Abortion, Ireland, and Constitutions

From The National Catholic Register:

As of this writing, Irish voters are preparing to head to the polls to cast their ballots May 25 for something once considered utterly unimaginable in the Republic of Ireland: whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which would effectively legalize abortion across the predominantly Catholic country.

The Eighth Amendment was passed in Ireland in 1983 by a national vote of 67%. It recognizes the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child, which means that abortion in Ireland is illegal unless the mother’s health is endangered … Thirty-five years later, there is massive pressure from both inside and outside of Ireland to repeal a law that has historically been supported by the Irish people.

A “Yes” vote in the referendum … will unleash a process that abortion advocates openly say will lead to unlimited access to abortions up to 12 weeks. And it will not end there, as there are plans to include a legislative provision for abortion up to approximately 24 weeks… The United States is one of seven countries that permit elective abortions after 20 weeks. (my emphasis).

In these United States, we have the 14th Amendment, passed in 1868 to address the protection and rights of former slaves, essentially declaring the former slaves to be “persons”, biological human beings with the same protections under the laws as any other biological human beings. The relevant clause is that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” (my emphasis) Former slaves were now persons in a juridical sense, and now protected under the Constitution.

There is, of course, a difference between biological “personhood” and juridical “personhood”. A biological human being is, in a natural or common-sense use sense, a “person”. Most of us do not refer to our dogs, chickens, tractors or paint brushes as “persons”. I said, most of us don’t. Those who do are, wittingly or not, giving human characteristics to (anthropomorphizing) their tractors and paint brushes, a topic beyond the confines of this little post. Be that as it may, in what is still majority usage, a person is a biological human being.

I suspect the same was true for the framers of the 14th Amendment. They didn’t discuss unborn children; neither did they discuss the mentally ill, the aged, the terminally ill, the severely handicapped, the tax-paying fully employed adults, or any other categories of biological human being (besides former slaves). They did, I think it is fair to say, simply assume that all human beings were persons, and clarified this in a juridical sense: the framers of the 14th Amendment equated juridical personhood with biological humanhood. After all, prior to the Amendment, slaves, although considered human beings by most (not all) folks, were nevertheless not equally protected under the law. They were not fully persons in a juridical sense. That was the problem the Amendment sought to rectify; that’s why it came into existence.

In making abortion legal, the task before the Supreme Court with Roe v. Wade was to get around this little problem in the 14th Amendment. They did so by simply proclaiming the unborn human being an unperson. There is precedent, of course; after all, the Court in Scott v. Sanford had upheld the assertion that slaves were chattel, and in that sense both the rationale slavery and the rational abortion are exactly the same: there can be classes of biological human beings who do not have full protection under the law. Reflecting in detail on the implications of juridical personhood is beyond the bounds of this little post, but briefly consider this: if the Supreme Court of the United States can decide who, for legal purposes, is a person, and who is not, who else, besides unborn humans, might one day find themselves in the category of unperson? Anyone, or anything, may, or may not, be a declared by the Supreme Court a legal person depending on the whims and passions of the moment.

We have already pretty much fouled up our own Constitution. May God help the Irish on Friday, to know and understand exactly what it is that they may be doing to theirs.


PS: In these United States, of course, the slog against abortion continues. The most recent iteration is the Trump Administration’s rule to “prioritize abstinence education over contraception distribution in family planning funds.” According to Life Site News, some 20 attorneys general are suing to block this. Unsurprisingly, the Maine Attorney General is one of the twenty. I thought you might be interested.


Stupid is as stupid does.

What don’t they get???

Recently, Life Site News did a piece on Cardinal Dolan defending the Met Gala. I’m not going to talk about the Met Gala, it was disgusting and blasphemous and that’s all I have to say about that. What struck me, though, was one of Dolan’s comments:

Boy, you talk about the public square – with some of the movers and shakers who were there – and they’re reminded of positive memories of the Church and of devotions, prayers, traditions, and liturgies, as many of them told me they were. This could only be for the good of the Church.” (my emphasis)

Really? Devotions, prayers, traditions, liturgies; these are all good for the Church? Why, then, isn’t the good Cardinal (and all the bishops) moving as rapidly as possible to return Tradition to the “mainstream” church?

Stupid is as stupid does.


Pentecost (Whitsunsay)

From the Glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:*

PENTECOST: The “fiftieth” day at the end of the seven weeks following Passover (Easter in the Christian dispensation). At the first Pentecost after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a divine person to the Church, fulfilling the paschal mystery of Christ according to His promise (CCC paragraphs 726, 731; cf. 1287). Annually the Church celebrates the memory of the Pentecost event as the beginning of the new “age of the Church,” when Christ lives and acts in and with His Church (para. 1076).

Awhile back we started looking at the similarities, and the differences, between the new Liturgical Calendar - which was promulgated in 1969 according Paul VI’s Motu proprio MYSTERII PASCHALIS - and the Liturgical Calendar which had been in use prior to MYSTERII PASCHALIS, the so called “1962 Calendar” which is followed by the Extraordinary Form (the EF, or the “Traditional Latin Mass”). This new calendar was part of the overall revision of the Mass with the promulgation of the 1969 Edition of the Roman Missal – the Novus ordo missae (also known as the OF or “Ordinary Form”)**. I promised, back then, to point out some of the differences in the calendars as we come across them in our journey through the Liturgical Year. We find ourselves at another difference.

Let us jog our memories. In the 1962 Calendar, there were only two main parts, or “Cycles”, to the Liturgical Year: The Christmas Cycle and the Easter Cycle. In the 1969 Calendar, things are broken up a bit differently: There’s Advent, Christmas Time (Christmas Vigil up to the Sunday after Epiphany or after January 6th), the first Ordinary Time, Lent/Triduum/Easter (ending on Pentecost Sunday), and the second ordinary Time.

In the 1962 Calendar, the Christmas Cycle had a season after Epiphany (January 6th) known, cleverly enough, as The Season after Epiphany, and it had up to six Sundays depending on the location of Ash Wednesday. This Season After Epiphany (and, the entire Christmas Cycle) ended the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday, thus allowing one to sort of slide out of Christmas without abrupt jolts. Likewise, Septuagesima Sunday began the second half of the Liturgical year, the Easter Cycle, as the first of the three pre-Lenten Sundays whose purpose was to help us get ready for the period of Fast and Abstinence known as Lent. My simple-minder way of viewing this was that they allowed a sort of winding down of Christmas, and a gearing up for Lent. These transition periods were eliminated in the 1969 Calendar; right after Epiphany (which may or may not fall on Epiphany, January 6th) we are thrust into the first of the two periods of “Ordinary Time”. This first Ordinary Time ends abruptly on Ash Wednesday.

A similar thing happens with Pentecost. In the 1962 Calendar, and in my Baronius Press 1962 Daily Missal, Pentecost Sunday is also referred to as Whitsunday, referring to the white garments of those baptised during the vigil. Whitsun was, in the 1962 Calendar, a First Class Feast with an Octave week, meaning that there was a unique liturgy for each day of the Octave. Now, the kind and number of feasts and Octaves in the liturgical year have gone up and down through the centuries; suffice it to say that by the 1950’s things were pretty complicated and confusing, and Pope Pius XII simplified things greatly with his General Roman Calendar of 1954, where (among other things) he reduced the number of Octaves from some fifteen or so to three: Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. These three Octaves were carried forward by Pope Paul VI in his General Roman Calendar of 1960, which in turn came from his motu proprio Rubricarum instructum. As it is the 1960 General Roman Calendar that forms the 1962 Missal which is used by Summorum pontificum, we have, in our 1962 Missal Whitsunday, a.k.a. Pentecost, as well as the Octave week of Pentecost.

Thusly, in the 1962 Calendar (and Missal) we have Pentecost, or Whitsunday, followed by the Octave (there are Ember Days during this Octave; one day, but not today, we will discuss Ember Days). The Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday; this Sunday begins the third part of the Easter Cycle: the Season After Pentecost, which runs up to the First Sunday of Advent.

In the 1969 Calendar (and Missal), Easter Season ends with Pentecost, the Octave of Pentecost is suppressed. Badda bing, badda boom. Thus, there are only two Octaves in the 1969 calendar: Christmas and Easter. The second Ordinary Time begins the Monday after Pentecost, although the Sunday after Pentecost remains Trinity Sunday. Ordinary Time II, of course, runs up until the First Sunday of Advent, when we begin the new liturgical year.

There it is.


* A short post on the development of the current Catechism is here.

** From an older post I offer up this clarification on names for the Rites: “One of the first things one comes up against regarding the Extraordinary Form is the problem of what to call it. It goes by many names, although in this blog I tend to use EF (“Extraordinary Form”) for the Vetus ordo – Old order of the Mass, and OF (Ordinary Form) for the Novus ordo – New order. I do this because that’s how Summorum Pontificum refers to them. Simply calling it "the Latin Mass" is, though widely practiced, not truly accurate, as much of the OF is actually supposed to be said in Latin (and in some parishes in other Dioceses, this is done.)


Scarborough Chapter of Magnificat Prayer Breakfast Saturday 19 May 2018 (SOLD OUT!!)

See HERE for details and registration information. The following tidbits are taken from the website link, there's more on the website:

"About Our Speaker: Susan Conroy

Prayer breakfast.jpg

Susan Conroy first journeyed to India between her junior and senior years at Dartmouth College after being inspired by Mother Teresa’s efforts there on behalf of the Poorest of the Poor.She journeyed alone to Calcutta with the dream of helping Mother Teresa to care for the destitute in children’s orphanages and in the Home for the Dying.

She developed a friendship with Mother Teresa which lasted throughout the course of eleven years, and her experiences are chronicled in her first book: Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love & Secrets of Sanctity, which was written with Mother Teresa’s own blessing and approval.  It was published in 2003.

Susan has made numerous television appearances, for local as well as worldwide audiences. She hosted a 13-part full-season series called “Speaking of Saints” on EWTN, a global television network that reaches over 200 million households worldwide.  She welcomed EWTN to Maine to tape a new series about finding Jesus Christ in the world today and thus finding eternal salvation.  These new episodes were filmed along the Coast of Maine as well as in view of Maine’s tallest peak, Mount Katahdin.  It is called “Coming to Christ,” and it began airing in 2014...

Most recently, in 2016, Susan released a treasure entitled Praying with Mother Teresa, filled with beautiful quotations by Mother Teresa and various other saints, some never-before-published photographs of our newly-canonized Saint, as well as prayers that Mother Teresa herself prayed..."

Registration and details at the top of the page.


Ascension Thursday 10 May Anno Domini MMXVIII

The Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter is, in these United States, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the LORD. In some Diocese, this Solemnity has been moved to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, thus it becomes “Ascension Thursday Sunday” (or something…)

But we are blessed here, and Ascension Thursday is on Thursday. From the website of the Diocese of Portland, Maine:

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord occurs 40 days after Christ's resurrection and is the important, final piece of the paschal mystery, which began with Christ's passion and death. Because Christ ascended, we, as members of the Body of Christ, also look forward to ascending into heaven after our bodily resurrection.

On the solemnity, we are also reminded of our evangelizing mission. Before Christ ascends, he gives his disciples final instructions, telling them to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit and then "go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We will celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on Pentecost Sunday, May 20. During the days between the Solemnity of the Ascension and the Solemnity of Pentecost, we are called to intense prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This time of prayer comprises a novena.

While some ecclesiastical provinces have transferred the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, that is not the case in the province of Boston, of which the Diocese of Portland is a part. Here, the celebration remains on the proper Thursday and is a holy day of Obligation.”

A list of Mass times by city and town (also from the Diocesan website) is here.


Ascension 2018.jpg

A cry of the heart.

It goes like this:

“We urgently need the Church’s clarity and authoritative guidance on issues like abortion, homosexuality, gender dysphoria, the indissolubility of matrimony, the four last things, and the consequences of contraception (moral, anthropological, and abortifacient). My generation has never, or rarely, heard these truths winsomely taught in the parishes. Instead, we hear most forcefully and frequently from our bishops' conference and our dioceses regarding the federal budget, border policy, net neutrality, gun control, and the environment…

… If the Church abandons her traditions of beauty and truth*, she abandons us.”

Thus goes a letter from a young man, married, and the father of three children. He wrote it to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who reproduced it in First Things, here.

A brief personal anecdote: when we still lived in Virginia, and attended St. Benedict's Parish, one of my daughters, around 11 years old at the time, invited a neighbor girl to spend the night. This little girl lived up the street, her parents were in the process of getting divorced, her father was not living at home and her mother had a new boyfriend. I do not know what their religion was, if any. It is possible the little girl had never been inside a church in her life. Nevertheless, she had her mother’s permission to go with us to Mass that Sunday, and she did. And I could tell by the look on her face that, though she wasn’t real sure exactly what was going on, she knew that something was going on, and it was important.


We moved away not too long after. I do not know what became of the little girl.


How we pray – the Church’s visible, public attitude of prayer - is important. It is the most visible aspect of Catholic life to non-Catholics, and says without words more than truckloads of verbiage can ever say about what the Church teaches about who we are, and Who God is. And, it gives foundation to figuring how to address all those other difficulties that come up in this life. If we worship like grownups, there’s a better chance that, just maybe, we might think like grownups.

To me, the silence of many – most - Dioceses, Bishops and priests on the ever-proliferating tough problems, the collapse of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, the emptying of the pews and the closing of churches have, at their root, a loss of Catholic identity, Catholic patrimony, and even a loss of an awareness that there is something known as truth. Catholics have been deprived of their heritage, and have been given Pablum instead. Returning to the traditional Mass won’t magically or instantaneously fix all this (I have been accused, in writing, by prelates, of believing that this is so) but I do believe it is the first step of a thousand and one steps. And, I believe, with all my heart, that it is a necessary step. As we pray, we believe.


* As you may know, there is a confusing discussion going on right now in the blogosphere and beyond regarding “truth”. I refer you to Fr. Gerald Murray’s analysis here, and some follow on commentary from Fr. Zuhlsdorf here. Pilate’s question remains with us always: Quid est veritas?


Pontifical Solemn High Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, 28 April 2018 (Follow up)


From The National Catholic Register:

WASHINGTON — The grandeur and beauty of Catholic worship were in full array as Archbishop Alexander Sample celebrated a Pontifical High Mass at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Saturday afternoon.

Sacred ministers — including deacons, subdeacons, two deacons and a subdeacon of the cross — diocesan priests and priests in the habits of the Dominican, Franciscan and Oratorian orders, and two Eastern rite clergy, along with vested laymen and laywomen of several Catholic orders of chivalry, walked up the basilica’s long aisle in solemn procession.

A capacity crowd had gathered in the basilica’s vast Upper Church, which seats 3,500, to hear and see Archbishop Sample, of Portland, Oregon, celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form according to Pope St. John XXIII’s 1962 Missale Romanum...

So begins the most excellent NCR article dated 30 April 2018. We talked about it a bit here at Una Voce Maine. The Mass was sponsored by The Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy, and there are interesting details (to me, anyway) on their NEWS tab up at the top bar. They have detailed information on the music program, and a list of the Sacred Ministers. The Celebrant was the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter was heavily represented among the Deacons, Subdeacons and other Ministers, as was the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. I don’t as yet know how to embed videos, but I sure can embed the URLs for ‘em, and the video for this Mass is here.

I do, however, know how to grab pictures, so I grabbed some from the NCR article. But, as I said, go there and read the entire article: it’s very informative!


PS: The Paulus Institute has a gofundme page to help with the rather hefty expenses. Please consider it.

Basilica of the national Shrine.jpg


Event ONE: Maine Catholic Women's Conference May 5th 2018 8AM-4:30PM

That's THIS SATURDAY, folks!!

Here's the flyer, there's also information at the Diocesan website HERE. There will be an Una Voce Maine table there, along with a plethora of other tables. Details are also on the sidebar.

Womens Conference.jpg


Event TWO: Scarborough Chapter of Magnificat Prayer Breakfast May 19th

See HERE for details and registration information. The following tidbits are taken from the website link, there's more on the website:

"About Our Speaker: Susan Conroy

Prayer breakfast.jpg
Susan Conroy first journeyed to India between her junior and senior years at Dartmouth College after being inspired by Mother Teresa’s efforts there on behalf of the Poorest of the Poor.She journeyed alone to Calcutta with the dream of helping Mother Teresa to care for the destitute in children’s orphanages and in the Home for the Dying.
She developed a friendship with Mother Teresa which lasted throughout the course of eleven years, and her experiences are chronicled in her first book: Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love & Secrets of Sanctity, which was written with Mother Teresa’s own blessing and approval.  It was published in 2003.
Susan has made numerous television appearances, for local as well as worldwide audiences. She hosted a 13-part full-season series called “Speaking of Saints” on EWTN, a global television network that reaches over 200 million households worldwide.  She welcomed EWTN to Maine to tape a new series about finding Jesus Christ in the world today and thus finding eternal salvation.  These new episodes were filmed along the Coast of Maine as well as in view of Maine’s tallest peak, Mount Katahdin.  It is called “Coming to Christ,” and it began airing in 2014...
Most recently, in 2016, Susan released a treasure entitled Praying with Mother Teresa, filled with beautiful quotations by Mother Teresa and various other saints, some never-before-published photographs of our newly-canonized Saint, as well as prayers that Mother Teresa herself prayed..."

Regularly scheduled TLM's in Maine

Here is a review of the times and locations of Extraordinary Form (EF) Masses in Maine, as of April, 2018. Please note: All the times and locations are on the sidebar as well as this post.

The St. Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy sponsors two EF's every Sunday. The first is at 8:30 AM in the upstairs (main sanctuary) of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, 122 Ash Street, Lewiston.

The second is at Noon, in the side chapel of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street, Portland

In addition, on First Saturdays at 7 AM there is a Mass, also at Saints Peter and Paul Basilica 122 Ash Street, Lewiston, but this one is in the downstairs chapel (not upstairs in the main sanctuary). This one may be discontinued later in the spring/summer of 2018 due to priest transfer, but at least as of now (April 2018) it is still going.

Also, Third Sundays 9:15am"Missa Cantata"St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery28 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk (see sidebar for contact information; sorry, no pictures).

Other EF's pop up from time to time as "one offs", keep it tuned here for dates and times.


So you're new to the Latin Mass...

An Una Voce Maine member sent me a couple of articles, and I thought I’d pass them along.

First we have Steve Skojec, manning up to come clean about his little Latin problem. You can feel his pain:

“ …I wanted to tell them. I wanted to get it off my chest. I wanted to scream from the rooftops, “I GO TO THE LATIN MASS AND I DON’T KNOW ANY FREAKING LATIN! DOES THAT MAKE ME LESS OF A PERSON? AM I SINGING THE SALVE REGINA CORRECTLY? DOES GOD EVEN LOVE ME?!?

But I kept my mouth shut. I had a family. A reputation to consider…”

As Tow Mater likes to say, “Yup, that’s funny right there…”

tow mater.jpg

But Skojec goes on:

“The Church recommends Latin for all. No less a pope than Pope St. John XXIII, who invoked the Second Vatican Council … spoke beautifully of the importance of Latin in the life of the Church in his apostolic constitution, Veterum Sapientia:

‘Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all…’

The pope went on to order the bishops to ensure the study of Latin for those entering the priesthood and teaching theology...

As everyone now knows, his orders were disobeyed…”

Go there and read the whole thing. It’s funny, it is. But it’s also pretty serious.


 Secondly, we have an article at The Liturgy Guy, here. I’ve snipped a bit, but do go and read the entire thing:

“If you are new to the Latin Mass, my recommendation to you is not to worry about how to participate. Put down the booklet all together. Watch and listen in the silence and let your prayer arise... Realize that during this Holy Hour, something magnificent is happening: Jesus Christ, the High Priest, is offering the Holy Sacrifice....

... the modern Roman Rite relies upon the spoken word. On the other hand, the Traditional Roman Rite communicates on various non-linguistic levels, relying heavily on ceremony to communicate what is happening. The spoken words are veiled behind a sacred language, and also veiled in silence because the Canon is prayed in a whisper..."

The priest who wrote the article is Fr. Eric Andersen, pastor of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Portland, OR. The Archbishop of Portland is Alexander Sample, a man known for his orthodoxy, articulate and brave defense of the faith (and especially the “hard teachings”), and an awareness of the importance and centrality of proper worship, as highlighted in his 2017-2019 Pastoral Priorites (a PDF is here).

I’ve snipped a few of Archbishop Sample’s priorities from the PDF:


Initiative A: Improve quality of liturgical music. Provide education & support for liturgical musicians. Train and inspire music ministers.

Initiative B: Increase the knowledge, reverence and effectiveness of all liturgical ministers.

Initiative C: Increase the lay faithful’s knowledge of and appreciation for the Mass.

Initiative D: Promote more consistency in the Mass experience (my emphasis) and ensure that it is in accord with the Church’s faithful celebration of the sacred liturgy. Provide liturgical education and training for the clergy and laity.

Initiative E: Promote a culture of hospitality in our parishes.

St. Stephen’s, by the way, is a church where the EF and the OF exist side by side, no? Check out their website and Mass schedule. I’ve mentioned other such churches in other posts, churches like St. Mary's Church in Norwalk, CT; Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Dunn, NC; St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Front Royal, VA; St. Mary of Pine Bluff, WI; St. Gianna Molla Parish in Northfield, NJ; St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church in Atlantic City, NJ. There are lots of others. Maybe I’ll put together a list someday, the point being to refute those who claim that bringing the EF to an existing OF parish is somehow destructive. On the contrary, it enlivens and enriches the parish more than the naysayers would ever have imagined!


Finally, there’s this: One of the first things one comes up against regarding the Extraordinary Form is the problem of what to call it. It goes by many names, although in this blog I tend to use EF (“Extraordinary Form”) for the Vetus ordo – Old order of the Mass, and OF (Ordinary Form) for the Novus ordo – New order. I do this because that’s how Summorum Pontificum refers to them. Simply calling it "the Latin Mass" is, though widely practiced, not truly accurate, as much of the OF is actually supposed to be said in Latin (and in some parishes in other Dioceses, this is done.) But go to "Whaddaya call that Mass anyway", Fr. Z’s post from a few years back to get a detailed, and amusing, overview of the thousand and one names for the Mass of All Time.

st johns.jpg

PS: Here’s a new book. Haven’t read it, but I thought I’d pass on the link: Confessions of a Traditional Catholic


Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Octave of Easter, 7 April 2018, Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Lewiston, Maine

Celebrated by Fr. Steven Cartwright, Parochial Vicar, Prince of Peace Parish, Lewiston, Maine.

The Mass was celebrated in the downstairs chapel, not the main sanctuary.

Before Mass:


 Gospel and Homily:

Gospel and Homily:

Offertory and Canon:




Ecce Agnus Dei


Ablutions and Dismissal:

The Last Gospel:


Pontifical Solemn High Mass (Extraordinary Form) at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Saturday, 28 April, 2018

For all the years off and on that I lived in Washington, DC, I never once went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Now, much of that time I wasn’t Catholic, so that doesn’t count. However, by the time of my final sojourn in the District I had come into the Church, yet somehow still never managed to get to the Basilica. But I could glimpse the dome from the subway window on my commute to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. That’s as close as I got.


But I’m interested in what goes on there, and especially this:

Pontifical Solemn High Mass for the 10th Anniversary Commemoration of Summorum Pontificum Issued by Pope Benedict XVI

The Celebrant is the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon. What isn’t mentioned on the Diocesan biography page is this: 

 “When Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007, then-Bishop Sample decided to learn on his own (my emphasis) to celebrate the traditional form of the Roman Rite. In 2012 he announced he would offer the Mass approximately once a month on Sundays in his cathedral church…” (taken from The Paulus Institute announcement, here)

The sponsor is The Paulus Institute. A brief description of a “Pontifical” Mass is here.




What’s happening in Atlantic City, NJ?

Last week we looked at a parish in Atlantic City, NJ, which is offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form, every Sunday. Right down the road from Atlantic City, in Northfield, NJ, is St. Gianna Molla Parish with a Mass Schedule that looks like this:

Mass Schedules

8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 AM (English)
12:30 PM (Latin) (my emphasis)
2:00 PM (Spanish)

8:30AM: Monday – Saturday (English);
7:00 PM: Friday (Spanish)            


Now, I don’t know anything about St. Gianna Molla Parish beyond what is on their website (note that they offer not just the OF, and not just the EF, but also a Spanish Mass); for that matter I don’t know anything about St. Nicholas of Tolentine beyond what is on their cluster parish website, and what was in the article I cited. Both of these parishes were brought to my attention by a friend. The point is this:

Do not give up!!! It can happen here! All it takes is (1) priests willing to learn it, (2) a bishop willing to permit it, and, most importantly, (3) people who want to support it, not just in principle but with their own time, talent and treasure.

Curate, ut valeatis.


Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form

When: This Saturday 7 April at 7AM, a sung Mass for the Easter Octave (1st class), in lieu of the usual First Saturday Mass. 

Where: Saints Peter and Paul Basilica, 122 Ash Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 

PH: (207) 777-1200

Prince of Peace parish, Lewiston, ME




Main church interior (where the every Sunday EF is, 8 AM):


Downstairs chapel (where the First Saturday Masses and this Saturday’s Sung Mass are):

The Extraordinary Form in Atlantic City, New Jersey

I want to emphasize something. It’s really, really important. What I want to emphasize is a sentence from an article on the EF (“the Latin Mass”) at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Atlantic City (contact info below), in an article from the Press of Atlantic City, here. What I want to emphasize is not a sentence about how beautiful the music is, or how the young people are stepping up to learn this challenging but profoundly moving music: “What the minimum requirements are for the Mass, compared to what these students are making, it’s like the difference between a Big Mac and caviar in terms of (their) skill and technique as musicians…”. I don’t want to emphasize (although these things are important) how “… This space is incredibly beautiful, and the acoustics are amazing…”, or even how “… It’s just as much an opportunity for the people coming in (off the street). Where else can you come to experience this anywhere?”  There are many good sentences in the article along those lines, and they are worth your taking a few moments to read them. But, they are not what struck me. 

Here is the sentence which struck me:

“When the Rev. Thanh Pham brought back Masses in the Latin language to the church a year ago, Steven Ball, organist and director of outreach for Boardwalk Hall, said he jumped at the opportunity to work with the church to provide a more robust musical experience with classic hymns to accompany the Mass in Latin.”

Here is the link for the video of the entire 2 November, 2017 All Soul’s Day Mass.

Fr. Pham is one of the priests at the Atlantic City cluster parish of which St. Nicholas is a part. His bio is here. It is not long. Please go and read it, it is interesting.


Why do I think this is so important?

Here’s why: a cliché criticisms one hears regarding the EF, invariably from bishops and priests who are opposed to it for their own murky reasons, is some variant of the “it’s Eurocentric/doesn’t ‘engage’ people of other cultures/ages/backgrounds” meme. I can’t speak for Fr. Pham, of course, I’ve never met him and probably never will, so I don’t know why he went to the trouble to learn the EF, request permission to offer it, organize it (including the choir, the central theme of the article I’ve cited), and then proceed to offer it. But the simple fact is that something about the Rite induced this 37 year old, Vietnam-born priest to take it upon himself to learn it, and go to the trouble of offering it.

I can, however, tell you what that something is for me: the EF is not beholden to a particular place or moment in time (granted, the EF uses the 1962 Missal, as that was the last one published prior to the rupture); is timeless, and it diverts my gaze, at least for a moment, away from the historic time and geographic space in which I exist, and refocuses it, even if only for a moment, on the transcendent nature of God.

Happy Easter! 



Contact information:

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Church, 1409 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (609) 344-1040


I’ve never actually heard Tenebrae. In fact, I don’t recall ever even having heard of the offices of Tenebrae (Darkness) until maybe last year. At this point, I think the best thing for you to do is to get a cup of coffee, go to The Wanderer, here, and read about it. 

Many parishes follow “the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church… ” beginning with the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday). I recall the first time I encountered that practice, unexpectedly, on the Fifth Sunday of Lent a few years back: the cross on the altar, all the statues, even the processional cross, all wrapped in purple cloth (sadly, my current parish does not engage in this practice, but I recall it’s striking effect nevertheless). A stark, visual sign, cold and bleak as a windswept snow covered field. We are physical, visual creatures; and physical, visual things have meaning for us. That is, after all, what a sacrament is: a visible sign of an invisible grace. And now that we are now on short final, as it were, into the darkness of the Good Friday, we - some of us, anyway - have another stark, visible sign (like the crosses wrapped in purple): Tenebrae. Here’s a clip from The Wanderer piece: 

“Medieval liturgists and theologians were prolific in explaining the rich symbolism of this solemnized diminution of light. The extinction of the candles one by one was seen to represent the desertion of the disciples one by one, or the killing of the prophets over the ages. It was likewise seen as expressing the extinction of joy in the hearts of the disciples wrought by the arrest and death of Christ. The repetition of this rite for three days was interpreted as memorializing the three hours of darkness while Christ hung on the cross, as well as the three days of His entombment.

The one candle left to burn alone at the apex of the Tenebrae hearse has most commonly been explained as a symbol of Christ the Light of the World…”

In the Diocese of Portland we have two Tenebrae services that I know of:

  1. In Waterville, this:

Tenebrae Service in Waterville

A Tenebrae Service will be held at Notre Dame Church, 116 Silver Street in Waterville, on Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. The word “tenebrae” is Latin for darkness. This beautiful service combines elements of sacred Scripture and music as the church, illuminated only by candlelight, moves from light to total darkness. This truly is an unforgettable experience that is guaranteed to enrich your Lenten journey.

For more information please contact Fr. Matthew Gregory at 872-2281.

  1. St. Joseph’s Church (Good Shepherd Parish), 178 Elm St. Biddeford, ME 04005: a Tenebrae service to close out Holy Thursday, 10PM. Parish office phone number is (207) 282-3321; goodshepherd@portlanddiocese.org 



“I have put it on the shelf with all the others.”

I am, honestly, trying to understand the slow motion train wreck of chaos, confusion and kerfluffle that marks the current Church. That’s why I wade through articles such as this one.

That said, the first of the two “misplaced paragraphs” (when will they find them all?) in what Edward Pentin has cleverly dubbed Lettergate  (a PR disaster for the Vatican) goes like this:

“Nonetheless, I (“I”= Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, for those of you maybe not up to speed – TC) do not feel that I can write a brief and dense theological page about them because for my whole life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books that I had also truly read. Unfortunately, even if only for physical reasons, I am not able to read the eleven little volumes in the near future…” (My emphasis.)

This brought to mind an episode from the life of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. Sir Winston, who cheerfully acknowledged his own megalomania, would routinely send copies of his latest books (he was a prolific writer) to friends and acquaintances in high places. Upon receipt of one particular reply, he gleefully presented it during a dinner party at his home, Chartwell:

“Opening an envelope bearing the royal crest, he reads aloud an acknowledgement from the Duke of Gloucester: ‘Dear Winston. Thank you for your new book. I have put it on the shelf with all the others.’”

Perhaps we, too, would do well to simply put this episode on the shelf with all the others, and move on. 


The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol 2: Alone, 1932-1940 William Manchester; Little, Brown and Co; Boston; 1988 pp18-19



It could happen here.

