Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Apart from my Jesuit founded and built Church, Saint Joseph in Macon, GA, which had a solemn high low Mass with dozens of altar servers for the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Holy Father, Pope Francis also celebrated his order, the Jesuit's founder's feast and he wore ornate, gold vestments!


I have been gone from the parish for the full month of July, and today, Wednesday, July 31st is my last day. I depart for Macon, two hours away from Augusta, on Thursday, August 1st. I leave at 6 AM and will be back by 8:00 AM or so.

I went to Chicago for a week, took a week of continuing ed with the Dominican Institute in Nashville for about a week and the rest of the time at my mom's home, now mine, which I have named Casa Sanctae Isolina. It's kingdom values, two bedrooms, and a nice little back yard. I use it for my day off normally.

I leave again September first to prepare and depart for my three month sabbatical in Rome through November.

Our parochial sent this photo of Wednesday mornings Solemn High Low Mass in the Ordinary Form at 8:00 AM with our recently returned from Ghana, other parochial vicar, Fr. Godfred!


The New Liturgical Movement reports the following, my comments at the end:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Pope Francis on the Divine Liturgy: "The center is God..."
by Peter Kwasniewski

With all the talk of Pope Francis, this item, courtesy of Robert Moynihan ( should greatly interest the readers of NLM. (Note that this excerpt is from Letter #78, which is not yet available at the above-mentioned website.)

Toward the end of the interview, a Russian journalist asks the Pope to comment on the 1025th anniversary, currently being celebrated in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, of the baptism of the Rus', the ancient Russian people, centered at the time (988 A.D.) in Kiev.

In response, the Pope makes a very positive judgement on the liturgy of the Orthodox. To my knowledge, this response has been little noted.

"They [Orthodox] have conserved that pristine liturgy, no?" Pope Francis says. "So beautiful. We [i.e., the Latin Christians] have lost a bit the sense of adoration, they conserve it, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not count. The center is God and that is a richness that I would like to emphasize on this occasion as you ask me this question."

(Original Italian: "Hanno conservato quella pristina liturgia, no?, tanto bella. Noi abbiamo perso un po’ il senso dell’adorazione, loro lo conservano, loro lodano Dio, loro adorano Dio, cantano, il tempo non conta. Il centro è Dio e quella è una ricchezza che vorrei dire in questa occasione in cui Lei mi fa questa domanda.")

At a moment when many are continuing to wonder about Francis' attitude toward the old liturgy of the Church, it is important to note these words of the Pope, which as far as I know have not been noted by any journalist commenting on this long interview.

[Thank you, Mr. Moynihan, for rescuing this statement from the oblivion of the mainstream press!]

MY COMMENTS: Many are concerned about the actions approved by Pope Francis against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in terms of the EF Mass. I'm not completely sure what the brouhaha is in this community other than the EF Mass has been a source of division in the community. The main point of the decree is that their Superior of the Order can allow their priests to continue to celebrate the EF Mass with his permission. I think that is fair in a religious community that does both forms, otherwise you have each priest doing his own thing and I suspect this is the problem that the Vatican addressed. I could be wrong.

But back to Pope Francis remarks on the Eastern Orthodox liturgy and by way of that on the Eastern Rite Liturgy--He's like Mikey, he likes it! What a relief!

What the Holy Father implies in his answer to the Russian reporter is the Holy Father's continuity with Benedict on the Liturgy and that the current expression of the revised Mass after Vatican II, what is now called by some as the Ordinary Form, is that the Ordinary Form lost a bit the sense of adoration, the EF conserves it, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not count. The center is God and that is a richness that I would like to emphasize in comparison to the OF Mass.

I've put a few words into the Holy Father's mouth but isn't that really what is implied and what Pope Benedict's critique of the fabricated liturgy of Vatican II?

From what I hear, Pope Francis is allowing the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship to continue to work unabated. There have been rumors that eventually we will get a revised, revised Roman Missal more like the EF Mass, but revised nonetheless.

Richard Malcolm makes the following comment from the Praytell blog:

Is the reform of the reform dead? It’s plain that Pope Francis is not liturgically minded in the way that Joseph Ratzinger was and is; it is not on his radar in the same way. He has a Jesuitical impatience, I think, with it all. To the extent that RotR remains alive, it will certainly receive less of its animating impulse from Rome – how much remains to be seen. Key Ratzingerians remain in key places in the Curia: to take but one example, the interdicasterial commission on the Ordinariate Missal is wrapping up its work unhindered, and on early evidence it certainly embodies an RotR mindset to a degree scarcely anything else in the last pontificate did.

My clairvoyance tells me that the work that is being done for the Anglican Ordinariate Missal will mirror or be the template for the reform of the current revised post Vatican II Mass along with its calendar. Of course the Anglican Ordinariate Mass will maintain some Anglican elements that won't be in the pristine Latin Rite revision of the post Vatican II revised Mass.

All of this will have the support of the Supreme Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, the Universal Pastor, Pope Francis I.

Press here for the Anglican Ordinariates Calendar which will be the template for our revised calendar. It has the season of Septuagesima restored, as well as the Octave of Pentecost amongst other traditional elements.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


MY COMMENTS FIRST: I truly appreciate this comment: "But the spokesman for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Father Alfonso Bruno, told CNA July 29 that “more than 80 percent of the friars appreciate the intervention of the Church.”

We are Catholics and as a Catholic priest I support our Holy Father, no matter who he is, in the areas of faith, morals, doctrine, dogma, theology, pastoral or otherwise, and his authority to legislate. The Reform of the Reform above all is to show respect and fidelity to the legitimate Magisterium of the Church, the Pope and the bishops in union with him, THE LIVING MAGISTERIUM.

We might not like this, that or the other about any given pope, bishop or priest, but as Catholics we show charity and respect. Otherwise, we drift back to ugly 1960's and the time of Humanae Vitae when so many clergy, including bishops and laity showed complete contempt for the authority of the Church and the Holy Father. Let's move beyond this kind of 1960's anti-authority, anti-dogma and forward with respect for this pope who is trying to revive Cathoiclicism

FROM CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE AND EWTN: Franciscans of the Immaculate decree worries traditionalists

Rome, Italy, Jul 30, 2013 / 06:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican Congregation for Religious, with the approval of Pope Francis, has appointed a commissioner to oversee the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and has restricted their celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, touching off a storm of speculation about the reasons and broader implications.

The news of the decree was first reported by the veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, who described the move as the first time that Pope Francis has contradicted his predecessor Benedict XVI.

“But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11,” writes Magister.

The declaration’s final paragraph reads:

“In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

“The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite ‘sine populo’ demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever,” Magister explains.

The decree was signed by the Vatican congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Joao Braz de Viz, and its secretary, Archbishop José Rodrìguez Carballo. Capuchin Father Fidenzio Volpi was named in the declaration as the commissioner and he will be required to submit a written report every six months to the Vatican dicastery.

The reaction in the Catholic traditionalist blogosphere to the decree has been strong.

The blog Rorate Caeli, which focuses on the sacred liturgy, said in a four-point response that referenced Benedict XVI’s “Summorum Pontificum,” the papal document that allowed the pre-1962 Mass in Latin to be celebrated widely, that the new decree will impact one of the largest religious communities that celebrates the traditional Latin Mass.

“One justification now being raised,” the July 29 post says, “is that the FFI's application of Summorum Pontificum had caused discord in many communities and that the Traditional Latin Mass was ‘imposed’ brutally on priests who did not want it. On the contrary, we in Rorate, who have been closely observing the FFI since 2008, can affirm that the opposite is the case: Summorum was applied in a very gradual manner … .”

But the spokesman for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Father Alfonso Bruno, told CNA July 29 that “more than 80 percent of the friars appreciate the intervention of the Church.”

