May 2001

May 31 -- Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Double of the Second Class)

What Was It Like Then?

From: Fr. Moderator

Sometimes I am asked whether all the bishops and cardinals in 1962 went along with the liberalists' push to introduce the vulgar tongues into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To hear all the historical revisionism around these days, you'd think that the United States and other countries were demanding vernacularization, meaning literally the "language of slaves."

Well, it's just part of the Novus Ordo "Big Lie." Here is a statement given at the time by the United States' leading cardinal, Francis Cardinal Spellman, who spoke for many others:

The Latin language, which is truly the Catholic language, is unchangeable, is not vulgar, and has for many centuries been the guardian of the unity of the Western Church.... To provide a wider place to the vernacular languages in the liturgy as an ordinary and universal thing would fuel confusion and surprise between the faithful and would open the way for bitter controversies. There is no lack of academicians of the new disciplines who write and speak against the use of Latin in the sacred Rites. These types of persons should not find confirmation and encouragement in this Sacred Council.... No change will get past the Statue of Liberty.

The cardinal's prediction of "confusion" and "bitter controversies" certainly were prophetic!

May 30 -- Day within the Octave of the Ascension (Semidouble)

Excommunication by Mistake

From: Fr. Moderator

Today is the 670th anniversary of that sad day when, as happened before and would happen since, a Saint of the Church was "excommunicated" by the malice of the hierarchy. Innocent St. John of Arc was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake.

The case of St. Joan affords proof that "excommunications" are subject to all the perils of ecclesiastical error. The Church teaches that they can be quite erroneous, even gravely sinful for the bishops and popes imposing them unjustly.

Sacred and Profane

From: Francois (France)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I know that this is an individual, and probably psychiatric case, but is it not revealing of the present state of the "institutionnal" Church?

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was "married" in a group wedding presided over by Sun Myung Moon. The ceremony took place on Sunday, May 27, in New York.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Milingo is getting on in years. He's retired, living in Rome. He was already a "kook," stipped of the exercise of his office. He was involved in some very shady "exorcisms" that he highly publicized. He seems to have a need for self-promotion. He could have chosen to commit this sacrilege and sham of a marriage quietly, but instead he chose to make a public "scene" and turn into a Moonie!

Yes, the Novus Ordo episcopacy shows serious signs of rotting from within. Just think how many bishops have been involved in scandalous matters -- financial, sexual, liturgical. As a group, one can hardly even call them Catholic any longer -- and certainly not holy!

The Vatican simply plays "indulgent parent" and does little; it is a paper tiger since Vatican II, with its own willing complicity. Therefore, the episcopal children are encouraged to go farther out on a limb. Sometimes, like Milingo, they go far enough to cut themselves off!

May 29 -- Mary Magdalene of Pazzi (Semidouble)

Sacred and Profane

From: Parker

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am currently debating with a Novus Ordinarian over why at Mass only sacred instuments such as the organ should be played and why profane instruments like the guitar or piano should not be played. She then asked me what was so great about the organ and what makes the piano qualify as "profane." What is the traditional Catholic response to her inquiry?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is certainly clear from Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, let alone the precursor Old Testament, that for the divine, certain things are set aside as "sacred," or consecrated, and other things are "profane," or secular.

The pipe organ was introduced early into the Church, as its use had been restricted to royalty. Thus, the instrument is consecrated in churches to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The piano is a modern construction that didn't exist much before the 19th century. Its associations are with the secular world: first in show-offy concerts (one thinks here of Chopin and Liszt) pandering to emotionalism, then dance music, honky-tonk, jazz, rock, and the rest. The guitar reeks of the same profane uses, being associated from mediaeval to modern times with bawdy, even anti-Catholic, songs that were condemned over and over by the Church through the ages.

Even Vatican II had to admit that the pipe organ was the most appropriate instrument for the Sacred Liturgy (there's that word "sacred" again). For a Novus Ordinarian, the distinction is hard to make because nothing is "sacred" in the Novus Ordo. The altar rail is stripped out so that the sacred precinct of the God's altar is commingled with the congregation. The priest is Sacred Orders is turned into a mere "presbyter," a "presider" of the congregation. The Sacred Eucharist is turned into a mere piece of bread that any unwashed hand can touch. The Sacred Language of Latin is replaced by the vulgar tongues that one uses for shopping lists, screaming at sports events, etc.

No wonder that the Novus Ordo mentality would be bereft of understanding the difference between what is sacred in music, elevated to the worship of the Most High God, into something that is as profane as a silly ditties like "Kum-ba-yah" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (for the Ascension Day of Our Lord).

May 27 -- Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension (Semidouble)

Cardinals' Meeting at Rome Proves Necessity of Latin

From: Fr. Moderator

It seems common in some traditional circles these days to underestimate the importance of the Roman Catholic's Church's divine language. Of course, all traditional Catholics understand that the Latin language must be retained in the Divine Office, the Holy Mass, and the Sacraments. But one can never underestimate the importance of Latin in retaining the unadulterated doctrine of the Church. The introduction of the vulgar languages into the Church was the single action that allowed the New Order Religion to be created.

Since the beginning of the Church (as now confirmed by archaeology), Latin has been the divinely established vehicle for the expression of Catholic theology and doctrine. All the great minds of the Church formulated their discussions and explanations in this language, which is unparalleled for clarity and precision (don't those vernacular documents from the Vatican now sound muddled as never before Vatican II?). St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Albert, St. Bonaventure, St. Alphonus, all the Popes and Councils, all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church honed Catholic doctrine most carefully in this expressive language.

The New Order Innovators knew full well that they could not foist their New Religion upon the Church if they used the traditional Latin. Is it any wonder, then, that the first action they took after Vatican II was to introduce the vulgar tongues into the Church?

