Anouncing the Resumption of the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Anthony's Monastery, Kennebunk, on the Third Sunday of Each Month Beginning in September, 2019

St. Anthony's Monastery in Kennebunk is pleased to announce the return of the Traditional Mass to the monastery on the third Sunday of every month from September 2019 through May 2020. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr. John Bacevicius, O.F.M. at 9:15am beginning September 15th, 2019. We hope that you will consider worshiping with us.

Inquiries regarding lodging may be made the Franciscan Guest House: (207) 967-4865.

Inquiries regarding the Mass may be made at (207) 967-2011

"Missa Cantata"
St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery
28 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk

Contact the Monastery:
(207) 967-2011
PO Box 980
Kennebunkport, ME 04046

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First Saturday Mass Saturday 7 September 2019

FIRST SATURDAY MASS Saturday, 7 September 2019.

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

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


Curate, ut valeatis!

Msgr. Pope on the Loss of Belief in the Real Presence

The majority of Catholics, including a substantial fraction of those who attend Mass regularly, do not believe in the Real Presence.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n.b.: a short post on the development of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is here):

Para 1333:“At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood…” (my emphases – TC)

Para 1367: “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.’ ‘And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory…’"

Para 1374: “The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as ‘the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend. ‘In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’ ‘This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present…"


From Msgr. Charles Pope in the National Catholic Register (my emphases):

“…There have been two different interpretations of these results. The first is that the numbers show a failure of teaching; poor catechesis is the fundamental cause. The second is that they show a failure in liturgical practice; a desacralized, demystified, less-reverent liturgy is the underlying problem.

There is truth in both interpretations, but to my mind, the second view is superior, in that it contains the first view but recognizes that faith is more than intellectual formation. Faith is more than what we say; it is also what we do. Too often, things we do and things we fail to do in the Mass are countersigns of the Real Presence and undermine, rather that support, what we say we believe…

“[Msgr Pope] would argue that the poor results are mostly due to the fact that the Mass, as it has been celebrated since the early 1970s, has remained largely and stubbornly resistant to changes aimed at restoring reverence. It has been a combination of the force of many bad habits and an entrenched liturgical establishment that has resisted anything that seemed to be a “step backward” (e.g., kneeling to receive Holy Communion), even as an option…

There is much more to Msgr’s post, go read it all. My personal experience with the Ordinary Form has been that, in general, pretty much anything is allowed to fly in the Mass, except for anything that even hints at reverence or tradition. This even includes the “preferred” option of saying the Confiteor during the Penitential Act, something I never – never – hear in an Ordinary Form Mass in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, even in the Cathedral (this is a pet peeve of mine).

Anyway, the point is, the Mass teaches. The Ordinary Form, although it can be done reverently and well, generally is done poorly. Thus, it teaches poorly. The Extraordinary Form is not magic, but it is far less susceptible to the whims of the priests, because there’s pretty much only one way to do it, as opposed to the thousand and one ‘options’ of the Ordinary Form. In general, the Extraordinary Form teaches reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and teaches it well.

Curate ut valeatis.

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24th Annual Pilgrimage for Restoration Auriesville, NY, 27-29 September 2019

What is the Pilgrimage for Restoration? From the website:

“In the footsteps of Martyrs…

In its twenty-fourth year, the annual pilgrimage is a journey of the faithful to the place in ‘New France’ where Saints Isaac Jogues, René Goupîl, John LaLande and numerous Native American Converts were martyred 377 years ago. It is conducted in honor of Christ Our King, for the restoration of new Christendom, and in reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Invoking the intercession of America’s saints and martyrs, we desire that Catholic Faith restore every dimension of our lives: our hearts, families, workplaces, schools, parishes, neighborhoods, monasteries, cities, dioceses, the American nations.

The pilgrimage is an exercise of penance and prayer, of contradiction and restoration, having both a personal and social character. Modeled on the annual Pentecost Pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Chartres, France, we embrace the traditional doctrine & practice of Holy Church, with all her demands.

A special intention of the pilgrimage is restoration of the Catholic family, civil society and the specifically Roman liturgical tradition. We hope thereby to show our attachment to the Church’s tradition – East & West – and the riches it contains, not with the intention of reverting to some by-gone era, but rather of drawing benefits from the ancient sources and putting them to work in the world today…”

And so, here is the announcement for this year – 2019 - and information from the Pilgrimage for Restoration blog:

24th Pilgrimage for Restoration in the footsteps of the martyrs to Our Blessed Lady’s Shrine at Auriesville, NY, 27-29 September — Friday to Sunday!

Journey through majestic Adirondack forests sanctified by the blood of martyrs. Traditional Roman Liturgy every day. Confession, counsel and teaching from priests of solid faith. Fellowship & fun. Shuttles & TLC for the weary.

Something for everybody: youths, students, seniors. Family-friendly. Kids love it!


Can’t travel? Pray and participate from afar, or sponsor a pilgrim at

Not sure you can make it? PRE-register to hold your place.

Register online at, or send contact info with fee to NCCL, 621 Jordan Cir, Whitehall PA 18052.

Check this blog page or the website for details.