In his estimation, the “problem is not the Holy Mass usus antiquior,” which he described as “only the tip of the iceberg.”

Fr. Bruno pointed to a “small group in power” within the religious congregation that is being influenced by Mother Francesca Perillo, who is “very close” with Lefebvrist groups. He is worried that Mother Perillo, who is in charge of those sisters who live in hermitages, and her followers could fall into “heresy and disobedience.”

Mother Perillo could not be reached for comment before publication time.

Father Angelo M. Geiger, who is the General Delegate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in the United States, said in a July 29 post on his Mary Victrix blog that Magister’s piece “is an unfortunate instance of an overeager journalist sensationalizing something he can only speculate about.”

“The restrictions on our community are specific to us and have been put in place for reasons specific to us,” Fr. Geiger remarked.

He also directly addressed the question of whether Pope Francis had contradicted his predecessor.

“Pope Francis has not contradicted Pope Benedict. The visitation of our community began under Pope Benedict and the Commission was recommended by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz who was appointed to the Congregation by Pope Benedict,” he wrote.

Fr. Geiger said that “what is being reported in the press and what has actually transpired within our community over the course of a number of years are two different things.”

Fathers Geiger and Bruno both finished their remarks by emphasizing their trust in the Church and in Pope Francis.

“We are in peace because we are in the hands of our mother Church, by a Pope that we love and appreciate so much,” Fr. Bruno said.



There are prudential judgments we must make about judging people. We judge people all the time, especially when they are on trial. We've had some spectacular public trials in this regard and very recently.

When it comes to the Church, we must judge ourselves in terms of our worthiness to receive Holy Communion. Am I in a state of mortal sin? I have to examine my conscience and if I am, I must go to confession prior to receiving Holy Communion.

We are to continue attending Mass and participating as prayerfully and liturgically as possible, even if we are in a state of mortal sin, or a public sinner. Most of the time our parish family does not know the state of our soul, only we do. So if I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, usually that is known only to me. We are not to judge those who receive Holy Communion.

But a pastor or priest who knows someone is a public sinner and is receiving Holy Communion as a kind of political statement that they disagree with the Church's moral teachings in their regard, then, a priest must judge that person and deny him/her Holy Communion but hopefully this is done in a pastoral counseling situation. This is true of those in marriages not recognized by the Church. It is also true of those who belong to the KKK, work for abortion clinics and are quite public in their pro-choice politics. But depending on the priest or the bishop, the pastoral judgments might differ.

For example, how many would be opposed to a priest refusing Holy Communion to a couple in an adulterous relationship and that man's wife (there is no legal divorce) is present at the Mass too? Do you think that is far fetched? Think again!

With Pope Francis, we have a major shift in emphasis in his papacy. He is intelligent, but he is not an academic. He is not a professor. He is a pastor. He is a people person. He is an extravert. I say he is an extravert because he seems to be energized by the experience he had in Rio and his public audiences in Rome. He doesn't want to live alone in the papal apartments but in a hotel where he can be around people all of the time. If he were an introvert, he would want that papal apartment to retreat, but he doesn't.

Pope Francis communicates in a pastoral style and is inclusive in this regard. He wants as many people as possible to be a part of the Church although we all know that people's commitment to the Church varies from person to person, always has, always will.

Let's face it some Catholic parents of the past have been too quick to disinherit their children, stop talking to them and exclude them when they did something that the parent thought was shameful. Isn't it better to remain in dialogue with them and to love them unconditionally? That doesn't mean that we love the wrong they are doing, but we love them, and accept them and even visit them in prison if they murder someone. We pray for their conversion and try to be an instrument of God's grace in this regard.

So Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners at a Holy Thursday Mass, some of whom are not even Catholic, some of whom are women. He is telling bishops, priests and the laity to care for people, minister to them no matter who they are. He is changing the meaning of a "optional sacramental" during the Holy Thursday Mass, from a literalism in terms of the 12 apostles to the Church that Jesus is founding through them and by the Holy Spirit to go to the whole world with the Good News and baptize them!

So Pope Francis makes comments about "gay" priests. I am not sure that "gay" in Italian has the same meaning as in English, although Italians now use this English term. In English, I think it has political ramifications and means an active lifestyle in terms of actually having sex with a variety of partners and promoting this as a political and moral equivalent to heterosexuality. I'm not sure that is what Pope Francis meant when he used it in Italian. I think he used it as another word for homosexual or same sex attraction. "Gay lobby" though means a political activism that is opposed to the Church's moral teachings. So a homosexual priest who is gay, meaning, he is having same sex sex and thus breaking his vow or promise of celibacy/chastity, we can judge that priest, suspend him, fire him, "defrock" him. And is a candidate for the priesthood is "gay" meaning a part of the gay lobby and using his desire to be a priest to promote the gay lifestyle in the Church, he can and should, in fact must be excluded from the seminary and ultimately the priesthood.

I know of many people who have same sex attractions, but are married and faithful to their opposite sex spouse and function well in the bedroom. I know of many confirmed homosexuals who are heroic in living chaste lives. I am not sure that in English we should refer to these categories of people as "gay."

So the Holy Father lets the not so secret fact that there are "gay" priests. He still expects them to be chaste and many are, not all. The same is true of heterosexual priests too, by the way.

Would the Holy Father tell us that homosexuality and heterosexuality are on the same level? He'll have to tell you. But he knows that homosexuals can't be married, are called to live-long chastity given their orientation and must rely upon God and the support of the Church and her sacraments to achieve this and through a free, conscious decision of the will to unite themselves to Christ and the chastity He desire for them.

This is not true of heterosexuals who have the option of natural sex within marriage and fidelity to their spouse. So there is a discrimination and judgement made in the light of natural law, Scripture and Tradition.

But let me say this as a priest. I hope that sinners feel welcome in my parish. I have had murderers, adulterers, KKK, abortionists and the like attending Mass and some of whom are registered. I am glad they attend Mass and I pray they are seeking God's grace and I know that God is seeking them and offering them His grace for conversion and salvation.

Why exclude those most in need of God salvation. Remember the Fatima Prayer in this regard:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

Monday, July 29, 2013


The subtitles in English are very accurate in terms of what the Holy Father is saying. This is worth watching. I wish the whole interview could be found with the excellent English translation. In terms of the Gay comments, he refers us to the CCC. You can't go wrong there. The Holy Father is correct in not wanting to marginalize homosexuals, yet he refers us to the CCC for a fuller understanding of what the Holy Father believes. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. ”Francis, who cited the Catechism in his answers to reporters, said nothing to contradict this. Asked for his position on gay marriage, he answered: “You know perfectly the position of the Church.”

He also had the temerity to say that The Most Blessed Mother is higher than any bishop, priests or deacon! Ouch! But he is right, and he is also right in saying that women cannot be ordained to Holy Orders, it is definitive and the door is closed!



As I have mentioned time and again, this pope has had the temerity to name the heresies in the Church today, unlike Pope Benedict, the Emeritus Bishop of Rome who never called anyone heretics as far as I know. But please correct me if I am wrong.

The two heresies that Pope Francis, the current Bishop of Rome has named explicitly are modern forms of gnosticism and Pelagianism. He's done it several times, but never so clearly at he did on Sunday in speaking to to the Bishops of South America and the Caribbean. We must keep in mind he is speaking to the Latin America context which he knows very well.

Here is what the Holy Father Francis said:

The Gnostic solution. Closely linked to the previous temptation, it is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae”. It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).

The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in (exaggerated) tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety”. Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.

MY COMMENTS: I know that many who read my blog or at least comment here are traditionalists. So are you the Pelagians? MAYBE! But don't get all bent out of shape. Keep in mind that Pope Benedict chastised you too but in a more delicate papal, monarchical sort of way, not with the non-monarchical street language of the current South American Bishop of Rome. Pope Benedict called for Vatican II "reform in continuity" that avoided the gnostic rupture of the early post-Vatican II period. But Pope Benedict did not want to go back and restore the Church as it was prior to Vatican II.