This insidious principle has just been confirmed at the Cardinalatial Consistory that was held at Rome this week. Even though the meeting was begun by Jorge Cardinal Maria Mejia in Latin, Wilfrid Cardinal Fox Napier, newly appointed from South Africa, raised concerns about a Vatican instruction, Liturgiam authenticam, issued this month that "overrules efforts by local churches to translate liturgy their way, and imposes a strict interpretation based on Latin texts."

The new Vatican guidelines disallow gender-inclusive changes, like changing "let him who has ears listen," to "let those who have ears listen," a practice adopted by the United States Bishops Conference more than a decade ago. Cardinal Napier told reporters that the decision would "arrest" his church's effort to produce vernacular texts adapted to local parishioners (his church -- I thought it was the Roman Catholic Church). "We cannot use Latin as a basic text," he said. And why not? Because the Latin texts constrain conformity to a correct interpretation of the Scriptures, whereas the Novus Ordo Innovators wish to change that interpretation to something unCatholic.

Traditional Catholics should never underestimate the importance of Latin in the divine plan for the Roman Catholic Church. They should learn it, at least to some degree, and fight for it. Who could be considered a Jew without being able to read passages from the Torah? Jews are proud to study their sacred language at Saturday schools. Why do Catholics, even traditional Catholics, fail to do the same with their sacred language?

Many Church writers, including the Franciscan Tertiary Dante Alighieri tied the Latin language inextricably with the fate of the Church. In more recent times, Pope Pius XII presciently warned: "The day the Catholic Church gives up her universal tongue is the day before she returns to the catacombs."

And since Vatican II, hasn't the true Church been essentially in the catacombs?

May 24 -- Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ -- A Holyday of Obligation

And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come as you have seen him going into heaven. --Acts of the Apostles 1:10-11/DR

May 23 -- Vigil of the Ascension

Mass of the Angels

From: Stanley

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Recently a fellow that works for my company lost his child to a stillborn death. I can't imagine how devastated he and his wife must feel. Shortly afterward a notice was sent out that a "Mass of Angels" will be said for the child. I never heard of this Mass. What is it?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

If the child was never alive and was not baptized, there can be no funeral rites, as a Requiem Mass is offered for only baptized Catholics. However, if the child was alive and baptized, there is no Requiem Mass, because the Faith teaches that the child is in heaven, but there are exequial rites.

Assuming the latter case, the parents have cause for great joy, which is expressed in the exequial rites for this occasion. Mass is not said for the repose of the soul of the child, as it is in heaven. A Votive Mass, often of the Holy Angels (the Mass formulary known as the "Mass of the Angels") or some other Votive Mass, may be said for some other intention.

The short exequial rites rejoice in the child's admission to heaven. Psalms emphasizing the glory of God and of His Saints are chanted (or recited). It must, rather, be a most comforting thing to know for certain that one's child sees the Beatific Vision, if one looks at the matter with the eyes of Faith.

May 22 -- Rogation Day, Lesser Litanies (Ferial)

The Novus Ordo Giveth; the Novus Ordo Taketh Away

From: Rebecca

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The members of our "indult" Mass community in the city of D. received the following letter from our chaplain on May 20:

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
This week I was contacted by our Bishop, the Most Rev. G., concerning the activities of the M.D. Community. He informed me that he had learned of several celebrations recently conducted in association with our Community (specifically the Holy Week Triduum services and First Holy Communion at St. T. on May 5), and he informed me in no uncertain terms that these celebrations were not in accord with his wishes for M.D. and that they were not to be repeated.
When Bishop G. invited the Fraternity of St. Peter into his diocese in 1991, he only gave permission for Sunday Mass, Daily Mass and Confessions; no other Sacraments or activities were authorized. The Bishop wishes to stress that these instructions have not changed.
He has instructed me to remind you that it was never his intention for M.D. to become a parish or quasi-parish serving a distinct and separate group of people; it exists solely for the purpose of providing the Traditional Latin Mass for those who wish to attend it. M.D. members are expected to be registered in their regular local parish, to support their parish, and to make use of their parish for the religious education of their children and for the reception of the Sacraments.
As the Chaplain of M.D., I cannot offer: Sacramental Preparation, Weddings, Baptisms, First Communions, or Requiem Masses/Funerals. (Bishop G. has reluctantly agreed to let me proceed with one Wedding and one Baptism which were already scheduled, but no more will be allowed.)
Please understand that this is not a situation of the Bishop "taking something away from us"; he is merely insisting that we comply with the rules he laid down in the beginning. He has been entirely consistent in these policies; it is our adherence to his instructions that has wavered, and which he now expects us to correct.
I wish to apologize to Bishop G. for any actions on my part that have been contrary to his wishes or instructions, and I wish to apologize to you, my dear friends, if, in my concern for the welfare of our community and the advancement of the Traditional Latin Mass, I have led you to expect more from me than I am permitted to offer.
Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and your support of M.D. and the Priestly Fraternity of ....

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Here we have further evidence of the "indult" decomposing. The "indult" becomes more Novus Ordo all the time. The various "indult" organizations are being pushed to non-traditional forms of the Mass and certainly of the Sacraments. They have caved in because they think that they must be "obedient" to those who would destroy our Church. What have we learned?

How can such a non-Catholic attitude on the part of a bishop be reconciled with Pope Benedict XV's (1914-1922) clear admonition in his encyclical Ad beatissimi Apostolorum, written in the year of his accession:

Nor do we merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies, or what is called the spirit, of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savors of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties.... The law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: let there be no innovation: keep to what has been handed down.

Those of you in the "indult" situation should be preparing your parachutes! Sad to say, when C. Hoyos, C. Ratzinger & Co. get through with you, that "episcopal approval" will mean as much as a contract written in lemon juice.

May 21 -- Rogation Day, Lesser Litanies (Ferial)

Rogation Days & Ascension Thursday

From: Fr. Moderator

The Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are called the Rogation Days.

