Saturday, August 31, 2019


A friend just sent me this taken a few moments ago. Spectacular photo of a spectacular shrine!


I am sticking with the Jesuit who believes in the devil.


As you know, I am the celebrant for the Cathedral's 12th Sunday After Pentecost EF Mass on Sunday.

So I worked diligently to develop my usual outstanding homily that normally brings applause even from the EF crowd. (Just kidding).

But what I noticed when I went to save my homily on my computer is that I already had a 12 Sunday After Pentecost saved from last year, which means that even though I usually take this Mass only once or twice a month, that I am taking the 12th Sunday After Pentecost twice in a row at the Cathedral and my new homily sounds a lot like my homily from last year!

With only one cycle of readings for the Extraordinary Form, how can an excellent preacher avoid being diminished by repeating himself each and every year? What's a priest to do??????

Friday, August 30, 2019


Traditional Propers for the Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
Vestments:  Green
Psalms 69: 2, 3

Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. -- (Ps. 69. 4). Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . -- Incline unto my aid, O God . . .
COLLECT -  O almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that Thy faithful people do unto Thee worthy and laudable service: grant unto us, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling towards the attainment of Thy promises. Through our Lord . . .
II Corinthians 3: 4-9
Brethren, Such confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God. Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance; which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.
Psalms 33: 2, 3
I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall ever be in my mouth. V.: In the Lord shall my soul be praised: let the meek hear, and rejoice.
Alleluia, alleluia. V.(Ps. 87. 2). O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day, and in the night before Thee. Alleluia.
Luke 10: 23-37
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things you hear, and have not heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But He said to them: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." And He said to him: Thou hast answered rightly: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion, and going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him, and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thine opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go and do thou in like manner.
Exodus 32: 11, 13, 14

Moses prayed in the sight of the Lord his God, and said: Why, O Lord, is Thine indignation enkindled against Thy people? Let the anger of Thy mind cease; remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom Thou didst swear to give a land flowing with milk and honey. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which He had spoken of doing against His people.
SECRET - Graciously look upon the Sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, which we present upon Thine altar: that while they obtain pardon for us, they may give honor to Thy Name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .
PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
Psalms 103: 13, 14, 15

The earth shall be filled with the fruit of Thy works, O Lord, that Thou mayest bring bread out of the earth, and that wine may cheer the heart of man; that he may make the face cheerful with oil; and that bread may strengthen man's heart.
POST COMMUNION - May the holy reception of this Mystery, we beseech Thee, O Lord, quicken us: and may it win for us both pardon and protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Insulting faithful Catholics after Vatican II in order to manipulate and abuse them came from the highest places of the Church:

An article from 1Peter5 posted below brings back so many memories of that mixed bag of Church history from 1965 to 1970. Let me be clear, as a teenager I loved the vernacular and at first loved Mass facing the people. It was exciting to see Church history unfold before my eyes. But I did not understand at the time was that the changes I like would lead to the crisis of Church division and scandal so prevalent until this day.

What do I mean?

1. Destruction of traditional church interiors and new construction to accommodate the elimination of tabernacle’s central position replaced by the priest’s throne as well as elimination of altar railings, statues, crucifixes and other art and altars projected into the nave surrounded by flexible seating

2. The simplification of the Mass actually dumbing it down in the most clerical way to accommodate the stupid laity who couldn’t participate in an active way otherwise, in other words, the denigration of the laity

3. Folk Masses with choirs, instruments in the sanctuary facing the congregation

4. Standing for Holy Communion, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion made ordinary and receiving Holy Communion in the hand

5. Off the cuff remarks by the priest at various points in the Mass, improvisation, creativity and asking the laity to gather around the altar, hold hands and say prayers out loud with the priest.

6. Prayers proclaimed while looking at the congregation as though the prayers were directed to them.

Read the 1Peter5 article, quite a good history:

Not Authorized: The Untold Story of the Death of the Old Mass

Introduction: A Time of Confusion Although it is now frequently claimed that the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) was never abrogated (totally abolished) following the Second Vatican Council, this position is squarely at odds not only with the lived experience of …

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Seminarian Will Cook, St. Anne's summer seminarian, put me on to various videos about Marine Officer Candidate School (OCS). This one is a good summary. He is also USMC Captain Will Cook and now US Navy Reserve Officer preparing for the Navy Chaplaincy as well as a priest for the
Diocese of Savannah. He is on pastoral year at my former parish and God willing will return to 3rd Theology at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary next Fall.  Catholic Seminaries would do well to borrow some of the ethos of Marine OCS! We’d see an increase in vocations by men like Captain Will Cook!

