Thursday, October 31, 2013


The most damnable aspect of the Mass facing the people is that the priest himself becomes the center of the celebration. And if that priest is an extravert or a want-to-be extravert, he can manipulate the Mass to make himself the star or he can influence the style of the celebration of the Mass completely destroying the Church's intended ethos for the Mass.

All of us have examples of how the priest's personality becomes the center of the Mass and how many parishioners prefer one's priest Mass over another's, the "cult of the personalty."

Yesterday, at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis, like many other priests throughout the world, celebrated Mass at one of the many side altars there and did so ad orientem. A visitor to the Basilica that morning walking past the pope celebrating Mass in this fashion would have no clue that it was the pope celebrating Mass. It could have been any priest or bishop throughout the world.

What would have been important to the passer-by is that the Mass was being celebrated and the One Sacrifice of Golgotha was being made present in an unbloody way for those present to experience that Sacrifice in the now and the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Risen and Glorified Lord would be available for those cleansed of sin, mortal and venial in order to show that they are in full communion with Jesus Christ through His Church of which we are His Body and He is our head, we are the Bride of Christ collectively as "souls" (anima, a feminine Latin word for soul) and He is the Bridegroom. Our Lord begets adopted children of God through Holy Mother Church!



The Vatican daily “L‘Osservatore Romano” published the piece by soon to be Cardinal-Elect, Archbishop Müller Head of the CDF on Thursday, October 31, a day of historical importance for the Protestant Reformation where he laments the PROTESTANTIZATION of the Catholic Priesthood.

This is heading us in the continued direction of the hermeneutic of reform in continuity! When we rediscover the Catholic priesthood, not a post Vatican II version of it, it will impact the proper reform of the reform of the Mass and move it away from its dreadful PROTESTANTIZATION in the Ordinary Form!

Beyond the towards renewal

fixing our eyes on those of the crucified and risen High Priest, we can overcome every obstacle and difficulty. 

I am thinking especially of the crisis of the doctrine on the priesthood that occurred during the protestant Reformation. It was a crisis at the dogmatic level which reduced the priest to a mere representative of the community by eliminating the essential difference between the ordained priest and the common priesthood of the faithful. Then there was the existential and spiritual crisis that occurred during the second half of the 20th century and exploded after the Second Vatican Council, and from whose consequences we are still suffering today. 
In Joseph Ratzinger's extensive work Proclaimers of the Word and Servants of Your Joy – volume XII in his opera omnia – he proposed a way of overcoming these crises by advancing a high-level theological approach, thereby giving us a guide for fostering a renewal of the sacramental priesthood instituted by Christ. 
The scientific studies, meditations and homilies on the service of bishops, priests and deacons contained in this volume span almost fifty years, beginning with the years immediately preceding the beginning of Vatican II. 
Many people, depending on their respective positions, associate this event, which has marked the recent history of the Church more than any other, with the starting point of a transformation in keeping with the spirit of the times, or rather with the beginning of a profound crisis in the Church and in particular in the priesthood.
  Gerhard Ludwig Müller
October 31, 2013

[tags: Benedict XVI | Vocations]


Yes, a real bombshell in the liturgical sense in terms of ad orientem! Pope Francis today, Thursday, October 31 had his daily Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the side chapel altar where Blessed Pope John Paul II is entombed. Pope Francis celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem for the first time, publicly, as pope.

What is so important about this is that he chose not to have a portable altar set up in front of the attached altar but rather celebrated ad orientem. Keep in mind that Pope Francis' first Mass in the Sistine Chapel, he required a portable altar be set up in front of the magnificent altar and historic altar there.

While it is obvious that the Holy Father prefers facing the congregation, although is style of celebrating Mass is in an "ad orientem sort of way" including maintaining all these months the Benedictine Altar arrangement, he is not opposed to the Ordinary Form of the Mass being celebrated ad orientem just as Pope Benedict did on certain occasions. This is bombshell good news indeed!

Keep in mind that it was this pope, Pope Francis that approved the new Anglican Use Mass that clearly allows for ad orientem, kneeling for Holy Communion and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the EF's Offertory Prayers, the EF's rubrics for the Roman Canon and the Last Gospel.

He distributes to this day, Holy Communion by way of intinction to the deacons of his Masses who kneel before him.



There has always been liturgical diversity in the Latin Rite. In fact prior to Vatican II there were several different rites in the Latin Rite, such as the Domincan Rite. There were not major differences, but there were differences. After Vatican II the Liturgical reform seem to diminish the unique characteristics of the various rites such as the Domincian and Ambrosian.

With the recovery of the form of the Mass and sacraments from the post Trent era, there has also been a recovery of the different rites of the Church of that period too. For this we must thank Pope Benedict XVI and his vision for Summorum Pontificum which unshackled the liturgical life of the Church of the post Trent era for a broader experience of it for the faithful.