The origination of the Rogations goes back to the fifth century, when St. Mamertus, the archbishop of Vienne in France, was faced with many calamities in his diocese. There were wars, earthquakes, fires, and attacks by wild animals. During one of the terrible fires that threatened his city, the archbishop began to pray zealously, and the fire went out.

On Easter night, when a more serious fire was about to destroy the city, the good bishop again prayed, and the fire was immediately extinguished. The archbishop then instituted the Rogation Days, from the Latin word rogare, meaning "to request." This practice ultimately spread to the whole Church. Wars, fires, earthquakes, and attacks by wild animals remind us of the present day as well.

In the Gospel of the Sunday before the Rogation Days, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, which is therefore known as Rogation Sunday, Christ says that if you ask the Father anything in His name, He will grant the request, in the way that is best for our souls. We certainly have many things to pray for in our times. Each of us can make a special effort on these three days to take some additional time to lift our minds in prayer -- for the propogation of the Faith, for the Church and the clergy, and for our temporal needs.

Concluding the three Rogation days, the Church celebrates Ascension Thursday (not, not Ascension Sunday!). Any Church that claims to be "biblical," knows from Sacred Scripture that Our Lord's Ascension occurred on the 40th after the Resurrection (Easter), not on the 43rd day. That number 40 is most important in Scripture. It represents completion. The Jews wandered 40 years in the desert. The Flood lasted 40 days. Our Lord fasted in preparation for His public ministry for 40 days. And Our Lord remained on earth for 40 days after His resurrection, as Tradition says, to teach His Apostles the Mass and the other truths that they needed to go out into the world, teaching and baptizing.

Remember that when the Novus Ordo church down the street claims that Ascension Thursday is on a Sunday this year, or that some bishop has given some "dispensation" to observe Sunday instead of the biblical Thursday.

A Worse Persecution

From: Mary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In history class right now we are studying about how the Irish were rejected and murdered because of thier faith when they immigrated to America.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Prod your history class to think about this. It is "P.C." these days to make it appear that the Negroes were the only targets of persecution in the United States in the 19th century.

However, you should study that after the first wave of immigration around 1830, there was a great hostility to Catholics, even more than Negroes. In fact, there was a political party specifically devoted to exterminating Catholics, even with violence -- the Know-Nothing party. Even the Ku Klux Klan was more active against Catholics than it was against Negroes. This is just one of those truths of history that is conveniently forgotten in the current wave of Political Correctness.

Even today, anti-Catholicism is rampant -- there are frequent slurs in television programs and movies against Christ and the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, the Mass, and the priesthood. There are plays blaspheming Our Lord produced on Broadway. There are art exhibitions blaspheming the Blessed Virgin. There have been two recently in New York alone that were so bad that even the politicians had to speak up and attempt to pull public money away from them. What a wonderful topic for a class debate or a history paper!


From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A discussion after Mass today was centered on the subject of Limbo. Could you please tell me what the Church's teachings are concerning it?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Limbo comes from the Latin word limbus, meaning "edge." The early Church Fathers described this as a place on the "edge" of Hell, as it were.

There were two limbi described by the Fathers, who were apparently carrying down the Apostolic Tradition: the Limbus Patrum and the Limbus Infantium. The first was the place where the Just the Old Covenant awaited the opening of the gates of Heaven after Christ's redemptive act on the Cross of Calvary. In the Creeds, this is the "hell" (a bad vernacular translation -- the Latin simply says "lower places") that is referred to as the place to which Christ descended after the Crucifixion, to bear the good news to the Just.

The other limbo is the one most people usually think of. It is generally described by the Fathers as a place of natural, but not supernatural, happiness. It is the place where those who die in original sin, but not actual sin, that is, unbaptized infants up to the age of reason, spend eternity. As the Apocalypse of St. John in the New Testament makes clear, nothing can enter heaven and the Beatific Vision with the stain of any sin, as God is all perfect. However, in justice, these are not souls that are consigned to the eternal Hell of the damned.

May 20 -- Fifth Sunday after Easter (Semidouble)


From: Inside the Vatican

Traditionalists -- Talks Open, Break Down (May 2001). For several months, rumors have swirled that the Vatican has opened talks with the Lefebvrists to heal the schism dating from 1988. But this spring, talks apparently broke down -- at least temporarily -- in part over the right of every priest in the Church to celebrate the Old [sic] Mass.

The signals have turned mixed regarding a possible reconciliation between Rome and the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, known as the Society of St. Pius X, which went into schism [sic] in 1988 after Lefebvre ordained four bishops against the Pope's express command.

In France, where many of the bishops are opposed to making "concessions" to traditionalist Catholics, an influential French cardinal in late March said the Vatican should "proceed slowly" in any reunion talks. And in Italy, an influential Italian Catholic magazine reiterated that caution. "Clearly, strong voices are emerging against granting 'too much' to the Lefebvrists for the sake of reunion."

Cardinal Pierre Eyt of Bordeaux said unresolved "doctrinal, liturgical, sacramental (and) institutional" differences with the Priestly Society of St. Pius X appear too great to overcome "without profound study and sufficient delay. For the moment, considering these problems, there are many of us who see more obstacles than openings on this path (of reconciliation)," he said.

In a similar vein, the editors of Jesus, an Italian monthly magazine, published by the Pauline Fathers, said they were "troubled" by reports suggesting that a formal reconciliation might be reached by Easter, April 15. The magazine noted statements earlier in the year by the society's leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, condemning in no uncertain terms the Church renewal introduced by Vatican II. "Has he really changed his mind in such a short period of time? Or rather is there someone within the ecclesial community who needs to review the 'basics'?" Jesus said in an editorial in its April issue.

In a thinly-veiled attack, the magazine said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Vatican commission that dialogues with the St. Pius X society, was thought to be the "most optimistic with regard to the timing of the operation...."

In a March newsletter, the Lefebvrist society said the dialogue with Rome had been "temporarily compromised" and blamed the Vatican for the talks' suspension. "I'm pleased that the cause of the said suspension came from the side of Rome," Eyt commented.

