Ember Days in Pittsburgh and St. Michael in Bridgeport

From Bishop Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

“… Special observances are called for on Ember Days: four sets of three days throughout the year that were traditionally set aside for prayer and fasting. These days were scheduled near the change of seasons. Bishop Zubik has asked that on each of these 12 days, clergy of the diocese fast and abstain from meat and make a Holy Hour. A Holy Hour is an hour spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, which Catholics believe is the real presence of Christ.

Bishop Zubik will liturgically inaugurate the Year of Repentance on Sunday, September 23, 2018, immediately after the first three-day cycle of Ember Days. On Sunday, September 23 at 3 p.m., Bishop Zubik will lead Solemn Evening Prayer within a Holy Hour with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in Saint Paul Cathedral, Oakland. Everyone is invited to participate, and parishes may also choose to hold a similar event at their own churches.

The Ember Days in the Year of Repentance are:
September 19, 21, 22 and December 19, 21, 22 in 2018. In 2019 they they continue with March 13, 15, 16 and June 12, 14, 15. …”

Awhile back we discussed the changes to the Liturgical Calendar which came along with the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae (now known as the “Ordinary Form”) back in 1969. Those post are here, here, here, and here. One thing we did not discuss was “Ember Days.” So, what are Ember Days?

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Ember Days were suppressed in the 1969 Novus ordo calendar, so they are not found on current liturgical Calendars, and most people these days have never heard of them. But a Bishop can call for them in his Diocese, and that is what Bishop Zubik is doing.

Fr. Z, as usual, has a helpful guide for Ember Days.


From the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT:

The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel will be recited at the end of every Mass in the Diocese, beginning on the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15, as instructed by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano earlier this month…”

The prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is one of the Leonine Prayers said after the conclusion of the Low Mass (Extraordinary Form). However, as these were suppressed after Vatican II, they are mostly unfamiliar to Catholics today. The prayers in their entirety are here. The prayer to St. Michael (the only one of the Leonine Prayers being used in Bridgeport) goes like this:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

I thought I’d pass these along as interesting responses to the current crisis by various Bishops: among other things (one hopes), these men are turning, ever so slightly, towards Tradition.

St. Micheal, by Daniel Mitsui:

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REMINDER: Catholic Rural Life Festival, with TLM, THIS WEEKEND, 14-16 September 2018

The 2018 Catholic Rural Life Festival will be held THIS WEEKEND, September 14-16 in Farmington and Jay.

In particular, Fr. Kyle Doustou will be celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 at 9AM at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 1 Church St., Jay, ME.

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For more information, please visit crlmaine.weebly.com and see the flyers below (the information is also on the sidebar).

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People still believe in the priesthood.

Fr. Joseph Illo is the pastor of Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco (a write up is here). He recently wrote a piece in The Catholic Herald entitled "Trust in the priesthood has been shattered - but not entirely." As always, I encourage you to read the entire thing. But a few points caught my eye. As always, emphasis is my own:

The priest whom we thought we knew in America has become a stranger, and a dangerous one at that. When even the Pope – our beloved Daddy, the Papa of all peoples – when even he seems to blithely dismiss credible allegations from the people of Chile and from his own nuncio, when even the Pope seems unwilling to protect his children – what have we left of spiritual paternity?

And yet… I’m amazed to see how people still believe in the priesthood...

... As damning as the crimes of the Church have been – and I think the public exposures will have to get worse before we decide to really clean our house – people still believe in the priesthood. Despite what the Supreme Court has said, we still believe in marriage. Despite fifty years of dismissive media, we still believe in the Catholic Church. The world still needs God, and it knows the Church still administers divine sacraments.

According to Pew Research, the Catholic Church has lost more members than any other "religious tradition" (Pew's term) in the United States. New converts do not offset this loss. The main reasons for this exodus, according to Pew, are the Church's teachings on the ever-proliferating panoply of social experimentation topics which receive the blessings, adulations and legal protection of the State and the commentariat. We all know them: oldies but goodies like abortion, contraception, and divorce; trendy newcomers such as homosexual "marriage", the multicolored paint splatter of LTQGB whatever, and the newest kid on the block: boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys. This last, in my opinion, is especially vicious insofar as it involves the medical and surgical (id est, permanent) mutilation of children by their parents, with the approval and support of the State, the state-run schools, and, of course, the commentariat. And we wonder why our children are confused and bewildered.

However, a secondary reason, growing in importance, is the slow motion train wreck of sexual scandals involving priests, bishops, cardinals – scandals which primarily (though not exclusively) involve adult men ordained as priests forcing homosexual activity on young men, teenage boys, and peri-or prebubescent boys.

There's a lot to study and to learn regarding how Fr. Illo does business at Star of the Sea. Go look at the website for his parish. But the point of this post is this: people still believe in the priesthood. I do. However, I also am frankly angry and disgusted with the priesthood. I want to see the priesthood stand up, clean itself up (which is going to be nasty, and ugly, and dirty, but needs to be done), then clean up the liturgical mess of the past half century(which I believe has contributed greatly to the current crisis), and then begin standing up to the world. I don't want the laity to do it, I want the priests (and by this I mean all priests: priests, bishops, even, yes even the Pope) to do it. That is the only way that they will ever regain credibility. The laity can support the priests and bishops who want to do these things, but the clergy has got to do the work. And, yes: it's not going to be pretty.