So today we have the Ordinary or normative form of the Mass which in itself either by way of law or unlawful liturgical creativity has a variety of styles to it, not only in form but music and cultural accretions. It can look and feel like the pre-Vatican II Mass if sung and spoken in Latin ad orientem or it can look like a Methodist Church liturgy through liturgical creativity and iconoclasm.

We also have the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is reigid in terms of rubrics and style and is not open to experimentation or creativity.

Along with the EF Mass we have the various other rites of this genre being recovered as mentioned above.

And now we have the Anglican Use Mass that in and of itself includes a great deal of diversity. What is interesting about it is that it is optional for Anglican Use priests and congregations. They may choose the normative Latin Rite Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass or the Anglican Use Mass.

Of course we already know that the Anglican Use Mass allows for something that one would hope will be extended as a option to the Normative or Ordinary Form Latin Rite Mass, the options of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar to replace the Penitential Act with a reorientation of the order of the Introductory rite more according to the EF format. Also the EF's Offertory Prayers and the rubrics for the Roman Canon in the EF Form although with the option of the vernacular is allowed and the Last Gospel.

One would think if the Anglican Use Mass can have these optioins with a Roman Calendar that includes some EF sensibilities such as Septuagesima and ember days and the Octave of Pentecost, that these would be extended to the normative Latin Rite in the Ordinary Form. One can only pray that this would be so.

But someone has brought up an interesting thing. If Anglican Use priests, those who are former Episcopalians ordained as Catholic priests for the Anglican Ordinariate have the option of celebrating Mass in all the forms allowed in the Latin Rie, such as the Extraordinary Form, the Ordinary Form and the revised Anglican Use Mass, why can't this be extended to all Latin Rite priests and parishes?

Of course, currently any priest can celebrate the Ordinary Form. They can celebrate the EF if they know how to red and chant the Latin but Ordinary Form Latin Rite Catholic priests have not been authorized to celebrate the revised Anglican Use Mass, although I suspect a local bishop could grant permission based upon need if there were a significant number of former Episcopalians in a particular Catholic parish.

What do you think? Should all Latin Rite priests have permissioin to celebrate not only the OF Mass along with th eEF Mass but now also the Anglican Use Mass?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


NPR has an article with some audio of interviews it has done with Archbishop elect Leonard Blair who has been promoted to a very large archdiocese in Hartford, Connecticut. YOU CAN READ IT AND HEAR IT BY PRESSING HERE.

This is what he told NPR:  Blair said the LCWR undermined the Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality, birth control and "radical feminist themes." He spoke with Terri Gross on NPR's Fresh Air last year and addressed the findings. Here is what he had to say on gay marriage:
Well, I think another great issue of our society today is the defense of the God-given institution of marriage between one man and one woman. And I think everybody knows this is at the front line of moral issues in our country today. And so what we would imagine happening for the organization of Catholic religious women, would be that they would be front and center in speaking on behalf of this fundamental teaching. And yet we don't find that. 
And this raises another important point, I think; that no one is questioning the compassionate, pastoral care that has to be given to people - for example, people who have a homosexual inclination. And I think sometimes, there's a disservice done when it's made to sound as if the church condemns homosexuals.
The National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) also threw a nutty criticizing Pope Francis for appointing a Vatican bureaucrat to a large and influential archdiocese chiding the pope for reneging on one of his major proposal to Apostolic Nuncios to make pastors bishops, not princes.   You can read their nutty by PRESSING HERE.

Of course, Pope Francis asked his head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller to clarify what the Church teaches about conscience and divorce. This is what he wrote in synopsis below, but you can read the entire essay, certainly approved and commissioned by Pope Francis by PRESSING HERE!

Archbishop Müller: Care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist

October 22, 2013: The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, has published an article in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, speaking about the issue of re-marriage and the reception of the sacraments. He begins by re-affirming the Church's constant teaching that marriage is indissoluble, and that this is testified to both in Scripture and Tradition. In the article, Archbishop Müller acknowledges that modern misunderstandings over the meaning of marriage leads to more marriages being invalid than in previous times, but writes that couples should not decide for themselves whether or not their marriage is null.

"Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God, it is also a reality of the Church, a sacrament, and it is not the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the Church, into which individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism," he writes.

The Archbishop says he knows it is not an easy teaching, but those who are divorced and remarried should know that they are not alone, and the Church "as a community of salvation accompanies them on their journey."

"Clearly, the care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist," he writes. "It involves a much more wide-ranging pastoral approach, which seeks to do justice to the different situations. It is important to realize that there are other ways, apart from sacramental communion, of being in fellowship with God. One can draw close to God by turning to him in faith, hope and charity, in repentance and prayer. God can grant his closeness and his salvation to people on different paths, even if they find themselves in a contradictory life situation."

of the Vatican Radio website 

MY FINAL COMMENT: Thus one can see in these two important things that there is continuity between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict and continuity in Church doctrine.