Indicating the vast difference between the two sides, Eyt said that the theological content of the St. Pius X society's newsletter "does nothing less than radically contradict the doctrine regarding the Eucharist proclaimed by (Popes) Paul VI and John Paul II." Time and prolonged study will be necessary to overcome theological differences and "oppositions" regarding this and "many other elements of the faith," he said....

One of the most divisive issues in the dispute has been use of the Tridentine [sic] Mass, replaced after Vatican II. The Vatican has allowed the Tridentine Mass with a local bishop's permission, but the St. Pius X society is seeking a blanket permission for priests around the world.

Castrillon said recently that he was interested in preparing a new instruction on use of the Tridentine Mass that would attempt to tie together the old and new rites in a way that would lessen the pastoral tension between them.

Cardinal Pierre Eyt of Bordeaux said unresolved "doctrinal, liturgical, sacramental (and) institutional" differences with the Priestly Society of St. Pius X appear too great to overcome "without profound study and sufficient delay."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This article, from a conservative (not traditional) periodical emanating out of the Vatican gives, I think, a fair picture of the reality of the situation. It is not possible for the SSPX to reach a "deal" with the Vatican because either it will have to give up its "doctrinal, liturgical, sacramental, and institutional" position with the immemorial Church, or the Vatican will have to admit to the fallacity of Vatican II and its sequelae. The editors of Jesus fairly put that issue with regard to the at times delusory Fellay.

C. Eyt represents a great part of the Novus Ordo apparatus that is openly hostile to traditional Catholicism. Note that in his statement he has himself, not the SSPX, "radically abandoned" the Catholic teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist, setting up a Newchurch of "Paul VI and John Paul II" in contravention of the bimillennial teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

The very terminology used in the article above, with its negative "hot button" terms for various aspects of traditional Catholicism, indicates how hostile the Novus Ordo is to accepting traditional Catholicism:

The most revealing part of this article, I believe, is the statement by C. Hoyos that he is willing to prepare "a new instruction on use of the Tridentine [sic] Mass that would attempt to tie together the old and new rites in a way that would lessen the pastoral tension between them." In other words, the "Old Mass" in his view would never have the full (and only) recognition that Sacred Tradition and papal decrees set for it. It will simply be coopted by the Vatican and melded into a Novus Ordoized form, just as the Vatican has already done with the Fraternity of St. Peter and other "indult" organizations.

Rape of "Indult" Societies Continues

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

After the "Christmas Coup d'etat" that replaced the American District Superior, the Institute of Christ the King has begun to take on a new face in America. Formerly the most traditional of the "indult" communities, the Institute has taken the following actions during the new Superior's reign:

  1. At some sites, those to be confirmed are to be confirmed according to the Novus Ordo rite, even the validity of which has been brought into serious question.
  2. The new Superior publicly concelebrated Maundy Thursday Mass in the Nouvs Ordo rite with the diocesan bishop.
  3. This is the very issue that blew up the Fraternity of St. Peter, which, when it refused to do so, was "reorganized" by the Vatican into a paper tiger. The new Superior, imported from outside the country, uses the excuse of diplomacy to advance himself and sell out tradition under the pretext of prudence.
  4. The new Superior has requested that the choir begin to sing during the Last Gospel of Sunday High Mass (French 1930's Modernism) to "speed things up."

What does this mean about the state of the "indult" societies? It means that the Archbishop of Paris now has exactly what he has always wanted: "A Trojan Horse within the traditionalist movement":

Fr. Moderator Replies.

From 1988, when the "indult" was issued, TRADITIO has consistently pointed out that it is a Trojan Horse, used by some local bishops and the Vatican to gut the Traditional Movement. We have pointed out that "Ecclesia Dei" is not even an "indult" and was hastily concocted (this is quite clear from the Latin version, which is often "smoothed out" in translation).

We have pointed out that those who sold out from traditional Catholicism, often to get that veil of "approval" by the Novus Ordo apparatus, to the "indult" would eventually rue the day. That day has come. The FSSP, the SSJ, and the ICR are all now tainted with the Novus Ordo they originally condemned. What does their prancing about "we're approved" mean now? Only the SSPX, which represents a bare 25% of traditional Catholicism, seems to have the upper hand! "God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7/DR)."

Some people ask us: why do most traditional Catholic priests want to remain independent? Looking at the goings-on in the SSPX and the devastation of the "indult," who wouldn't want to remain independent of the madness and stay loyal only to God, the true Roman Catholic Church, the true Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments, and the true Faith?

Can the Pope Err?

From: Eamon Duffy: A History of the Popes

This is one of the best statements I have seen of the true teaching of the Church on the question that Eamon Duffy, of Cambridge University, author of the devastating The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (Yale University Press), gives on the true nature of the papacy, a view that was confirmed by the dogmatic First Vatican Council:

Papal teaching authority was not thought of as being independent of the other teaching authorities in the Church. Scholastic theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas recognised that the Pope could introduce new formulas of faith, but Thomas thought of this in the context of papal councils like the Lateran councils, and saw papal authority to determine the faith as being exercised as the head of such a council, not in opposition to it or independence from it. It became Dominican tradition that individual popes could not could not error when acting with the counsel of the Church. This Dominican teachaing would be reiterated to good effect in the debates at the First Vatican Council.
A crucial influence in the development of the idea that the Pope himself might be free from error came from the Franciscan debates about poverty. Successive popes had ruled in favour of the Franciscan rejection of property. When Pope John XXII repudiated that teaching and denied that Christ was a pauper, Franciscan theologians appealed against his judgement to the infallibility of other, earlier popes. They argued that the Church, in the person of those popes, had repeatedly accepted the Franciscan view of poverty as an evangelical form of life. John XXII, therefore, was in error in rejecting this infallible teaching -- and since true popes do not err, this proved that he was no longer a true pope. Papal infaillibility was here being invoked not to exalt the Pope's authority, but to limit it, by ensuring that a pope did not arbitrarily reverse earlier Christian teaching.