Who wants to do this? It usually is the SSPX and other splinter groups like them. These groups would be the extreme.

But apart from them, there are those who want to excommunicate everyone to make the Church purer. But keep in mind that Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication on the SSPX bishops, although not the suspension "ad divina" of them and their priests.

So I think Pope Francis also means religious orders like the Legionaries of Christ, who are far from SSPX liturgically, but quite rigid and based their religious life upon a flawed, sinful and perverted founder who seduced many in the order and in the highest levels of the hierarchy, even Pope John Paul II in thinking he was the way, the truth and the life.

But I also think of Charismatic Covenant Communities and maybe even the neo-catechumenal way who, like the legionaries of Christ, place a powerful emphasis on submission to the will of others. For example the Alleluia Community in Augusta, Georgia at one time and maybe even today builds a cult of the personality with its elders and leaders and had/has what is called "headship and submission" where lay people were submitting to the religious authority of other lay people. This would be one of the "small groups" that the Holy Father refers.

I do not think that Pope Francis is referring to the FSSP or traditional Catholics who love Vatican II as it is meant to be interpreted but prefer a more traditional Ordinary Form of the Mass and now the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

I don't think he is referring to restoring Catholic identity. Pope Francis wants a strong post-Vatican II Catholic identity and he wants all of us youth and not so youthful to be revolutionaries in this regard by taking our strong Catholic identity to the streets, to our secular culture and our politics! In fact this speech to the Bishops is to do this. His off the cuff remarks not printed in the actual talks derides and ridicules the Enagram, which I took many years ago--the psychologicalization of our faith. There are other forms of silly things from the 70's too that are in this category.

I won't say much about the Gnostics other than he links them to the Enlightenment which Pope Pius X condemned as "Modernism." That should make traditionalists feel good as these Modernists are in our Catholic academic institutions pushing for reforms that go way beyond Vatican II. They want to undo how the Church teaches as it concerns Natural Law, Scripture and Tradition. They want to change these things like the Episcopal Church has and is doing. They want women's ordination, same sex marriage, Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried and those living in sin, and they want the Church to be pro-choice, pro-artificial contraception and all the other things that go with the culture of death and functionality.

However, the pope's comments on gnosticism is related to the Enlightenment and its "religious" counterpart called "Modernism" which Pope Pius X condemned in 1907. Many traditionalists feel that much of post-Vatican II interpretation in rupture, not continuity is pure Modernism and they are correct. The Holy Father Francis though, calls it Gnosticism.

This is what Wikipedia says about Modernism linked to the Enlightenment and liberal Protestantism in the Catholic Church. This is an eye-opener folks as this is what Pope Francis is condemning!:

"...A rationalistic approach to the Bible. The rationalism that was characteristic of the Enlightenment took a protomaterialistic view of miracles and of the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach sought to interpret the Bible by focusing on the text itself as a prelude to considering what the Church Fathers had traditionally taught about it. This method was readily accepted by Protestants and Anglicans. It was the natural consequence of Martin Luther’s sola scriptura doctrine[citation needed], which asserts that Scripture is the highest authority, and that it can be relied on alone in all things pertaining to salvation and the Christian life.

Secularism and other Enlightenment ideals. The ideal of secularism can be briefly stated as follows: the best course of action in politics and other civic fields is that which flows from a common understanding of the Good by various groups and religions. By implication, Church and State should be separated and the laws of the latter, for example that forbidding murder, should cover only the common ground of thought systems held by various religious groups. From the secularists’ point of view it was possible to distinguish between political ideas and structures that were religious and those that were not, but Catholic theologians in the mainstream argued, following St. Thomas Aquinas, that such a distinction was not possible, inasmuch as all aspects of society were to be organized with the final goal of Heaven in mind. The humanist model which had been in the forefront of intellectual thought since the Renaissance and the scientific revolution was however directly opposed to this view.

Modern philosophical systems. Philosophers such as Kant and Bergson inspired the mainstream of Modernist thought. One of the latter’s main currents attempted to synthesize the vocabularies, epistemologies, metaphysics and other features of certain modern systems of philosophy with Catholicism in much the same way as the Scholastic order had earlier attempted to synthesize Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy with the Church's teaching.

Theological rebellion in contradistinction or opposition to the Church's official policies, notably among Jesuits and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious..."

Sunday, July 28, 2013


News and details to follow! Clericalism is when the clergy become like the laity and the laity like the clergy.

Also, no nuns becoming priests, only someone superficial in understanding the Catholic Faith would propose such a thing! (These are off-the-cuff remarks, that Vatican Radio will shortly include in their post).


1. Making the Gospel message an ideology. This is a temptation which has been present in the Church from the beginning: the attempt to interpret the Gospel apart from the Gospel itself and apart from the Church. An example: Aparecida, at one particular moment, felt this temptation. It employed, and rightly so, the method of “see, judge and act” (cf. No. 19). The temptation, though, was to opt for a way of “seeing” which was completely “antiseptic”, detached and unengaged, which is impossible. The way we “see” is always affected by the way we direct our gaze. There is no such thing as an “antiseptic” hermeneutics. The question was, rather: How are we going to look at reality in order to see it? Aparecida replied: With the eyes of discipleship. This is the way Nos. 20-32 are to be understood. There are other ways of making the message an ideology, and at present proposals of this sort are appearing in Latin America and the Caribbean. I mention only a few:

a) Sociological reductionism. This is the most readily available means of making the message an ideology. At certain times it has proved extremely influential. It involves an interpretative claim based on a hermeneutics drawn from the social sciences. It extends to the most varied fields, from market liberalism to Marxist categorization.

b) Psychologizing. Here we have to do with an elitist hermeneutics which ultimately reduces the “encounter with Jesus Christ” and its development to a process of growing self- awareness. It is ordinarily to be found in spirituality courses, spiritual retreats, etc. It ends up being an immanent, self-centred approach. It has nothing to do with transcendence and consequently, with missionary spirit.

c) The Gnostic solution. Closely linked to the previous temptation, it is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae”. It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).

d) The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety”. Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.

2. Functionalism. Its effect on the Church is paralyzing. More than being interested in the road itself, it is concerned with fixing holes in the road. A functionalist approach has no room for mystery; it aims at efficiency. It reduces the reality of the Church to the structure of an NGO. What counts are quantifiable results and statistics. The Church ends up being run like any other business organization. It applies a sort of “theology of prosperity” to the organization of pastoral work.

3. Clericalism is also a temptation very present in Latin America. Curiously, in the majority of cases, it has to do with a sinful complicity: the priest clericalizes the lay person and the lay person kindly asks to be clericalized, because deep down it is easier. The phenomenon of clericalism explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in a good part of the Latin American laity. Either they simply do not grow (the majority), or else they take refuge in forms of ideology like those we have just seen, or in partial and limited ways of belonging. Yet in our countries there does exist a form of freedom of the laity which finds expression in communal experiences: Catholic as community. Here one sees a greater autonomy, which on the whole is a healthy thing, basically expressed through popular piety. The chapter of the Aparecida document on popular piety describes this dimension in detail. The spread of bible study groups, of ecclesial basic communities and of Pastoral Councils is in fact helping to overcome clericalism and to increase lay responsibility.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Thursday's The World Over show on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo has a very good interview on Pope Francis' first 6 months as he now travels in Brazil. The interview begins around minute 12:30 into the show:


We know that Pope Francis wants to live simply. He drives a stripped down, sub-compact Fiat to Brazil and it doesn't even have power windows and I know this as I saw the Holy Father crank down the back window himself. The Holy Father's shoulder action in this regard was unmistakeable! I doubt if the youth today at least from the USA would know what to do with a window crank on their passenger door!

Now you know I look at details. And another thing I notice, if you look at the older photo of Pope Francis' cassock above is that that extra layer of stylish buttons on his arm above the elbow is not present on the cassock that the Holy Father is wearing in Brazil.

What do you make of it?



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 25, 2013 / 12:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis told a gathering of some 30,000 youth from his homeland that they are to “make a mess,” shaking up the comfort, self-satisfaction and clericalism of a Church closed in on itself.

“What do I hope for from World Youth Day? I hope for a mess, such a mess: that the Church takes to the streets. That we defend ourselves from comfort, that we defend ourselves from clericalism,” the Pope told a group of pilgrims from Argentina during this week's World Youth Day.

“The Church must be taken into the streets,” he said in the cathedral of Rio de Janeiro July 25.


Pope Francis is known for using colorful language that needs interpretation. But one wonders just what the pope means when he tells the youth of the world to go out into the streets with their Catholicism, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and make a mess of things, turning things upside down. So this is my take:

1. I suspect with all the damn scandals we've had in the Church, including the ones involving the Vatican, that we now have a circle the wagons mentality and want to avoid the world and just have tea and crumpets as our primary ministry, shut-in and closed off from the world where we are afraid to acknowledge our Catholicism and priestly people status.

2. We've circled the wagons these past 50 years and we've focus in on all the the churchy things we thought Vatican II meant for us to dwell upon ad nauseam like councils, liturgy, lay churchy ministries and the like.

3. We're afraid to engage the world and other Christians because many of today's Catholics are so ill-informed about their faith that when they begin a dialogue with other Christians and the world they convert to the world's perspective and abandon the Catholic faith. Catholics, unlike our Evangelical brothers and sisters, are not 100% convinced of the truths of our faith as they are of theirs. This is certainly true in the Protestant South!

So to go with our Orthodox Catholic Faith into the streets means uncircling the wagons and going in a straight line to dialogue and evangelize with our Catholic Faith, which will make a mess of things in a world that wants to isolate us Catholics to our church buildings. This is what the world, including secular governments, wants to do to us! So the pope is, in a veiled and not so veiled sort of way, telling youth not to let the world, meaning secular governments, do this to us!

So what kind of mess are our youth to make in the streets with their orthodox Catholicism?

1. Publicly be pro-life and call politicians who are pro-choice and others to task and make them uncomfortable, be revolutionary in their witness to being pro-life, from conception to natural death by:

a. standing up for the human rights of the unborn and protest the culture of abuse and death that pro-choice politicians encourage toward children in the womb. If the children in the womb had advocates and lawyers who could sue those who abuse and kill them, what a change there would be.

b. standing up for the guilty and protecting their God-given right to life

c. Assisting the poor in soup kitchens and the like and working for political change that will improve the lives of the poor, in other words, social justice based upon the great teachings of the popes and of the Second Vatican Council.

2. Stop tinkering with the Liturgy and trying to redefine it, read the black, do the red and then "Go in peace glorifying the Lord with your life!" As Catholics we have two forms of the one Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. Do them as the books prescribe. The OF has more flexibility built into it than the EF, but not so much flexibility to change the core, foundational meaning of the two liturgies. They have one meaning. The Mass, whatever form, makes present in an unbloody way the One Sacrifice of Christ which saves the world from sin and death when each person by his free will accepts this gift (many with do this, not all) and worthily receives our sacrificed Lord in the Banquet of the Most Holy Eucharist by consuming the Holocaust and all that this consumption means, whereby God, through His Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit makes us a part of the Body of Christ with Jesus as our Head, what we call the Holy Bride of Christ, the Spotless Bride of Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! Either form of the Catholic Mass and all forms of the Mass that are Orthodox have has their goal to make us by God's grace into a new creation saved from sin and eternal damnation and empowered by God's grace to evangelize the world by being commissioned at the end of Mass to "Go in Peace, glorifying the Lord by our lives."

My final comments: What the pope does is to imply that what is wrong with so many older Catholics today, those who think they are post-Vatican II Catholics, like the politicians we have who are pro-choice, pro-death penalty, pro-redefining of marriage, pro-cutting back on assistance to the poor and so on and so on.

Vatican II called all Catholics to go to the streets with their Orthodox Catholic faith, the laity in particular and in particular in the vocation or avocation of their life. What we see in prominent Catholics in politics, media and entertainment is exactly the opposite of what Vatican II called them to do. They have become the spokespersons for faith divorced from public life. It cannot be that way for our youth today is what the pope is telling them!

So, youth are to love all people, but hate sin and damnation. They love their gay brothers and sisters but call them as well as their straight friends to chastity but living chaste lives themselves and model the virtue of modesty, modesty, modesty.

They hate the use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol and they model for their friends and others modesty and moderation out of love for them and call them to moderation.

They treat all people, no matter who and how sinful with love and respect, like Pope Francis is modeling.

They hate the contraception, abortion mentality of the world and call people to respect natural law, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. They call people to love children and populate the earth!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


AS the Holy Father made his way to his seat for the Welcome Festivities with over a million present, the Holy Father warmly embraced Msgr. Guido Marini, papal MC who looked happy and relaxed and seem to introduce the Holy Father to a priest friend or maybe his blood brother, I don't know, but they resembled each other. Msgr Marini is a wonderful MC and I think the Holy Father knows and appreciates this!


These kids packed the old Cathedral in Rio for an EF Solemn Sung Mass with Bishop Rifan. I suspect this crowd of youth at this particular Mass will produce many more vocations to the priesthood and religious life than all the other youth present in Rio for WYD combined. What do you think?

Could you imagine 2 million youth gathering for this type of Mass without the superficial hype, entertainment type faux liturgical music and hormones encouraged to go wild? What a Church of youth we'd have and a Church of youth with substantial Catholic identity and mission.

Yesterday's Mass at the Marian Shrine was fine, except the music did leave something to be desired but it was better than you typical parish Mass in most USA cities, music that is.



I write this on the heals of the post below on "Five Myths Concerning Pope Francis." Yesterday those longing for a return to the past and past methods of translating the Roman Missal from the Latin to the vernacular in a approximate sort of way, i.e make it up as you go, were thrilled that Pope Francis actually "read the black and did the red" of the Portuguese translation of the Latin Missal. That translation has yet to be revised but is in the process of being revised and ultimately approved by the Pope.

As some of you may know, the English Missal was one of the first to be revised and in a very literal way when it comes to the Latin because the English Missal seems to have become defacto the Missal that is used (not the Latin one) for other languages to translate their Mass into their own language. So the Vatican really, really, wanted the English missal's new and improved, (brothers and sisters, truly, truly improved)to really, really reflect the Latin original revised after Vatican II.

The Portuguese Missal as currently experienced and translated under the old and moldy methodology of "equivalency and make it up as you go" is even worse than the old English one we recently discarded by the grace of God, pure grace, for if it had been left to the elitist theologians and bishops we have who continue a love affair with the 1960's method of translating, we would have only a slightly revised English Mass today. And if these people had gotten their way, and they still can't believe that they didn't, we would have seen even more radical changes to the English Missal more in line with the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer for their eucharist and more like the Lutheran eucharistic liturgy. We would have had the option of substituting a hymn that resembles the Gloria for the Gloria itself (similar to replacing the propers with equivalent hymns) plus some other bold initiatives that thank God were nipped in the bud in the 1990's (actually in the late 1980's).

I know this, because as director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Savannah from 1985 to 1991, Bishop Raymond Lessard would pass on to me suggested revised translations of certain parts of the Mass that had been sent to him and all the bishops of our country. I was aghast at what I was reading. But at that time, the USCCB's Office of Divine Worship was drunk on power and control and really, really thought they could tell the American bishops and ultimately the Pope what the American English Missal would look like. This was the 1960's mentality well into the 1990's on steroids!

The one and only National Convention I attended around 1987 or so, associated with the NCCB's Office of Divine Worship, had people like myself from all over the country coming up with resolutions and demands that they would send to the NCCB for implementation. To say that this group was off the wall liberal and progressive and heterodox would be an understatement. I never again went to one of these conventions so disgusted was I with these power hungry liturgical control freaks and elitists.

But I digress. As I mentioned, the Portuguese Missal is in the process of re-translation. So the old one is still in use. This is the missal that Pope Francis was obligated to use yesterday and for all the Masses that he celebrates in Portuguese. While I don't know all the details of this Missal which is the worse one in the world, even worse than our previous 1970 Missal, it still maintains "and also with you" and the "We of the Creed" and so on. It also has some adaptations peculiar to the Portuguese translation, based upon the now defunct and flawed method the Vatican gave translators way, way back in the dark ages of the 1960's, an age that some liturgists are still enamored and wish to return, going backwards of course, not forward, going heterodox rather than orthodox.

The one option that was given to Pope Francis at the Mass at the Marian Shrine on Wednesday is the following greeting for the beginning of Mass:

O Sehor esteja convosco. Ele está no meio de nós.
(The Lord be with you. He is here in our midst.)

And another:

A paz esteja convosco. O amor de Cristo nos uniu.
(Peace be with you. The love of Christ has brought us together.)

And of course, their old and moldy missal continues to use, "For all" instead of the more accurate "for many."

The old and moldy English translation of the Missal also had a peculiar response for the greeting of Mass which was seldom or ever used in the USA because people could not remember the response unless they were told ahead of time what to expect and to look at the response. This is it (do any of you ever remember hearing or using this?):

Priest: The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

People: Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This was eliminated in our glorious new English translation and I suspect it will be eliminated in the Portuguese translation to when it is revised in a glorious way and approved.

But the real story here for the throw back progressives of the day is, Pope Francis "read the black" and did the red at his Brazilian Masses! And in doing so, what Pope Francis was modeling is fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, meaning the pope and bishops in union with him by using the authorized liturgy of the Church until the new one is issued and approved!

Oh, and at yesterday's Mass, the Holy Father once again exalted the Blessed Virgin Mary to the nth degree and preached about the devil! Did you read that on any progressive liturgical blogs?

Finally, the only innovation that I see Pope Francis consistently implementing in terms of the Order of the Mass and for which I applaud him is that any public speeches of greetings offered to him is now done after the Entrance Procession and prior to the Sign of the Cross and greeting. This is something that other bishops should take note as most, including Pope Benedict, allowed this sort of thing to take place during the Mass and after the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, usually with everyone being invited to sit for it!

What Pope Francis models and what every bishop and priest in the world should do is to read the black and do the red of the Missal, meaning after the greeting, no silly improvisation, no, "good morning/afternoon, how are ya?", no mini sermons, acknowledgements or made up introduction, simply read the black of what the missal has written for introducing the Penitential Act: "Brethren, Let us acknowledge our sins to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries." Then there should be silence and then one of the options from the Missal is used for the Penitential Act. This is what Pope Francis did yesterday, but using the old and moldy Portuguese missal of the cowboy/gaucho 1960's!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013




MY COMMENTS FIRST: I have to agree with this article from FIRST THINGS. The discomfort some Catholics loyal to Pope Benedict and still mourning his resignation is more on the issues of fluff and personality, superficial data, than on the substance of the two popes. The major differences are cultural, one a German and an intellectual, the other a South American still imbued with his very deep Italian ancestry, more gregarious, outgoing and ordinary, a person of the streets rather than the ivory tower of academic classrooms.

Yet, I have been writing all along, that the substance of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict is really the same and I firmly believe Pope Francis is more determined to enforce his orthodox vision of the Church that relies upon one very important thing that wishful thinkers from the progressive wing of the Church continue to ignore because they are in denial and that is Pope Francis' insistence on obedience and fidelity to the Pope and the Bishops in union with him which is the Magisterium of the Church. He has repeatedly required this of us Catholics since day one of his papacy and has said it more often and more forcefully than Pope Benedict ever did.

He also seems to be more traditional in his very powerful Marian Devotion, more in the line of Blessed Pope John Paul II than Benedict. Benedict's Marian devotion was more academic and in the "spirit" of Vatican II.

He certainly has invoked the name of the devil more often than Pope Benedict ever did and I don't know if Pope Benedict ever did during his papacy. I've lost count on the number of times Pope Francis has referred to the devil and powerful enemy to the Church and individual Catholics since he became pope. Have you?

It really is on the issue of papal style and liturgical vestments that most traditional Catholics are discomforted. He, as he himself has said, is more emancipated in this regard and is not going to challenge some of the modern trends that traditional Catholics despise in the more progressive circles of the Church. Yet to date, the Vatican liturgies are the same except for some minor quirks of the pope, his inability to chant, his disregard for lengthy offertory processions and his simple tastes when it comes to vestments. In fact, I would say that he is unemancipated in these things compared to Benedict who was open to the variety of styles of liturgical vestments in the Latin Rite from traditional Roman to modern.

And yes, I don't think Pope Francis is a loner when it comes to leadership in the Church and is not going to be isolated by anyone in the Vatican trying to "handle" him. I think Pope Benedict was happy to be handled and had some wrong people handling him and not doing a service to him but creating the problems that Pope Francis now has to clean up in the Vatican. I think this is positive. He has sent a clear message to the former handlers in the Vatican that he would not be under their control and isolated from others in the Vatican by remaining in the Vatican Motel 6 to live.

Finally, even though Pope Francis will be more collaborative with others in the college of Cardinals and the College of Bishops and the various committees he might appoint, His Holiness will be more autocratic than Benedict in implementing his vision for the Church which is Orthodox but in a different way from Benedict.

Pope Francis has won the hearts of the Masses and the media. Hopefully this will help him to win their souls for Christ. Time will tell!


He has been called an “improv pope,” a pope of many surprises, but the biggest surprise of all is that Francis continues to elude all efforts to classify him. Since the opening days of his papacy, a flood of commentators have come forth to tell us what to expect of him, only to miss the mark. Among the numerous errors about Francis, five in particular stand out.

1. “Francis is the anti-Benedict.”

Because Pope Francis is from Latin America, and Pope Emeritus Benedict from Germany—and because Francis is a natural extrovert and Benedict more reserved—some people thought that these stylistic differences signaled a difference in their whole way of thinking. But anyone who ever believed that was not being attentive. (A similar mistake occurred when the rotund and smiling John XXIII succeeded the more regal and austere-looking Pius XII, even though the two were very close). Among Francis’s first words to the world, after succeeding Benedict on March 13th, was to pray for his predecessor, after which he immediately called him on the phone. Just ten days later, Francis traveled to Castel Gandolfo to greet Benedict in a very public and powerful way; and upon Benedict’s return to Vatican City in May, there was a similar and well-publicized embrace. Francis recently told one of his students how sublime a thinker he believes Benedict is, and how much he relies upon his predecessor’s counsel: “It would be foolish to turn down Benedict’s advice.”

If there was any lingering doubt about Francis’s fulsome support for Benedict, it’s been erased by Lumen Fidei. This extraordinary teaching document was begun (but never completed) by Benedict in the last stages of his papacy. Francis could have easily put it aside, and written his own papal message. Instead, he decided to finish the projected work, and publish it as his own inaugural encyclical—giving Benedict full credit for the draft. By doing so, Francis endorsed all of Lumen Fidei’s insights about faith and reason, the importance of truth, and the hermeneutic of continuity—all hallmarks of Benedict’s papacy. Francis is actually doing more to consolidate and elevate Benedict’s legacy than the latter’s admirers could have imagined.