The FIRST First Saturday Mass this past Saturday, 1 September, 2018

The First FIRST SATURDAY MASS was held this past Saturday, 1 September 2018, at St. Anthony’s Parish in Westbrook, Maine. The plan is for it to continue for the rest of the year. See sidebar or the end of this post (below) for contact information.

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Mass was offered by Fr. Steven Cartwright of the Diocese of Portland. Confessions were heard from 8-9AM by Fr. Cartwright and Fr. Reggie Brissette, retired, also of the Diocese. Mass began at 9AM, about 115 were in attendance.

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Peace to him (or her) who enters, greetings to him who goes out.

Here’s some pictures, more or less in order (all pictures courtesy of Matthew Maloney).

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Ite, Missa est.

The next First Saturday Mass is Saturday, 6 October, at 9AM, confessions at 8AM, same place:


9am (Confessions, 8am)
St. Anthony of Padua Parish
268 Brown Street, Westbrook, Maine

Fr. Steven Cartwright
Parochial Vicar - Sebago Lakes Region Parishes
Office Phone: 207-857-0490, ext. 22


On the Nature of the Crisis in the Church, Part II

From various sources:

Testimony on the Cover Up of Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis and McCarrick: where does the evidence lead?

From a Moral-Historical Perspective, This Crisis is Worse Than You Realize

Pope Francis’ Accuser Turns Up the Pressure With More Accusations

Nebraska Catholic diocese rocked by old abuse allegations (this regarding allegations in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, which for many of us represents – at least in theory, for those of us who’ve never been there - a bastion of orthodoxy and relief from the current madness. This story has been followed by the National Catholic Register long before it broke in the secular news. But then, that’s true of ALL of these stories...)

Pope: "I will not say a single word" on allegations of McCarrick cover up.

Pope Francis wants concrete action to combat the “emergency” of plastics littering seas and oceans. (New York Post 1 Sep 2018)

Had enough yet? These are just a sampling, there’s LOTS more.

Firstly: as laity, we must first examine our own consciences. The reading for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time for AD. 2018 is from St. Mark: “From their hearts com evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within, and they defile.” Is my heart pure? Are my lips clean? Do I live as Jesus would have me live? I have an obligation as a Catholic to understand the storms and violence rocking and wracking the barque of Peter, absolutely, but first, and foremost, am I living as Jesus would have me live?

Secondly: We must understand what is going on. I have always admired the writings of MSGR Charles Pope, of the Diocese of Washington, DC. I have never met the man, but his honestly, clarity of thought, and outright courage come out in his writings. I would direct your attention to his offering on the National Catholic Register, here. As always, I do not want to be accused of “word picking” or taking things out of context, so go and read the entire thing for yourself. That said, I am struck by this (as always, the emphases are my own):

It is evident that the vast majority of the cases involving both the sexual abuse of minors and of adults involve male victims. The 2004 John Jay Report (The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States), which was commissioned by the U.S. bishops themselves, found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of all victims were post-pubescent. Thus, though legally still minors, they were sexually mature in the physical sense. So, the large majority of cases involved attraction by homosexuals to young men who, though legally minors, were physically and sexually mature males, not little children. This is not pedophilia. It is homosexual attraction...

(Regarding situations in seminaries) ...soon enough a subculture sets up where temptations are fierce, and compromises and liaisons soon emerge. And this is what we have seen in the “gay” subculture that is demonstrably existent among a significant number of clergy in the Church.

An honest discussion of the recent crisis needs to include a clear setting forth and analysis of these facts. Ignoring them and staying silent through political correctness is malpractice at this point. We must speak charitably and clearly about this. We must not allow charges of intolerance, homophobia and scapegoating to suppress a frank discussion and analysis of the link of much of this misbehavior to active homosexuals, and a subculture among some of them that tolerates and promotes behavior which God forbids.

See here for a follow-on: An Interview with Msgr. Charles Pope: “It’s hard to find Christ on this terrible hill of Golgotha right now, but this is where he is.”

The systemic problem, right now, is NOT pedophilia. That is not to say there are not genuine instances of genuine child sexual abuse, for there are, just as there are genuine instances of priestly liaisons with married or unmarried women and priests stealing from the collection plate. These cases should be investigated, and dealt with properly and forthrightly. But these cases are also sporadic, and relatively few. They are not the systemic problem. The systemic problem is homosexual activity directed against young men, teenage boys, and peri- or pre-pubescent boys. Yet, once again, in this Diocese and in Dioceses across the land, the current troubles are being clearly and unashamedly spun as “child abuse” problems. See here (also linked above) for a brief history lesson on homosexuality as practiced in ancient Greece.

This needs to be said: The man who wrestles with same sex attraction, who desires to live a chaste life in accordance with the teachings of the Church purportedly founded by Jesus, is really no different from the man who wants to live according to the teachings of the Church yet struggles with attraction to fornication or adultery, or struggles with pride, covetousness, lust not otherwise specified, anger, envy, or sloth. All of us are sinners, and all of us struggle with temptation sin, it is only the flavor of the temptation(s) that varies. Each and every one of us must examine our own lives first.