New Order Declares "Madonna" Not "Madonna"

From: Fatima Retrospectives (CAF)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In yet another harbinger of what we can expect from the New World Order, a group of Benedictine nuns has lost the right use the name "Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital" on its Internet site.

Zenit news service recently reported (Nov. 8, 2000) that Louise Veronica Ciccone, better known as the pop-singer Madonna, objected to the Internet site, claiming that it infringed her exclusive right to use the name Madonna. The World Intellectual Property Organization heard her complaint and decided in "Madonna's" favor.

According to Zenit, a hospital representative declared that "What has happened is not very Catholic." This would have to qualify as the understatement of the decade. A woman who has built her career on blaspheming the true Madonna now owns Her name for Internet purposes.

This columnist did a quick check of the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital's former website and received the message "access refused." Looks like "Madonna's" lawyers have done their job. But this affair is even more sickening.

According to, a Nebraska online journal (August 23, 2000), the internet domain name was also owned by Internet pornographer Dan Parisi, and "Madonna" wanted him to stop using "her" name as well. Parisi, rather than giving in to Madonna's lawyers, offered to donate the domain name to the Benedictine hospital.

A hospital spokesman told that "We would accept the domain name from Mr. Parisi, but we do not want to be involved in any disputes btween him and Madonna the rock star." Madonna's lawyers have indeed threatened "to sue Madonna the hospital if the hospital takes ownership of" from Parisi. Anyway, the whole dispute ended up with the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the Benedictines lost the right to name their hospital after the Mother of God.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is a United Nations agency based in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO was not persuaded by the argument that the singer Madonna "was named after the Virgin Mary as was her mother and hundreds of thousands of other people throughout the world over the past 2,000 years. We do not believe that because Ms. Ciccone named her act after the Virgin Mary that gives her the right to stop any other party from using the word 'madonna' as a title of their website." That makes perfect sense. But don't look for common sense or justice in the tribunals of the New World Order.

This is just one small example of why the Vatican should have nothing to do with the United Nations or any of its organs. You cannot get good fruit from a bad tree. Nor will the Vatican ever accomplish anything by sending its diplomats to the Tower of Babel on the Hudson in order to try their hand at pruning the rotten twigs.

May 19 -- St. Peter Celestine, Pope & Confessor (Double)

Not Nearly Enough

From: Victor

Dear Fr. Moderator:

For what it's worth, I guess that the instruction, Liturgicam authenticam, of May 7, 2001, in which a Vatican congregation calls for a more accurate translation of the Novus Ordo Worship Service from the authentic Latin, is a step forward. Not much of one, though.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No, not much of one at all. First, it involves a translation, and any translation from the authentic Latin is misleading, innacurate, and unCatholic. The Novus Ordo vulgarization of the liturgy and theology opened the Pandora's box after 2000 years of Sacred Tradition. Now that all the evils of using the vulgar tongues in ecclesiastical matters are out, it does no good to adorn the box!

Secondly, it's a translation of the Novus Ordo Worship Service, which is a high-schoolish composition engineered with the assistance of six Protestants, one of whom recanted on his deathbed. Even the childish Novus Ordo Latin is a far cry from the classical Latin of even the high school. It is not even a Mass or a Divine Liturgy, which must originate in Sacred Tradition, not in the pen of a man (or six men). The Novus Ordo conservatives (Wanderer, Adoremus, Credo) love these little Pyrrhic victories within the Novus Ordo bureaucracy, but there is nothing Catholic about any of this.

The Titanic is the metaphor for the Novus Ordo apparatus. It is sinking into the abyss, and it will do no good to rearrange the deck chairs. Many on the Titanic wouldn't believe that the great ship would sink, just as a fringe of modernist church bureaucrats keeps singing the praises of the Novus Ordo, ignoring the reality. But remember the Titanic: it certainly did sink, killing most of its passengers. Thank the Lord we traditional Catholics got off in time!

May 17 -- St. Paschal Baylon, Confessor (Double)

Pope Does About Face

From: Victor

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In his first full year as Pope, John Paul II reacted sharply to reports he regularly received "of a deplorable lack of respect toward the eucharistic species, imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior, but to the pastors of the Church," which, of course, included himself above all.

During Lent 1980, he published a letter, Dominicae Cenae, to the bishops of the world in which he spoke openly of the failures of the "reforms introduced by Vatican II," of what had happened and what must now be done. In an unprecedented and stunning turn in the letter, he then offered a moving apology to the whole Church for liturgical scandals that may have occurred. He asked forgiveness, for himself and for all the bishops

"for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience of negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided, erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray to the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is true that in 1980, the first year after he acceeded to the pontificate, John Paul II did issue two documents (Dominicae Cenae and Inaestimable Donum) in an effort to recover some of the Catholic attitude toward the Mass that had sunk in the wake of Vatican II.

Yet this same pope, who, at the beginning of his pontificate, would never give communion in the hand and would never wear unliturgical, multicolored Novus Ordo vestments, now does both. He did not stop there, however. According to the Vatican Press Office and other public sources, he has publicly participated in such unCatholic practices as the following:

How to Wear a Cross/Crucifix

From: Kathleen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Last year when I was starting the RCIA process, I was given a Cross to wear at the Rite of Acceptance. Being quite ignorant of the difference between the Cross and Crucifix, I gave it no further thought. Recently the crosspiece came unglued, and as I was fixing it, I asked my Pastor if I should keep the Cross, or get a Crucifix. His response was, "It really didn't matter". What do you suggest? I am attached to the Cross because the Deacon, my friend and Sponsor, who gave it to me recently died from cancer. However I do notice many more people wearing Crucifixes. Am I a lesser Catholic because I wear a "Protestant" Risen Christ Cross? I have so much to learn. I am very grateful for your opinion Father.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Since I assume that you are wearing it under your clothes (only consecrated religious traditionally would wear the cross or crucifix outside their clothes), one could wear either, although the image of Christ Crucified is more in accordance with Cathoic tradition and with Holy Scripture (St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians 1:23).