What aspects of Catholicism in general and what priests are called to do in "spiritual warfare" that are completely consistent with what this video teaches would-be Marine Officers? I was told when I was at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, the country's oldest seminary of any religion, that the US Naval Academy in Annapolis copied much of the discipline of St. Mary's. Of course this was the pre-Vatican II seminary with a very high standard of discipline and screening of priestly candidates all of which were lost beginning around 1968. 


Today is the Feast of St. Monica. The first prayer is the original English translation of the collect for St. Monica and the second the revised version. As you can pray, much can be lost in translation! Which do you prefer?

God of mercy,
comfort of those in sorrow,
the tears of Saint Monica moved you
to convert her son Saint Augustine to the faith of Christ.
By her prayers, help us to turn from our sins
and to find your loving forgiveness.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with your and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
– Amen.


O God, who console the sorrowful
and who mercifully accepted
the motherly tears of Saint Monica
for the conversion of her son Augustine,
grant us, through the intercession of them both,
that we may bitterly regret our sins
and find the grace of your pardon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

Monday, August 26, 2019


Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Tacoma, Washington is a stunningly beautiful church that needs to have $18 million worth of restoration work to make it safe to occupy. The only 1990's problem with it is the interior paint job. But artisans could easily bring the interior back to the splendor it could and should have. But alas, it will be torn down because Catholics think millions of dollars could be spent better at shopping malls, on sky scrappers and other idols to pagan gods. It is slated to be demolished. Maybe it is a symbol of all that has disappeared from the Catholic landscape since Vatican II, such as the Extraordinary Form Mass that once was the Ordinary Form, habits, meatless Fridays,  churches, schools, hospitals and Catholics.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Crux has an article on the term "transubstantiation" and how it does or doesn't resonate with Catholics today. I don't think the problem is the word "transubstantiation" but how we explain it, even in the Baltimore Catechism.

As a child and even now, I don't like the term "accidents" to describe what remains after the consecration and transubstantiation. Accidents in English has too many definitions. Get rid of that word.

Simply say that the "substance" of the Bread and Wine become the Crucified and Risen Lord in Jesus' entirety as THE Second Divine Person of the Most Holy Trinity, with two natures, Human and Divine. But Jesus who makes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, His one Sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary available to us in a timeless but unbloody way, the glorified way, a non-offensive way, non gory way, Jesus also gives us Himself in a palatable and delightful, glorified way under the form of Bread and wine, the externals which remain while what it is changes.

But we can explain how the Mass is the One and Same Sacrifice of the Cross and how the actual Bread and Wine become the actual Substance of the Crucified and Risen Lord until the cows come home or the Second Coming, whichever comes first, and the majority of Catholics won't hear or understand it.

Thus the manner in which the Mass is celebrated must be the sign and symbol of what it is, the One Sacrifice of Christ in an  unbloody way with the Crucified and Risen Lord substantially and sacramentally truly present. This means, folks, that awe and reverence must be the first priority of each Mass in how it is celebrated and the plethora of lay ministries come last, way last. So the Mass isn't about what people are doing, which is a heresy, but what God is doing! This leads away from the dreaded horizontal to the desired vertical of worship and receiving our Lord worthily.

So, let me bang Pope Benedict XVI's drum again and again, the renewal of the Ordinary Form of the Mass in continuity with the 1962 Roman Missal, wrongly called the reform of the reform but renewal in continuity.

No one, especially those who prefer the 1962 Missal should be offended by this and it will make the 1962 Missal more approachable for those who have an antipathy for it, especially in the clergy and thus make the 1962 Missal more available if the Ordinary Form of the Missal approximates it.

And let me make this clear, what Pope Benedict envision, is made a reality in the Pope Francis' promulgated "Divine Worship, the Missal."