Thirdly: do not use this as an excuse to “give up” on the Church. I am as disgusted with the antics of highly-placed churchmen as anyone; but if watching this freak show is painful for me, how more more so it must be for those seminarians, priests and bishops who have given their lives to Christ and His Church, and who truly want to be good and faithful priests. I believe these men make up the majority of the clergy. More than ever, they need our support.


Upcoming events in the Fall of 2018, summarized in a nutshell.

There is a lot of stuff going on as we wind down the summer and head into the fall. Here’s a brief recap:

ONE: Maine needs Fatima: I can’t begin to match the sophistication of their website. It has a lot of stuff: go there to learn about them, and what they do, and see some pictures. A couple of impressions from Matt Maloney during his participation in one of the Rosary Rallies are here:

as I arrived at the church, I saw a minivan with the words "Shuttle" handwritten on a large piece of cardboard taped to its side. That's how Dan and Ellen Kasprzyk work, they are great hosts and try to think of everything... Dan is highly energetic and so tech-savvy that he now has a live HD video stream of their events. Ellen ... always makes anyone new feel welcome.  Back in early 2017, their goal was simply to have a monthly rosary rally on or around the 13th of each month to coincide with the apparitions that happened in 1917. Soon it expanded to include confession, Holy Mass, and bringing in guests like Bishop Deeley ... and [for the organization to be] closely connected with America Needs Fatima.

They decided to continue even after the anniversary and so in 2018 they wanted to kick it up a notch by added 3 things.

1) Encourage first Saturday Devotions- Since this was asked for by Our Lady it's a natural next step. What better way to fulfill the Communion of Reparation is there than participating in a Mass devoted to our Blessed Mother?

2) Start the #RosaryChallange  - A social media campaign like the 'ice bucket challenge' but think "drier and holier". They simply ask participants to take a photo or video as you pray the rosary, to pray it somewhere publicly, and to invite a friend to pray with you.

3) To start a public Marian Procession through the heart of Gorham to St Anne's Church where the Rosary Rally takes place under big white tents set up by the local Knights of Columbus council…

Again, go to their website to learn more!

TWO: The ME Needs Fatima First Five Saturdays devotion is conveniently coterminous with the TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS offered every First Saturday beginning THIS SATURDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER, details HERE (and on the sidebar).

THREE: CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE FESTIVAL September 14-16, 2018. All the information and links are on the Una voce Maine website here.

FOUR: MAGNIFICAT PRAYER BREAKFAST 8 September. All the information and links are on the Una voce Maine website here.

That’s it, in a nutshell: if I’ve missed anything, please let me know!

Curate, ut valeatis!


2018 Catholic Rural Life Festival: September 14-16

The 2018 Catholic Rural Life Festival will be held September 14-16 in Farmington and Jay. Fr. Kyle Doustou will be celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Saturday, September 15 at 9 AM at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 1 Church St., Jay, ME. For more information, please visit crlmaine.weebly.com and see the flyers below.



On the Nature of the Crisis in the Church

Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, has written a letter to his flock, which is available in it’s “official” form here. I have provided what I see as one – and only one - of his main conclusions below. Read the entire thing for yourself to get the full thrust and context of his comments. Keep in mind that the good Bishop calls each and every one of us to examine our own lives first, as not one of us is free from sin. That said (and all emphases are mine),

There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary. It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held ANY of it to be acceptable…

It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable. Such wickedness should be hated with a perfect hatred. Christian charity itself demands that we should hate wickedness just as we love goodness. But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy…

The Bishop’s letter has been covered by the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, and probably elsewhere. Again, please read what the Bishop himself said.

I, for one, think this level of clarity and honesty is way overdue, and I applaud the Bishop’s bravery.


Magnificat Prayer Breakfast 8 September TIME IS SHORT for REGISTRATION!!!

Magnificat Prayer Breakfast

Your are invited to a Catholic Women’s Prayer Breakfast

All the information is HERE Noto bene: Time is SHORT for registration!!!

Sponsored by Magnificat-Scarborough Chapter

At the Fireside Inn & Suites, 81 Riverside St, Portland, ME

September 8, 2018, 9 to 12 Noon  - Guest speaker Maria Boylan   

Bishop Deeley will say the opening prayer, and

Fr. Robert Parent and Fr John Bacevicius, OFM, will also be there!

Please Send required $22 reservations before August 25, 2018 to:

Shirley Estabrook, c/o Magnificat Reservations

109 Ridgeland Avenue, Apt # 229, South Portland, ME 04106

Hope to see you there!

Diane Embry, member of the SGTG Chaplaincy, Cathedral.

More on the pilgrimage THIS SATURDAY 11 Aug 2018 to the Old Point Monument

We first mentioned the upcoming pilgrimage here. More information from the primary organizer, seminarian Joseph Moreshead (joseph.moreshead@portlanddiocese.org) follows:

The pilgrimage will begin at 9 AM with a series of prayers and reflections at Notre Dame Church in Skowhegan (273 Water Street) and end by 1 PM with a procession at the site of the old mission at Old Point in Madison, Maine (near St. Sebastian Cemetery on Father Rasle Road.) Cost is free.