To be honest, it sounds like a good deal of "showing-off" and "one-ups-manship" is going on by the people in your community. This is not a Christian or Catholic attitude and is strongly condemned by Christ in the Gospels in the similar activities of the Pharisees. Catholics should think rather of the example of St. Thomas More, who wore a hairshirt all his life, but no one knew of his penitential practice until his body was prepared for burial.

May 16 -- St. Ubaldus, Bishop & Confessor (Semidouble)

Diametrically Opposed

From: Victor

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In a strange way, all the shock, unauthorized changes, and polarization that followed Vatican II seems to have been foreshadowed in one simple metaphor used by two speakers in the very first days of the debate.

Cardinal Montini of Milan (who in 10 months would become Pope Paul VI) said that the form of the liturgy was "like a garment clothing the divine mysteries," and like any garment, it could be changed to make it more suitable to the times. He added a crucial caution: "Such changes, of course, must be carried out prudently and wisely."

A few days later, Alfred Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office, rose to warn the Council that the changes being proposed "were neither prudent nor wise. They were too dangerous and far-reaching, he said. "Are we trying to stir up excitement, or perhaps scandal, among Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so accepted?" he asked. "The rite of the Holy Mass should not be treated as though it were a piece of cloth to be reworked according to the fashion of each generation."

Ottaviani had pointed to the folly of dressing the liturgy in a new garment that appealed to the frightful taste of a relativistic and hedonistic age. The attempt to find that garment would invite continuous experiments and changes that further endangered the substance of the liturgy, even though it temporarily satisfied the fashions of particular groups.

Cardinal Montini was wrong; Cardinal Ottaviani was right. While few have claimed that the new Mass inspired deeper reverence, many have pointed out that its very novelty invited countless "creative" bishops, liturgists, priests, and parish committees to further change and experiment with it.

May 15 -- St. John Baptiste de la Salle, Confessor (Double)

Some Things Are Sacred

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have heard you many times recommend Bach's Mass in B Minor. However, I have been told that Bach was not a Catholic. Is this true?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Does the fact that he was not a Catholic change the Latin text of the Mass? I think not! It is not just my opinion, but that of quite a few musical scholars who have the finest appreciation of our treasury of music, that the B-Minor Mass is probably the greatest piece of music ever written.

A non-Catholic can't compose the music for a Mass? That would be the most preposterious notion! Why wouldn't we rather thank the Lord God that the greatest composer who ever lived would be inspired to set to music the immemorial Mass of the Roman Rite? Why would we not think that the very experience might have started a conversion of his soul so that, as some say, he became a Catholic, even at the last?

If we went by such a narrow criterion, we might as well wipe out half of the most devout and inspirational settings of the Roman Mass that we have, including the Missa Solemnis of Beethoven. Mozart was a Mason, so should we wipe away all his Masses (which even the Archbishop of Salzburg craved and commissioned), including the sublime Requiem, which was used at the First Anniversary Mass of the assassination of President Kennedy, as celebrated by none other than Cardinal Cushing of Boston?

I aver that Bach in his inner soul was more Catholic than the Novus Ordinarians who have written nothing but the vilest trash, all with the full "approval" of Novus Ordo bishops, and who have introduced the profane piano and guitar into the Church in place of the organ (even contrary to Vatican II), and have thus deliberately deprived the people of their great heritage of Sacred Music.

A Liturgical Point

From: Ron

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is the meaning of the word "same" in "through the same Christ, Our Lord"?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

An interesting question of basic liturgy. There are four principal conclusions to the Orations at Holy Mass (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion):

  1. Per Dominum nostrum....
  2. Per eundem Dominum nostrum....
  3. Qui tecum vivit et regnat....
  4. Qui vivis et regnas....

These are used, respectively:

  1. if the Oration is directed to the Father
  2. if the Oration is directed to the Father, but at its beginning the Son is mentioned
  3. if the Oration is directed to the Father, but at its end the Son is mentioned
  4. if the Oration is directed to the Son

The conclusion about which you are asking is the second ("through the same Lord....). The word eundem ("same") is used because the Son has already been mentioned at the beginning of the Oration. In effect, it is equivalent to "the aforementioned."

May 14 -- St. Boniface, Martyr (Simplex)

A Shocking "Newchurch"

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

If you have the time, read today's front-page article on Timothy McVeigh's upcoming execution. A Vatican II priest, whose parish is close by the prison where McVeigh is kept, has found a forum to vent his anti-death peanalty views. The interest in the story is not this Vatican II priest's view on the death penalty, but his theological opinions, the inner workings of his church, and the architecture of his "worship center."

For this Vatican II priest, Universal Salvation [i.e., everyone goes to Heaven -- penitent or impenitent] is not a dry theological argument, but a matter of personal conviction. We find, for example, that the priest believes beyond doubt that Timothy McVeigh, publicly impenitent, will enter the Kingdom of God the moment his life ends. The 168 people that McVeigh murdered in cold blood are also in Heaven, every one of them. There they are patiently waiting to greet McVeigh with open arms. The priest often dreams of the victims saying to McVeigh: "We Have been waiting. It is good to have you home."

There is also a picture of this priest in his "worship center." Needless to say, there is no altar or tabernacle. The stained glass windows in the back of this church have no religious theme. There is a cross with a Risen Christ in place of a crucifix.