What is it that I am recommending? The following:

1. Maintaining the current vernacular Ordinary Form Missal with the following additions from the Ordinariate's Missal:

a. The Introit from the Roman Gradual but in the Extraordinary Form and in the chanted Mass, chanted during the Prayers and the Foot of the Altar which are restored. Of course, the Mass is celebrated Ad Orientem.

b. Next and in unity with the congregation and choir, the priest approaches the altar, kisses it, incenses it if incense is used and then joins the choir/cantor and congregation in the Kyrie and the Gloria as the priest stands at the middle of the altar.

c. After the Gloria, he kisses the altar, turns to the people and extends his hands, and chants or says "The Lord be with you." He goes to the Epistle side of the altar and chants or says "Let us Pray" and chants or says the Collect.

2. The Liturgy of the Word continues as it is currently celebrated in the Ordinary Form:

a. The priest goes to he sedalia. A reader appropriately dressed in a white alb, recalling the baptismal garment, approaches the ambo and reads or chants the first Scripture.

b. Next the cantor or choir chants the Gradual from the Roman Graudal as in the EF Form. If it is recited the reader does so.

c. Next the Second reading, the Epistle, is read by the reader.

e. The deacon, at the chair, asks for the priest's blessing and approaches the altar for the Book of the Gospel which is at the center of the altar. As he takes the Book of the Gospel, the altar servers transfer the Missal to the Gospel side of the altar.

f. The deacon then goes to the ambo to read or chant the Gospel.

3. After the homily, the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins in this fashion:

a. The priest goes to the center of the altar and intones the Credo and all either recite of chant it.

b. The priest introduces the Universal Prayer by kissing the altar and turning to the people to do so. The deacon facing the altar or the priest if there is no deacon, prays the intercessions and it is concluded by the celebrant.

c. Next the priest turns to the congregation, greets them and turns back and prepares the altar as the Offertory Antiphon is chanted.

d. There is no presentation of the offerings. The priest uses the EF's offertory prayers.

e. After the washing of the hands and the restore "Suscipe" the priest turns to the congregation and fully states the "Pray brethren" and after the laity's response, make a full circle back to the altar.

f. The celebrant then chants or says the Prayer over the Offerings"

G. The Mass continues as usual with the rubric enhancements of the Ordinariate's Mass for the Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon mandated for Sundays and Solemnities and Eucharistic Prayer II allowed for weekday Masses.

4. The Rite of Holy Communion:

a. the priest invites all to pray the Our Father either by chanting or saying it.

b. the normal prayers as in the Ordinary Form follow with the Fraction Rite and Agnus Dei.

c. After the priest's private preparation prayers, the priest turns to the congregation with the chalice and the "fractured Host" above the chalice and declares "Behold the Lamb of God....", all then recited "Lord I am not worthy" three times.

e.  He turns back to the altar, consumes the Holocaust to conclude the Sacrifice and the faithful come forward and kneel at the restored altar railing to receive Holy Communion. Intinction is allowed for Solemnities. The Communion antiphon is chanted and additional motets or chants.

F. After the ablutions, the priest chants the Prayer after Holy Communion from the Epistle Side of the Altar. He returns to the center, kisses the altar, turns toward the congregation and greets them, blesses them and then he or the deacon offer the dismissal and all depart. The option of the Last Gospel is restored.


Please note the Augusta National Master’s 2019 sign on the wall of the set! I hope they didn’t steal it!

During this week’s episode of The Catholic Talk Show, Ryan Scheel, Fr. Rich Pagano, and Ryan DellaCrosse discuss “Lost Catholic Traditions We Should Bring Back.”
They cover Rogation Days, Ember Days, The First Friday Devotion, why Catholics don’t still have meatless Fridays, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and why altar rails make more sense than lines.

Fr. Rich Pagano explains why he thinks bringing back altar rails makes perfect sense:

Do you think the Catholic Church should bring back altar rails?

