October 2000

October 31, 2000

The Green Scapular

From: Blue

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Recently a friend gave me a green scapular. Could you please give me some information on it, and if any prayers are to be said while wearing it?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Green Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary resulted from a series of private revelations to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, a sister of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The meaning of the images -- on the one side of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the other, a heart ablaze with flames, pierced by a sword, dripping blood, and surmounted by a cross -- is to contribute to the conversion of souls, particularly infidels and to obtain for them a good death.

The heart is surrounded by the words: Cor immaculatum Mariae, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae [Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death]. This prayer may be said daily. It would be most appropriate for the intention of the conversion of infidels at the hour of their death.

The graces to be received by those who wear the scapular or carry it on their person are, as in the case of all sacramentals, proportional to the degree of faith and confidence possessed by the user.

Protestant Apologetics

From: Ann

I'm 16 years old, and I go to non-denominational church. One of my friends is a traditional Catholic and attends the Traditional Latin Mass. Because of him I became interested in learning about your religion. I really like your web site, and I've read alot of stuff on it, but I'm confused. I don't understand a lot of the doctrines you have or the "Catholic jargon" used to describe them.

(1) The first thing I want to know is why there aren't any books out there written for Protestants so we can understand what you believe. If you believe yours is the only true religion, why don't you make it more readily available to the rest of us?

(2) Next, when I ask my Catholic friend what he believes, he has pretty good idea, but has no clue where it's talked about in the Bible. He doesn't have a foundation to support his beliefs. I understand you can't bring a Bible to church, but do you have Bible studies or something so that Catholics can understand what they believe? As far as I'm concerned everone needs to know what exactly their beliefs are and where they came from. Not only to establish their faith, but so that they can preach it to others.

(3) My last question is why you put religion and tradition before a relationship with God? Which do you really believe is more important? I'm not trying to say I'm right and your not. I just want to know what you really believe and why.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

(1) There are many, many such books. After all, we Catholics have had 2000 years of apologetics; Protestants have had less than 500!

I would recommend that you start with the Baltimore Catechism that is described in What Traditional Books Do You Recommend?. This will give you a solid basis of Catholic doctrine, and multiple references to Scripture are given for each topic. Then, if you are really serious, you can move on to the great Roman Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine, a great scholar of the Scripture, who gives a deeper explanation.

(2) Sacred Scripture (the Bible) is only once source of the Deposit of Faith for the Church (the other being Sacred Tradition, which is referred to in the Gospel of St. John and in several of St. Paul's Epistles). But the important point is that without the Catholic Church there would be no Bible left to us. Without the great scholarship of St. Jerome, who presevered and rescended manuscripts that are lost to modern scholars and without those monks copying the Bible after the fall of the Roman Empire, Luther would have had nothing to work with.

Moreover, the Catholic Church's Sacred Liturgy is filled with the Scriptures -- the psalms, the historical books of the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Epistles, and much more. It is said that if the Bible had been entirely lost, it could be reconstructed from the Sacred Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church -- the Holy Mass and the Divine Office, in which the Scriptures are read and chanted every hour of the day around the world. Compared to the Catholic Church, Luther was a johnny-come-lately!

(3) Now I don't understand your jargon. Religion and tradition are all involved in a "relationship with God," aren't they? Didn't Our Lord say, "If you love me, keep my commandments"? That is both tradition (as the Commandments come from the tradition of the Faith in the Old and New Testaments) and religion (as it involves man's relationship with his Creator).

Catholics Denied Traditional Latin Mass in Army Chapel

From: Fr. Moderator

An October 10, 2000, article by Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times, as well as several wireservice reports, indicates:

The U.S. army in Europe will not allow traditional Catholics to use a base chapel, although the military has opened similar facilities around the world for witchcraft and pagan rituals. The officer seeking to use the chapel blames the denial on a "politically correct Army."
... The colonel says the chapel hosts two Protestant services weekly. He said he was told that Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan, deputy Army European commander, refused the Catholics' request because he feared a multitude of other religious groups then would want chapel time.
"Just let us have access to it," said Lt. Col. David L. Sonnier, estimating that 20 Catholics want the service. "All we want is the Army to allow us to use chapels like the Wiccans and pagans.... This is politically correct to an extreme when pagans and Wiccans are allowed into a chapel and traditional Catholics are blocked entry.... One has to wonder whether the same standards that were applied for the pagans and Wiccans are being applied in our case.... It appears that serious, orthodox Catholics in good standing within their denominations are now being denied access to the chapels by military leaders who supposedly want to avoid having too many different religious services."
... A July 9 article in Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for military people, said Army pagans in Mannheim, Germany, have the keys to a base chapel were they hold regular gatherings.... The military's tolerance of Wiccans and pagans became national news in 1999, when it was reported that the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas, the largest U.S. base, provided a Wiccan coven a campsite to hold regular ceremonies. The military's 20-year-old chaplain handbook recognizes more than 200 religious faiths, including Wiccans, the Church of Satan, and Rastafarians. Col. Sonnier said his research shows that at least 12 military bases worldwide host pagan or Wiccan ceremonies.

One can only wonder what has happened to the highly-prized First Amendment of the United States Constitution, protecting the "free exercise" of religion. We are back in the mid 19th century, when the No-Nothings and then the Ku Klux Klan, set out to persecute the Catholic religion. It is a common misconception that these organizations started with racial persecution. It was religious persecution from the beginning, and continues so to this day.

October 29, 2000

The Real Consecration of the Human Race

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In preparing for the Feast of Christ the King and making the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as ordered by Pope Pius XI, December 11, 1925, I needed to make copies of the Act so all in the chapel could say it together.

I got to looking through a number of sources and was most surprised to find that even booklets with an imprimatur dated in 1943 and a copyright of 1945, but reprinted by "indult" societies after Vatican II, remove the two paragraphs that address the "darkness of Islamism" and the other that speaks of the "once chosen people."

We must always be on guard against the modernists, even those within the Traditional Movement.

Fr. Moderator Replies

This ceremony, on the great Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King, I can certainly say, having returned from singing a Missa Cantata (which included commemoration of many Mass intentions referred to me by participants in this site, as explained in How Do I Submit a Mass Intention?), is one of the most beautiful and inspiring of the liturgical year. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, we dedicate the whole human race to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

There is a lot of hoopla these days about this Fatima consecration or that Divine Mercy apparition, but this devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus long predates the twentieth century and has been encouraged by a succession of popes for over 500 years, in addition to its founding saints, St. John Eudes and St. Margaret Mary.

Those who look for mercy for the world and its unfaithful need look no further than the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The daily recitation of this Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, together with the recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart, would make for any traditional Catholic a most efficacious spiritual work of mercy here and now to which he might devote an entire month, year, or lifetime.

Here is the full text, as it was promulgated by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical Letter Quas primas. This is a truly "ecumenical" Catholic prayer in the traditional sense, calling back, in the beautiful imagery of the mercy of the Sacred Heart, the fallen-away, the Muslim, and the Jew. The Act carries a plenary indulgence if receited daily with a pious intention for a month, under the usual conditions of receiving the Sacraments of Penanace and Holy Eucharist and visitng a church or public oratory.

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself to-day to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many, too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry of or Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour; may It now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life. Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever. R. Amen.

October 28, 2000

Novus Ordo Doesn't Really Want "Indult"

From: Carl (India)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Five years ago conservatives in a certain part of India asked for the "Indult" Mass in order to put out of business an "unapproved" Traditional Latin Mass being celebrated from time to time in that area. The local Church debated this issue at its Pastoral Council meeting held in February 1995, and here is the summary taken verbatim from the diocesan newsletter of Renovacao March 16-31, 1995 (page 118).

The Patriarch informed the house about a petition by a number of Christians for Tridentine [Traditional Latin] Mass to be celebrated in Panjim and Mapuca. Their reasons substantially two, viz.: (1) their spiritual attachment to the Tridentine Mass and (ii) fear of the Lefebvrists' ranks being swelled. The Patriarch said that, before acting on their petition in accordance with the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, issued in 1984, he would like to meet personally the signatories to the petition.
Most of the members who spoke, expressed themselves against the petition, and for the following reasons:
(i) The petition could have had a meaning in the late sixties or early Seventies, when the switch-over from the Tridentine Mass to the Vatican II Mass took place, but to speak now of spiritual attachment to Tridentine Mass, after thirty years of being used to Vat. II Mass, does not make sense.
(ii) Fear of defections to the Lefebvrist Schism in Goa are imaginary. But, if some people are prepared to defect because of accidentals like the Rite of a Mass, this only shows the hollowness of their faith, and the Church in Goa can very well do without such faithful.
(iii) To allow Tridentine Mass now would be a retrogade step after so much liturgical reform, and would give the impression that the Church is not sure of its own stand and that, when it gives two steps forward, it gives one step behind. This will create bewilderment in people.
(iv) To grant use of Tridentine Mass for some would sow seeds of confusion and discord among people. The Church as a whole cannot be made to suffer in order to satisfy the personal likes, even if genuine, of a few.
(v) The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship has not granted use of Tridentine Mass and therefore the Bishop should not feel obliged to extend its benefit to the signatories of the petition. Such faculty has been given to the diocesan Bishop to whom exclusively belongs to evaluate the circumstances and grant or refuse it.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is fair to say that the above reflects the predominant attitude of bishops not only in India but in the United States and the Vatican as well.