It has been argued that when the Faith is restored, the Church will have a long and ardous task to undo the damage of Vatican II, that people who call themselves Catholic either do not practice any Faith at all or are completely ignorant of the Roman Catholic religion. That is right of course. Yet this article underscores his point by showing not only how bad matters are, but how difficult it will be to set things right. It takes little imagination to picture this priest sputtering in outrage and acting in defiance in the event he is told to accept and preach the truths of the Roman Catholic Faith.

Nor is the imagination taxed to picture the few Catholics in his parish who regularly attend his Novus Ordo Worship Service reacting in confusion and anger when they are told that there is no universal salvation, that Purgatory and Hell exist, that we are all infected with Original Sin, and that saving one's soul is the central task of all of our lives.

The Church will be restored. Yet when we finally do have a Pope worthy of the name Guardian of the Faith, I am convinced his burdens will be beyond human comprehension.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This morning I had the sad duty of conducting the Exequial Rites for a member of the congregation who had passed away last week. The man was a traditional Catholic, having attended Divine Office and Holy Mass until his health prevented him.

His family, two generations worth, attended the funeral. I think that most of them had been Catholics, but most had fallen way, a few attended Novus Ordo services, and one attended a traditional Mass in his home town. Naturally, the rites were conducted entirely in Latin in the traditional rite, and funeral missals were provided.

I'm sure that these rites were foreign to most of the people in attendance. And yet for the better part of an hour, they followed the rites avidly in the missal, even making the Latin responses on occasion. One could hear a pin drop during the entire Mass and Absolution. Many remarked after Mass how they were moved by the solemnity and high purpose of the Mass. Who knows: maybe one, maybe more than one of these people will have been touched by God's grace and return to the traditional Faith.

Stranger things have happened. The noted French poet, Paul Claudel, was won back to the Church when, standing by a column, he observed High Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. Let us pray for such people, who walk in darkness often out of ignorance rather than choice. And let us always be hospitable to such people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass, showing them the light of Christ in faith, hope, and charity.

May 13 -- Fourth Sunday after Easter (Semidouble)

A Staunch Catholic

From: Antonia (Australia)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Thomas Tallis and William Byrd were great English Catholic composers who lived in hellish times. The following is notes by Michael Howard to the recording, William Byrd's Cantiones Sacrae of 1575.

[After fellow Catholic Thomas Tallis died in 1575] Byrd was left to go on alone. By this time England was in an incendiary state of religious and political upheaval. Queen Elizabeth's tolerance, as far as any Catholic enterprise was concerned, had sharply deteriorated. So, it would seem, had Byrd's tolerance of the Protestant regime, for by now he was beginning to make overt gestures of defiance, albeit in a reasonably subtle manner.
For example in the Credo of his three Masses we find: Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam -- each time the catholicam is blatantly stated twice. Some four years before Tallis' death, Blessed Edmund Campion had with many others been executed at Tyburn. Byrd did not hesitate to set and to publish in his 1588 "Psalms, Songs and Sonnets of Sadness" Henry Walpole's epitaph on Campion's death:
Why do I use my paper, ink and pen
And call my wits to counsel what to joy?
Such memories were made for mortal men:
I speak of saints whose names cannot decay.
An angel trump were fitter for to sound
Their glorious death, if such on earth were found.
A mere thirteen years later, Henry Walpole, priest, died the same death as Campion on the gallows at York. Meanwhile, as far back as 1567, those twin reformers Bishops Grindal and Horne had already piously pronounced: "We do not assert that the chanting in churches, together with the organ, is to be retained; but we disapprove of it as we ought to do." Byrd's response to this sort of drift was to publish two more books of Cantiones Sacrae in his own right in 1589 and 1591, and these he followed up with the even more specifically Catholic exercise of the Gradualia books of 1605 and 1607.
Yet he was pathetically isolated. He lived to see on a national scale that which we now see on an international scale: the systematic obliteration of the universal Latin rite (and with it, its music) in the interests of promoting a form of worship whose nadir is the lowest common denominator. His courage must have been enormous for as Hilda Andrews has observed: "You cannot go on for long writing silent music in defiance of the law, half-afraid always of the sharp foxy eye of the informer; in the end it becomes the silence of death."
And indeed in November of 1605, a Jesuit was discovered and arrested because he had in his possession "certain papistical books" by William Byrd, dedicated to Lord Northhampton - undoubtedly the part-books of [Byrd's] first book of Gradualia. May all the martyrs and those like Tallis and Byrd who had to endure the Terror rest in peace.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Indeed, the situation of English Catholics under Bloody Elizabeth bears a striking resemblance to the plight of traditional Catholics under the Novus Ordo machine, except perhaps for the blood. It is said that Byrd's music was so sublime that even Elizabeth didn't have the heart to suppress it.

Byrd wrote, in addition to the other works, three Masses, for three, four, and five voices. It is said that the term "voice" here is not equivalent to several singers in a register (e.g., bass, tenor), but to exactly three, four, and five individual voices because those were the only numbers available under the Elizabethan Persecutions. One might very well imagine a Mass behind held secretly in a home by a smuggled-in priest, with just this little music to remind those assisting of the majesty of God's Sacred Liturgy even in the smallest chapel, home, or even (as the early Christians) pagan temples.

May 9 -- On the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph (Double)

They Have It Backwards

From: Fr. H.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Is it permissible to celebrate a Votive Mass "in honor of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary" on Mothers' Day? A certain "indult" group is doing it. But this does not mean that it is traditional. I'd be grateful for your advice.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Such a practice would not be in accordance with their own 1960/62 rubrics. A Votive Mass on that day would have to be of Class I (as the Mass at a Eucharistic Congress) or Class II (as the Wedding Mass), as Votive Masses are generally not permitted on Sundays. In fact, the 1960/62 rubrics themselves make a big point of this by "demoting" the rank of a number of Saints' feastdays that, in the earlier, more traditional calendar, would outrank the lower-ranked Sundays.