Saturday, August 24, 2019


sustain within us the faith
which made Saint Bartholomew ever loyal to Christ.
Let your Church be the sign of salvation
for all the nations of the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith,
by which the blessed Apostle Bartholomew
clung wholeheartedly to your Son,
and grant that through the help of his prayers
your Church may become for all the nations
the sacrament of our salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Is it a confused papacy or a papacy that likes to confuse? This Crux article about the Francis Effect in Argentina is quite telling of attitudes throughout the Catholic world. Push title for full story:

‘Francis effect’ in Argentina’s 

alternate reality a mix of light and 


Friday, August 23, 2019


While this isn’t his point, the priest being turned into a narcissist, please note how many times Father B. Jarabek, JCL, from his blog, Dilexi decorem domus Domini, uses “he could” in his blog post:

The Options That Divide Us

There can be rather drastic liturgical differences between parishes — most of us have experienced this. Some of us have chosen to attend a parish precisely because of the way it “does liturgy”. But does that necessarily mean that the one is “doing it right” while the others are “doing it wrong”? When it comes to the Ordinary Form of the Mass or Novus Ordo, things aren’t quite that simple.
Let’s run through some of the options that each priest has on any given Sunday. I’ll do it in an outline form:
I. Opening Hymn/Chant
a. It could be the Gregorian chant introit verse (entrance antiphon)
b. It could be a vernacular composition of the entrance antiphon
c. It could be the Latin but in another musical style/composition
d. It could be a hymn from a hymnal
e. He could just enter in silence and read the verse upon reaching the altar
f. Oh yes – there are more options than just these
II. Greeting
a. He could do “The Lord be with you”
b. He could do one of several others that are provided
III. Remarks/”Pre-homily”
a. He could now add remarks, introducing the liturgy of the day
b. Or he could omit remarks and continue to the penitential rite
IV. Penitential Rite
a. There are three forms that can be used
b. Within one of the forms — “form c” — there are nearly endless options
V. Gloria
a. He could recite it with the people
b. He could intone a Latin Gloria and then the people and/or choir sing it
c. A vernacular setting could be sung – the possibilities are rather numerous
VI. Collect (Opening Prayer)
a. He could sing it according to a traditional tone (solemn, festive, etc.)
b. He could sing it according to some tone that he made up or prefers
c. He could recite it
VII. Responsorial Psalm/Gradual
a. The responsorial psalm as printed in the lectionary could be recited or sung
b. Another psalm could be substituted in many cases
c. Another translation is also possible
d. Or he could have the Gradual sung (whether in the Gregorian setting or another composition/language)
VIII. Alleluia/verse
a. He could omit it entirely
b. He could recite it
c. He could have it sung according to a million different settings/styles
(We’ll leave out options that exist concerning chanting the readings versus reciting them)
IX. Homily
a. He could preach on the readings
b. He could preach on the other prayers of the Mass
c. Or…. he could preach on what the bishop told him to preach about, like the charities drive
X. Creed
a. He could use the Nicene Creed
b. He could use the Apostles’ Creed
XI. General Intercessions
a. Virtually unlimited possibilities for the texts
b. Also the possibility of singing all or part of them (e.g. only the response)
That’s just the “Liturgy of the Word”. And 99% of the things I listed are legitimate options. Then we could start listing common abuses…
How does a priest decide? I’ll tell you what happens in many, many places: he chooses what he likes, what he thinks/knows the people like, or some combination of the two. Some places have liturgy committees that assist with these decisions also.
What this alarming multiplicity of options has led to is precisely a subjectivism about liturgy: it becomes about us and our preferences. This then drives the choices that many make about what parish they will attend — “I like their hymns better”; “I like the fact that they recite everything and use the shortest options”; etc.
This subjective approach to worship is not what true worship is about. It is God who tells us how he is to be approached. Think of the burning bush: he instructed Moses first to take off his sandals, for it was sacred ground. Think of the two sons of Aaron, who offered incense in a way that went against what God had commanded in Leviticus 10: they were burned up.