To these rabid Novus Ordinarians, the Traditional Latin Mass, the only legitimately "approved" rite of Holy Mass for Roman Rite, is (as expressed above) an "accidental," a "retrograde step after so much reform," the "seed of discord and confusion." One wonders where these ecclesiastical bureaucrats get their theology, but it isn't Catholic.

The real opinion of the Novus Ordo ecclesiastical bureaucrats is nakedly exposed in the words of the patriarch above, who might just as well have been a diocesan bishop in the United States or anywhere else. He and his ilk can "very well do without such faithful," who are "hollow in their faith." They don't care about traditional Catholics. They are on the Novus Ordo bandwagon, which stops for no one.

That is why we traditional Catholics must look askance at the "Indult" as any real solution and put a few stones under that bandwagon, so that it finally tips over and we can look back it it as only a bad memory.

Why is It the Secret?

From: Al

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have always wondered where the Secret of the Mass got its name from. What is the tradition behind it and what is the meaning behind the word Secret?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Some Catholics erroneously think that the name has to do with the fact that this prayer (Oratio Secreta), proper to the Mass of the day, is said in the low voice (voce submissa). Actually, it has nothing to do with the usual meaning of the word secret in English, but rather is from the Latin verb secernere, meaning "to set apart," as the prayer sets apart the offerings to be consecrated.

October 27, 2000

Love of Money: the Root of All Evil

From: Glenn

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Below is an excerpt from a controversial issue brewing in the Philippines today.

Should the Church accept donations that are proceeds from gambling? Yes, is the answer of Jaime Cardinal Sin when he defended the acceptance by charitable institutions of the Church of donations from the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), the agency that runs casinos, jai alai and other forms of gambling, including the hated illegal jueteng disguised as Bingo-2 Ball. If the money goes to help the poor, the Church doesn't care where it comes from, he said in effect.

Does the teaching "the end does not justify the means" still stand today?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It certainly does, ever since St. Paul enunciated this Apostolic teaching of Catholic morality in his Epistle to the Romans (3:8) 2000 years ago:

And not rather (as we are slandered and as some affirm that we say) let us do evil that there may come good? Whose damnation is just.

Gambling is not, in and of itself, evil, if it is very limited, used for recreation, and involves surplus money only. Nevertheless, we know that, like alcohol, there is a very real possibility of addition and excess. Thus, one must be very judicious in considering whether a "proximate occasion of sin" is present. When one thinks how much better such money could be spent, a Christian would more likely be moved to put the dollar into the poor box.

Institutionalized gambling is another matter. For the state to run a gambling operation, complete with the corruption that goes along with it, is certainly untenable, and before Vatican II no state in United States had the kind of organized gambling that is rife today. Along with pornography, blasphemy, abortion, and all the other evils that have come to be commonplace in our society in the last thirty years, the evil of institutionalized gambling is readily accepted by the populace, Catholics included.

What is perhaps most insidious is the personal vice that is engendered by people engaging in this kind of thing. Rather than practicing the Christian virtues of prudence, generosity, and almsgiving, they succumb to a kind of pagan mentality based on "luck" or "fatalism." Since institutionalized gambling arose at about the same time that the paganistic New Age philosophy became popular, one wonders whether there isn't an association.

Traditional Catholics must view with revulsion the fact that so-called Catholic organizations, even organizations of priests and seminarians, use lotteries to tantalize donors, appealing to their baser instincts than to their religious instincts. So-called Catholic churches boast of commercialized bingo operations of which the Mafia would be proud (and sometimes are behind such operations). These "games" have gone far beyond the elderly playing with pennies for recreation; many involve selling cards for upwards of $20.00 and award "pots" in the thousands of dollars.

In a scandalous case, the "bingo czar" of a large archdiocese in the United States, a Novus Ordo presbyter, was raking money off the top of the archdiocese's bingo games and converting it to personal use. So much money was involved that his pilfering of tens of thousands of dollars was a drop in the bucket! When he was finally caught, the archbishop tried to force the district attorney to drop the charges "because he was a priest." On the contrary, because he was a priest, the judge threw the book at him, including several years' incarceration.

Slick politicians, whether secular or ecclesiastical, are aware that Christians' natural sensibilities run against such operations, and thus try to sugarcoat institutionalized gambling by offering a few pennies to "education" or to the "parish." And the populace justifies to itself the evil by the phony excuse provided. Truly, we have allowed our Christianity in the United States to fall pray to our baser instincts. Next time we traditional Catholics are tempted to participate in state-organized gambling, we should make it a point to give the money to the next needy person we encounter.

October 26, 2000

Jewish Court Excommunicates Sen. Lieberman

From: CNS News

Dear Fr. Moderator:

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS News, October 24, 2000) -- A rabbinical court in Brooklyn, N.Y., has taken the unusual step of excommunicating Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat vice presidential nominee. The New York Torah Court stated that he caused grave scandal for the Jewish religion because "while claiming to be an observant Jew, Lieberman has been misrepresenting and falsifying to the American people the teachings of the Torah against partial birth infanticide, against special privileges and preferential treatment for flaunting homosexuals, and against religious intermarriage of Jews."

Rabbi Joseph Friedman, a spokesman for the rabbinical court, said in a statement that Lieberman has "flagrantly violated our sacred Torah by his Senate votes upholding partial birth infanticide and legitimizing homosexuality, which abnormal and unhealthy behavior the Torah strongly condemns as sinful and immoral. Mr. Lieberman, moreover, has, in violation of the Torah, supported harmful gender integration in the U.S. Armed Forces in the barracks, on naval warships, and in combat training," all of which weakens and demoralizes our armed forces...."

Friedman stated that there were historical precedents for rabbinical excommunication of public figures as well as private individuals. However, those precedents have been few and far between. In 1945, Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan was excommunicated for grave violations of the Torah. That excommunication was reported in the New York Times and other newspapers and publications. Friedman was traveling abroad Monday and not available for comment.

A beth din is composed of three Talmudists who may convene to consider sanctions when there is a question about how a person has conducted himself in regard to Jewish teachings. Decisions from a beth din are not based on secular law, but rather the interpretation of Jewish teachings. A beth din, which means "house of judgment," may consider matters including divorce, financial disputes and other questions of Jewish law....

"Excommunication is very uncommon," said Levin. "While it's not an everyday occurrence, it certainly does happen that a beth din will find that a person is in a state of disfavor in the Jewish community."

"... Joe Lieberman has brought this excommunication upon himself by flatly trying to say that orthodoxy is one way when orthodoxy is the opposite direction of what he said it was," said the Rev. Lou Sheldon with the Christian lobbying group Traditional Values Coalition. "The partial-birth abortion issue is a bread-and-butter, life-or-death issue to Orthodox Jews," said Sheldon. "Creation and procreation are vital to the Orthodox Jewish belief system."

What Bomb Hit This Church?

From: Sebastian

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Here's something written tongue-in-cheek, but I am certain that we all have seen something like it in our local obituary pages. Just another sign where the true Church Our Lord founded rests:

Obituary - 1950
"Sister Mary Immaculata Called Home to Heaven"

Sister Mary Immaculata, 86, died in the infirmary of her community's Motherhouse yesterday, while the Sisters, holding candles in their hands, prayed the Litany of the Dying around her bedside. Sister Immaculata had taught for sixty-eight years in the elementary schools of her order before coming to the Motherhouse earlier this year. Her sixty-eight years of devoted ministry touched the lives of thousands of young children. A Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of Sister Immaculata's soul at the Motherhouse Chapel Thursday morning, at 10 a.m. The Sisters ask for your prayers and sacrifices for the repose of her soul.