Questions?    610/435-2634


A couple of years back, a supporter of Una Voce Maine went on the pilgrimage; her recollections are here. A couple of snippets:

“… For me, the greatest challenge of the pilgrimage was not the actual walking and occasional discomfort experienced on location, but rather it was trusting Our Lord completely to make it safely from Maine to New York and back with my three youngest treasures (ages 12, 9, and 6) in the back of the car. I had only been driving locally for a few months, had never in my life driven on a highway, so it was tempting to just drop the whole idea…

All in all, there was an overwhelming sense of hope that as we witness the tragic descent of our world into a culture of death, we fellow pilgrims are keeping our eyes focused on Heaven and trust our Blessed Mother to guide us there along with all our children. We are not giving up, we are fighting, and we know Who wins in the end!

Again, I urge you to explore the Pilgrimage for Restoration homepage and blog, both of which have a wealth of information.

Curate, ut valeatis!

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UPDATE on the People's Veto

Here is some more information on the PEOPLE’S VETO of LD820 and LD1313, which we discussed recently here. The deadline for petitions is mid September.

From an E-mail originating with the Diocese of Portland, Maine’s Office of Public Policy:

This is an invitation to serve as a volunteer circulator for the people’s veto efforts.

We’re in dire need of people to collect signatures. This includes before and after masses in your area for this effort. All volunteer circulators must be register Maine voters. If you’re interested, please reply to Peter Morin (see below for contact information – TC).

Thanks very much for the consideration.

The Maine Knights of Columbus have been most active in organizing petition drives among various diocesan parishes, their People's Veto page has numerous links and information.

The Christian Civic League (CCL) is also well organized. You will find a page filled with information-packed links here, and contacts by county “for those looking for petitions or just general info” here. For your convenience, I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting the contacts below (I hope you don’t mind, CCL…)

Contacts by County
for those looking for petitions
or just general info

Peter Morin: Cumberland, York

Adam Crepeau: York

Cody Porter: Penobscot, Hancock, Piscataquis

Nick Adolphsen: Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Washington

Jon Moynahan: Kennebec, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin

Zach Lingley: Aroostook, Franklin

Mike McClellan: Oxford, Cumberland, Androscoggin

The Bishop’s Letters on all this, which you may (or may not) have seen or heard about in your parish, are as below:

Link to the LD 820 letter (taxpayer funded abortion) here.

Link to the LD 1313 letter (“assisted suicide”; as a physician I am ashamed to call it “physician assisted”) here.

If there hasn’t been a petition in your parish as yet, ASK YOUR PARISH PRIEST ABOUT THE PEOPLE’S VETO PETITION!!!

I’ll put up more information when I get it.

Curate, ut valeatis!


On ad orientem.

[I cannot assume that everyone is familiar with this issue, so some brief terms: “Versus populum” is when the priest is facing the congregation, with his back to the tabernacle (if, indeed, the sanctuary has a tabernacle), throughout the Mass. This is the posture that nearly all Catholics born subsequent to 1970 know. The vast majority think it is “the way it’s always been”.

Ad orientem” or “to the East” (or, more correctly, “towards God”) is the form where the priest is not facing the congregation but facing God through most of the Mass. This has the secondary effect of the priest having his back to the people, although in fact everyone, priest and people, are facing God. Think of the postures of the airplane pilot and the passengers: all are facing the same direction, the direction where they are going, but it is also true that the pilot has his back to his passengers. Most passengers, I suspect, would prefer their pilot to be paying attention to where they are going, rather than talking and looking at them. Most Catholics today, if they are even aware of it, think ad orientem is arcane, ancient, and irrelevant. In fact, it was the way the Church worshiped throughout her entire history, up until the 1970s. Enough by way of introduction. let’s get on with it. - TC]


On the 22 of July, 2019, the Most Reverend James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup, NM, issued a letter to his diocese. The letter is here. Snippets, with my emphases, are as follows:

“…There is, however, one particular practice that I would like to highlight here. It is about exercising the option to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass facing “toward the East” (ad orientem) or “toward God” (ad Deum) as distinct from “toward the people” (versus populum).

Let me say at the outset: I know this can be a contentious topic … By explaining and advocating for this, I am in no way trying to disrupt the way the people of this Diocese pray. Rather, I am trying to open the treasury of the Church’s patrimony, so that, together, we can all experience one of the most ancient ways that the Church has always prayed...

With that in mind, let me start with just a brief historical note. Essentially, we can say that celebrating Mass ad orientem is one of the most ancient and most consistent practices in the life of the Church—it is part of how the Church has always understood the proper worship of God… versus populum worship is extremely new in the life of the Church (1970’s – TC), and, while a valid liturgical option today, it still must be considered novel when it comes to the celebration of Mass…

Bishop Wall then goes on to give a concise, readable explanation of what, exactly, ad orientem (or ad Deum – towards God) worship involves. He also discusses the common assertion that this is all merely a matter of taste. His central point, however, is here (his emphasis, set off in bold as a separate paragraph):

For all these reasons, I have decided that, since the recent solemnity of Corpus Christi, the 11:00am Sunday Mass will henceforth be celebrated ad orientem at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Gallup…

This is also a practice I would like to encourage throughout the Diocese of Gallup…”

I recommend you go and read his entire, very thoughtful (and, in my opinion, courageous) letter. Bishop Wall is in no way suppressing versus populum. It’s also important to note that the Bishop is implementing this in the context of the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass, as it was originally known, now known as the “Ordinary Form”) He is, however, highlighting it – “which way the priest faces - as important, important enough for him to use it at a central (11AM every Sunday) Mass in his cathedral, and to clearly support and encourage it’s use by other parishes in his diocese.