Keep in mind also that Pope Francis is more of a direct leader than Pope Benedict. Pope Benedict took his time in "mandating" certain elements of his papacy and often proposed rather than mandated. This was perplexing to many.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, backs up what he models with action and mandates and does so quickly almost compulsively. In terms of continuity of certain aspects of Church teaching, Pope Francis has left more recent popes in the dust on the following major topics:

Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church

The influence of the very real evil spirit of the DEVIL

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of God, of the Church and of all of us

Popular devotions practiced by rank and file Catholics at home without recourse to a priest--to strengthen families and individual Catholics to be "priests" in the world and influence the world with the New Evangelization

Noble simplicity for the Liturgy but doing it by the Book and when facing the congregation in an "ad orientem" sort of way--removal of the pope's and priests' personalities from the liturgy in other words

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


This is the song we heard coming into Jerusalem and again as we depart today. We are now on our way to Roma!

Crooks Richard song on YouTube can be heard by PRESSING HERE!

The Holy City (Jerusalem)
Last night I lay a-sleeping,
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem,
Beside the Temple there.
I heard the children singing,
And ever as they sang,
Methought the voice of angels
From Heav'n in answer rang.
Methought the voice of angels
From Heav'n in answer rang.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Lift up your gates and sing;
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to your King.

And then methought my dream was changed,
The streets no longer rang.
But with a glad Hosanna
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill,
But the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.
But the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Hark, how the angels sing
Hosanna through the ages,
Hosanna to your King.

Then once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the timeless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide;
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon nor stars by night
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Sing for the night is o'er;
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna for ever more.
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna for ever more.

words: F.E. Weatherly
music: Stephen Adams
copyright: Unknown
source: Album of Favorite Barbershop Ballads
1944, by MM Cole Publishing Co. Chicago
and off-air tape.
transcribed: Dilly

Monday, October 28, 2013


Today we conclude our pilgrmiage to the Holy Land. The scedule is light as all of us are fatigued from a wonderful and busy pilgrimage. Tomorrow we have Mass at 5:00 AM at the Holy Sepulcher and then return to Notre Dame Center to pack and take our bus to Televie for our three hour flight back to Rome. When we arrived in the Holy Land, we lost an hour, but when we visited Bethlehem we gained it back for a few hours, but Saturday night all of Europe and the Holy Land went back to standard time and so we gained an hour but when we return to Rome we lose that hour.

I have to say that Jerusalem has been a favorite of mine. I liked our experiences in Galilee, Nazareth and the vicinities around there. Of course most of the places that are significant to our Lord have long sense been built over, torn down, buried, built again and so on. Most have basilicas or churches over the site to memorialize where our Lord preached. Thus it is with Jerusalem. Almost every significant site has a huge basilica built over it. These are owned or operated either by the Greek Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church.

In fact, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Franciscans of the Holy Land who have done a marvelous ministry of maintaining the sites entrusted to them. Our Holy Land collection on Good Friday is quite important to them. I have a new sense of what this money does here.

While being in the Holy land has given form to my imagination of what it was like here during the time of Jesus as I have heard the Gospels proclaimed at Mass all my life, the one thing that I really appreciate about our Catholic Faith is that the Mass, both major parts of it, The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist make present our Lord. Of course in the Liturgy of the Eucharist we enter into the one Sacrifice of Calvary in a timeless, eternal way. No matter where we are, we are there in the Mass. The Eucharistic Banquet following the Sacrifice of our Lord, now in an unbloody way, allows us to receive our Glorified and Risen Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity as we strive to do so worthily, with our sins forgiven and not conscious of any mortal sins that need our Lord to forgive us in the Sacrament of Penance.

But we are there in the Holy Land in an eternal and timeless way when we heard the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. This truth has been magnified for me. While it is a great blessing to actually be here, only a minority of us Christians do come to the Holy Land in a physical way as I have had the blessing to do. But all of us are in the Holy Land when we hear the Scriptures, especially the Gospel, proclaimed at Mass. We are there in a timeless and eternal way and we should allow our spiritual imagination to form images of what it was like during the time of  Jesus.

So while I never was in the Holy Land until now, I always have been in the Holy Land through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the other liturgies and devotions of the Church that contain the words of Sacred Scriptures.