Obituary - 2000
"Sister Sunny Satterfield Dies"

Sister Sunny Satterfield, 86, died yesterday during the primal-scream segment of a sensitivity training workshop at her community's Bioethics Centre for Transcendental Meditation, while the other three members of her religious congregation looked on in surprise. Sister Sunny had been a school teacher for one year and a spiritual director in a retreat house for one year. The remaining sixty-six years of Sunny's religious life were spent in various schools preparing to be a community organizer, missionary of peace and social justice to the third world, spiritual director, guidance counselor, chaplain, and pastoral counselor. She held twelve earned academic degrees and sixteen professional certifications. Her two years of active ministry have been an inspiration to us all. A Mass of the Resurrection will be offered tomorrow morning, at sunrise, at the beach, a place where Sister Sunny went to pray to the God that is within each of us.

October 25, 2000

Where Are the Great Minds in the Church?

From: Russell

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Times were when any good Catholic, theologian or not, could submit work to his bishop for "vetting" as to doctrinal/morals content. I know well that the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur did not imply approval, but they did, to some extent at least, offer some guarantee that the manuscript was free from doctrinal error. Where, in these sad days, can anyone -- lay or cleric -- go for similar assurance?

How is it possible for someone to have his work reviewed for orthodoxy? Which of the bishops or their curial advisors are safe? The yardsticks by which true Catholic teaching can be ascertained are there, sure, but which of the heirarchy or their clergy invariably uses them? It seems as though the only books we can safely read are those whose authors submitted their texts in the pre-Vatican II era. If this is so, it is another dreadful example of the core damage that the new religion is causing Catholic scholarship. The Church is a living organism, as Christ lives. How can Catholic scholarship or devotional writing be placed in stasis or hibernation while neo-Modernism holds sway in the Church?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I can't add anything to what you have said. Catholic scholarship worthy of the name has been dead since Vatican II. In this over-hyped 20th century, where are the great minds -- the Augustines, the Anselms, the Aquinases, the Newmans? Nowhere to be found. Charitable works like Mother Theresa's are fine, but they signal a Church with a heart, but no mind. To me, the lack of intellectual quality in the post-conciliar Church, as opposed to past times when a St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure could debate at the University of Paris, is just another sign that we are living, for the time being, in a desert Church.

Compare the aftermath of Vatican II -- confusion, destruction of Tradition, religious indifferentism, secular politicization -- with the aftermath of Trent, which produced a great outpouring of Saints, not only of charitable works like St. Philip Neri, but also of intellect like St. Charles Borromeo, who authored the great Roman Catechism, the catechism for all time.

Did Moses Write the Pentateuch?

From: Nina

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Who wrote the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Old Testament called the Mosaic Books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy]? The divisions seem to be among so-called liberals and so-called conservatives. Some liberals feel that more than one author wrote them whereas conservatives say Moses wrote them. What does the Church/Pope/Magisterium teach on this subject?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission (June 27, 1906) held that it is not absolutely imperative to maintain that Moses wrote with his own hand or dictated to amanuenses all and everything contained in the Pentateuch. It is possible to admit the hypothesis of those who think that he entrusted the composition of the work itself, conceived by himself under the influence of divine inspiration, to some other person or persons, but in such a manner that they rendered faithfully his own thoughts, wrote nothing contrary to his will, and omitted nothing; and that the work thus produced, approved by Moses as the principal and inspired author, was made public under his name.

October 24, 2000

What Is the Vatican Trying to Pull?

From: Peter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

There are many rumors swirling, and there is much evidence to support the fact that the Vatican is pulling all stops in endeavoring to reconcile the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to itself. Recalling the liberalization of many groups that took the bait similarly offered from the Vatican and that there is always a price to be paid in such negotiations with the modernist establishment, my impulse is that the whole affair smells awfully fishy. What insight, if any, do you have into this situation?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I have no affiliation with SSPX, so my conclusions would be based on information provided by TRADITIO's correspondents inside the SSPX and inside the Vatican, plus 35 years of observing the actions of the postconciliar Church. On that basis, my conclusions at this point would agree with yours as to the "fishiness."

It is obvious that in the last year the Vatican has become more concerned about the Traditional Movement, which is growing in the world. Much of that movement is hostile (as is the SSPX) toward the postconciliar Vatican because of the Vatican's modernist theology and attachment to the Novus Ordo Worship Service, which it continues to impose on everyone.

Remember that the Apostolic Letter "Ecclesia Dei" was issued not because the Vatican had any love for the Traditional Latin Mass. Rather, it was a panic reaction to Abp. Lefebvre's consecrating a few bishops to maintain Roman Catholic Tradition without the Vatican's approval. Lefebvre was purportedly excommunicated, although recently the same thing happened in Red China, and those bishops were not excommunicated.

The purpose of "Ecclesia Dei" was to keep traditional Catholics away from Abp. Lefebvre. Anyone reading what was obviously a hastily-concocted letter (another thing that is clear from the original Latin, though not obvious in vernacular translation) knows this to be true: the letter itself says so!

The Vatican has now apparently decided that it cannot suppress the Traditional Movement, because most of that movement rejects any power arrogated by Vatican authority to impose novelties upon the Church that are not supported by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, preconciliar popes, and dogmatic councils. The postconciliar Vatican is looked upon by much of the Traditional Movement as a kind of "Babylonian Capitivity" of the Church, as occured in the fourteeneth century, or as a kind of period of "Bad Popes," as occurred during part of the Renaissance.

The Vatican, therefore, seems to be taking steps toward a "join them to beat them" tactic. We have already seen what that tactic has done to the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). The Vatican in that affair:

One of the well-known conservative (but anti-traditional) periodicals recently carried an interview by the new FSSP Superior General, who as much as admitted (couched in polite Vaticanese, of course) that the FSSP would in future be only a spectre of its former self. In that interview, he also admitted that the SSPX was only the "tip of the iceburg" and grudingly admitted that many Traditional Latin Mass sites are now well founded, with traditional priests who are well respected by their congregations.

Although the postconciliar Vatican may be grossly misguided, it is not stupid politically. After all, it set up the red-herring of the "indult," gaining support from troubled Catholics who had nowhere else to go, while all the time it was waiting, in the fullness of time, to pull the plug -- slowly, but surely, in the Vatican political way.

Naturally, the Vatican might try in some way to take control of the SSPX, but I think that the SSPX is not stupid enough to fall for that tactic, which its founder so effectively rejected. Remember -- and the Vatican knows this full well, and is beginning to admit it publically -- that the SSPX is just the tip of the iceberg of the Traditional Movement, constituting only about one-third of that movement.

Word has recently come that the Vatican may be behind the tampering with another organization associated with the "indult," the Institute of Christ the King, High Priest (ICRSS), which seemed in many ways to be the most traditional of the "indult" organizations. Its U.S. District Superior is being recalled and is being replaced by a German priest. Does this mean that there may be some changes (or compromises) forthcoming for the ICRSS, as with the FSSP? Time will tell.

Archbishop on the Verge of Approving Animal Sacrifice at "New Mass"

From: Fr. Moderator

Readers of TRADITIO are aware that moves are underway to permit animal sacrifice at the "New Mass," to do obeisance to the Vatican II god of "inculturation." This was the notion introduced into the Catholic Church at council to permit authentic Roman Catholicism to be absorbed into pagan practices to please local cultures that are not Roman Catholic. This condemnable theology has permitted such atrocities as women serving as lectors of the Gospel in Africa nude from the waist up, the pope smearing his face with tree pitch in Australia after the aboriginal fashion rather than incensing the altar in the Roman Catholic fashion, and the presence of men dressed only in grass skirts holding spears at the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. These, and many other such incidents are approvingly reported by the Vatican Press itself.

Dead wrong are those who contend that Vatican II was fine, but only its interpretation afterward was flawed. Inculturation, as well as false ecumenism, and religious indifferentism, can be found right in the documents of Vatican II themselves.