2. “Francis is Not a Cultural Warrior.”

Following the first error flows a second: unlike the supposedly hard-edged Benedict, we have been told, Francis has a much softer touch. He avoids confrontation and strident denunciations, and wants no part of any culture war; nowhere is that clearer than in his treatment of the hot-button social issues. Religious reporter Allesandro Speciale recently wrote that Francis “has been less eager to engage in the culture wars over abortion or gay marriage cherished by his predecessors.” Sandro Magister added: “It cannot be an accident that after 120 days of pontificate Pope Francis has not yet spoken the words abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage.”

It’s hard to imagine more misleading statements than these. In addition to being an outspoken defender of the unborn and traditional marriage as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis, since becoming Pope, has not yielded one inch on Christian moral truth. Less than two weeks into his papacy, Francis explicitly promised to continue Benedict’s fight against the“dictatorship of relativism.” In May, Pope Francis not only exhorted tens of thousands at a rally to protect human life “from the moment of conception,” but personally joined Rome’s March for life himself. More recently, he sent a special pro-life message to Ireland, during the midst of pending legislation on abortion, exhorting the country to defend “even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn…” Everyone, proclaimed Francis, “must care for life, cherish life . . . from the beginning to the end.” Is that language not clear enough?

As for gay marriage, after France legalized it, against the vigorous protests of the Church, the new pope rebuked legislators for following “fashions and ideas of the moment,” and subsequently taught in Lumen Fidei: “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage”—prompting the Advocate to complain, “Pope Francis, Benedict Jointly Condemn Same-Sex Marriage.”

3. “Francis is a ‘Social Justice’ Pope.”

When people say, as they often do, that Pope Francis is a “social justice pope,” what they invariably mean is that he cares about the poor above all else, and will focus his papacy on solving poverty. This is at once obvious and incomplete. Of course Francis, like his predecessors, cares about the poor, a fact demonstrated in his first pastoral visit to Lampedusa, where he spoke eloquently for abandoned migrants. But Francis is not exclusively concerned about poverty, for he knows, as Blessed John Paul II taught, that the quest for social justice is “false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right, and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” He also knows, as Benedict taught, that the Church’s teachings on the economy are inextricably linked to its teachings on the family and human sexuality, so Humanae Vitae needs to be upheld with equal force.

More importantly, the Pope believes that individual conversion must precede societal improvement, and therefore rejects secular progressivism, which detaches spirituality from social justice. Francis’s teaching calls for an interior change of heart, and examination of conscience, as the key to social reform. He is thus not so much a “social justice” Pope as he is the world’s foremost retreat master— reminding people that unless we transform our souls, true social justice will never be attained, for that can only come about through humility, sacrifice and spiritual discipline—never by mere governmental decree.

4. “Francis Will Be More Charitable Toward Dissenters.”

No sooner was Francis elected than did dissenters start elevating him at the expense of his two predecessors, suggesting he would finally fulfill Vatican II’s promise. But Pope Francis does not see Vatican II as a charter for dissent any more than did Blessed John Paul II or Benedict. Francis has firmly said that to know Jesus is to be in full communion with the Church and Magisterium; one cannot be a faithful Catholic and practice an independent, free-floating spirituality. Consequently, one of the first things Pope Francis did from the Chair of St. Peter was re-affirm Benedict’s critique of dissent and disobedience within the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. And in Lumen Fidei, Francis drives the meaning of orthodoxy home, declaring that it is not a matter of picking and choosing what doctrines Catholics like, but accepting them all:

“Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny one of them, even of those that seem least important, is tantamount to distorting the whole. Each period of history can find this or that point of faith easier or harder to accept: hence the need for vigilance in ensuring that the deposit of faith is passed on in its entirety.”

5. “Francis Loves the World.”

This is the greatest misconception of all. Francis, we are told, has an ease with the world that so many other religious leaders, fearful of modernity, lack. But this is not because Francis loves the world per se. Francis loves people, and wants to lead souls to Christ—and that is why he speaks so often about the devil, and warns against worldly temptation, urging us to flee it. He loves God’s creation, but knows how damaging original sin is, and how easily free will can be abused. To confuse the Pope’s kindness and friendliness with love for this world is to misunderstand the whole nature of his pontificate: Francis, far better than most, knows that the world is sunk in sin, and is passionately trying to heal it through the new evangelization.

The one thing many people do get right about Pope Francis is when they say he resembles John XXIII—though even there the comparison often goes astray, especially when political terminology is introduced. Blessed John was never a “liberal” in the modern sense of that term; he was a champion of orthodox reform, as is Francis. And if Pope Francis, supported by the faithful, and properly understood, is blessed to succeed in the reform he now so desires, the suffering Church, and even more troubled world, will benefit from his courage, strength, and faith.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


MY COMMENTS FIRST: This is a very frank interview that Archbishop Chaput had with John Allen, one of the best Catholic reporters there is, and it appears to me that for the first time, we hear a bishop who leans to the right himself, perhaps voicing some misgivings about our new Holy Father and may indicate some concern in the broader college of bishops. Let me be clear, Archbishop Chaput is respectful as are most orthodox Catholics about our Holy Father, whoever he might be. That is required of all Catholics, respect for the pope even though one might be concerned about non doctrinal or dogmatic elements of the papacy. The more progressive in the Church didn't like Pope Benedict's recovery of many pre-Vatican II customs, not the least of which is the 1962 missal, the fannon and other interesting elements of the papal court. They can disagree with these things.

At the same time, many traditional Catholics, are concerned about the loss of papal identity which seems to be moving more toward rock star, celebrity ethos than that of a respected monarchy. But we must give Pope Francis breathing room and we must respect the reason why the cardinals elected him pope.

At any rate, read between the lines in terms of what Archbishop Chaput says to John Allen:

Right wing 'generally not happy' with Francis, Chaput says
John L. Allen Jr., NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER | Jul. 23, 2013

Rio de Janeiro

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is renowned for speaking plainly, which in part means he's often willing to say things out loud that others in his position may sense but are hesitant to acknowledge.

During an interview in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, for instance, Chaput bluntly tackled three questions about Pope Francis, his early record, and his current trip to Brazil:

The 68-year-old Capuchin conceded that last night's mob scene with the papal motorcade was a "frightening moment," hinting that perhaps Francis could listen a bit more to handlers charged with his safety and saying, "There has to be some distance between the crowds and the Holy Father."

Chaput acknowledged that members of the right wing of the Catholic church "generally have not been really happy" with some aspects of Francis' early months and said the pope will have to find a way "to care for them, too."

Chaput defended Francis on concerns in some circles that he's been silent on abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, saying, "I can't imagine he won't be as pro-life and pro-traditional marriage as any of the other popes." He insisted the bishop of Rome "has to talk about those things."

Chaput is in Rio de Janeiro leading a delegation of roughly 40 pilgrims from the Philadelphia archdiocese to the July 23-28 World Youth Day. He said turnout might have been larger had it not been for concerns about safety, which, he said, led some dioceses in Pennsylvania to "actively discourage" people from coming.

Chaput is also scheduled to deliver one of the English-language catechetical sessions later this week. He sat down with NCR at the Rio hotel where most of the American bishops and World Youth Day personnel are staying.

How many people are here from Philadelphia?

We have just a little over 40 people, so it's a very small group.

Was it finances that held attendance down?

I don't think it's so much that. I think there's been a sense across Pennsylvania, actually, that this might be a dangerous place for young people to come. I know that a number of dioceses in Pennsylvania actively discouraged their young people from coming and didn't sponsor diocesan pilgrimages on purpose.

Was that the case all along, or was it a reaction to the big protests in June?