Finally, MSGR Charles Pope, whom I have quoted a fair amount on this blog, has written extensively on the topic of ad orientem. A brief list:

A Pastor Reflects on Cardinal Sarah’s Call to Face East Together

Why We Should All “Face East” During the Eucharistic Prayer

5 Things to Remember in the “Ad Orientem” Discussion: An Advocate of ‘Ad Orientem’ Reflects on the Responses of the Holy See Press Office and the U.S. Bishops

How to Popularize ‘Ad Orientem’ Without Disorienting People

Curate, ut valeatis.

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Gallup, NM

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Gallup, NM

A Young Man's View of America Magazine's View of the Mass

Declan Leary is, according to his byline, an editorial intern at the National Review, and a junior at John Caroll University. In my simple mind, that would make him one of those young people the Church is always wailing about. He has recently penned an article in the National Review entitled What America Magazine Gets Wrong About the Mass. The principal point (but by no means the only point) is this (my emphasis):

Catholics have to make a choice about how we approach the Mass. Is it the solemn observation instituted by Christ in which we as a Church constantly live the Passion and experience the real presence of our Lord? Or is it a do-it-yourself liturgy where we play out our fantasies and fulfill our wishes, where we make sure that everyone is included in any way they want, no matter how much attention is shifted away from Christ? One choice serves our egos, the other, our souls.

Do take a few minutes to go here and read the entire thing.

Curate, ut valeatis.

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PEOPLE'S VETO of LD 820 and LD 1313

There is a “People’s Veto” initiative for LD 820, taxpayer-funded abortions in Maine, recently passed and signed into law, as well as LD 1313, the “assisted suicide” law, also recently passed and enacted. Details on the “People’s Veto” law here, and details on how to become a volunteer circulator here.

Bishop Deeley has sent two letters concerning this to all clergy, as well as in the weekly mailing which goes to all employees of the Diocese. So, your parish priest should know about this. Your priest will decide how the letters will be distributed (Faith Catholic app, bulletin stuffer, bulletin column, etc).

I have reproduced Bishop Deeley’s letters below. They’re a bit faded, so I’ve got the links as well!

Link to the LD 820 letter (taxpayer funded abortion) here.

Link to the LD 1313 letter (“assisted suicide”; as a physician I am ashamed to call it “physician assisted”) here.

I will put more up on this as I get it, for right now I want to thank Suzanne Lafreniere, Director of the Office of Public Policy for the Diocese, for her speedy help in getting me all these links and whatnot.

Nota bene: the DEADLINE FOR PETITIONS is 18 September 2019!

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New ICK parish in Pittsburgh

Awhile back, we talked about the Institute for Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, in an article entitled “On birthing priests.” The primary points of my article were two.

First, this:

No matter how much we laity may long for it, until there are priests who are willing to learn, and say, the Latin Mass, we laity are just sitting in a circle talking to each other…

Second, this:

Where are those priests going to come from? Two places, methinks….

[1] Diocesan priests would be willing to learn, and say, and offer every Sunday the Latin Mass. (Still, in my opinion, far and away the best choice – TC)

[2] Those orders, and their seminarians, that “specialize” in the Latin mass.

In the article I then give brief introductions, with various links, for the Institute for Christ the King (“ICK”), the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (“FSSP”), and the Society of St. Pius X (“SSPX”).

All of this is by way of introduction to the newly established Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish in Pittsburgh, PA, staffed by priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I came across this information via a blog known as The Guild of the Blessed Titus Brandsma, here. From that article:

On 1 July 2019, Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Bishop David Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh established Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish, and entrusted its care to Canon William Avis and Canon John O'Connor, priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest…”

The Diocese of Pittsburg, by the way, is not too far from the Diocese of Harrisburg, which we touched on recently in “Nuns in PA”, here.

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So, just as there were two main points to “On birthing priests”, there are two main points to this post:

(1) To make you aware of yet another Bishop inviting a traditional order into his diocese, to revitalize a dying or empty church building. We have no shortage of those sorts of buildings here in Maine. (I have done many posts on several Bishops in these United States who have invited the FSSP and/or the ICK into their dioceses, as well as fostered their own priests learning the Extraordinary Form). The Diocese of Pittsburgh is facing tremendous financial and other problems, see here. All the more reason, perhaps, for Bishop Zubik to invite in the ICK.

(2) This is important. The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma blog, from which I linked the information on the new ICK parish in Pittsburgh, is in some way associated with a lady whom I’ve never met and do not know, but who appears to be fairly well known (at least in the blogosphere) and who goes by the combox name of “Supertradmum.” Now, however, she is quite ill, and in danger of death, see here. I thought I’d pass it along.


Nuns in PA

Some time back, we looked at “Nuns and Home Improvement”, here. One of the groups we looked at were the Carmelites of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. From their website (my emphasis):

The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a papally enclosed Discalced Carmelite community in the farmlands of Fairfield, Pennsylvania (near Gettysburg – TC). In communion with the Roman Catholic Church and approved by their diocesan bishop, the Most Rev. Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese, the cloistered Nuns live lives of solitude, prayer and sacrifice. Their monastery is at full capacity — and their numbers continue to grow.

The primary mission of the Carmelite Order is to pray and offer oblation for the Church and the world. The use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and Divine Office sets this monastery apart and their observance of the Rule and Constitutions is part of an unbroken tradition stretching back from Mexico to Spain to Mount Carmel itself in the Holy Land.

They are affiliated with the Carmel in Elysburg, PA. Visit ElysburgCarmelites.Org to learn more…

Well, the National Catholic Register has an article on them, here. From The Register:

“[The] nuns are originally from a Carmel convent in Valparaiso, Nebraska, and as the order has experienced a surge in vocations, small groups of nuns have branched out to form new communities. The Fairfield Carmelites currently number 11, with most in their 20s and 30s, wear the traditional habit, make use of the extraordinary form of the Mass and Divine Office, and pray for the Church and the world. “We don’t engage in an active apostolate, but live a retired and cloistered life,” said Mother Therese of Merciful Love, the subprioress and novice mistress.

The nuns spend up to six hours per day in formal prayer, and the remainder of the day is spent in silence and personal prayer…

These are cloistered nuns: “…as the sisters value “hiddenness,” they don’t allow their faces to be photographed…

I wish to emphasize two things:

(1) The monastery is at full capacity, and their numbers continue to grow.

(2) They use the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

As has been pointed here and elsewhere, the future of the church is in her past. The Extraordinary Form needs to be mainstream: every Sunday, prime time, every Holy Day, not kept off in the closet like some weird uncle. Liberating the Extraordinary Form will NOT fix the church. But it IS a necessary first step. If you, priests and bishops, will only say it. They. Will. Come. When, O when, will our church leadership understand this?


Regular (meaning every Sunday) Latin Masses for August 2019

Please feel free to E-mail me at or with additions, deletions or corrections.

EVERY SUNDAY (courtesy of the Saint Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy):

8:30 AM
Saints Peter and Paul Basilica
122 Ash Street, Lewiston, ME

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
307 Congress Street, Portland, ME

Fr. Rale Pilgrimage Saturday, 3 August 2019, Westbrook, ME

We discussed last year’s Fr. Rale Pilgrimage here.

Well, it’s that time again, and the Pilgrimage will be Saturday, August 3rd, from 10AM to 1PM.

Gather at 10AM at St. Sebastian Church, 161 Main Street, Madison, ME 04950 (part of Christ the King Parish).

Details follow:

“… the Fr. Rale pilgrimage will be happening again this year on Saturday August 3rd from 10 AM to 1 PM in Madison, Maine. As in previous years, we'll begin with a Holy Hour, including exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, time for prayer and reflections on Fr. Rale's life. We'll be praying especially this year for priests in Maine. Confessions will also be available. The Holy Hour will be at St. Sebastian Church in Madison. After that, we'll drive five minutes down the road to the site of Fr. Rale's mission and do a procession to the place where he was killed and is believed to be buried. The procession involves about a half mile worth of walking…”

The primary organizer of this event is Joseph Moreshead, a Diocesan seminarian whose bio is here. He adds this:

“ … If you're interested in coming, it would be great to have you. We're always in need of altar servers for the procession or the holy hour. Just shoot me an email ( if you think might be interested in serving. We're also in need of readers, so let me know if you might be willing to do a reading. Also, please spread the word! I'm organizing this from Nebraska this year (but will be back for the pilgrimage), so it's harder for me to promote this year than in years past..

If I get any more information on this I will surely pass it along!

Curate, ut valeatis!

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Fr Rale monument.jpg

First Saturday Mass 3 August 2019

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

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

Curate, ut valeatis!


Baronius Press 1962 Missal is now back in stock!

We have discussed Daily Missals in the past, for both the Traditional Latin Mass (the “Extraordinary Form”), and the Novus ordo (the “Ordinary Form”), see here, for example.

Well, this is to let you know that two “standards” are back in print (or, will be available soon).

First up, the Daily Missal 1962 (Traditional Latin Mass) from Baronius Press, here. This is the 1962 Missal, and is available in black and burgundy.

Baronius Missal 1962.jpg

The second is the Daily Roman Missal (Novus ordo) from the Midwest Theological Forum, here. These are also available in black or burgundy, hardbound or leatherbound, and also are beautiful and user friendly. Do NOT confuse it with the $150 Daily Roman Missal altar missal found on the same webpage.

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I own both of these, and have used them both daily (morning readings) as well as every Sunday. I haven’t used the TLM Missal much lately, alas, as I have no TLM available. But I have used the Daily Roman Missal every day over the past 8 years or so.

They are well worth the $60 (more or less) price: they hold up well to daily use including dropping on the floor, they are jam packed with information including concise basic catechetical information (yes, I have used them both for reference and to look stuff up) and are beautiful. With reasonable care, they should last for decades.

Curate, ut valeatis.


Sacred Music Conference with to follow Traditional Latin Mass at the Basilica, Lewiston, ME, on Friday, 9 August 2019

This is an all-day conference, with lunch provided, and with a Traditional Latin Mass at 4PM.

From the Diocese, here:

The Maine Sacred Music Conference will be held at the Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul, located on 122 Ash Street in Lewiston, on Friday, August 9.

I hope attendees will develop a better understanding of and appreciation for the beauty of Catholic sacred music and how it functions in the Roman Rite,” said Scott Vaillancourt, the music director of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, of which the basilica is a part.

The conference will feature acclaimed performers known for their work nationally and internationally:

  • Dr. Jennifer Donelson, associate professor and director of sacred music at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, New York, and director of the Metropolitan Catholic Chorale in New York City;

  • Leon Griesbach, former director of liturgical music at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy; and

  • Dr. Kevin Birch, the music director at St. John Church in Bangor and faculty member at the University of Maine’s School of Performing Arts in Orono.

Session topics will include the Catholic Liturgical Tradition; Catholic Liturgical Elements; the Spirituality of Gregorian Chant; Introduction to the English Chant Settings of Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB; and Vocal Technique for Chant in English and Latin.

The conference will conclude with the celebration of a traditional Latin Mass at 4 p.m. Those who do not attend the conference are still welcome at the Mass, which will be celebrated by Fr. Kyle Doustou, pastor of the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord in Old Town.

Lunch will be provided by the Holy Family Knights of Columbus Council #10019 in Lewiston. Registration will run from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. To pre-register or for more information, contact Scott Vaillancourt, music director of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, at or (207) 777-1200.

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A short primer on stem cells.

One day I received out of the blue an E-mail request from a local high school student for an E-mail “interview” on the topic of stem cells. He sent me the questions, I wrote my replies. I don’t know the student or how he got my name or contact information. I also don’t know what, if anything, he every did with my replies.

The topic isn’t exactly related to the Latin Mass, but that’s never stopped me from posting before. Thought you might be interested, here is how I answered his questions. - TC

First, some background material. Forgive me if you already know this stuff.

A stem cell differs from other cells in the body insofar as it (1) is unspecialized, and has the capacity of self renewal, and (2) has the capacity, under certain conditions (either natural and physiologic or artificial and laboratory-induced) to differentiate into “specialized” (or “mature”) cell types found in mature tissues and organs.

Stem cells come from two sources: embryos, and “adults” (these are more accurately called “somatic stem cells”, see below).

Embryonic stem cells are obtained from very early stage embryos, are undifferentiated, and are capable of differentiating into any cell type found in the body. That, after all, is why embryos have them. Note: embryonic stem cells are not “germ cells” (id est, “gametes”: eggs or sperm). Just to confuse things, there is a critter called an “embryonic germ cell”, beyond the limits of this discussion.

The embryos used in stem cell research are generally obtained as the left-overs from in vitro (“in the glass”, i. e., laboratory) fertilization procedures (the IVF process generates lots of “spares”). In a normal pregnancy, the 150 cell stage embryo (also called the “blastocyst” stage) would not yet have implanted in the mother’s uterus. Recall that fertilization takes place in the Fallopian tube, it takes a week more or less for the fertilized egg (zygote) to wander through the tube into the uterine cavity and implant. During this tubal “preimplantation” phase, the embryo is busy dividing from 1 to 2 to 4 to hundreds of cells, and it is at this blastocyst stage that the embryo pops out of the tube and implants. Thus, the blastocysts used in embryonic stem cell research are sometimes referred to as “preimplantation” embryos, because that is what they correspond to in vivo (in life). But make no mistake: a preimplantation embryo is an embryo nevertheless.

A “somatic cell” is a cell that is not a germ cell. Almost all of cells in me, and you, are somatic cells. Neither of us has any remaining embryonic stem cells (or so it is currently believed), but we both have “somatic (adult) stem cells”; cells found in small numbers in our bodies which have limited differentiation capacities.

A small point of terminology: From the time of conception to the end of the eight week, the developing human is called an embryo. From 8 weeks until birth, she is called a fetus. After birth, ask her parents what she is called. Thus, it is not strictly correct to say that embryonic stem cells are taken from fetuses. Embryonic stem cells are taken from embryos. Precision is important.

Now, the questions.

1. Stem cell research involving the use of fetuses (embryos) and the embryonic stem cells taken from them has been hotly debated, what are your thoughts on the morality there, do you think the pros outweigh the cons.

The allures of embryonic stem cells are these: (1) they are “pluripotent”, meaning they have the capacity to differentiate into any mature somatic cell type, and (2) they are more easily cultured and grown in the laboratory than are somatic stem cells, at least at this time.

To obtain embryonic stem cells, one must (1) produce an embryo, (2) allow the embryo to grow to a stage where stem cells can be identified (generally around 150 cells), and (3) destroy the embryo in order to obtain the stem cells. The morality of all this turns on the following two questions: (1) is the embryo human, and (2) if human, is it (more accurately, he or she) a person? This same question comes up with respect to abortion, cloning, in vitro fertilization, and a growing list of related topics.

The answer to the first question is easy: of course the human embryo is human, a separate, living, growing biological human being at the very earliest stages of development, for there is nothing else he, or she, can be. She is neither dead nor inanimate, and alive is the only remaining choice. She is a human being because she must be something (undefined is not a choice) and she is neither a banana nor an aardvark, and cannot possibly be either of those things or anything else. Her nature, her essence, her genetic code, her ancestry, her developmental potential, is human, nothing else. There is more to say, but the above will have to suffice for here: regardless of the means by which the embryo came into existence, once conceived, she is a living, growing, biological human being. Not a “potential” human being (that would make her undefined) but a human embryo, or, as they say, a human being with great potential. No one, other than some politicians and celebrities, seriously believes that the human embryo is not human.

The second question, is the embryo a person, is more complicated: what, exactly, is a person? The follow-on question is this: Is a person the same thing as a human? A digression is necessary.

Prior to 1865, some identifiable groups of humans in the US did not have full legal protections: although they were generally acknowledged as humans, they were nevertheless considered chattel and could be bought, sold, and generally treated as a piece of property. These humans were known as slaves. Interestingly, under some circumstances these articles of property could challenge their status as property in court, and that is exactly what one article of property known as Dred Scott did. Scott’s case made its way all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and, in 1857, the Supreme Court issued its decision that yes, indeed, there were identifiable groups of humans who did not have full rights and protections under the law. “A negro,” the decision went, “whose ancestors were imported into the United States and sold as slaves … could not be an American citizen, and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court.” There was more to the decision, of course, but the upshot was that a particular, identifiable group of humans did not have full rights and protections under the law.

Subsequent to the Civil War, the “Reconstruction Amendments” (1865-1870) were passed. The 13th abolished slavery, thus rendering slaves citizens and not chattel. The 14th amendment covered citizens’ (and non-citizens’) legal rights and protections. The 15th extended voting rights to African-American men. It is in the 14th Amendment that the personhood issue develops: in general terms, a “person” in a legal sense is a being – organic or otherwise – that has rights and protections and liabilities under the law.

During the interregnum of 1870-1973, legal “personhood” and membership in the human race were legally (if not always in actual fact) regarded as more or less synonymous. (“Corporate personhood” does not concern us here.) It is important to note that we are not now discussing “citizenship” as such, but general legal rights and protections, of which citizenship is one, but not the only, element. Not all humans were, or are, US citizens, but all humans have (or had) protections and at least some rights under the law.

In 1973 the question was raised again: are there identifiable groups of humans to whom full legal protections do not apply? In this instance the question was raised not regarding African-Americans but the group known as unborn children – embryos and fetuses – and whether it was legal to abort them which, of course, renders them dead. The Supreme Court of the United States again answered yes, as it had in Scott v. Sanford. In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled that a fetus could be aborted for any reason, or no reason at all, in the first trimester. Later Supreme Court decisions extended this to term: a fetus could be aborted for any reason, or no reason at all, up to the moment of birth. This places the abortion laws in the US among the most permissive on the planet; only China is more permissive by permitting infanticide.

Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority in Roe, said “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the (14th) Amendment.” And that, as the Justice well knew, was, and is, the heart of the matter. If the fetus is a legal person, you can’t just kill him, and so Justice Blackmun along with the majority of the Supreme Court declared the fetus (and embryo) to be unpersons. And there the situation has resided for the past 45 years: in these United States, there exists a group of living biological human beings – unborn children, or fetuses, if you will - who are not considered persons under the law. With the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures in the 1970’s we add a related group, embryos created not by the usual means but external to the mother’s body. Same question, though: are these IVF embryos persons?

This question of the relationship between humanity and personhood has been with us always, in all times, all places, all cultures and civilizations. In a sense, the situation in the US between 1870 and 1973 was a radical departure from historical norms: what the Supreme Court did in 1973 was to return us to what has been standard throughout history: separating the biological class of “human” from the legal class of “person”. Persons and humans overlap somewhat, but they are not the same. Some humans are not persons, and some persons are not humans.

So. Is personhood – legal, and/or moral – synonymous with “biological human being”? There’s only two possible answers (indeed, it really is that simple): Yes, or No.

If the answer is yes, then that means all biological human beings including the embryo (whether in a uterus or a plastic dish) have basic legal protections, and the most basic of these is the right to life, meaning to not have one’s life ended arbitrarily. (Noto bene: Capital punishment is not part of this discussion. The question of whether one can, by his own criminal action, forfeit his right to life is a separate question.)

If the answer is no, then the immediate follow on question is this: which biological lives are worthy of being considered persons, and who decides?

The only rational answer is to assert that all biological human life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, is worthy of the status of personhood. That does not mean that all lives have equal rights – neither a fetus nor a high school student can vote – but it does mean that all of those flavors of human life have the right to basic protections, the most basic of which is right to their own lives. Otherwise, personhood is decided merely by whomever happens to have political power at the moment.

From this I hope it’s obvious that the “pros”, if any, to embryonic stem cell research do not outweigh the “cons”, anymore than the “pros” of slave labor on plantations in the south (and there were pros to this) would outweigh the cons of the institution of slavery and its degrading effect on humanity.*

2. How viable or useful are stem cells taken from adults?

Tremendously useful. The most common stem cell transplant procedure is bone marrow transplantation (BMT), first performed in 1955 (Stem cell transplantation is not new!!!) The stem cells from an adult donor (or, these days, umbilical cord blood, but still considered “somatic” or adult stem cells) are harvested, and then infused into the patient where they colonized the patient’s marrow and regenerate his capacity for hematopoiesis (the process of making red cells and white cells).

Bone marrow transplantation is part of therapeutic regimens for a huge list of malignant and non-malignant (but severe) diagnoses. The stem cells may be derived from the donor himself (autologous transplant) or a different person (allogeneic transplant, this includes umbilical cord stem cells).

3. Are there any adverse side effects that are possible to occur when using stem cell therapy?

Absolutely. Using BMT as the example, there are a list of adverse events, some severe and others less so. Detailed discussion of these is way beyond the scope of this session, suffice it to say that the most serious risks involve some form of rejection (most commonly graft vs. host disease; note that this would only be seen in the allogeneic BMT) and graft failure. Conversely, BMT is only considered as a therapy in the case of serious and lethal diseases, so it is a risk/benefit analysis. Most BMT patients do better than they would have without the BMT.

4. Stem cells are predicted to be able to do miraculous things in the future, at the current rate of research, how long do you think that will take? (When I say miraculous things I mean things like preventing or undoing Alzheimer's or something like that)

Most of the mainstream media claims are hyperbole, and I’m not interested in hyperbole. Although I think there will be benefits with the further development of somatic stem cell transplant procedures (embryonic stem cell research is morally inadmissible due to the necessary destruction of human embryos), what these future benefits will be remains to be determined.

5. Could research into making adult stem cells more fruitful be worthwhile?

Absolutely. To repeat, the only stem cell therapies currently in clinical use are somatic stem cell transplants, mostly BMTs. One area of great interest is “reprogramming” somatic (adult) stem cells to behave in a more pluripotential manner, similar to embryonic stem cells. These are known as “induced pluripotent stem cells” (IPSCs) and, at least in theory, do not have the moral problems associated with embryonic stem cells, and many theoretical benefits over “conventional” stem cells, such as mitigation of the graft rejection problems (because one could use the patient’s own stem cells as substrate for the IPSCs.) This is a big topic.

In wrapping this up, it is well to remember these points:

1. Currently, all of the stem cell therapies in existence use adult stem cells, mostly the hematopoietic stem cells of BMTs. These therapies are widely used, of proven utility, and under constant development and improvement. They are not without possibly serious risk, but remember we’re talking about serious diseases here.

2. There is a lot of room for growth and development regarding the use of somatic stem cells. The IPSCs are one example, there are others.

3. Currently there are no therapies utilizing embryonic stem cells, and there are none on the near horizon, regardless of the bubbling and seething in the media.

4. Embryonic stem cells involve the destruction of human embryos, which is morally inadmissible. That is my view, of course, but it is a view which is very defensible. The fact that we as a nation have already granted the legal antecedents (it is legal to destroy embryos and fetuses in the womb, so why not create and then destroy embryos for research and medical purposes) in no way invalidates the arguments against the practice. When slavery was legal (and supported as settled law by the Supreme Court), the arguments against it were still valid.

* Food for thought: When one creates an embryo in vivo and grows it in the laboratory, how long does one allow it to continue growing? There is not (to my knowledge) any legislation regarding this in the US, although general practice is to not allow IVF embryos to grow beyond the blastocyst stage. In the UK, however, there are, in fact, laws about this. It is illegal for a lab to grow an embryo beyond the blastocyst stage (although, like in the US, growth may be arrested by cryopreservation). This creates the interesting situation where, in British law, there is a defined group of human beings – actively growing IVF blastocysts – whom it is illegal not to kill.

And then, we have this from Reuters.


Now that Una Voce Maine is an official non-profit corporation, what will the money be used for and how do I donate?

As we saw here, Una Voce Maine is now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which means donations are tax-deductible according to all the usual “charitable contribution” rules. This was a long time coming, and took the efforts of several people.

Now that Una Voce Maine can accept donations, what will the money be used for?

Pay UVM expenses. These are quite modest at this point: the website/webhosting fees, a PO box. In time, if funds allow, our priority will be to offer modest support:

  • to Parishes in Maine that wish to offer the TLM

  • for the training of Seminarians and Priests from Maine to learn the TLM, to help offset expenses. Including the various “TLM boot camp” type training sessions that occur from time to time in various areas around the country. The exact details as to how this might work are yet to be determined according to our tax exempt status, there are many rules one must follow.

  • to any priest in the diocese who would like to start offering the TLM in his parish. As with the seminarians, the exact details as to how this might work are yet to be determined according to our tax exempt status.

One day, if funds allow, we would like to organize a TLM event and invite a speaker to come to Maine to talk on the TLM. This would obviously take the help and coordination of many people, as well as money. One day, perhaps.

These ideas are embryonic, what their final forms will be is to be determined. In general, though, the mission of UVM is to support and foster the Traditional Latin Mass in Maine, and doing that in a substantial way takes money.

Which brings us to the next point: how do I donate?

Easy. You can do this, using a PayPal button:

Or, if you prefer to have all of your donation go to Una Voce Maine without service fees extracted you can make out a check to Una Voce Maine and let the Post Office deliver it to:

Una Voce Maine

PO Box 471

South China, ME 04358-0471

Curate, ut valeatis.