London, 20 October (ENI Daily News Service, Geneva) -- A leading animal rights theologian, Andrew Linzey, has spoken out against moves to include symbolic sacrifice of animals in Christian worship, describing it as "subversive of the Gospel".
Some Christians in Africa have suggested that traditional local non-Christian rituals such as sacrificing sheep and cows should be included in services to give an authentic indigenous dimension to worship. Earlier this year, Buti Tlhagale, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bloemfontein, South Africa, suggested that blood libations to honour ancestors should be incorporated into the Mass. "Even sophisticated black Christians slaughter animals as part of their tradition of communing with their ancestors at important occasions in their lives," the Catholic archbishop said. "Is there a way to integrate this custom with their Christian belief as a step towards meaningful inculturation [in which Christianity is absorbed into and re-expressed through local cultures]?"
But Professor Linzey, speaking to ENI from his home in Oxford, England, disagreed. "I support inculturation as a principle, but it would be an odd view to argue that everything about a culture is right." Professor Linzey, an Anglican priest who was appointed to the world's first academic post in theology and animal welfare, based at Oxford University, and is now a member of the faculty of theology of Oxford University, continued: "Animal sacrifice is subversive of the Gospel of the one true sacrifice of Christ by suggesting that something has to be added...."
However, he insisted, Christ set the example by abstaining from the animal sacrifices that were at the heart of Jewish religious practice at the time. There were no recorded cases in the Bible of Jesus or his disciples sacrificing animals, and "a whole range of examples where Jesus shows consideration for animals", including his statements about the good shepherd and his sheep (John 10: 11), the sparrows who were not forgotten before God (Luke 12:6), and love as worth more than sacrifices (Mark: 12:32-34). The church abolished sacrifice, which it would not have done if Jesus himself had followed the practice, Professor Linzey said.
He also pointed out that liberating animals was the immediate cause of Jesus' arrest and execution. "In cleansing the temple, Jesus was not attacking sellers of postcards and candy floss. What was being sold there were animals for sacrifice. "By his actions in the temple Christ was attacking the thing the authorities held dearest - the sacrificial system." Blood sacrifices were one of the principal targets of Western Christian missionaries in 19th-century Africa. They saw the ritual killing of animals and in some areas of human beings as an encouragement to superstition.

P.C. Awry in Catholic Schools

From: Peter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I believe the use of "B.C.E." and "C.E." for dates is not appropriate in a Catholic grade school. In secular circles, "B.C.E." is understood to be "Before the Common Era", and "C.E." refers to the "Common Era".

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is not appropriate anywhere. This is one of these P.C. (politically correct) crusades whose goal is to extirpate the Christian religion from history. Adhere to the traditional "B.C." and "A.D." If you can't dissuade your "Catholic" school from this nonsense, tell your children to consider the novel abbrevations as meaning "Before the Catholic Era" and "Catholic Era." That ought to make the point!

October 21, 2000

An Affair in Maine

From: Fr. Moderator

It seems that the liberal AmChurch machine is gradually getting into the pro-homosexual movement. Why should anyone expect anything different of people who can support the travesty of the Novus Ordo and call it "Catholic"?

Notice how the liberal media are now categorizing this most unCatholic moral position as "their Church's support of the gay-rights referendum." Even the modern Vatican stands against this immorality, so exactly who is the "Church" here? Isn't that the confusion that the post-Vatican II Church has brought about, so that now the pope and the Vatican -- and we all -- are paying the price for the Vatican's playing fast and loose with 35 years of ambiguous theology?

If only these "we're here" people had done the same in 1964, when the New Order began to be imposed on the Sacred Liturgy, they probably wouldn't have to be fighting points of morality now. Even now, if they demanded the restoration of the Catholic Church as traditionally understood, I firmly believe that we would see a significant reversion in all forms of unCatholic action: blasphemy, abortion, sexual immorality, and all the other irreligion that plagues modern society.

PORTLAND, ME (Bangor Daily News, October 20, 2000). About 50 Roman Catholic members of the Grass Roots Coalition marched into the Portland Diocese headquarters Thursday to express their vehement objections to their church's support of the gay rights referendum facing voters on Nov. 7.
They knelt in the church offices and chanted: We're here. We're Catholic. We are faithful. Get used to it. They presented a petition to church leaders requesting a reconsideration of church support for the gay rights legislation, which they say will lead to the same-sex marriage legislation already passed in Vermont....
In a lawn press conference outside the church offices, Grass Roots Coalition spokesman Paul B. Madore ... warned that Vermont in 10 years had gone from passing sexual-orientation protection laws to liberalizing adoption laws to granting same-sex marriages....
Several speakers were outraged that the church dropped its previous opposition to gay rights legislation after "secret negotiations" developed a compromise bill that exempted the church. Speaker Pauly Fongemie of Winthrop said the law would violate Vatican law. "The church has the responsibility to promote the public morality of the entire civil society, not to simply protect itself from the application of harmful laws," she said. "Individual Catholics do not enjoy the special protection that the bishop has been granted as his price for endorsement" of the gay rights bill.
Pat Truman of Hallowell said church leaders "caved in to political correctness. It seems that the overriding concern of the chancery is not for the welfare of the family, nor for the good of society but for the positive image and social acceptance of the homosexual. The sad part is they will learn that passage of this sexual-orientation referendum will not satisfy the activists with whom they have compromised."
The gay rights bill is unconstitutional, according to Sandra Navia. She quoted church philosopher Bishop Fulton J. Sheen who said, "Who is going to save the church? Not our bishops, not our priests. It's up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes and the ears to save the church. Your mission is to see that the priests act like priests and your religious act religious"....

October 19, 2000

Curial Cardinal Celebrates Mass with Schismatic Bishop

From: Fr. Moderator

The Religious News Service reports from Beijing that Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, a cardinal in the Vatican Curia's highest tribunal, celebrated Mass in Beijing with a schismatic bishop in the Patrotic Catholic Association of China, with the full knowledge and assumed permission of the pope. The PCA is the government-recognized Church that holds, at least in part, to the traditional Roman rite, but has been considered schismatic because it does not recognize papal authority.

Like Abp. Lefebvre, a PCA bishop publicly consecrated five bishops on January 6, 2000, without papal approval. Yet unlike Abp. Lefebvre and his consecrandi, the new bishops and their consecrators were not excommunicated. Apparently, the consecration of bishop without papal approval is not invariably an "excommunicable" offense (it isn't in the traditional canon law of 1917).

It appears that the Vatican is now willing to recognize as fully legitimate those groups that were considered "schismatic" heretofore: the Eastern Orthodox, the Old Catholics, the Polish National Church, and the Patriotic Catholic Association of China. The only group remaining that the Vatican now seems to consider "schismatic" is the Society of St. Pius X!

How Should a Catholic Celebrate Halloween?

From: Nestor

Dear Fr. Moderator:

As we approach Halloween at the end of this month, how should the Catholic approach activities on All Hallow's Eve? Also, what about things like palmistry and fortune-telling in general?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

For some remarks on the origins of the day, together with some suggestions for an appropriate use of the day, see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Practices? under the subject "Halloween."

October 16, 2000

The Necessity of Latin to the Church

From: David

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I work with a girl who is a "born-again" Christian, but was raised a Catholic. I am trying to get her to leave the cult she is with and come back to the Church. I gave her material on why she should. She is old enough that she remembers the Traditional Latin Mass. I told her I attend a traditional Mass and invited her. Her excuse was: "I don't understand Latin, and I don't see what the purpose of having Latin is." How do I answer her on this and tell her it was the language Christ wanted for his Church?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is a modern fallacy that one must understand every word of Latin in the Mass, or even must use a handmissal, any more than one needs to understand every word of Italian or German to appreciate the meaning of grand opera. Twenty centuries of Christians have worshipped God through this sacred language, some of them understanding all the words, some not. What is important is that they understood the meaning of the act of the Mass, the sacrifice by which the Church gives to Almighty God, officially and in the name of all, the worship that is due to Him alone.

That is not to say that one should not be encouraged gradually to understand more and more of the Latin. Not only is it our cultural heritage and one of the most perfect vehicles divinely established for its purpose, but even the present pope has deplored the ignorance of Latin in our culture and has associated with it the loss of human values:

In an epoch when in some areas, as you know, the Latin language and the human values are less appreciated, you must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. The well-known words of Cicero, "It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it" [Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire (Brutus, xxxvii.140)] in a certain sense are directed to you. We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations.

If Jews can learn Hebrew for their Bar Mitzvah, and Byzantines can learn Greek for their Divine Liturgy, surely Roman Catholics can have some familiarity with the language of their Faith.

For further information see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under the subject "Sacred Languages: Latin, Greek, and Hebrew," The Necessity of Latin for the Roman Catholic Church, and The Traditional Roman Catholic Latin Mass.

Christianity Becomes Official

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Here's a tidbit of Roman law that I took pleasure in reading. Apparently, while toleration was given to Christianity in 313 by Constantine I, Christianity did not become the legal religion of the Roman Empire until the reign of Theodosius I (379-395). At that point, not only was Christianity made the official religion of the Roman Empire, but other religions were declared illegal. Too bad this can't be a constitutional amendment!

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue to the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation and in the second the punishment of our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict. (Theodosian Code XVI.1.2)

Fr. Moderator Replies.

For those traditional Catholics who despair of the state of the Church in our times, this is an instructive example from history. At various times and places in the first four centuries, there was severe persecution of Christians. No doubt these Christians must have wondered at times whether the Christian religion would survive in the face of such persecution. St. Alphonsus tells us that there were approximately 11,000,000 Christians martyred before the Edict of Milan in 313.

Yet it took less than 300 years for the great Roman Empire to be brought to its knees at the foot of Christ. The early Christian author tells us how this happened: "The blood of the martyrs was indeed the seed of Christians." If the Church had not proved its faith through the persecutions, but had started in prosperity, it might well have perished, just as the mainline Protestant Churches are in our time.

October 15, 2000

How Should We Handle Evil?

From: Mo

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Our Lord said: "But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other" (Matthew 5:39). Now what can we make of this "not to resist evil"? Do we offer no resistance, even non-violent resistance?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

If we read the complete context -- as we always should, to understand any Biblical passage properly -- we will find that what Our Lord is talking about here is how contrary the notion of personal revenge is to the Christian way. The offenses that are mentioned in the preceding and succeeding verses are personal offenses, and the responses described are personal responses.

This is quite different from resisting objective evil. Of course, we cannot judge the state of soul of an individual committing an objectively evil act, as only God knows the heart (knowledge, consent) with which that action is being committed. However, we can stand up strongly for the objective morality involved. In the words of St. Augustine, we can love the sinner as a child of God, with the same need for mercy from God as we ourselves, but we can detest the objective sin.

It is a principle that is so simple and clear, it is surprising how many people miss it.

Where Do Animals Go?

From: Kathleen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am Catholic, and my mother told me animals do not go to heaven. Is this true? What happens to animals when they die if they do not go to heaven?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Animals do not have a rational soul. It is only the rational, that is, human, soul that is immortal. The physical bodies of both men and animals are subject to corruption upon death, although at the end of the world man's body, in a glorified form, will be united with its soul, as St. Paul describes in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:51-53/DR):

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trujpet shall sound and the dead shall rise again incorruptible. And we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption: and this mortal must put on immortality.

About Those Statues

From: Royan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I'm a Catholic teenager who loves Our Lord and Our Lady. Recently, my Protestant music teacher told me that the Catholic Church practices idolatory by keeping statues and images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. He also says that God forbids idolatory, and it is clearly stated in the Scriptures. So, why do we keep statues and images in our churches?

Fr. Moderator Replies

Your Protestant music teacher is obviously ignorant of the teachings of the Catholic Faith (let alone the Scriptures). You should suggest to him that you are paying him to teach you music, not religion, and ask him (politely) to refrain from ridiculing your religion.

Biblically, idolatry is the worship of anyone or anything other than God Himself ("thou shalt not have strange gods before me"). Catholics do not worship statues. That is ridiculous and would be idolatrous. The Commandment properly prohibits the kind of thing the Jews of the Old Testament did by making a golden calf and then worshipping it as God.

Why do Catholics have statues in their churches? For the same reason that the Protestants have crosses in their churches -- to remind them of certain religious truths. Do Protestants worship crosses? I don't think so -- that would be idolatry!

October 14, 2000

The Filioque Addition to the Nicene Creed

From: Ian

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Ever since the recent Declaration Dominus Iesus came out from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I have been perusing the several commentaries on the subject that have appeared in print, to see what others had to say about a curious omission in the text. No one has mentioned it.

The second paragraph of the Declaration posits who we Catholics are, as defined by the Creed -- except that the Creed that is mentioned is missing the Filioque clause. At first, I thought that this was an omission of the particular copy I was reading. However, the authentic Latin text also has the omission. So it is clear to me that the text of the Declaration intends to reject the Creed used in the Roman Catholic Church since the fifth century.

Fr. Moderator Replies

The addition of the Filioque, rendering explicit the fact that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, was first made in Spain, to combat certain a heresy that was circulating at the time. From Spain this custom passed into Gaul, then into Germany, as is obvious from the Gallican liturgy of the beginning of the fifth century. It was finally admitted both by the Latins and the Greeks at the Ecumenical Councils of Lyon II {1274) and Florence (1438-1445).

The Council of Florence in 1439 declared: "We further define that it was for the purpose of declaring the truth and under stress of necessity at the time that those words 'and the Son' were added to the Creed by way of explanation, both lawfully and with good reason."

October 13, 2000

What Does "IHS" Stand For?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I probably learned this 45 years ago but alas have forgotten the answer. What does the "IHS" on many vestments, altars, and monuments mean? I asked a parish priest this morning, and he couldn't remember either!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

They are the first three letters, in Greek capitals (but using the Roman "s" for the Greek sigma), of the Holy Name (Jesus). Later, some held that they had a spiritual meaning, "Iesus Hominum Salvator" (Jesus, Savior of Men).

Which Act of Contrition Is Valid?

From: Philip

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was told by a friend that a form of Contrition that I believe was altered during the 50's is not valid. The prayer he refers to is the one that says: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments.... I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin."

The one I was taught, he says, is the correct one because it mentions Hell: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell.... I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Contrition involves two aspects: (1) sorrow for one's sins, (2) a firm purpose of amendment. The exact words are unimportant if they express these two aspects.

Many Catholics are unaware that the Roman Ritual does not specifically call for the recitation of an Act of Contrition during Confession. The matter of the Sacrament consists in the penitent's approach to the Sacrament, indicating his contrition. That is why a proper examination of conscience before Confession is most important.

Many Catholics also are unaware of the proper way to end a Confession. I am surprised by how many simply say, "That's it," or say nothing and let the priest puzzle out whether that is the end. A much better way to end a Confession is: "For these and all the sins of my past life, I ask pardon of God, penance and absolution from you, Father."

I also find that some penitents as part of their Confession accuse others of sin or try to exculpate their own sins. "I lied, but I wouldn't have had to if she hadn't...." "I took the Lord's name in vain once, but Harry does it all the time." Obviously, these penitents are not approaching the Sacrament with the correct disposition. Before God we accuse ourselves of our own sins and do not refer to the sins of others as an excuse for our own!

Christopher Columbus -- Devout Catholic with a Mission

From: Joan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In 1992, for the quincentennial of the discovery of America in 1492, I compiled from various sources the following facts:

October 12, 2000

Which Religion Is More Correct?

From: Vass

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It seems difficult to determine a substantial difference between one Christian religion and another. However, the underlying beliefs between various religions from Catholic background all seem to have cetrain key and common values that they share. What makes any one of these religions more correct than another?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Catholic Faith is founded upon rational, logical principles, strongly influenced by the greatest thought of classical philosophy, which was Christianized by the greatest minds of the Christian era (St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc.).

One of the basic logical principles of human thought is the property of the non-contradiction of truth; that is, A and not-A, cannot both be true. On that premise, as God is Truth, there must be one True Religion, not a multitude of "choices," which disagree on basic principles.

If one accepts the basic principle of Christ as God and the Founder of the Church, one can follow in an unbroken succession the teaching of Scripture and Tradition through the Catholic Church. The others can be shown to have been founded and diverged at some point later in time.

The History of the Rosary

From: Fary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What do you know about the Rosary's history?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Divine Office, the Church's official prayer, brings the clergy, and the devout laity who say it, through the cycle of the 150 psalms during the course of a week. Those who do not have the opportunity of praying the Divine Office, have the "layman's breviary," Our Lady's psalter, that is, the 150 Aves of the Most Holy Rosary. Like the Divine Office, the Rosary is rooted in the divine injunction to "pray without ceasing."

Although the desert fathers of the early Church counted prayers on small pebbles or stones, the Rosary that we know today evolved and became one of the most popular devotions of the Church from the early Middle Ages. Common belief holds that our Lady revealed to St. Dominic in a vision in the year 1206 a practice that had been brought to perfection over the preceding centuries. She recommended her Rosary to him as a special weapon against the rampant heresy and vice of his time, Albigensianism.

In the year 1571 great fear gripped Europe that the Mohammedan Turks, who had a vastly superior and undefeated fleet, would overrun western Christendom. Pope St. Pius V asked the Confraternities of the Most Holy Rosary throughout the world to offer up their Rosaries for this cause and instructed that the Rosary be recited daily on each of the ships of the Christian fleet.

One day thereafter, the pope was discussing some church business with his secretary. Suddenly he lapsed into silence and went to his window. Opening the large shutters, he was lost in thought as he gazed out. Then, recovering himself, he turned around and said: "It is not now time to discuss business; let us give thanks to God for the victory he has granted the Christian fleet." Yet it was not until two weeks later that a courier rode into Rome from the Bay of Lepanto in Greece, carrying the news that the meagre Christian forces had miraculously achieved a great victory there against the invading Turks.

Pope Pius later said: "Neither valor, nor arms, nor leaders, but the Rosary of our Lady gave the victory." It was in consequence of this miraculous victory that the Pope ordered the feast of the Holy Rosary to be kept on the first Sunday of October.