It's been the case from the beginning, from the time of the announcement. There was fear that it would pose a risk to people's health and well-being by coming to Rio de Janeiro.

I suppose the protests didn't help.

I think it kind of made people feel they were justified in their concerns.

For those who are here, I presume they were planning to come before Francis was elected, but what do you get from them in terms of reactions to the new pope?

Anytime anybody sees a pope for the first time, it's an extraordinary moment in their lives. For those who are seriously Catholic, it's even more so. It would be hard for me to judge if this group thinks any differently about it than they would have if Pope Benedict were here. After the fact, I'll let you know, because that's when we'll really get a sense of what people think of Pope Francis.

I think the kind of person who makes the sacrifice to get here really sees it as a pilgrimage rather than an adventure to see one figure. Of course, if the pope weren't here, people wouldn't come, either. He's at the center of the church, and he's at the center of this event. Thanks be to God that the Lord has given us a pope with such universal appeal to so many people.

What do you pick up back home about the new pope?

My sense is that practicing Catholics love him and have a deep respect for him, but they're not actually the ones who really talk to me about the new pope. The ones who do are nonpracticing Catholics or people who aren't Catholic or not even Christian. They go out of their way to tell me how impressed they are and what a wonderful change he's brought into the church. It's interesting to see that it's the alienated Catholic and the non-Catholic and the non-Christians who have expressed their enthusiasm more than Catholics have. It's not that Catholics aren't impressed, too, but they're ordinarily impressed with the pope.

How do you explain the enthusiasm beyond the usual suspects?

I don't know how to interpret it, quite honestly. I think part of it is genuine appreciation for the pope's extraordinary friendliness and transparency. But also, I think they would prefer a church that wouldn't have strict norms and ideas about the moral life and about doctrine, and they somehow interpret the pope's openness and friendliness as being less concerned about those things. I certainly don't think that's true. I think he's a truly Catholic man in every sense of the word, but I think people are hoping that he'll be less concerned about the issues that separate us today.

Do you think there will be a moment of reckoning when the honeymoon wears off?

We'll see what happens. The pope may have a way of managing all of that will be extraordinary, I don't know. I would think that by virtue of his office, he'll be required to make decisions that won't be pleasing to everybody.

This is already true of the right wing of the church. They generally have not been really happy about his election, from what I've been able to read and to understand. He'll have to care for them, too, so it will be interesting to see how all this works out in the long run.

Commentators have pointed out that during his first 120 days, Francis hasn't used the words "abortion," "gay marriage" and "euthanasia." Is that troubling to you?

I don't know how anybody can make judgments so quickly about a pontificate on any of those things. I think the pope has spoken very clearly about the value of human life. He hasn't expressed those things in a combative way, and perhaps that's what some are concerned about, but I can't imagine that he won't be as pro-life and pro-traditional marriage as any of the other popes have been in the past.

Some read his remarks to the Italian bishops to mean he's going to let local bishops deal with those issues rather than doing it himself. Is that your understanding?

I think what he said to the Italian bishops is that he's not going to become involved in political issues. For me, issues such as abortion and the meaning of marriage aren't political issues; they're doctrinal and moral. We all as bishops, including the bishop of Rome, have to talk about those things. It would be very strange to think you can make that separation. It usually comes from those who want to claim that those two issues are political, which is often what happens in the States. We're told to keep our nose out of politics, when really, our nose is in morality.

That usually means staying out of politics someone doesn't like, correct?

Sure. The church has been clear on universal health care, on immigration, and we don't get criticized from the left on those issues but from the right. On abortion and the meaning of marriage, the left criticizes us and the right is very pleased. I think a bishop worth his salt takes up all the teachings of the church and doesn't play to a crowd but plays to the truth.

You mention immigration. What did you make of the pope's visit to Lampedusa?

I thought it was wonderful. It was very touching moment. I hope it leads to concrete results, because you just never know if they really do. I think it was something that touched the heart of anybody who paid attention, especially those of who are in favor of reasonable immigration laws.

Did you watch any of the motorcade last night?

No, but a lot of people have been commenting about it. The people I've talked to were horrified by what happened. They talked about their families back home calling them, being very concerned about the safety of the pope. I think it's very important for all us who are in public life to listen to our handlers, who take care of our security. It seemed like a frightening moment. It would be a disaster for the church if something happened to the Holy Father, and it would be a huge embarrassment to the people of Brazil. There has to be some distance between the general crowds and the Holy Father just to protect him.

You've been coming to World Youth Day for a long time. Aside from the obvious thing, a new pope, do you detect anything striking about this one?

I'm pleased with the numbers I see, though it's too early to know. The issues that will come up right away are the details ... how long the waits are, how well organized or not it is, and so on. I ran into trouble right away when I got here and found out that I didn't have a room in any of the hotels! I hope it doesn't continue like that.

What's your read on how effective WYD is in developing vocations?

I can give you a better read on that from Denver, where quite a number of them started with WYD. When I was in Denver, many priests from around the country would come up to me and say that's where their vocation began. It has the potential to do great things.

In Denver, what percentage of your priests would be WYD priests?

I think 10 percent. In Philadelphia, I don't have any idea. Only two of our current seminarians are here. Of course, we don't have any money to send them as a diocese, so they get invited to be a chaperone or something for a group, and there aren't that many groups coming.

If you do the math, 10 percent of the total of priests is not a bad number.

No, it's not, and if we were 10 percent less than we are, it would be pretty bad. Of course, God's will works in different ways, and perhaps God would have found a different occasion to call them.

[Follow John Allen on Twitter: @JohnLAllenJr]


From this!

To this? Oi Vey!

There is a lot of hoopla concerning the birth of a baby, not the infant Jesus, but the new heir to the throne of Great Britain, His Royal Highness, Baby Cambridge. Of course he is the third in line, his great grandmother has been queen longer than I've been alive, for 60 years and will live to be 100 and her successor, her son will live as long too as will his son. So this son doesn't have a chance in hell of becoming king anytime soon.

But the world is fascinated with the trappings of monarchy. And we see this at a time when the current papacy is ridding itself of the images of the court and becoming quite boring and pedestrian, but the novelty of this shift from the trappings of monarchy to that of the street person is of passing interest and fascination and will be for the short term. In other words, Pope Francis shift from the glories of monarchy rooted in biblical imagery to that of the faux royalty of celebrity like that of a rock star or movie star is not going to serve the Church or the papacy well in the long run!

Pope Benedict understood the monarchical trappings of the papacy pointing to the Kingdom of God, the Kingship of Christ and the royal priesthood of the Church, all the baptized. Everyone is a part of this royalty. His recovery of the monarchical trappings captured the imagination of the world and for the long term.

I hope Pope Francis diminishment of the imagery of royalty and that all of us are a part of the royal family of Christ our King and are invited to live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven as we participate in our kingly ministry of making known this kingdom on earth (thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!) is a temporary blip in the history of the papacy.


World youth greet Pope Francis outside Brazil's Apollo Space Capsule, I mean, Cathedral: NBC Reporter states on Today, quoting the pope: "I have arrived in Brazil, not bringing gold and silver, but Jesus Christ!"--Ann Thompson, NBC News (in fact NBC seems to have the most concerned coverage of the lapse in the papal security yesterday, which I viewed live and found astoundingly dangerous, first of all for security, then the laity and ultimately the pope. I think it is a miracle no one was injured or run over or hit by other cars or motorcycles or crushed to death!)

The goal of parents is to give their youth (children) a foundation of participating in the Church. This begins with the home being made into the "Church in Miniature" where the parents are the "pastors" of their children. In fact, the father, husband is the head of the home and collaborates with his wife and the mother of his children in rearing them to love God and neighbor.

As "good shepherds" of their children, parents have the responsibility of making sure their children are reared in the faith by having them baptized, confirmed and prepared for the other sacraments of the Church, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders as well as the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.