God makes us worthy to offer him fitting worship through baptism. That is when we come to share in his priesthood, such that we can pray to him in a way that befits his majesty and is pleasing to him. But he doesn’t just leave it to us to figure out afterward. No, through both divine revelation and the further guidance of his Church, he effectively tells us how we are to approach him.
Yes, the multiplicity of options that I listed above are legislated by the Church, and so are legitimate variations: I am not disputing that. What I am pointing out is the way that they have led, in practice, to a subjective approach that has contributed to our being divided into camps. We may well choose certain options, and legally — but we may choose them for the wrong reasons. And we often have done so.
The way forward, which I think will help us to achieve better unity within our worship, is two-fold:
  1. Realize, through liturgical education, that worship calls us out of ourselves and challenges us – it is not something we create based on personal tastes or questions of efficiency or convenience;
  2. Seek always those options that are in continuity with what was done by our ancestors.
When a priest sets about celebrating a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, yes, he does have options. But they are far, far fewer in number. And it’s not like abuses or deviations from the ideal didn’t enter in also (historically) or aren’t still present now in some places. But the general approach — the starting-point — remains quite different: it simply does not lend itself well to “personalization”.
Most priests, the present writer included, who have learned how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, have experienced in a rather striking way how it makes a claim on us. The burden of choosing between countless options is all but eliminated, and I simply must obey the text. I don’t have to make things up. “Amen, amen, I say to you: when you were young you used to gird yourself and go where you would. But when you are old, behold, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and lead you where you did not wish to go” (John 21:18): this prophecy applies to all who are invited to follow after Christ, but in particular, to priests. Some liturgical forms assist us in appropriating it better.
Taking the above partial outline, and trying to seek those things that would be in fuller continuity with our tradition, these are the options that a parish might choose for its Sunday liturgy:
I. Opening Hymn/Chant
a. Chanted introit/entrance antiphon instead of a hymn
II. Greeting
a. “The Lord be with you” (the other options are certainly scriptural but are not in continuity with liturgical tradition)
III. Remarks/”Pre-homily”
a. Omit entirely — important announcements may be made before Mass or in the bulletin
IV. Penitential Rite
a. Use the Confiteor (“I Confess”)
V. Gloria
a. Chant, ideally in Latin — Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis) may be over-done in many places, but it is easy for people to learn and can be a good starting point
VI. Collect (Opening Prayer)
a. Sing it according to a traditional tone
VII. Responsorial Psalm/Gradual
a. Chant the Gradual rather than the Responsorial Psalm. Use either the Gregorian setting or a composed setting in English or Latin
VIII. Alleluia/verse
a. Sing using a Gregorian setting or at least something dignified, that doesn’t sound like a stadium chant
IX. Homily
a. Fr. Hugh has some good reflections/guidance on the homily
b. (Of course, if the bishop mandates a certain topic, do it in obedience!)
X. Creed
a. Use the Nicene Creed and consider chanting it in Latin. Credo III is not hard to learn
XI. General Intercessions
a. Keep them brief and follow the outline given in the GIRM
b. Omit them entirely at daily Masses
If all parishes took the approach of choosing those options that are in continuity with our tradition, they would be liberated from slavery to subjectivism while at the same time finding that there is still a wonderful variety. They would be worshipping more fully in union with their ancestors. They would be challenged to appreciate new things rather than taking refuge in familiar comforts. The quality of their liturgical celebration might be raised. A new reverence and a holy fear of God might more readily be fostered.
Many have written on this and there is certainly much more that can be said. Perhaps I’ll return to this topic in the future and from different angles.