I first stumbled upon this article in the place where I stumble on so many things,  Fr. Z's Blog. The piece interested me because I grew up in – or, more accurately, outside of – Baltimore. So, I went to the article in The Baltimore Sun. It’s actually a very good and positive article (always a pleasant surprise to find something positive, or at least not negative, in the mainstream media), and gives some straightforward descriptions of the Mass. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. I was, however, particularly struck by these two observations:

“St. Alphonsus is the only church in Baltimore that offers the traditional Latin Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist that all Catholics observed (my emphasis; how many Catholics under the age of 40 in the Diocese of Portland even know that little fact? – TC) prior to the sweeping reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s…

At St. Alphonsus, weekly attendance at Latin rite masses has nearly doubled (my emphasis), from 125 to 247, in the four months since Kiefer took over…”


“Kiefer”, of course, would be Fr. Joel Kiefer, FSSP, who took over after the previous priest retired: a brief word on the previous priest is in order. MSGR Arthur Bastress had served the church for 19 years before retiring (at age 90) in the summer of 2017. He had been a lone voice (albeit a happy one) for the need to return to tradition in the deeply ultra-liberal Baltimore archdiocese. In that he reminds me of Fr. Damien Abbatichio, OSB, who “held the fort” at St. Benedict’s in Virginia (the deeply ultra-liberal Diocese of Richmond) for so many years. I talked a bit about him in my very first Una Voce post here. Anyway, the very positive statement from the Archdiocese of Baltimore is here:

“Bishop Denis J. Madden, urban vicar, said he and the archbishop are excited for the future of the shrine. The fraternity sees St. Alphonsus as a “flagship church,” Bishop Madden said, and it is eager to raise the shrine’s profile nationally.”

May God richly bless the National Shrine of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri in Baltimore, Maryland!                   

Closer to home, we find Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, which is also entrusted by the Ordinary (Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, D.D., Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire) to the FSSP, Frs. John Brancich (pastor) and James Smith (assistant pastor). This parish was established in July of 2016, the first Sunday Mass was August 7, 2016.


The Bishop has been very supportive, and offered the first Pontifical Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite about two months ago:


Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, WI has been tremendously involved in the spreat of the EF in his Diocese. His most recent Pontifical Mass (I think he’s done several) is here. And, Fr. Zulhsdorf tells a bit about what a “Pontifical” Mass is, here.



Finally, Bishop Serratelli of the Diocese of Patterson, NJ offered a Pontifical Mass last fall:                                  


The points of all this are two: (1) if “it” (meaning, the EF) can happen in these other Dioceses, “it” can happen here, and (2) the churches, and the Dioceses, where “it” happens, are better off.



Catechism V: Lent Part II

We are beginning the 4th week of Lent, and it may be helpful to review briefly some matters of repentance. Last week we listed a few basic items: the precepts (positive laws) of the Church, the Virtues cardinal and theological, and the Works of Mercy, corporal and spiritual

No one likes to be reminded of his sins, least of all me. But that is what Lent is all about. “During the period from Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday , the liturgy speaks … [of] the misery of fallen humanity – the fatal consequences of original sin and actual sin…”. (1962 Daily Missal) During Lent proper, we have the “twofold theme of repentance and baptism … [the faithful] should be advised particularly to approach the sacrament of penance (“confession” – TC) during Lent, in accordance with the law and tradition of the Church, so that they may share in the joys of Easter Sunday with purity of heart.” (Daily Roman Missal, 3rd Edition)

Both the 1962 Missal and the 3rd Ed. Roman Missal present more or less the same material, and all of the material is found in Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) para. 1852-1876. I have, therefore, cribbed from all of these sources. As with last week, this is simply in laundry list format: the point is simply to review, and to get us thinking. Et nunc, amici amicaeque: peccata, crimina et vitia: offenses, faults, crimes, sins.

First, sins vary in their severity. This is common sense. 

Venial sin occurs “when, in a less serious manner, one does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent. … it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues … it merits temporal punishment. However, it does not break the covenant with God.” As a first approximation, one who dies in a state of venial sin only in all likelihood winds up in purgatory (CCC 1031-1033). This is not to say that venial sins are trivial, they are not. “Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin.” (CCC 1863)

Mortal sin occurs when three conditions are met (CCC 1858-1860). 

  1. Grave matter: the gravity of sins vary, “murder is graver than theft … violence against parents is graver than violence against a stranger”, but all are grave matters. 
  2. Full knowledge and (3) complete consent: “it presupposes knowledge full knowledge of the sinfulness of the act … it implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. (Noto bene:) Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of the sin.” 

Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man… Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.”

The bottom line here is this: 

“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice… Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’” (CCC #1033, 1035)


How are sins categorized? Church tradition has various ways. “Capital Sins are listed by the virtues they oppose. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins and vices.” They are often listed with the “virtue opposed” because working to develop the virtue can help crush the sin. I’ll list them as:

Capital Sin/Virtue Opposed (These are also known as the Seven Deadly Sins):

Envy/Brotherly love

Then there are the Sins against the Holy Spirit. “There are,” the CCC (1864) says, “no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept His mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss … In this sense, the sins against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.”

Traditionally (e.g. the 1962 Missal), the Sins against the Holy Spirit are listed thusly: 

Presumption upon God’s mercy
Impugning the known truth
Envy of another’s spiritual good
Obstinacy in sin
Final impenitence

Finally, we have the Sins that Cry Out to Heaven for Vengeance:

Willful murder
The sin of Sodom
Oppression of the poor
Defrauding laborers of their wages

None of us, least of all me, is without sin. But it is necessary, in these confused and poisoned times, to point out what should be obvious: that all of us have proclivities, inborn or otherwise, to various types of sins, and that these proclivities can be, sometimes, quite strong. I may have a proclivity to lust. You may have a proclivity to despair. He may have a proclivity to the sin of Sodom. She might want to cheat her employees. These things are, the Church teaches, long term fallout from The Fall. But note very well: proclivities do not in and of themselves make us sinners. Indeed, heroic resistance of these  temptation(s) might make us great saints. It is when we act on the desire that it becomes sin. Temptation, in and of itself, is not sin. This should be a simple distinction to understand, but these days it is often (willfully?) ignored or (deliberately?) distorted.