Below you will see the Eastern Wall of the Jerusalem old wall and two gates that have been blocked centuries ago by the Muslims with graves placed in front of it. Jews believe that when the Messiah comes he will come through these gates and the dead shall rise from their tombs. The Muslims when they gained control of the Holy Land in an act of spite, closed the gates with stones and placed graves in front of it for they knew that no good Jew would enter a place with graves, so this would prevent the Messiah from using these gates. But the Jews and we Christians know that nothing could stop the Messiah, not even blocking the gates and closing them in. The reason for all the graves in front of this area is that the Jews who wanted to be buried here wanted the best place to rise from their graves. Makes sense to me. Will the Second Coming of the Messiah be here. I believe it will be here.

The inside photos are of the Upper Room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper and where the Blessed Mother and the Apostles gathered for the Pentecost event.

The camel photos are Holy Land props for tourists.

One can be a tourist or a pilgrim here or a combination of both. I've taken pictures while here, but I hate doing so. I think it would be wise to ban photography inside these shrines and to make the experience truly religious or spiritual. We tend today to act more like tourists rather than pilgrims and that is a shame.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


My sabbatical and pilgrimage are truly astounding and awe inspiring. It has truly been a blessing and I give thanks to Bishop Hartmayer for allowing me to take this sabbatical and for the diocese to pay for it!

On Friday, we arrived in Jerusalem. The manner in which we drove up to Jerusalem hid the city on the hill from us entirely. As we approached a tunnel, our tour guide, who is a wonderful, spunky Jewish woman put a recording of a famous song to Jerusalem. It is secular/religious. I had not heard it before, but others in our group had heard it and were able to sing its marvelous refrain. The refrain to it is, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem..." and we did not sing that refrain until we exited the tunnel and before our eyes, there was Jerusalem, Jerusalem! I had tears in my eyes for the moment was so dramatic and unexpected and choreographed brilliantly by our tour guide and bus driver!

This is what I felt. The tunnel we took was maybe a half mile or more long. It was like the tunnel that many describe who have "death experiences" and return to tell about them. And then I could see light at the end and as we emerged and Jerusalem lay before us, it was like entering the "New Jerusalem, Our Happy Home." I must say that I had the most erie, or better yet, spiritual feeling that my mother was on the other side of that tunnel and had been there although, my mother has never been to Jerusalem! Her presence was felt and so strong was it I had a dream about her that night! Jerusalem of course is a metaphor for us Christians of heaven, the New Jerusalem. I wonder if we don't all come here for our personal judgement at the hour of death? I wonder if we actually travel here, are tunneled here.

Of course, many believe that the Final Judgement will occur here when our Lord returns at the Second Coming. The Jews believe this also, although for them, they still await the Messiah. Of course He has already come, we await the final judgment. There are graves all around the area where Jesus will return, mostly Jewish, but Christian also. They have the front row seats to the final judgement and the resurrection of the dead.

It is too difficult for me on my iPad to put captions on each picture below. But I think you get a sense.

Walking the paths of Christ from Galilee and now here in Jerusalem is beyond words for me now. We went to Bethlehem today and were given the rarest opportunity (our group of priests) to celebrate Mass in the Grotto where Jesus actually was born. It is a tiny area and it was stifling hot. This altar is about three steps lower than the actual place where Jesus was born. The altar is our Latin Rite jurisdiction, but the actual spot of Jesus' birth right next to it belongs to the Greek Orthodox jurisdiction, but all in the same Church's grotto. After Mass, despite the fact that I having some trouble, not terrible, but not normal either, with my right knee and thus I must be very careful how I use it, I was able to get down on all fours and kiss the floor before the actual birth spot of our savior in this grotto or cave like structure. We sang Christmas music for the Mass and wished everyone Merry Christmas at the Sign of Peace. Here, Christmas is every day! This was very moving and it is going to take me time to process all of this.

I love Jerusalem! What a fantastic city and beautiful. The Jewish section is clean and well cared for. Our Hotel is Vatican owned and run by the Legionaries of Christ. It is like a castle, absolutely spectacular and right next to the new gate of the old city. There is no better location in the city for a hotel. The Hotel is called Notre Dame--google it (in Jerusalem). The full name of the hotel is "Pontifical Institute, Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center!"

We also were given special access to the Garden of Olives where Jesus prayed that "His Father's will be done..." This garden is not open to the public but it was to us and is next to the Church where Jesus prayed at the rock in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have pictures of the interior of this Jesus and the actual rock in front of the altar, which I was able to get down on all fours and kiss!

Then we went to the Jewish Wailing Wall. I had a note prepared with prayers and special intentions for my family, deceased loved ones and for everyone in my parish. The area we went to was for men only and we had to cover our head with a hat or skull cap. This was a very moving experience also. The wall is the foundation of the Jewish temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. The Muslims have a mosque above it as they took over the land that was Jewish to begin with. Thus we see the animosity that is centuries old between the two groups. No end in sight.

This evening after supper in the hotel, we view a film on the Shroud of Turin which is very well done we are told. It is not usually shown the general public, but we have special privileges for some reason. I'm not complainng!

Enjoy the photos: