and further self-sacrifice. In all these ways we unite our sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, who gave up his very life for our salvation.


With yesterday's release of the clarifying document on Summorum Pontificum, called Universae Ecclesiae just how pushy should we get in promoting the extraordinary form of the Mass?

At St. Joseph Church, our current practice for almost four years has been to have a monthly Latin High Mass at 2:00 PM on the first Sunday of the month. Granted that 2:00 PM is not the best time for Mass, we average about 80 people. Not all, though, are parishioners. Many come from far away.

Then every Tuesday we have a Latin Low Mass at 5:00 PM. that averages about a dozen people. Compare that to our OF 8:00 AM daily Mass which averages about 60 people, sometimes more.

We have celebrated the EF Mass for special occasions. Twice now we have had an All Souls' Commemoration singing Fauré's Requiem and we get about 200 attending. The same for our St. Joseph Feast Day Mass on March 19th. Keep in mind these are not Holy Days of Obligation.

On Easter Sunday our 1:00 PM Mass was an EF High Mass with about 300 attending. Many who were only Easter and Christmas Catholics came because of the time, not the type of Mass, but no one complained. Maybe C & E Catholics realize they have no right to complain?

Now, this is just in the realm of ideas and I have no intention of any sort of immediate change. However, having five Masses on the First Sunday of each month is becoming a bit of a drain. I've often wondered if I shouldn't make the following changes:

Make our normal 12:10 Ordinary Form Mass (which is completely sung, including the priest's parts as is our 9:30 AM Mass) an Ad Orientem Mass in the Ordinary Form, but in English. Then, once a month, on the First Sunday of the Month, make it an Extraordinary Form Mass.

Our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass averages about 400 people, although it fluctuates. I would not want to run these people off with the EF Mass. And certainly if I made it exclusively EF that is what will happen.

With that said, I have found that those who desire the EF Mass are very grateful for the arrangement we already have. No significant group is pushing for this Mass to be every Sunday. I could not do it every Sunday as an extra Mass and perhaps they are respectful of that reality.


Friday, May 13, 2011


Hopefully this post won't disappear like my last one on clairvoyancy! I didn't see that coming!

But the clarifying document on the EF Mass is out. Not too much that is earth shaking, but it is here to stay! God bless Pope Benedict XVI!



Just a few blocks from my rectory!

There have been major problems with blogspot which I use to post. Yesterday's post is gone and I couldn't post new comments. I think it affected everyone who uses this for their blogs! However, any comments that are not posted are lost forever I suspect. Not my fault, not my fault, not my most grievous fault!

But with that said, interesting story here in Macon. A bear in downtown yesterday morning! Keep in mind, we a small southern city, not a town! The building where the bear was photographed houses a real estate company. Maybe the bear was looking to buy a den? This building is about three blocks from the rectory and yes this morning when I went out to exercise and it was dark, I was most cautious!

BEAR IN DOWNTOWN MACON, PRESS HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT IT! I especially like the last part of the story which tells you black bears aren't dangerous, but if you run into one, don't run away from it, back away as it might think you are prey if you run! That's reassuring!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


In thanksgiving for this Holy Father, Universae Ecclesiae and the Atlanta Schola Cantorum who sang here this past Saturday night, a taste of what we heard. It was glorious!

Universae Ecclesiae will come out on May 13th, Friday, that is, Friday the 13th! Yikes! What will it say? Time will tell. As you know I am clairvoyant, but maybe I'm not, but I suspect it will say we can celebrate this Mass, any priest in the world, and that it is one of the two forms of the Latin Rite Mass, it being extraordinary. I suspect too it will say that seminarians must be trained in celebrating this Mass and understanding its spirituality.

While I am excited about this and eager to read it, I'm more eager to know who my next bishop will be, but I'm keeping my clairvoyant thoughts to myself. I'll let you know when he is named if I was (clairvoyant that is).


Pope Benedict recently said that the Second Vatican Council was to urge a new way of thinking about the liturgy and its purpose; it never set out to be a mandate for wholesale reconstruction and upheaval.

But those who have a different vision of renewal of the Mass and Church, more in keeping with a deconstructionist mentality of both the Mass and the Church, the breaking of continuity between what preceded Vatican II and what occurred afterward are making loud voices of opposition to the Holy Father's "reform of the reform within continuity of pre and post Vatican II experiences." I think these loud noises are much like the Cicadas now coming out of a 13 year hidden life and mating. It won't last long and there will be quiet and calm once the Pope's agenda is fully realized.

What did Sacrosanctum Concilium actually say about the Mass?

1. It called for the reform of the rites to show forth noble simplicity.
However, now that I celebrate the Extraordinary Form Low Mass every Tuesday, I've come to realize that this Mass has a noble simplicity that is quite marvelous. Was it the Solemn Sung Pontifical Masses, such as papal Masses, that needed noble simplicity? If you ever watch a pre-Vatican II solemn sung papal Mass, you'll see just how complicated it was. Many bishops' Masses were equally so. Perhaps SC had these Masses in mind, not the ordinary parish Low or High Mass.

2. It called for some vernacular but maintaining Latin.
The vernacular Mass was very well received by clergy and laity and evidently the pope and very soon Latin was but a sideshow in the Liturgy. In a sense, Pope Benedict's allowance for the liberal celebration of the EF Mass will help to preserve Latin in the Church. But with that said, I hope and pray that the Holy Father will apply what SC actually proposed for the vernacular in the EF Mass--the parts of the Mass that change from day to day, the Introit, Collect, Offertory antiphon Secret,Preface, Communion Antiphon and Prayer after Communion. These should be in the vernacular while keeping the parts of the Mass that do not change in Latin. The Scriptures too should be in the Vernacular.

3. It called for more Scripture selections to be heard at Mass.
In this regard, it is my opinion that the reformed three-year Sunday lectionary and two-year daily Mass lectionary are jewels in the crown of the reform of the Mass and quite faithful to SC. I recognize though that many people say that having three readings plus the psalm might be a bit too much each Sunday, that only two readings are needed as in the EF Mass's lectionary currently (and also daily Mass lectionary for the OF). I hope and pray that the OF lectionary can be incorporated into the EF Mass as an organic development bringing the EF and OF closer together.

4. SC asked that Gregorian chant be maintained.
This has been an abysmal failure in the OF Mass. Music since the Vatican II has focused not on the Mass texts, such as the Introit, Offertory Antiphon and Communion antiphon, but rather on hymnody that is disconnected from these official texts. I hope that this will change in the coming years and that it be mandated that the actual texts of the Mass be chanted in one fashion or another. The liberal allowance of the EF Mass is bringing back Latin Gregorian Chant and will influence the OF Mass in the future. However, there have been very nice settings for the Gloria, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Amen and Agnus Dei in the vernacular. It is the newer, modern hymns that are the main problem.

5. Full conscious and active participation
This was already occurring by the 1950's in this country and much earlier in other countries of the world. By this, we mean that the laity participate in all the parts of the Mass once reserved to the altar boys and choir. They should actively sing or say these hymns, parts of the Mass that pertain to them. They should not be praying devotions during Mass such as the rosary, novenas or the Stations of the Cross. They should follow the texts of the Mass. In fact, even in the second grade prior to the Second Vatican Council, I was taught how to use my St. Joseph Sunday Missal and to follow what the priest and servers were doing and to quietly to myself say what the altar boys and choir were doing. The Second Vatican Council made this most explicit and much fruit has been born of this since the Council. With the more liberal celebrations of the EF Mass, this should not be lost and people should participate in this Mass as they would in the OF!

The Future:

I hope and pray that eventually the revised Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form will allow for the OF order of the Mass with rubrics that are closer to the EF Mass and that this very same OF Missal will allow for the EF order of the Mass and rubrics.