After the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Divine Office, the Rosary is the most powerful weapon placed at the disposal of the faithful. When the persecuted Catholics of England and Ireland were deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they resorted to the Rosary.

Those seven centuries ago, Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic at a time of great threat to the faith. She gave him, as a pope of our own time said, "a most powerful weapon against the enemies of the faith in an epoch not unlike our own" (Pope Leo XIII, Octobri mense, 1891).

What to Do with a Lutheran Mother?

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I want to thank you for being on the Internet and talking about the Traditional Latin Mass. I am a new parishioner and am having some difficulty with my family. Both my mother and father were raised as Traditional Catholics, but did not raise their children that way. My elder brother had converted from the Novus Ordo before he got married. That was the first time I even knew that the Traditional Latin Mass existed. I later converted after I started college. Now because my brother and I are the only two in our family that attend the Traditional Latin Mass, I find that I'm having trouble with my mother when I come to visit.

She, who has now converted to the Lutheran church, thinks that it's wrong of me not to go to church with her when I visit. How do I tell her that I don't think that the Lutheran service is proper, without hurting her feelings? And what can I do to change her mind about the Traditional Latin Mass?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In this case, I think that example is best. Be complimentary to your mother for having raised you in such a way that you have stayed with the traditional Faith that he once had. In as charitable a way as you can, indicate to her that your Faith is very important to you and that you are maintaining that Faith, even though she has chosen to go in another direction.

Indicate to her, again charitably, that in your opinion Martin Luther deviated from the true Church, and the sincerity of your belief prevents you from attending such services; that to you it is not a matter of socializing, but of true religion.

Better yet, if it's comeraderie she wants, invite her to come with you to the Traditional Latin Mass. You might end up converting her! I suspect that this is for her a matter of emotion, not logical argument. She knows the truth; pray that she will be open to returning to what she knows in her heart is right. Meanwhile, you and your brother continue to set the right example.

A Confused Protestant

From: Kristi

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am a former Catholic. I got married 7 years ago to a wonderful man out of the Church. Since then I have often wondered whether I made the right choice. We currently go to the Church of Christ where everything is very Bible based. Before leaving the Church, I had many questions about the faith which no one was willing to answer. The following is a list of a few of the questions I have: Original Sin, Purgatory, Mary, Baptism, the Bible, Confession.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

If you are not sure of the answers to these basic questions, you need to study the Faith at a more basic level, as there is a basic thread in all of these questions.

You are making the presumption that direct and specific answers to all theological questions are to be found in Sacred Scripture (the Bible). Even the Bible does not teach that. The Bible is incomplete, as St. John specifically says in two places (20:30, 21:15), and is to be joined with (Apostolic) Tradition, which is mentioned by St. Paul in several of his epistles.

Nowhere in Scripture is it stated that Christ give a "bible" to the Church. So far as we know, he never wrote anything, nor prescribed any book. In fact, what we know as the Bible is actually a collection of inspired Apostolic writings from the early Church, in various forms: Gospels, Epistles, historical books, apocalyptic books, etc.

For further reading, I would recommend the following to start with. O'Connell, Francis J., ed.: The New Confraternity Edition, Revised Baltimore Catechism and Mass No. 3. This is the text of the official revised edition of 1949 with Scriptural citations, annotations, and study helps. The Baltimore Catechism resulted from the Baltimore Councils of the last century. $14.95 from the Seraphim Company.

For more advanced study, the following. McHugh, John A. & Callan, Charles J., trans.: Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests Issued by Order of Pope Pius V. Known as the "Roman Catechism," this is the most authoritative catechism, written by a Saint and promulgated by another Saint. Includes the arguments from Scripture and Tradition for the doctrines and practice of the faith. The theology is rather advanced. $20.00 (paperback) from Tan Books.

October 11, 2000

A Faith in Balance

From: Christine

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Your points in the commentary on Chinese religious persecution were well taken. Now, why don't you speak out about RU-486? If priests would condemn abortion and fight it, we wouldn't have it.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The topic of abortion has been covered here many times before, together with blasphemy and different forms of immorality. On the other hand, we also speak here of the glories of our Roman Catholic Church -- what it has given the world in great religious thought, art, music, law, etc. We want to present here the broadest picture of traditional Catholicism rather than overly focus on any one particular issue, no matter how important that issue may be.

Probably the most well-known teaching of the Church among both Catholics and the general public is that on abortion. It has even become something of a mantra and has been coopted as a political issue. How many Catholics are involved in anti-abortion politics, but tolerate, even embrace, the abomination of the New Mass, the New Sacraments, and the New Faith -- the whole New Order, in fact -- which desires to overturn True Religion? Now, that is the real tragedy.

It is my opinion that abortion, blasphemy, and other immorality are not individual issues in themselves, but that all stem from an attitude of irreligion, even defiance, of God's plan and from ignorance. It is the latter that we aim, little by little, to correct here.

At TRADITIO we want to get Catholics to stretch their minds to see the whole picture of their Faith, in balance, and to educate others in that true Faith, so that the veil of irreligion will be lifted and people's spiritual lives elevated, even if that must be done soul by soul. When that happens, not only abortion, but blasphemy and all the rest will be well on the way to being overcome.

October 10, 2000

What Is a Saint?

From: Cindy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I want to know what "devotion to saints" is. Why is it practiced in Catholicism? Doesn't it break the Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me?" Also, I thought all followers of Jesus Christ are considered Saints in the Bible.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This seems to be a common misconception on the part of many Protestants. Catholics venerate, but do not worship, the Saints; that is, we respect their Faith and are devoted to follow their Christian example. So do the Protestants. I have seen Protestant churches with images of the Apostles and the Church Fathers.

It is a natural thing to honor those in the Faith who have gone before us and serve to us as examples in the Faith. They are not "gods," and they are not worshipped. To do so would be idolatry in violation of the Commandment, as you say.

The word "saint" has different significations, and some of them are difficulties in translation. "Saints" in English has come to have the signification of a proper noun, whereas in the Scriptures to which you refer, it is a common noun, meaning "holy ones" (Latin "sancti", Greek "hagioi"). Interesting, this is the same word that is applied to God Himself.

In a more specific sense, we call "Saints" those who have shown their Christian Faith in an heroic, public way. There are many more Saints than we know of, that is, those who are with God in Heaven, but the ones we usually call Saints are those whose sanctity is well known from their public actions in the Faith: St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Augustine, etc.

The Sign of the Cross

From: Syd

Dear Fr. Moderator:

First, thank you for fighting for the faith. You are remembered in my prayers. Question: In making the sign of the cross, I was taught that the following words were spoken with each specific touch: (Forehead) - "In the name of the", (Heart) - "Father", (Left shoulder) - "Son", (Right shoulder) - "Holy Spirit." Hands together, fingers pointed upward, "Amen." Is this an error?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In the Roman rite, it is: "In the name of the Father (forehead), and of the Son (heart), and of the Holy (left shoulder) Ghost (right shoulder). Amen (joined).

Which Traditional Indult Order is Next on the Chopping Block?

From: Edward

Dear Fr. Moderator:

As a new bishop took over in an East Coast diocese, a site operated there by an "Indult" organization has been shut down. In its place the bishop established an "Indult" parish controlled by himself. A temporary "Indult" Mass at another parish in the diocese was shut down, and the pastor has been placed in residency in a retirement home. The "Indult" organization has lost both its monastery and its congregation.

The plundering of the monastery, and congregation as well, underscores the fact that no "Indult" Order is safe from the whim of the diocesan bishop, or a new bishop when the old one retires.

Isn't It Funny?

From: Jackie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Isn't it funny

October 8, 2000

St. Paul's at Rome Violated

From: Fr. Moderator

St. Paul's Outside the Walls is one of the great basilicas of Rome. Away from the hubbub of the Vatican and the other basilicas, it provides an oasis of the faith, where one can meditate under the shadow of the Apostle of the Gentiles.

When Blessed Pius IX was dying, St. Paul's was struck by a fire. Pius loved the church so much that the cardinals could not bear to tell him what had happened. Fortunately, the basilica was restored after the fire.

Now that great basilica has been polluted by pagan ritual, through that damnable philosophy of Vatican II called "inculturation," the introduction of local pagan rites into the Sacred Liturgy. This was one of those timebombs planted at Vatican II for delayed explosion. It was contained in the words:

...Provision shall be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions and peoples, especially in missionary countries.... In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, para. 38, 40.)

This was the basis for the sacrilege that occured at the basilica as follows:

ROME (Philadelphia Daily News, October 4, 2000) - The throb of Indian drumming rose from the marble sanctuary in one of this city's ancient basilicas while the Eagle Dancers swooped and spun like great birds in flight. The traditional songs of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, sung in Keresan, soared across the holy hall, past the altar covering St. Paul's tomb, across the portraits of 100 saints, to the intricate gilded ceiling.... The Mass ended with dancers from two tribes in Nebraska.

And what does the leader-nun of this fiasco have to say about all of this?

Our medicine people help us to walk in harmony and beauty with God through our various ceremonies," said Sister Theresa Chato, who, in traditional Navajo dress, fanned droplets of water to worshipers.... It's all about being in harmony with God, with one another and with all creation," she said.... But it was the Indian spirituality, from tribes in Nebraska, New Mexico and Arizona that most deeply stirred more than 2,000 Drexel devotees.

So what are we talking about here: Roman Catholicism or paganism? Surely the bishops would object to the paganizing of this Roman basilica. Dream on!

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua celebrated the Mass, joined by 10 bishops and 75 priests.

So much for the Novus Ordo apparatus, in lock step as usual. It appears that there is a deliberate effort to bring more paganism into the Church. The leader-nun's statement sounds like New Age paganism, environmentalism, Earth worship, white witchcraft, and all the rest. The convents are now drenched in it.

Last night I saw that remarkable Nun's Story, which won the Academy Award in 1959. In the first part of the film, the life in a Catholic convent in the 1930s is documented. The ceremonial is beautiful, and the explanation of the religious life gives us an insight into what a true nun is. If you haven't seen it, it is well worth the time. For further information, see What Films Do You Recommend for Traditional Catholics?

October 7, 2000

Why Doesn't the Vatican Speak Out?

From: Fr. Moderator

The government of Communist China must be the worst on the face of the earth. They think nothing of torturing and killing adherents of religion, torturing and killing priests and nuns, torturing and killing parents of more than one child, even killing pets.

Since this isn't a political site, I will pass by without comment the Clinton administration's coercion of the U.S. Congress to give that murderous government indefinite "most favored nation status," especially when it is conducting espionage against the United States in our nuclear facilities.

What I will comment on is the silence of the Vatican when priests and nuns, let alone Catholic faithful, are murdered right and left. Is the Vatican afraid that if it speaks out, things could be worse? It presumes to "excommunicate" Archbishop Lefebvre, but when the Chinese Patriotic National Church does the same thing, it says hardly a word? I have no doubt that even the unjustly vilified Venerable Pope Pius XII would have raised his voice against this monstrosity.

XINHUA NEWS AGENCY/TIN (October 2000). A human rights group investigating the fate of five nuns who committed suicide in a Tibetan prison two years ago has said that they were driven to their deaths by weeks of torture by Chinese authorities....
Now the TIN has pieced together the full story of those protests, which ended with more than a dozen dead and the group suicide of the nuns, apparently driven to despair by beatings and electric shocks. As the ambassadors were being briefed, paramilitary police were beating female political prisoners just yards away, TIN says.
Prison authorities were in a rage. For the second time in four days, inmates had refused to sing Socialism is Good and other patriotic songs as the Chinese flag was raised, and instead shouted pro-independence slogans. For the second time they were beaten.
One of the nuns told TIN, an openly pro-Tibet group: "They beat us so savagely that there was blood everywhere, on the walls and on the floor. It looked like an abattoir. They beat us with their belts, until their belts broke. Then they used electric batons. Some [of us] had torn ears, others had wounds in their heads."
There followed a week of interrogations, in which suspected ringleaders report being stripped and given electric shocks and beatings with sand-filled hoses. Finally, the nuns were ordered into an exercise yard to stand stock-still in the summer sunshine for four days.

October 4, 2000

Time Bomb for the FSSP?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In a prominent conservative (not traditional) publication, I read that the new District Superior for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) stated:

As Paul VI issued them [the revised liturgical books of the Novus Ordo] for the use of the whole Church, it cannot be denied that we have a right to use them, but, the Cardinal [Hoyos, of the Ecclesia Dei Commission] goes on to specify, we cannot do so in a routine or frequent manner.

Doesn't this represent a striking departure from the common understanding that the FSSP is supposed to use only the traditional liturgy?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Yes, it is a striking departure. It shows clearly that the Vatican does not regard the traditional rite as anything but a lower-class, non-exclusive "option" to what it calls "the Mass of Paul VI."

Like all the little timebombs in Vatican II that were not noticed at the time, but exploded in the Church shortly afterward, there is little doubt that the FSSP will be gradually sucked into the Novus Ordo -- not all at once, but little by little, just as the Novus Ordo did not happen all at once, but little by little. The picture for the "indult" and the societies attached to it is not pretty.

Lutheran Bishop Installed in Dallas Catholic Cathedral

From: Betty

Dear Father Moderator:

The following horror story that will not raise the rancor of any conservative Catholic organization whether it be the Legionaires of Christ, Opus Dei, Catholics United for the Faith, Legatus, or the like. I see these groups as they are -- partners in the Vatican II NewChurch, especially Opus Dei and the Legionaries, as they have become part of the hierarchical structure -- politicians speaking with forked tongues, preaching virtues of chastity while participating in the proliferation of classroom sex education in Catholic schools. The use of a Catholic Cathedral to install a heretic bishop is business as usual accepted without a murmur by these so called defenders of the Faith.

The October 2, 2000, Dallas Morning News published a photo of the September 28, 2000, installation of Bishop Kevin Kanouse as Bishop of the Church in the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This took place in the Dallas Diocese Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe attended by the Dallas Diocese Bishop Charles Grahmann. The Texas Catholic of September 29, 2000, reported that this was a space necessity and part ecumenical gesture. This demonstrates another way Lutherans and Catholics can work together in Dallas," stated Bishop Grahmann.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

"Actions speak louder than words," they say, and didn't this occur just after the Vatican issued "Dominus Iesus," to confirm the traditional teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true Church?

It is interesting that many traditional Catholic communities are doing just the opposite: they are using churches and chapels owned by non-Catholics and turning them into places of Catholic worship. That is the proper direction to go and has much historical precedent in the fact that the early Christians used the pagan temples for the Mass, and this use was approved of by the popes. It was a means of Christianizing the Roman empire while preserving the beautiful classical temples.

Those of you who have had the opportunity to travel to the Eternal City may remember the great domed building called the Pantheon, dedicated to the twelve pagan gods of the Olympic pantheon. It is one of the wonders of the world, having a dome higher than that of St. Peter's Basilica. Although originally a pagan temple, it became a site for the Mass, for which a Catholic altar was constructed there. Also, entombed there is one of the greatest Catholic artists of the Renaissance, Raphael.

October 3, 2000

What Did Vatican II Really Intend about the Mass?

From: Fr. Moderator

Frequently I am asked what the bishops at Vatican II really intended with regard to the Mass. Did they intend and expect it to be changed? Because I was around at the time and remember what the bishops at the time said as they returned from the Council, I have always answered "no." I remember specific statements to the effect that "the Mass will always remain in Latin," "the Canon will never be touched," and similar statements.

An interesting confirmation of my point recently appeared in Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's book Milestones, Memoirs 1927-1977, chapters 10-11. The conclusion can be reached, with Ralph M. Witgen (The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, 1967) that the Council Fathers were duped by the periti, or so-called experts, who attended the Council from Northern Europe.

The reform of the liturgy in the spirit of the liturgical movement was not a priority for the majority of the fathers, and for many not even a consideration. Thus, for examplke, in his outline of themes after the beginning of the Council, Cardinal Montini -- who as Paul VI would be the real pope of the Council -- said quite clearly that he did not see the reform of the liturgy as a substantial task in the Council. The liturgy and its reform had, since the end of World War I, become a pressing question only in France and Germany, and indeed above all from the perspective of the purest possible restoration of the ancient Roman liturgy, to which belonged the active involevement of the people in the liturgical event. These two countries, which at that time enjoyed theological leadership in the Church (and we must of course add Belgium and the Netherlands) had during the preparation phase succeeded in putting through a schema on the Sacred Liturgy, which quite naturally found its place in the general theme of the church.
The fact that this text became the first subject of rhe Council's discussions really had nothing to do with the majority of the Fathers having an intense interest in the liturgical question. Quite simply, no great disagreements were expected in this area, and the understaking was viewed as a kind of practical exercise to learn and test the method of conciliar work. It would not have occurred to any of the Fathers to see in this text a "revolution" signifying the "end of the Middle Ages," as some theologians felt they should interpret it subsequently. The work was seen as a continuation of the reforms introduced by Pius X and carried on carefully but resolutely by Pius XII. General expressions such as "the liturgical books should be revised as soon as possible" (no. 25) were understood in this sense: as the uninterrupted continuation of that development which had always been there and which, since Pope Pius X and Pius XII, had received a definite profile from the rediscovery of the classical Roman liturgical traditions, which was, of course, to overcome certain tendiences of Baroque liturgy and nineteenth-century devotional piety and to promote a new humble and sober centering of the authentic mystery of Christ's presence in His Church.
In this context it is not surprising that the "model Mass" now prospoed, which was supposed to (and in fact did) take the place of the traditional Ordo Missae, was in 1967 rejected by the maorkity of the Fathers who had been called together to a special synod on the matter. Some publications now tell us that some liturgist (or perhaps many?) who were working as advisers had had more far-reaching intentions from the outset. Their wishes would surely not have received the approval of the Fathers. Nor were such wishes expressed in any way in the text of the council, although one can subsequently read them into some general statements.