What do you think?

'Ad orientem' tussles turn on matters of community, liturgical diversity

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 11 CROP3.jpg

In this screenshot from a diocesan video, Mass is celebrated "ad orientem" during the July 2018 ordination ceremony in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. (YouTube/Madison Diocese)
In this screenshot from a diocesan video, Mass is celebrated "ad orientem" during the July 2018 ordination ceremony in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. (YouTube/Madison Diocese) 
As the church has been tussling over liturgical practices since the Second Vatican Council, it's easy to anticipate criticism. So when Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, announced in a July 22 letter that he would begin celebrating Mass in his cathedral ad orientem, that is, "toward the east," with his back to the people, his words leaned into the punch.
"I know this can be a contentious topic. To make changes to the way we pray can be difficult, especially when it comes to liturgical prayer," he wrote.
In announcing the change, Wall, 54, cited an April 10 open letter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that addressed the sexual abuse crisis in the church, but also stressed how the worship of God impacts all other aspects of life.

Bishop Wall CROP.jpg

Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico (CNS/Bob Roller)
Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico (CNS/Bob Roller)
"This more than anything was why I was moved to make this decision regarding Mass adorientem, and why I chose to use Pope Emeritus Benedict's letter as a springboard," Wall said via email.
Wall, who has headed the diocese for just over a decade, emphasized he was not choosing Benedict over Pope Francis. "By quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict in my letter," he added, "I am in no way appealing to him over and above Pope Francis, but rather, like Pope Francis himself, expressing in my own way my admiration for Pope Emeritus Benedict's great insights into the liturgy."
Legitimate diversity
Wall's move is not reflected in a national trend line. While bishops in Portland, Oregon, and Marquette, Michigan, have moved to implement widespread use of Gregorian chant in recent years, the last bishop to take the ad orientem turn was Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, who in 2016 announced a move similar to Wall's.
Morlino died in November 2018. The diocese's longtime director of worship, Patrick Gorman, shared that the bishop had taken care never to impose the practice on another priest, even the rector of the cathedral where the bishop celebrated in that manner.
"I think he chose to do that because he realized not every priest is comfortable with this," Gorman said.
But even a non-imposition creates expectations when the model is the bishop in his cathedral. Wall in Gallup admits openly that he is seeking to lead by example with the move, saying via email that he wants to move the diocese "towards a liturgical unity of sorts. For while the rubrics of Mass do allow for options — for legitimate diversity — this doesn't mean that the celebration of Mass from one parish to another ... should be radically different."
It's this diversity permitted in the conciliar texts and the Roman Missal, along with the bishop's role as the chief liturgist of his diocese, that allows for a move as this, noted Msgr. Richard Hilgartner, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Cockeysville, Maryland, and president and CEO of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
"The way you celebrate the Easter Vigil isn't the same way you celebrate a weekday in ordinary time," said Hilgartner of why a Mass by a bishop at his cathedral can be celebrated more solemnly. "For centuries, there have been degrees of solemnity within the liturgy."
Hilgartner, who staffed the Divine Worship Office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2014, added that postconciliar liturgical rubrics are more simplified in terms of delineating "high Mass" from others, and so, "in some ways, to do some of these things is simply to carve that out."
Catechesis and coexistence
In explaining his move in Gallup, Wall wrote, "I am trying to open the treasury of the Church's patrimony" rather than disrupt the prayer lives of the people of the diocese.
The need for catechesis was echoed by several liturgy experts, including Gorman in Madison, who said Morlino urged sensitivity among his priests to the noise such a practice creates for Catholics who've lived through the upheaval of reform and, prior to that, a church in which — for instance — women had no say.
"People who desire to worship ad orientem, it's one step on their way to involving themselves deeper in prayer," Gorman said. "I've talked to many of them. They say they pray more deeply in this way. They say it takes out the personality of the presider."
The communities who worship in this way tend to coexist with other Catholics, Gorman said, with conflicts coming "from the outside," that is, from Catholics — often with an internet platform — who form a strong preference for or against something, "and they're going to drive it home with everybody, telling them how bad the other side is and how right they are. And that is a lack of humility."
Brian MacMichael, director of worship for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, agreed that technology has exacerbated the environment for Catholics who want to fight about liturgy. In the past, "we couldn't know what was going on in real time," he said of history as recent as the debates of Vatican II and being able to form opinions and to pontificate on working documents. "There's a lot of noise today. It doesn't help."
Not a cudgel but a tool
MacMichael offered the frame "Is this helping to point us toward Christ?" in discerning liturgical matters. He warned against the tendency to approach liturgy as a commodity and the "gross oversimplification" on both sides of the debate to see their way as the answer to all that ails the church, the sentiment of "as long as you fix all this, they'll come back."
Hilgartner agreed that a healthy respect of others' preferences and faith journey are key: "How one person experiences the presence of God isn't necessarily going to be defined by one set of norms. And it's a big church."
"Liturgy's the battleground, and it's the one thing that's supposed to unite us," Gorman said.
He added that ongoing debates were "a silly fight." He said that different forms of the Mass draw people to the divine and enrich one another.
While using liturgy as a weapon is antithetical to its purpose, Hilgartner noted that turning to the liturgy at a critical moment in the life of the church — as the bishop of Gallup characterizes his move — is enshrined in the central place Vatican II gave to worship.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Over at the Deacon's Bench Blog, there is a rant about a church in New York and its strict wedding rules and how it turns off nominal Catholics who simply want to have a wedding in beautiful church building.

Personally, it is important to have rules for weddings because some Catholics today are so crass and lack reverence for the Church and her sacraments, much of it having to do with the casual and silly experiences they have had and only have had with the Ordinary Form of the Mass. 