At the church there will be an introduction to the life of Fr. Rale given by an author from the Penobscot tribe in Maine (Louise Ketchum Hunt) who wrote a book on Fr. Rale called In the Shadow of the Steel Cross. Following that, Fr. Patrick Finn (newly ordained) will expose the Blessed Sacrament and there will be a series of reflection and prayers (including a rosary) centering around the life of Fr. Rale and Our Lady's role and example in his life and mission.

We will then drive to the site of the old mission in Madison, Maine where we will have a half mile procession along the river to place of Fr. Rale's burial. We will stop at various points in that procession to reflect on the end of Fr. Rale's life (again, with a focus on Our Lady's role.) For those unable to walk that far, the same prayers and reflections will be recited at the monument where the procession will end. We just ask that those people bring their own lawn chairs.

As far as specific intentions, the focus of most of these prayers will be on our own conversion through the example of this early missionary and for the conversion of this diocese. Obviously you're welcome to bring your own personal intentions to this pilgrimage as well.”

Commentary on the monument erected by the Town of Madison, ME, is here.

Do come, both for your own prayers and intentions, and to show support for Maine’s young seminarians and priests. They are the future of the Church here in Maine.


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First Saturday Latin Mass beginning 1 September, 2018 at St. Anthony’s in Westbrook AND Upcoming pilgrimage right here in Madison, Maine, Saturday, 11 August 2018.  (read the entire post!)


1st Saturday Latin Mass beginning September 1st, AD 2018

From Fr. Steven Cartwright, Parochial Vicar, Sebago Lakes Region Parishes:

In an effort to fulfill Our Lady's message at Fatima and to increase devotion to the First Five Saturdays, on behalf of Fr. Lou Phillips, Pastor, Sebago Lakes Region Parishes, I am pleased to announce that beginning on Saturday, September 1, 2018, Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) will be celebrated every First Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Saint Anthony's Parish at 268 Brown Street, Westbrook, Maine. 

Confessions will be heard beginning at 8:00 a.m

For more information or any questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.

Father Cartwright

Rev. Fr. Steven G. Cartwright
Parochial Vicar - Sebago Lakes Region Parishes
Office Phone: 207-857-0490, ext. 22

St. Anne's Parish, Gorham

St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Westbrook

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Windham


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Pilgrimage to Madison, Maine on Saturday, 11 August, 2018

From the Diocese of Portland, Maine website, here:

Originally from France, Fr. Sebastian Râle joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1674 and, driven by the love of Christ, he traveled to the Americas 15 years later.

“When he encountered this amazing, burning love from the heart of Jesus, it lit his own heart on fire,” said Joseph Moreshead, a seminarian of the Diocese of Portland who will lead the pilgrimage. “He had to make the love of Jesus Christ known to the farthest corners of the world. In Father Râle’s day, Madison, Maine, was the farthest imaginable corner of the world!”

Father Râle lived much of his life among the Abenaki people. He composed a catechism and a dictionary in the Abenaki language and is even credited with establishing Maine’s first school. He fiercely defended the rights of the Abenaki people and was killed by the British in 1724. Seven members of the tribe died trying to protect him…

Where: Meet at Notre Dame de Lourdes Church, 273 Water Street, Skowhegan

When: 9AM – 1PM Saturday, 11 August, 2018

After meeting up at Notre Dame de Lourdes, the group will drive to the site of the old mission at St. Sebastian Cemetery on Fr. Rale Road in Madison. 

There will be several opportunities for prayer and meditation during the pilgrimage, and excerpts from letters written by or about Father Râle will be read along with Scripture passages. The pilgrimage will conclude around 1 p.m. at the memorial of Father Râle, located in St. Sebastian Cemetery on the spot where he was killed.

For more information about the pilgrimage, contact Joseph Moreshead at joseph.moreshead@portlanddiocese.org or call Christ the King Parish at (207) 696-3203.



Urbi et orbi: Humanae vitae 50 years on

From the Catholic Herald, entitled “Widespread dissent against Humanae Vitae put me off becoming a Catholic”:

“…We are watching the dismantling, stage by stage, of the moral order on which our civilisation is based, all in the name of progress and enlightenment, with the result that all other order — social, political, domestic — is fast disappearing with it… It seems to me now quite certain that, short of a miracle, the Roman Church is set to go with the contemporary tide.

It will be carried stage by stage, as the Protestant Churches have been, to relinquish all its positions. Married priests, lipstick nuns, permissive marriage, sanctified adultery, divorce and abortion, Catholic schools and colleges producing the same yahoos as non-Catholic ones — it will all happen; is happening.

If mankind is moving towards a worldwide Scandinavian paradise based on material prosperity and the pursuit of pleasure, as many believe, the Church will have no part in it.

The words of Jesus sound absurd in such a setting. If — as I consider far more probable — the quest for this worldwide Scandinavian paradise results in another Dark Ages, the Church, having helped to promote its coming, will be in no position to mitigate its consequences. It will be part of the darkness (my emphasis).

So individual Christians are left with the gospels, the saints and the living Christ — which, of course, is everything.

Those words were written fifty years ago by the British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who was not Catholic at the time he wrote them, but was eventually received into the Church.

For decades, Catholics have contracepted, aborted, divorced, remarried or simply shacked up in proportions as great as – by some data in proportions greater than- their non-Catholic confreres. The priests, with rare and courageous exceptions, were, and are, silent. Some appear to approve. The Bishops, with rare and courageous exceptions, were, and are, silent. Some appear to approve. Most – laity and clergy alike – appear simply unable to articulate why these things might be wrong.