So, go to Confession. And, when you fall back into sin, go back to Confession.




Catechism IV: Lent Part I

Those righteous guardians of proper thought over at the Washington (“Democracy Dies in Darkness”) Post have gleefully offered up this gem regarding one of the many manifestations of Ireland’s frenetic explosion from the strangling tentacles of the Roman Catholic Church: funerals without God. The Humanist Association of Ireland is at the forefront of helping the poor Irish people blinking in the new sunlight free themselves from those surly ancient bonds, and it is heavily involved in this funeral effort (along with secular marriages, “naming ceremonies” and pretty much everything else, all without God). What, then, do the Humanists believe? They believe this:

“…Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognises that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision…” 

(Amsterdam Declaration 2002)


That, in a nutshell, is at the heart of secular humanism’s beef with “organized religions”,  all (or most) of which teach that there are immutable truths of one form or another existing outside of ourselves. The various religions do not agree on what those truths are,  but they are at least in agreement that such truths exist. Now, the thing about religions teaching different “absolute truths” is this: they can’t all be right.** They could all be wrong – that is the Humanists’ position – but they can’t all be right. By virtue of adhering to a specific religion, you are by definition rejecting some, or most, or all of the tenets of some other religion.

In Washington, DC, the Humanists there used to buy anti-Christmas advertising on the side of the Metrobusses at Christmastime: “No need for Christianity,” the posters declared, “Just do good, for goodness sake”. I used to see them while standing and waiting for my transfer bus, and wonder: what is good? Who decides? Insofar as the Humanists base the ethics of their religion (and it is a religion, their protestations notwithstanding) on the shifting sands of “the continual process of observation, evaluation, and revision”, they are simply unable to answer this question: Was Hitler wrong? After all, Hitler, relative to his time and place, thought he was doing right. Had he won the war, perhaps the continual process of observation, evaluation, and revision might have come to different conclusions regarding his activities from those we now hold. I’m not going to go down this rabbit hole any further, suffice it to say that we - all of us, even the Humanists - need to address the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate’s fundamental question: Quid est veritas – what is truth?

We might decide the question is unanswerable and/or unimportant, and blow it off. Or, we might try to tackle it. In choosing the latter, we must begin somewhere. The Humanists’ continual process of observation, evaluation and reflection is a bit vague, so I’ll have something a bit more concrete. How convenient that the first reading for the Third Sunday in Lent in the Ordinary Form (year B), which happens to have been this Sunday just past, is taken from the Book of Exodus, Chapter 20. It goes like this: 

“And the Lord spoke all these words: I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of bondage. Thou shalt have no strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth, Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them. I am the Lord thy God, mighty and jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments…

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain … remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day … Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet they neighbour’s wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid,  nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.”

                             Douay-Rheims version.

Well, that’s a start. What follow is a brief primer (or, if you prefer, a laundry list) of the way the Church fleshes out these Commandments to form a framework for how we discern, as we go through our complex and often confusing lives, what is good, and what is true. This week we’ll hit on some Church basics – the Church in a nutshell. Next week we’ll spend a few moments on sin and confession. The purpose is to get us thinking, not to present some sort of comprehensive treatise. So, let’s get on with it. 

First, the precepts (positive laws) of the Church:

  1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
  2. To confess sins at least once a year.
  3. To receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
  4. To observe the days of fasting and abstinence as established by the Church.
  5. To help provide for the material needs of the Church.

These five can be found in the CCC, 2041-2043. There is also a 6th precept listed in older catechisms (but not that old, it’s in the 1962 Missal) regarding prohibition of marriage at forbidden times or secretly or with forbidden degrees of kindred, or “otherwise prohibited by the Church. This precept does not appear in the current Catechism.

The virtues (CCC 1803-1832): “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good… ‘The goal of the virtuous life is to become like God.’”

“Four virtues,” the Catechism continues, “play a pivotal role and accordingly are called ‘cardinal’ (cardo=hinge- TC); all the others are grouped around them,’ Paraphrasing the CCC, they are:

(1) Prudence, which disposes the practical reason to discern in every circumstance one’s true good and to choose the right means for achieving it… With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

(2) Justice, which consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due.

(3) Fortitude, which ensure firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.

(4) Temperence, which moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the senses and provides balance in the use of created goods.

The theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a close relationship with the Holy Trinity. They are three:

(1) Faith, by which we believe in God and believe all that He has said and revealed to us and tha Holy Church proposes for our belief…

(2) Hope, by which we desire the kingdom of heaven … placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the strength of the Holy Spirit … Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation… and

(3) Charity, by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God.

The Works of Mercy are actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor’s spiritual and bodily necessities. They are:

Corporal Works of Mercy: Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned burying the dead.

Spiritual Works of Mercy: Counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offenses, bearing wrongs patiently, praying for the living and the dead.



* NOS= “Not Otherwise Specified”

** This, by the way, includes Roman Catholicism and Protestant Christianity, although it is currently fashionable to try to paper over the deep and fundamental differences.