I do not allow "destination" weddings in my parish in Richmond Hill. There must be some connection to St. Anne Church, like living in the parish boundaries, registered or not, or family connection. Proximity to Savannah as a tourist venue doesn't cut it. The destination weddings that I have allowed have been nightmares and turns weddings into a product for the bride or her mother who approach the parish as though we were Walmart or, should I say, Neman and Marcus.  

For registered parishioners, the "donation" for the Church is minimal an usually covers fees for our wedding director and the organist. 

What requirements does you parish have?

You can read the Deacon's Bench Rant HERE. But my problem is with the wordiness of one aspect of this parish's rules and here is their wordiness and how I would correct it:

The use of “unity candles” is strongly discouraged. Experience has consistently demonstrated their clumsiness. For instance, they often do not light properly, or they spread wax, or they can even set other decorations on fire. More importantly, the Catholic marriage rite does not allow for such a lighting ceremony. Therefore, if desired, unity candles belong best at the wedding reception, where they can be incorporated into the first dinner blessing of the newly married couple. Floral decorations should not be extravagant. Our beautiful Gothic church needs little extra ornamentation. The priest will discuss with you the options about where the flowers can be arranged. Candles in the body of the church must be enclosed in glass globes. Due to past experiences, runners are no longer permitted.

Why give an apologetic for their rules or anticipate objections as the above "guideline" does? Just write it this way:

The "unity candle" is not a part of the Catholic wedding liturgy and is not permitted at this church. 

Aisle runners are not allowed in this church.

The wedding director will discuss with you where floral arrangements may and may not be placed as well as where additional candles may or may not be placed.  

Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia can be read HERE. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


There will be much more to be said in the weeks and months ahead about the rejection of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction for “historic sexual abuse,” by the 2-1 vote of a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Victoria. For the moment, this astonishing, indeed incomprehensible, decision calls into the gravest doubt the quality of justice in Australia—and the possibility of any Catholic cleric charged with sexual abuse to receive a fair trial or a fair consideration of the probity of his trial.
In the live-streamed appellate court proceedings on the morning of August 21 (Melbourne time), Victoria Supreme Court chief justice Anne Ferguson, reading the decision, made persistent reference to “the whole of the evidence.” But there has never been any “evidence” that Cardinal Pell did what he was alleged to have done. There was only the word of the complainant, and there was absolutely no corroboration of his charges—which, in the months since the cardinal’s trials, have been shown to be alarmingly similar to a fake set of charges leveled against a priest in a story published years ago in Rolling Stone
Read the rest of George Wiegle’s commentary at First things HERE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Father Thomas Reese’s rhetoric in this National Chismatic Reporter article is what has led to the poor state of faith in the Church today. This is 1970’s theology and apologetics that I was taught in a seminary that refused adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as Benediction and placed the tabernacle in a side chapel and if anyone went there to pray they were immediately suspect.

My seminary class which was about 60 men in the fall of 1976 was only 23 in 1979 in part due to the progressive theology/ideology of those three years. Imparting this crap on the laity has accomplished the same goal!

Father Reese grow up, wake up and stop this crap. And the problem isn’t just catechesis, it is catechesis of the kind Reese spews wedged in 1970 as well as the entrenched manner in which the Ordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated today:

The Eucharist is about more than Christ becoming present 

There has been a lot of clerical hand-wringing of late about Catholics who don’t believe what the church teaches about Christ’s presence in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. According to the Pew Research Center, only one-third of Catholics agree that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Almost 70 percent believe that during Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion "are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ."
This certainly shows a failure in catechetics, [Yes, the kind of catechetics you are about to read!] but I think the church faces a greater problem: Like the Pew Research Center, Catholics have an impoverished idea of what the Eucharist is really all about. [Father Reese, your 1970's mentality about the Most Holy Eucharist is what is impoverished and has impoverished the Faith of Catholics!]
Much of Eucharistic theology — especially the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation — goes back to the 13th century, when people rarely received Communion at Mass. They went to church to adore Christ present in the Eucharist, and the purpose of Mass was to transform the host into the body of Christ so that people could adore him. Devotionally, the Mass was not all that different from Benediction, where the Eucharist is placed in a monstrance to be adored by Catholics. [This 1970's rhetoric I remember well! How bad and evil the 13th Century was for the Most Holy Eucharist! This is right out of the talking points of liberal Catholic liturgists!]
In order to explain how what looked like bread could be the body of Christ, 13th-century theologians used the avant-garde thinking of the time: Aristotelianism. [Yes, more horrors from the 13th century!]
In ancient Greece, Aristotle described reality using concepts of prime matter, substantial forms, substance and accidents. This allowed Catholic theologians using Aristotelian philosophy to explain that the "substance" of the bread was changed into the body of Christ while the "accidents"(appearance) remained the same. Thus, "transubstantiation." Using Aristotelian concepts to explain Catholic mysteries in the 21st century is a fool’s errand. When was the last time you met an Aristotelian outside a Catholic seminary? [Not often, but in my parish yes, but that's the problem!]
I personally find the theology of transubstantiation unintelligible, not because I don’t believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but because I do not believe in prime matter, substantial forms, substance and accidents. I don’t think we have a clue what Jesus meant when he said, "This is my body." I think we should humbly accept it as a mystery and not pretend we understand it. [So, Fr. Reese dosen't believe it so it must not be used!]
In any case, Jesus did not say, "This is my body. Adore me." He said, "Take and eat. This is my body." Only in the early 20th century, with the encouragement of Pope Pius X, did receiving Communion again become common in the Catholic Church. [So let's destroy adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and we'll get to what Jesus' wants as though Jesus didn't guide the Church to make dogma the dogma of Transubstantiation! This sentence by Reese is the single most devastating piece of evidence as to why we are where we are today in the Church!]
The church also spoke of the Eucharist as making present and effective the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. But even here, the concept of sacrifice was quite limited. Only in a holocaust sacrifice was everything burnt. In most Hebrew sacrifices, some of what was sacrificed was eaten in order to show God’s communion with his people.
At the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, the bishops were arguing about whether the Eucharist is a sacrifice or a communion. Pope Benedict had to intervene and explain to the bishops that it was both, something the bishops should have learned in their first course on sacramental theology. [By the way, the Baltimore Catechism has separate chapters on the Sacrifice and the Banquet of the Mass. Bring back the Baltimore Catechism for balanced catechesis!]
The context of the Last Supper is also essential to understand what Jesus was instituting. The Last Supper was a Passover meal where Jews remember the Exodus and thank God for his gracious acts toward his people. Here they also renew their covenant with God.

The Mass must therefore be seen as a sacrificial meal where we give thanks to God, especially for the gift of his son; where we renew the new covenant with him; and where we are united with him through Christ.
The Mass is not about adoring Jesus or even praying to Jesus. In the Eucharistic prayer said by the priest at Mass, we pray to the Father through, with and in Christ. We give thanks and praise to God for his wondrous deeds, especially for raising up Jesus as our savior. [Here you go, the apex of 1970's ideology!]
The Eucharistic prayer asks that the Spirit transform us so that we can become like Christ, or as St. Augustine said, that "we become what we receive." Ultimately, the Mass is more about us becoming the body of Christ than it is about the bread becoming the body of Christ. [Yes, 1970's theology the Mass consecrates us, which isn't completely wrong, but no matter how consecrated we are, we are still poor miserable sinners who miss the mark. Jesus never does and when we lose that focus in the Mass and who it is that is Transubstantially present and we can adore and worship, we end up where we are today and with Mass celebrated in the most casual and silly sorts of ways, the horizontal overpowering the vertical!]
The Mass renews the covenant that commits us to follow in Christ’s footsteps in loving our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and the marginalized. The Eucharist is about making us more Christ-like so that we can continue his mission of establishing the kingdom of God, of bringing justice and peace to the world. [Here we go, it is all about US ESTABLISHING GOD'S KINGDOM AND US BRINGING JUSTICE AND PEACE IN THIS WORLD. HAS FATHER REESE ANY CLUE AS TO WHAT WE, MEANING THE HIERARCHY AND THE LOWERARCHY HAVE DONE TO THE CHURCH IN THESE PAST 50 YEARS AND MORE WITH HIS KIND OF IDEOLOGY AND THEOLOGY ROOTED IN THE NARCISSISTIC 1970'S AND WHERE WE ARE gODS?]

Father Reese, it is time for you to retire and to retire your corrupt theology that has done so much damage to the Church's True Faith. But thank you for showing a new generation what truly went wrong in the Church of the 1970's that your generation is trying to regain! Nostalgia for the 1970's is worse than nostalgia for the 13th Century!