Today, Catholics approve of the practice of sodomy (not to be confused with the burden of genuine same sex attraction, which is only one of the many different sorts burdens – many, but by no means all of which are sexual in nature - all and any of us carry), homosexual “marriage,” and this profoundly frightening and destructive fabrication of the early 21st century known as “transgenderism”, in proportions as great as – by some data in proportions greater than- their non-Catholic confreres. The priests, with rare and courageous exceptions, are silent. Some appear to approve. The Bishops, with rare and courageous exceptions, are silent. Some appear to approve. Most – laity and clergy alike – appear simply unable to articulate why these things might be wrong.

The Catholic Church has, in practice, truly become invisible. Or nearly so.

Sin didn’t enter the world with the wholesale rejection by clergy and laity alike of Humanae vitae, it entered via the Fall and has been with us ever since. Nevertheless, H. Vitae was a critical moment in the life of the Church in these modern times, and I personally take its existence, as well as the fact that we are still at least talking about it, if not practicing it very well, as a good sign, a sign of hope. We must, after all, always be ready to explain the hope which lies within us. But first, we must keep that hope alive. It is sometimes a low and flickering flame.

On this half century anniversary of Humanae vitae (July 25, 1968) I thought I would pass on a few recent links on its history, especially useful for those who don’t really know how it came to be. This is just finger food, there’s much more out there, easily accessible.

"The Bitter Pill of Dissent." National Catholic Register

"After Paul VI released Humanae Vitae 50 years ago, Catholics split into warring tribes." Catholic Herald

"50th anniversary of promulgation of Humanae vitae'" Fr. Z. See also "Marriage, unrealistic ideals and Paul VI's advice."

One stop shopping regarding H. vitae related information: Prof. Janet Smith

And, of course, this: ENCYCLICAL LETTER HUMANAE VITAE Vatican website. It’s not that long, and it’s easy to understand. For those only familiar with long and longer post Vatican II encyclicals, pre-VII encyclicals tend to be short, sweet and to the point.*


* Yah, I know, H.V. was 1968, after the close of the council in 1965, but it was still in the older style...


Reminder of Divine Things.

From The Wanderer:

Anyone involved in catechizing the young in our schools and parishes on the sacraments must always remind themselves that they are not writing upon blank slates — there is a formation already there, and that formation is usually Protestant. The loss of distinctive Catholic signs and symbols has had, over the decades, the cumulative effect of making our children default Protestants

The author, Dr. Arthur Hippler, is Chairman of the religion department, and teaches religion at Providence Academy Upper School in Plymouth, Minnesota. Although his comments are specifically directed at Catholic youth, I believe that they apply to all contemporary Catholics. The emphases are my own.

The requirement that God meet man in determinate ways and traditional rituals seems unreasonable and unfitting. In fairness, these latter errors are not so much mainline Protestant beliefs but rather the legacy of the liberal Protestantism that developed during the late 1800s…

Catechizing our young people on the sacraments is not then a matter of merely providing information. The Protestantism, whether mainline or liberal, that they have absorbed from the society around them, reduces or eliminates the biblical teaching that God makes Himself known to us through sensible signs.

As St. Thomas teaches, “Since it is natural for man to receive knowledge through his senses, and since it is very difficult to transcend sensible objects, divine provision has been made for man so that a reminder of divine things might be made for him, even in the order of sensible things” (Summa Contra Gentiles, III. 119).

I was a nonbeliever before I became Protestant, I was Protestant before I became Catholic. On my journey, I found that the Church in her teaching was distinctively Catholic, and clearly enunciated her role in the world: to be in, yet apart from; to listen, yet more importantly to explain; to have charity for all, yet to reject, and even condemn, the errors that we all fall prey to. This, then, was the “Catholic identity”: the visible Church, easily seen by the world.

I also quickly found that in practice the Church, at least the contemporary Church, wished to be invisible, to not stand out in the world but to be a part of the world. The distinctively Catholic identity had been suppressed and ridiculed by Catholics – lay and clergy alike - in a rush to appear Protestant, and not too combative, and, well, just “nice”. To my eye this loss of Catholic identity represents both an abdication by those in leadership of their responsibility to guard and transmit the Faith (cf. the first line of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum found at the beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church) as well as being the primary reason that the Church is floundering in the West.

I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can such a community be trusted any more about anything else?” (Joseph Ratzinger, via Fr. Z)

The most visible element of the visible Church is the manner in which God is worshiped; in other words, how the Mass, this most visible reminder of divine things, is conducted. Without recovery of the Catholic identity in this most public expression of the Faith, the Church will continue her slow motion collapse in Maine, in these United States, and in the West. This I firmly believe.



Requiem Mass honoring American and French dead, Casablanca, 23 November 1942

Having just finished General Omar Bradley’s “A Soldier’s Story”, I am now reading General George S. Patton’s “War As I Knew It”. Both books are original somewhat musty editions, found by my dear wife in a used book store.