By this I mean we celebrate the OF Missal as an EF Mass. Of course only the Roman Canon would be allowed in this option. But all the other revised collects, prefaces, and various Masses would be allowed including the OF lectionary and calendar.

Where the OF Mass should converge with the EF Mass and have continuity is kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue and more specifics on the use of the pall and when to genuflect as in the EF Mass. Just my opinions written above!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


What have I done to deserve all these vermin? Answer me!

The name is a direct derivation of the Latin cicada, meaning "buzzer". Some cicadas produce sounds up to 120 dB (SPL)[11] "at close range", among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds.[12] This is especially notable as their song is technically loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss in humans, should the cicada sing just outside the listener's ear

As I returned to the rectory this morning, I was attacked by a cicada! After 13 years of being buried in the ground, they have emerged by the millions to do their thing and their offspring will go away for 13 years and emerge.


They make a deafening sound that sounds like the giant ants in "Them!" It is almost like an electronic sound, but it is THEM!, CICADAS!

At about minute 2:30 you'll hear what the CICADAS! sound like!

Cicadas have a long proboscis under their head that they use for feeding on tree sap, and if they attempt to inject it into a person's body it can be painful, but is in no other way harmful. This sting is not a defensive reaction and should not be mistaken for aggression; it is extremely uncommon, and usually only happens when they are allowed to rest on a person's body for an extended amount of time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This movie first called "Catholics" and then later renamed "The Conflict" stars Martin Sheen. It was a made for TV movie from 1973. Martin Sheen places a hip, young Vatican IV priest. This dialogue is absolutely wonderful and what a time capsule from this 1973 era and those actual progressive Catholic theologians who must have informed the writers of the this movie said to them. It is a hoot but disturbing since much of what the Sheen character is saying is what "spirit of Vatican II" people, especially theologians were saying. You want to know what the 1970's were like, here it is!!!!!



Updated: Catholics, starring Martin Sheen and Trevor Howard, filmed in 1973. Martin Sheen took the name Sheen to honor Bishop Fulton Sheen and thus Charlie Sheen has that name thanks to the good Bishop, but Charlie hasn't honored his memory or name! But I digress, this movie is a bit of a time capsule and shows the Vatican cracking down on traditionalist Catholics in Ireland:

Below is from The Australian Newspaper and comments on the Holy Father's removal from office of Bishop Morris:

(I love it that the article gets the name of the National Catholic Reporter in our country wrong, about the 4th paragraph from the bottom)

Catholics get tough on doctrinal dissent

* Christopher Pearson
* From: The Australian
* May 07, 2011 12:00AM

LAST Monday the front page of The Australian featured a large photograph of an angry bishop. Some commentators in the blogosphere saw it as yet another media beat-up designed to depict the Catholic Church in an unflattering light.

To my mind, it demonstrated a grasp of the battle lines in the culture wars that has eluded the rest of Australia's broadsheets.

The bishop in question was the outgoing Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris. He is one of three men who have been relieved of their dioceses by the Vatican in the past few months.

The others were the bishops of Pointe-Noire in Congo-Brazzaville and Orvieto-Todi in Italy. But while they were removed for financial mismanagement in one case and misbehaviour in the other, Morris's ouster was on doctrinal grounds.

Bishops are in some respects akin to sovereigns in their dioceses and, while it has the authority to remove them, the Holy See is usually very slow to do so, preferring discreet solutions such as early retirement.

The three forced departures in seven months have no precedent in recent years and suggest an increasing preparedness to intervene on the part of the Pope and his new prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet. The previous prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, was an uber-liberal.

The Catholic archbishop of Brisbane, John Bathersby, who will be retiring in 11 weeks, professed himself at a loss to understand the decision. He told the ABC: " I just wish it hadn't happened and I don't know why it happened and I would very much like to know."

Perhaps I can enlighten him.

Morris issued an Advent pastoral letter in 2006 that canvassed various options to make up for the lack of priestly vocations in his diocese.