Christmas Trees

From: Nancy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was told that to decorate a Christmas tree is a custom strikingly similar to what was condemned Jeremias 10:3-4. Is this true? Should we not be decorating a Christmas tree for our home?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In the passage referred to, the tree in question was being used as an idol for a pagan god; thus, it was idol worship against the First Commandment that was being condemned. Unless you plan to worship your Christmas tree as a god, I don't think that you have any problem!

October 2, 2000

Changes in the Missal

From: Boyd

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What changes were made to the Missal in 1953? With regard to the 1956 Missal, I recall reading somewhere, perhaps here, that Pius XII did not approve the changes or that he may have approved the time change of Holy Saturday, but not the evisceration of the sacred texts. What are the facts?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In 1953 the change to the time of the Easter Vigil, which had been tried ad experimentum in 1950, was made final. In 1955 the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Maxima redemptionis nostrae mysteria, implemented the new rites of Holy Week for 1956.

Some say that these changes, which modified some of the most ancient and beautiful traditional rites of the Church, were pushed through, while Pope Pius XII was in very ill health, by the man who was later to be the Chief Architect of the New Order, Hannibal Bugnini, a member of the S.C.R. since the late 1940s.

Last Easter on this site, a French priest pointed out that this decree lacked the usual notice of papal approval, and thus the decree is believed by some to lack the full authority of the Church. Others reject such a change in the actual text of the Mass as canonized by Pope St. Pius V (as opposed to rubrical or calendrical changes).

The French priest indicated that in Europe at the time there was much resistence to the decree and that in many places it was never implemented, since it was not considered to be mandatory. A number of traditional priests, whether they ordinarily use the 1960-62 rubrics, the 1958 rubrics, or the earlier rubrics, use the traditional rite of Holy Week, which is contained in the Missale Romanum as canonized by Pope St. Pius V in Quo Primum.

October 1, 2000

A Saint or not a Saint?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In a report on the proposed canonization of Mother Katharine Drexel, it was stated that "[b]ecause the process of declaring miracles is so complex, there has been talk within the Church of dropping them as criteria for sainthood."

"It's harder at this point to verify that a miracle has happened," said Theresa Sanders, assistant professor of theology at Georgetown University. "People are less disposed to believe in miracles."

Well, I'm neither a scientist nor a theologian, but the above would seem to my mind a grave stupidity. How can it be harder to verify or dispute a miracle given all our technological advances? Should it not be easier today than 500 years ago to distinguish between what is miraculous and what has a scientific or biological basis? And does not the Church insist that for a healing miracle to count for sainthood purposes it must have occurred immediately after prayer so as to minimize the chance for an alternate or independent explanation of the cure? Does not the Church approach all claims of miracles with great skepticism before it embarks on the long process of trying to prove them as Divine intervention?

I suppose it's all part of a push to eliminate the Supernatural from our lives, and I guess it's no surprise that it's coming first of all from a so-called professor of theology at Georgetown. Sad and scandalous!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It's no surprise at all. The Novus Ordo apparatus has made a mockery of the canonization process, which had for centuries relied on the very sound process laid down in 1605. The present pope has imprudently diverged from the soundness of his predecessors by turning the whole process into some kind of race to see how many Saints he can "make," particularly of the politically-correct variety. As of November 21, 1999, he had canonized more than half of the total 592 saints proclaimed by the Church since the process was codified in 1605.

Such a deviation from tradition calls into question the whole post-conciliar canonization process. Fortunately, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's principal theologian, and several others, canonizations are not unquestionably an infallible act of the Church's magisterium, so the possibility exists that some future pope, who will return the Church to its traditional foundation, can correct canonization errors. For further information see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under the subject "Canonizations -- Post-conciliar."

In 1983, the present pope radically modified the system of canonization. The traditional requirement for two miracles for both beatification and canonization was reduced to one miracle for each, and in the case of the beatification of martyrs, even the one miracle could be waived. Even worse, he eliminated the role of Promoter of the Faith (Advocatus Diaboli), who argued the "contra" in each case, leaving only the Postulator, or chief advocate for the cause. This is like having in court a defense attorney with no prosecutor. What a travesty that would be.

Services for All Saints Day and All Souls Day

From: Mark

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What kind of service is there traditionally in the Catholic Church that can be held on the eve before All Souls day? If there is not one, what other types of services are held in the evening for Halloween? Where can I find these services?

The reason I ask is that I help coordinate a Traditional Latin Mass at a local parish and would like to get a traditional Halloween service at the Church, especially for the evening before All Souls. I did hear of a Vespers service but don't know much about that. Any information you have would be appreciated.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The liturgical rites for All Souls Day, November 2, begin at Vespers and Compline of the preceding day. These are part of the Divine Office, as is Holy Mass, and may be -- and should be -- celebrated publicly, especially in chant. The liturgical rites for All Saints Day, November 1, begin at Vespers and Compline of the preceding day, which is the Vigil of All Saints Day. If the 1956 concession of Pius XII is used, Holy Mass of the Vigil of All Saints may be celebrated in the evening of October 31, and the Feast of All Saints itself in the evening of November 1.

These Hours of the Divine Office may be found in the Breviarium Romanum and the more complete handmissals or, with the music, in the Liber Usualis.

The New Vulgate Bible

From: Rick

Dear Fr. Moderator:

While browsing through your website, I came across several items of interest. What are your objections concerning the Nova Vulgata vs. older versions of the Vulgate? I own a copy of the Nova Vulgata and have used it as a "standard" when checking the English tranlations of other Bibles such as the Novus Ordo New American Bible and the Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition.

What are your objections concerning the 1946 Psalter? I have sets of Breviaries from 1950, 1961, and 1975. Are the psalms used in the Dessain Breviarium Romanum of 1961 better than the Nova Vulgata psalms?

Finally, do you have any concerns about the RSV-CE of the Bible? The text is easy to read, and it does not contain inclusive language. For example, "Beatus vir..." becomes "Blessed the man...," not "Happy those...," etc., and, generally, it is better than the NAB.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Nova Vulgata contains not just corrections of small textual errors that have crept into the text, as the Sixto-Clementine version was, but a wholesale revamping of the traditional Latin Vulgate version of St. Jerome.

The 1946 Psalter, that is, the edition that Pope Pius XII approved for optional use in the Breviary, bears the marks of its modern genesis. The Latin is strained and far from the beautiful elegance and rhythm of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Moreover, it is not the text used in the chant of the Church, so one then has to deal with two versions, instead of the single unified version that has come down to us from the world's greatest biblical scholar, St. Jerome.

The title page of the Breviary will tell you which version is used: Pius XII or Vulgate. After 1946 you may find either; most publishers issued two versions. The 1961 Dessain version uses the Vulgate psalter.

The Revised Standard Edition - Catholic Edition (note that this is not the NewRevised Standard Version with inclusive language) is third on my list of recommendations, after the Douay-Rheims (which follows the Latin Vulgate the most closely) and the Confraternity Version (which is a translation of the Latin Vulgate) done toward the middle of this century. For further information, see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under the subject "Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims Bibles" and What Traditional Books Do You Recommend?

"Only Say the Word"

From: Fr. Moderator

I have just come upon your excellent website, and I would like to ask a question that has long puzzled me. In the Mass, the words "sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea" obviously mean "but only say the word and my soul shall be healed". But shouldn't "verbo" be "verbum"? "Dicere" takes a dative indirect object only when the noun references the person to whom something is said. When the noun references what is said, it serves as the direct object, and should be in the accusative, no?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

St. Jerome is reflecting the syntax in the Greek, where it is a rather unusual absolute use of the verb "to say" with a dative (of instrument or means, equivalent to an adverb = "verbally") instead of the more usual cognate accusative.

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