General Patton kept a detailed diary from July, 1942 until 5 December 1945, 5 days before his fatal car crash. At the conclusion of the conflict he himself wrote the short book “War As I Knew It”, based on personal recollection and heavy extracts from his diary. Due to his untimely death his wife, Beatrice Ayer Patton, edited the book, along with annotation and footnoting by Patton’s Chief of Staff throughout the war, Col. Paul Harkin. The book was published in 1947. Like General Bradley (and, for that matter, other Generals such as Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant), Patton was an excellent, erudite and engaging author, and his work is a pleasure to read.

I thought I would share with you some snippets which caught my eye; both are from the North African campaign in late 1942, and take place in Morocco. Keep in mind that the French forces in Morocco initially opposed the American landings; there was brief but intense land and naval combat prior to the French agreeing to an armistice. Gen. Patton was quite proficient in the French language.

Nov 2, 1942 (aboard USS Augusta, prior to the Morocco landings)

This is the best mess (“mess”=chow hall for you USMC types, galley for you Navy types, TC) I have ever seen. I fear I shall get fat… Just finished reading the Koran – a good book, and interesting…

Nov 24, 1942


General Keyes, Admiral Hall, and I met General Nogues and Admiral Michelier, and … proceeded with a police escort to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The streets were lined with French and American soldiers … the Cathedral was crowded to the doors.

The Bishop of Morocco, in full red robes and wearing a four-sided red cap, met us at the door and conducted us to the front of the Cathedral. Here there were two biers: the American on the right, covered with an American flag, and with a guard of six American soldiers, and the French on the left, with a French flag and a similar guard.

At the termination of the Mass we followed the clergy out … A rather incongruous feature to me was the fact that in front of the people, when we entered and when we left, was a guard of Mohammedan cavalry on foot, Armed with sabres.”

I just thought it was an interesting vignette. The Novus ordo invention was some 25 years in the future. The Cathedral building (built 1930) still exists, but is now a museum.



Thought you might be interested...

From the TownHall Tipsheet:

Maine's moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins told CNN's Jake Tapper today that she would not be supporting a Supreme Court nominee who has "demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade" because, in her mind, that would be a justice who does not respect established precedent. (Scott v. Sanford (1857) was also established precedent. Should we not respect it as well? – TC)

I mention this not because I am in any way surprised by Sen. Collins’ position, for I am not. After all, Senator Collins (no relation) has used her tremendous wealth and power to further both abortion (where she recently voted to support post 20 week abortions) as well as so-called same-sex marriage, among many other “progressive” agenda items which increasingly conflict with Catholic moral teaching. I mention this because Senator Collins is publicly identified as Catholic in several places, including here and here.

Senator Collins’ website makes no mention of faith of any sort. Therefore, various links which name her as Catholic notwithstanding, I have no idea whether Sen. Collins is or ever was Catholic, or if she in any way publicly practices the faith. If, however, she does currently practice the Catholic faith, then many of her political positions (including her current statements on Supreme Court nominees) would seem, to my uneducated poor layman’s brain, to constitute florid scandal of the sort that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and other high profile self-proclaimed Catholics routinely engage in.

Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.” Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 2284

Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent.


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11th Anniversary of Summorum pontificum tomorrow (First Saturday) 7 July 2018

Last year was the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. Tomorrow, 7 July, 2018 (First Saturday) would, therefore, be the 11th anniversary. Impressed with my perspicacity? Perhaps not. Anyways, from National Catholic Register a year ago:

Once Sacred, Always Sacred

On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI decreed that the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite was to be officially available to all the Church’s faithful alongside the new liturgy of Blessed Pope Paul VI.

Pope St. John Paul II had allowed the traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated with limitations, but with his motu proprio (papal edict) Summorum Pontificum, Benedict removed the remaining restrictions. He stressed the old rite had never been abrogated but was henceforth to be known as the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite, and the new Mass introduced by Paul VI would be known as the "ordinary form.”...

At the time, Cardinal Robert Sarah gave an address to the colloquium "The Source of the Future," held on March 29 to April 1, 2017 at Herzogenrath, near Aachen (Germany). Catholic World Report published the entire text of his comments, a couple of samples follow (emphases are mine):

...In his Letter to the Bishops that accompanied the Motu proprio, Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained that the purpose for his decision to have the two missals coexist was ... to allow for the mutual enrichment of the two forms of the same Roman rite ... not only their peaceful coexistence but also the possibility of perfecting them by emphasizing the best features that characterize them. He wrote in particular that “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal….  The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI (the "1962 Missal"– TC) will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage.” ... In parishes where it has been possible to implement the Motu proprio, pastors testify to the greater fervor both in the faithful and in the priests...

Now it is enough to pick up the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy again and to read it honestly, without betraying its meaning, to see that the true purpose of the Second Vatican Council was not to start a reform that could become the occasion for a break with Tradition, but quite the contrary, to rediscover and to confirm Tradition in its deepest meaning. In fact, what is called “the reform of the reform”, which perhaps ought to be called more precisely “the mutual enrichment of the rites”, to use an expression from the Magisterium of Benedict XVI, is a primarily spiritual necessity. And it quite obviously concerns the two forms of the Roman rite. The particular care that should be brought to the liturgy, the urgency of holding it in high esteem and working for its beauty, its sacral character and keeping the right balance between fidelity to Tradition and legitimate development, and therefore rejecting absolutely and radically any hermeneutic of discontinuity or rupture: these essential elements are the heart of all authentic Christian liturgy. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tirelessly repeated that the crisis that has shaken the Church for fifty years, chiefly since Vatican Council II, is connected with the crisis of the liturgy, and therefore to the lack of respect, the desacralization and the leveling of the essential elements of divine worship. “I am convinced,” he writes, “that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”...