Some were uncontroversial. Others, including the ordination of married or single women and recognising the validity of Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church clergy, were heretical.

He has since then maintained what he likes to call a dialogue on these non-options.

As anyone with the rudiments of a theological education would know, the Catholic Church resolved the question of women priests in 1994, with the Pope ruling that it had no power to ordain women in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 1995 described that decision as unchangeably settled and "to be held definitively as belonging to the deposit of faith".

On the issue of recognising the orders of Protestant clergy, Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican orders "absolutely null and utterly void" back in 1896 in Apostolicae Curae. That decision was reaffirmed by the CDF in 1998 as an infallible pronouncement to which Catholics must give "firm and definitive assent". The Lutherans in Australia and the Uniting Church don't have bishops or anything remotely like ordination in the Apostolic Succession, so recognising their orders is, theologically speaking, inconceivable.

As a bishop, Morris was obliged to teach what the church teaches, rather than using his position to sow error and confusion among his flock. His removal must have come as an almighty shock to him and his brother bishops in Queensland because they've been getting away with flouting some of Rome's rulings with impunity since the 1970s.

Given that Morris has had five years of what he again likes to call dialogue with no less than three Vatican congregations and the Pope, with plenty of opportunities to change his tune, why has he persisted in error when he was so clearly in the wrong? There are several schools of thought.

The first argues the bishop just isn't very bright.

Its spokesman, Frank Brennan SJ, says: "Bill Morris never pretended to be an academic theologian. He was and is a sensible, considerate, pastoral priest and bishop of a country diocese."

The second, aired on high-profile sites such as Rorate Caeli and Father John Zuhlsdorf's blog and local sites such as Vexilla Regis, is that Morris may have had health problems. The third view, which most agree is at least a significant element, is stubbornness. Morris is one of those liberal-authoritarians who like to assert that within their own jurisdiction they are as powerful as the Pope.

The (ultra-liberal) National Council of Priests encouraged this delusion with a press release last week. "We are concerned about an element within the Church whose restorationist ideology wants to repress freedom of expression within the Roman Catholic Church and who deny the legitimate magisterial authority of the local bishop within the Church."

However, the fact of the matter is that individual bishops have no authority to make independent decisions about questions of doctrine, but rather a collegial role with the other bishops under the leadership of the Pope.

And, again despite the NCP press release, the Pope is not merely the first among equals. According to Canon 331, "by virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power, which he is always able to exercise freely".

Morris's removal sends a clear message to bishops, in Australia and around the world. The Holy See's patience is not, as it long seemed, limitless.

As with the Orvieto-Todi case, the fact that this intervention happened in a first-world country suggests delinquents in the European and American hierarchies can take a lot less for granted than before. As well, requests from the Vatican for bishops' resignations are more likely to succeed during the rest of Pope Benedict's reign because he has just demonstrated that he's prepared to use his powers.

Morris has become a cause celebre in the US thanks to an editorial in The National Catholic Recorder. More of the same can be expected from The Tablet, the English Catholic journal and other liberal websites. No doubt some members of the Swiss and Dutch bishops' conferences will be once again canvassing the option of schism, de facto or actual.

What are the likely repercussions for the Australian Catholic Church?

Morris's departure will further fortify the position of Cardinal George Pell and the more traditionally minded bishops.

The more realistic, liberal bishops are going to have to kiss goodbye to any lingering fantasies they clung to in the 90s of ordaining nuns, or at least keep them to themselves.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


"That's one reason Benedict has been so proactive in rescuing Catholic liturgy from the banality into which it collapsed throughout much of the world (especially the English-speaking world) after Vatican II. Benedict's objective here is not a reactionary "return to the past." Rather, it's about underscoring the need for liturgy to accurately reflect what the Church has always believed -- lex orandi, lex credendi -- rather than the predilections of an aging progressivist generation that reduced prayer to endless self-affirmation."

This is a very good article on Pope Benedict. Read it by pressing these two sentences.