How do we improve youth ministry? Normally we think of what the parish must do first, but in fact, we should be thinking FIRST about the parents who are the youth ministers of their family! What we do in the parish is meant to support the full time youth ministers who are the parents.

Herein lies the problem. We know that there is a decline in religious practices in the home and that most parents today do not view theIR home and Catholic family as the "Church in Miniature." When this happens, the seeds of antipathy and disinterest are sown in the children of the family. If the father is disengaged from the faith and does not model a manly spirituality and a manly regimentation to make sure the family goes to Mass each Sunday, prays in the home and does good works at home and elsewhere, this disinterest and antipathy grows unabated.

The Catholic youth I know are good people, they are great kids. Their parents love them, but religion isn't always the number one priority in their homes, everything else comes before. A goodly number of parents and children have lost the Catholic sense of the sacred and fear of the Lord. Their Catholicism is built upon shifting sand. Anything might wash it away.

If we could all have a common bottom line in terms of what is essential in the practice of the faith, I think we could improve our youth ministry and keep our youth engaged in the Church throughout their lives, or have a higher percentage of this happening for our folks.

This is my dream list:

1. All Catholics assist at Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and understand that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church and ecumenism is to bring our separated brethren back into full communion not to make Catholics think it doesn't matter what denomination one attends or what religion one belongs to, just as long as one is good; (this alone will accomplish great things, but how many parents today take this seriously?)

2. All Catholics pray in the home, have icons/religious art/imagery and say a blessing before eating.

3. Every Catholic appreciate that the Real Presence of our Lord remains in every Catholic Church in the tabernacle in the Most Blessed Sacrament and is a source of strength and consolation in need and a source of inspiration and strength and that private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is medicinal.

4. Every Catholic should know and appreciate that no matter how bad things get in the parish and liturgically or how different the taste of the parish is in terms of music and community compared to the wants and likes of individual family members, that if the Mass is celebrated validly, the Word of God is heard, the Sacrifice of Christ is made present in an unbloody way and God the Father accepts this Sacrifice of His Son for our salvation and God the Father gives us back His Son through the Holy Spirit and sacramentally in Holy Communion. Our worthy communion with our Lord, spiritually at Mass and worthily when we receive Him unites us to the Church and thus to God the Most Holy Trinity and ultimately to the eternal Kingdom of God in heaven. The salvation of the sin sick soul and the resurrection of the body are the goals of the Sacrifice of Christ accepted by God the Father. All of salvation history beginning with Adam and Eve, the People of Israel through the Second Coming of Christ is geared to our salvation from the eternal fires of hell.

MY FINAL COMMENT: If these four things are accomplished or experienced, everything else is icing on the cake. We hope that parishes and dioceses have good youth ministers and ministries, but often some of the best Catholics come from youth who never really participated in non-obligatory youth ministries. They simply did the first four things.

Monday, July 22, 2013


There is quite a bit of enthusiasm and danger as the pope's motorcade, unlike any other papal motorcade to a foreign country, is generating. Things are out of control folks! Pray for the security, who could be harmed or killed, the laity that are doing stupid things to touch the pope and his car and the Holy Father himself. I think he should rightly be criticized for this.


Now things are safer and the Holy Father is in the Popemobile. I've turned to CNN and FOX. And there it is baby talk from the First world monarchy. Only a few outside Buckingham Palace. Hundreds of thousands for the pope! There is quite a contrast in areal shots!




This is NBC's take on Pope Francis holiday:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

SOME IN BRAZIL AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD THINK THE WAY TO WIN BACK CATHOLICS FROM THE EVANGELICAL, PENTECOSTAL PROTESTANTS IS TO MIMIC THEIR APPROACH TO WORSHIP. BUT I WONDER IF THIS DOESN'T REALLY PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF THE PROTESTANT PENTECOSTALS AND INDICATE TO CATHOLICS A FALSE EGALITARIANISM AMONGST CATHOLICS AND OUR SEPARATED BRETHREN? WOULD IT NOT BE BETTER TO EMPHASIZE OUR OWN TRADITION AND TO DO IT WELL? THIS IS CNN'S TAKE ON THE POPE'S VISIT AND BRAZIL'S ANSWER TO JOEL OSTEEN AND JACK VAN IMPEE: MY FINAL COMMENTS: If you watch the video, this CNN reporter and those who helped her to put the video together show their prejudice, which is really the prejudice of heterodox Catholics who long to go backward to the good old 60's. The formality of the Catholic Mass, with its solemn devotional and spiritual elements is the bad guy causing the Church to lose Catholics to the Pentecostal Evangelicals who have a lively worship based upon the cult of the personality of the minister and the congregation that gets hyped up over worship experienced in an emotional way.

Surely in Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world, there are traditional Catholic Churches that are full of people, young, old and in between. Would you know this by this story's content? No! You would think that traditional Catholicism in Brazil in on life-support and the only hope for the Catholic Church is a Pentecostalized, Evangelical, Protestant, cult of the personality form of faux Catholicism.

I believe that Brazil also has a strong EF Community in union with Rome.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


A-5 makes good points about labels, liberal, conservative, traditionalist and progressive, moving forward and going backwards. A-5, he or she, prefers orthodox and heterodox. I would agree and disagree, for moving backward means moving to the heterodoxy of the 1960's and 70's a longing which a goodly number of aging Catholics would prefer.

Or moving backwards, means applying the 1960's mentality to current day issues.

Let me count the ways.

1. The heterodox of the 1960's wanted to do away with any semblance of the pre-Vatican II Liturgy and create a new liturgy considerably different and impose it upon the unprepared faithful. And even when prepared, a goodly number of the faithful did not see the created product as new and improved but rather heterodox. They were right, not so much in terms of the traditional theology and doctrine of the Mass, but the faux theology that the cabal of post-Vatican II theologians tried to create for the new Mass.

For the most part they failed from the Magisterial point of reference. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes that clear as does papal teaching from Pope Paul VI through Pope Francis.

These aging heterodox priests and theologians and some of them aren't that old, are apoplectic that Pope Benedict allowed with little or no restriction the pre-Vatican II Mass of the 1962 Missal and its other liturgies and devotions. For Pope Francis, the doctrine and dogmas are the same, except liberties taken with the new Mass, in unofficial ways and the dictating of so-called new theologies supposedly promoted by Vatican II or encouraged by it so that post-Vatican II theologians could take the ball and run, was and is called into question by the genius of Pope Benedict for which the Church will be eternally grateful.

2. Going backwards to the immediate Post Vatican II era is ideological and Pope Francis doesn't want to do that. The Holy Father wants to proclaim the Faith to a paganized world, which includes paganized Catholics. But he wants to do it without being shrill.He doesn't want to condemn but invite people to conversion and he wants them to do so by the Grace of God and through faith and reason and with full consent of the will, in complete freedom. Who can call that Heterodox? It is orthodox!

3. He does not want to condemn sinners, but call them to conversion. This includes those who have same sex attractions. Yet he will uphold the doctrines of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and that the sanctity of marriage extends beyond the Catholic Church as it is a divine institution that transcends the Church. But he will work within soceity and social trends to make this message known, just as we do today with Catholics who are divorced and "remarried" outside of the Church in legal ceremonies of the state and sometimes in the churches of our separated brethren.

Thus, moving backwards doesn't mean embracing the Mass of any era previous to the current one, but simply embracing the Mass in any orthodox form is moving forward and the real presence of Christ is there, His sacrifice on the Cross and the manner in which He makes us members of His Church, which is His spotless bride. It matters not which way the Liturgies of the Sacraments are celebrated as long as they are faithful to orthodoxy!

Moving backwards is the heterodoxy of the 1960's and moving forward is the orthodoxy of the Church of the ages.