The NCR article is short and easy, a nice, quick review. Cardinal Sarah's comments are long, and more challenging, but clear, unambiguous and certainly intelligible to anyone who takes the time to digest them.



The Hemits of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Pennsylvania

Recently I received a note from Br. Thomas Mary of Jesus, Prior of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. As requested, I am passing it on to you, dear reader:

"Blessings to you and all in Una Voce during this Octave of the Sacred Heart (Carmelite Rite)! 

With joy in God and Our Blessed Mother, I introduce to you a new traditional religious community in the Church: the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg canonically erected the community on February 22nd, and has given his full support to the community’s religious charism and spiritual mission in the Church today.

Following the primitive Rule of St. Albert, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel lives a strict contemplative religious life for the glory of God, the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the salvation of souls. Its charism and priestly apostolate are a revival of the ancient eremitical Carmelite observance, in imitation of the ancient desert Fathers and the first hermits who were consecrated to a religious life of prayer, penance, reparation, and intercession on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. Returning to the spirit of the founders of the Carmelite Order and in love for the ancient liturgy of the Church, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel preserve and exclusively offer the traditional Carmelite Rite in the Divine Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass..."


As a new religious community, they are seeking both spiritual and material support. Details from the body of the letter are here:

Following the primitive Rule of St. Albert, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel lives a strict contemplative religious life for the glory of God, the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the salvation of souls. Its charism and priestly apostolate are a revival of the ancient eremitical Carmelite observance, in imitation of the ancient desert Fathers and the first hermits who were consecrated to a religious life of prayer, penance, reparation, and intercession on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land ... 

"...we labor to sow the seeds of divine grace, true Catholic doctrine, and authentic spiritual formation through three principal means:


  1. A specific apostolate of contemplative religious priests: Through confession, spiritual direction, preaching, and the celebration of the traditional liturgy, the priests of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel perform a specific apostolate that is for the spiritual formation and enduring benefit of priests, religious, seminarians, and the lay faithful.
  2. Sacramental and spiritual support for traditional Carmelite Nuns: The Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be helping to ensure the provision of the traditional liturgy for the new monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary & Joseph in Fairfield, Pennsylvania and spiritually assisting their two sister monasteries in Elysburg and Philadelphia. These monasteries are some of the most vibrant communities of traditional women religious in the world and are achieving an impressive revival of the religious life instituted by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross more than five centuries ago. They have so many vocations that they have established five new monasteries—all of traditional liturgical observance—in nine years, and they are preparing a sixth. 
  3. A retreat and guest house for the spiritual benefit of the faithful: In addition, once the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel receive the support needed to complete the initial material foundation, the community will have a guest retreat house available for priests, religious, and the lay faithful from the region and around the country. Through this retreat house, the community looks forward to offering a prayerful reprieve and a religious setting for those visiting the area or the beautiful chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in order to be refreshed and enkindled by the rich liturgical and spiritual life that resounds therein. Being in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, the location is within accessible driving range of several major city centers, including Harrisburg, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburg, Richmond, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City. The retreat and guest house will facilitate the priestly apostolate of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by enabling them to make available the sacraments in their traditional form, spiritual direction and formation for guests and retreatants...


"... For the sake of a more focused religious observance, humble manual labor, and greater availability for the priests of our community to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful, the community does not operate any regular business, but subsists on alms and the charity of the faithful. Because of the simplicity of its religious observance (requiring only small, separate hermitages and structures, as opposed to a large monastery complex), and the spiritual and priestly character of its apostolate, its ongoing operational costs and overhead are notably low. The community is already capable of its normal material maintenance and will continue to be so in perpetuity. 

However, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel... are obliged by our religious poverty to beg and to seek the vital support of some generous souls who ... can provide the substantial investments needed to accomplish the one-time work of materially establishing the permanent home for this religious foundation and its members, through the purchase of property, acquisition of materials for the community’s observance, and the construction of the basic and most essential facilities... Once the fundamental needs of the initial foundation are fulfilled, the happily growing community will be able to quietly and fruitfully live its spiritual mission without such a need to appeal for external support...

 "Therefore, on behalf of the community, we humbly request that you might share word about the traditional charism and particular material needs of our community with the members of your Una Voce Chapter or with other individuals who may be able and willing to help  the religious and priests of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to complete their foundation and live their vocation in the service of God and His Church. May God reward you for any help that may be offered and for kindly spreading the word!"

So, I am passing this along for your prayerful consideration.


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Quo vadis: What is the future of the Church?

From Commonweal via Fr. Z:

There was never silence or stillness at Mass for me growing up…

“…Then, three or four years ago, on a whim, I attended Latin Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, Texas. Just a block from the State Capitol, St. Mary’s is modest, with bare wood pews and a sanctuary set back from the congregation. I paged through a blue book that had Latin text on one page and English text on the facing page, with stage directions and illustrations in the margins.