Reaction of Teenage Boys to their First Latin Mass (Crisis Magazine)

Continuing from here our sort of series on young people and the Ancient Form (“Usus antiquior”) of the Mass, we have this from Crisis magazine (hat tip for the link to an UVM supporter and, as always, my emphasis):

“… During the past three years, I have given all my junior students an assignment: to attend either the Mass of another Catholic Rite or the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and to describe their experience, writing what was the same or different and their honest reactions to it. I kept records of their choices and written reactions. Nearly all of them chose to attend the TLM for their first time. Considering the fact that these were teenage males from seemingly typical Catholic families who were engulfed in “the world,” and that they were not well schooled in the history and meaning of all the actions of the TLM, their reactions to the ancient Mass were nothing short of astounding. Other than a general difficulty following the liturgy (which is certainly understandable for a teenager experiencing the Traditional Latin Mass for the first time), they had an overwhelmingly positive experience; only one out of 163 students reported an overall negative experience (a mere 0.6 percent)…

Their comments centered around experiencing a greater sense of sacredness as well as reverence for a holiness that they see as lacking in the Novus Ordo Mass and abundant in the TLM. They particularly and almost universally loved receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue, even if they felt nervous about doing so for the first time…

At the very least, these boys’ reactions show that we must have an open mind with regards to the TLM and the increased scope of its use, that is, if we are honestly seeking “that the Church of Christ should offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty, ‘for the praise and glory of his name’ and ‘the good of all his holy Church.’ (Summorum Pontificum, #1)

Go here to read the entire thing. The comments from the boys are striking, and the 100+ comments in the combox are often quite insightful.

Curate, ut valeatis!


"The Future of the Church is in her Past" (If you say it, they will come).

Awhile back I did a short post entitled Going backwards to go forwards, which was about St. Mary's Church in Providence, RI. A month or so ago we also looked at the reactions of a local Jr. High group to their first experience with the Latin Mass right here in Maine. We have mentioned that the National Catholic Register has done several pieces on young people and the Traditional Latin Mass; here, for example, and here. The upshot is that young people, rather than being repulsed by the Ancient Form, are attracted to it: the TLM draws on the treasures of the Church’s heritage, and challenges young people.

We have not discussed the effect of the Latin Mass on a priest. Well, I’m not a priest, so I don’t want to speak out of turn. But from Fr. Z (who is a priest, and who talks about the effect it has on priests a lot) we have "Priest apologizes to traditional Catholics: 'The future of the Church is in her past.'" He reproduces the entire letter from a priest who recently returned from the Chartres Pilgrimage in France. Go here to read the entire thing. Here’s a snippet (emphasis in the original):

“…I also want to take a moment for public repentance. Long ago, at a certain liberal seminary far, far away, I was indoctrinated with a disdain for, and even a mockery of, Traditional Catholics. I jumped on the bandwagon for their supposed liturgical naivete and sanctimony. I was convinced that they were backwards, habitually uncharitable, and elitist. After being around 14,000 other Traditional Catholics and priests of more traditional religious congregations, I found them to be astonishingly affable, joyous, and genuine. I was especially surprised to not have heard a single murmur against Pope Francis during the Chartres Pilgrimage. So, to all of those Traditional Catholics I mocked in the past: I am truly sorry. I was wrong. You are doing tremendous good for Christ and His Church.

And you, Traditional Catholics, you are so young! Attached is a picture I snapped as I was walking, of a young boy and a tonsured monk in long, deep conversation–as I took it, a word came to me: ‘The future of the Church is in her past.’…”


And finally, I want to add this from Life Site News (my emphasis):

“… Much of this resurgence has been from my generation. The beauty, goodness, and truth of the Old Mass appeal to us. It’s otherworldly. It directs our thoughts to heaven and God. It isn’t a show the priest puts on for the congregation. The Old Mass helps souls get to heaven. It makes people Catholic because it is Catholic – far more Catholic than much of what goes on in parishes in most of the West…

First Sat Mass May.jpeg

To all the priests and bishops out there who are hesitant for whatever reasons, I offer this: If you say it, they will come.

Curate, ut valeatis!

Fr. Fox on Confession

Fr. Martin Fox is the parish priest of St. Remy Church in Russia, Ohio, Archdiocese of Cincinatti. The church has an interesting history, detailed here. Particularly interesting, although not detailed in the history, is the reconstruction of the sanctuary in 2010, to restore it to something approaching its original beauty (see photos at the bottom of the “History” page. This was, I believe, undertaken as part of a generalized effort to restore reverence in the Mass, and which has included (among other things) “Ad orientem” worship (priest along with all the congregation facing the tabernacle, vs. the priest facing the people). He does this using the Novus ordo liturgical form; you can read about his approach here, in particular pay attention to the Comments. Which way the priest faces during Mass can be perceived as trivial and even silly, and the topic is often portrayed that way. In fact, it is anything but trivial; it is central to the overall perception regarding who, exactly, is the centerpiece of the action: is it God, or is it the priest? However, this is grist for a different post.

For now, it is enough to know that Fr. Fox has a blog on which he writes from time to time. This particular post, on Confession, which I first saw on Fr. Z’s blog here, is linked in its entirety here. Although Fr. Fox’s post is directed towards his brother priests, we have a part as well (my emphasis).

“…Now, I know what a lot of people -- including priests -- will say: people won't come.

To which I say, yes and no.

Yes, it's true that adding more hours of confession may not make much of a difference, if that's all you do. But if you also talk about it, from the pulpit, in the bulletin, and other ways; if you talk about your own need for confession and how it's helped you; if you really go after it...then yes, it will help. You will see more people…”

Priests are busy, it takes work to fit in time for confessions. People are busy, and it takes work to go to confession. I challenge any one of you to exceed my skill in finding reasons to NOT go to confession: you will fail. However, if the Catholic Church is true in her teachings, we all need to do this, and stop gaffing it off.

Curate, ut valeatis.

St Remy Sanctuary Russia, Ohio.jpg