My faith is not certain, and my doubt leads to questions. The Latin Mass welcomes me into the silence that allows me to seek the answers.’

Despite Catholic school and all that CCD, I didn’t realize until then the Novus ordo wasn’t just a straight translation. The Latin readings confused me; I couldn't tell, for example, just when the transubstantiation was occurring. But I knew without looking at the translation when we were saying “Lamb of God” and the Lord’s Prayer. I watched these strange ways of doing familiar things. The priest faced away from us. We knelt to take communion on the tongue. All the altar servers were male. I bowed at the priest during the recessional, incense still in my nostrils. Then I did something I'd never done after Mass. I sat in a pew, and I felt it: peace…

“…I don’t think (the Latin Mass) is the future of the church, even though I’ve noticed the pews are filled with fellow Gen X-ers and their children. (My nine-year-old daughter has been to more Latin Masses than English.) The English Mass is too easy; the unfamiliarity of the Latin Mass requires me to quiet my mind, to focus, to attend to my faith in a way that Mass in English does not. It isn't a refuge from a changing world, but a base from which to engage it. My faith is not certain, and my doubt leads to questions. The Latin Mass welcomes me into the silence that allows me to seek the answers.” (my emphasis)

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has an excellent piece on why one should continue to bother to be Catholic here. It’s worth taking the time to digest.

What is unusual about our time is not opposition to or rejection of the truth of this revelation. Adversaries have been found in every era. What is new is the worry that radical changes have been made in an official way that would cause us to doubt the integrity of the original revelation.”

To indulge in the use of the perpendicular pronoun for a moment, I became Catholic, essentially, because the Church is either what she says she is – the temporal, physical, visible Church, founded by God albeit run by woefully imperfect men – or she is nothing more than the biggest pack of lies, con men and outright criminals the planet has ever hosted. That, to me, is the stark choice; there is no middle ground. I must keep reminding myself of this.

I do not know whether the Extraordinary Form is the "future of the Church" or not, although I think that is is. I also suspect that the Church will, in the future, be smaller and far more orthodox. However, I know, for sure, that for the past fifty years the Church has been dying the death of a thousand paper cuts, and that to continue “business as usual” as it has been conducted for the past fifty years leads only to oblivion.


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Canonical penalties

For decades many Catholics (including me) have watched in disgust as senior prelates in these United States have remained silent while highly placed and unimaginably wealthy Catholic politicians have used their immense power and influence to further and expand the cause of abortion. Indeed, the USCCB and its minions have not only ignored this gob-smacking public scandal, they have smiled approvingly on, sought photo opportunities with, and truckled to, these people. It makes one want to puke.

From Religion News Service:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its spring meeting this week with a stern reproach of the Trump administration’s latest immigration policies, with the group’s president suggesting the new rules on asylum are a “right to life” issue.

Some bishops followed by urging protests, including “canonical penalties” for those who carry out the administration’s new rules.

Within minutes of opening the USCCB’s biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday (June 13), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB and archbishop of Galveston-Houston, read aloud a statement deeply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement regarding asylum qualifications…

At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life,” DiNardo said, reading from the statement. “The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection…

When he finished, DiNardo asked bishops to clap if they approved the statement. The room erupted in applause…

Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Ariz., made a bolder suggestion, raising the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics “who are involved in this,” referring to children being separated from their families at the border. Canonical penalties can range from denial of sacraments to excommunication, though Weisenburger did not specify what he intended beyond referring to sanctions that already exist for “life issues.” (my emphasis)

To be clear, the United States has among the most permissive immigration and naturalization laws of any nation on the planet. Far more permissive than the Vatican. The United States has also, for decades, been incredibly loose and generous regarding those who ignore the law and come here illegally. The US hasn’t been as loose regarding illegal immigration as, say, countries of the European Union, but it has been far more lax than, say, the Vatican, Mexico or most other nations on the planet. But, currently, illegal immigration (not to be confused with legal immigration) has become a significant public policy problem in the US, as it has in the EU.

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent that they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin…

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good… may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241 (my emphasis)

Prescinding from the simple fact that the very first act of one who crosses the border illegally is to disregard the laws of “the country that receives” him, regulation of immigration is absolutely a matter within the territory of legitimate governmental regulation. Control of illegal immigration (remember, we are not discussing legal immigration) is not a “right to life” issue, it is a complex matter of balancing charity to those who have already broken our laws with fairness and justice to the citizens and legal immigrants who have not broken our laws. The United States is a large and wealthy country, and can, and has, and still does, warmly accept those who come here legally and want to contribute to, and be a part of, our civilization. But the US is not a bottomless pit, and the US cannot correct all the ills of the world, or the dysfunction of other nations – we are struggling enough with our own dysfunctions.

Catholics may disagree regarding solutions to the profoundly difficult problem of decades of massive illegal immigration in the country, and its heavy aftermath, while remaining within the bounds of justice and charity. For the USCCB to call for canonical penalties against those who are upholding the laws – which are not unjust and which are attempting to deal fairly to all concerned in a nearly impossible situation – while simultaneously ignoring (and by their example, endorsing) the ongoing scandal of politicians who enact pro-abortion laws – is itself a source of scandal, and clerical malpractice. That, in a nutshell, is that.

Curate, ut valeatis.