Moreover, this approach seems to be backward. It is attempting to impose a civil calendar upon the religious calendar, whereas the opposite is what should be done. The same organization that wants to make a religious holiday out of a "Hallmark Card" day are the same ones who blithely go along with ignoring the Feast of Ascension Thursday.

The feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary reminds us that Our Immaculate Lady was chosen to be the Mother of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer. To attempt to apply that truth to a purely earthly concern is hysteron proteron!

How to Respond

From: Fr. Marianne

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Frequently, in conversations with non-Catholics, subjects come up such as the Spanish Inquisition, Queen Mary, and other periods of history, when the Catholic Church is painted in an atrocious light. I always find myself in a tough spot on these subjects, as I am not as well-versed in them as I would like to be. Are there any particular books available that I could read myself and also recommend to non-Catholics, which that document these events in an objective manner?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The British historian Hilaire Belloc has written in a very balanced way on these incidents. His works are available in reprint through Tan Books. But if you are caught flat-footed, one of the best defenses is to probe the speaker on what exactly his source of information is, what his description of the historical background is, etc. Ask him probing questions about the particular persons or times involved, and you will almost certainly find that he is mouthing some bigoted, historically-revised version that even he doesn't understand!

May 7, 2001 -- St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr (Double)

A True Bishop?

From: Fr. Moderator

Not infrequently I am asked whether there are any traditional bishops left in the "existential" Church (as opposed to bishops in the traditional community). Well, although Abp. Pell is ultimately part of the New Order, he has got to be one of the few who comes closest. In Melbourne, the liberals shook in their boots. Now that the pope has moved him to Sydney, the liberals there are in fear.

Not that Abp. Pell is an unfeeling autocrat, as the liberals would like to paint him. He seems to be a true Catholic gentleman, well educated in the classical sense. He simply states the true Catholic position on controversial issues and lets the chips fall where they may.

In a celebrated incident, some "gay" radicals crashed his service at the Melbourne Cathedral wearing armbands promoting immorality and approached for Communion. He refused and pointed out that the reception of Holy Communion is a spiritual act based upon the interior state of soul, not some kind of external political statement. Wow! How many bishops in the United States would have the courage do to that?

A Tough Hand at Poker
By Andrew West
The Sydney, Australia, Sun Herald
Sydney's one million Catholics get a new leader on Thursday night, one who hopes to turn the tide against the city's secular trinity of the gay mardi gras, heroin injecting rooms and poker machines.
Archbishop George Pell, a controversial conservative from Melbourne, will be installed in an ornate ceremony at St Mary's Cathedral. Dr Pell will use his first sermon to begin a campaign to replenish the tattered ranks of Sydney's priesthood.
While insisting he had not "come up here to condemn anybody", Dr Pell said in an exclusive interview with The Sun-Herald that he would confront the liberal critics of his appointment. "I've come up to present the truth in the way we see it ... this secular minority, if they were so sure of their position, wouldn't be screeching as much as they are."
Dr Pell reserves some tough words for NSW's more controversial institutions: he annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the new heroin injecting room at Kings Cross and the 105,000 poker machines in the pubs and clubs. "They're debit signs, there's no doubt about that," he said.
He's on the record, rather cheekily, as having said the Catholic Church "won't be sponsoring a float" at a mardi gras, and he is believed to have convinced the Vatican to ban the Sisters of Charity from running the first proposed injecting room, 18 months ago.
With the mardi gras likely to wither more from declining interest than ecclesiastical condemnation, and the injecting room a fait accompli, Dr Pell sees room for resistance to the spread of poker machines, which he says transfer money from the pockets of the poor to the wallets of the wealthy.
"I come four-square from the Catholic tradition, which doesn't say that gambling is intrinsically wrong," he said. "But there's no doubt that you can have too much of a good thing and it has to be controlled. When it becomes an addiction, it can do great damage to people and families, and we have to bring that to public notice." Indeed, rather than settling for Premier Bob Carr's temporary freeze on new poker machine licences, the archbishop wants more aggressive counteraction. "I'd be encouraging him, as I encouraged the Premier of Victoria, to do what he could to try to wind things back," he said.
The 61-year-old priest has arrived in Sydney with a fearsome reputation. When the Vatican announced his appointment six weeks ago, replacing the retiring Cardinal Edward Clancy, headlines named him the "bully bishop". The Vatican is worried about Sydney, indeed all of Australia, which it believes has strayed from Catholic orthodoxy. The Pope said as much during a recent conference of Oceania bishops.
Most Australian Catholics, even the 18 per cent who go to Mass, practise contraception and some priests were using a "third rite" of confession, where Catholics confessed as a group rather than privately - and in detail - to a priest. "But it says volumes for the loyalty and discipline of the Catholics in Sydney that it stopped almost overnight, with, I'm tempted to say, almost no exceptions," said Dr Pell.
He plans to continue at St Mary's the practice he began in Melbourne, hearing personal confessions an hour a week. "There's as much anguish and guilt and sadness among people today as there ever was and personal confession, and the reception of forgiveness in a ritualised and sacramental setting, is a wonderful thing," he said.
In his own words:

May 6 -- Third Sunday of Easter (Semidouble)

"The Training that Catholic Priests Endure"

From: Mark

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am researching the training that Catholic priests endure and would like to know: in addition to other, primary studies, does one study western philosophy and eastern religion and/or philosophy? And also is there much exposure to modern academic New Testament studies? I am just trying to get some idea of the breadth of the training that these students receive.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

"Endure?!" Rather, it is a great joy to be exposed to the finest minds, authors, and subjects on this earth in a classically-based education that lifts our minds and hearts to the divine.

If one follows the traditional curriculum, the ordinand studies the Latin language (and sometimes Classical/Biblical Greek), general philosophy and theology, Sacred Theology, Patristics, Sacred Scripture, Ecclesiastical History, Canon Law, Sacred Liturgy, Sacred Music, and Pastoral Theology (including Sacred Eloquence). This is, of course, on top of the baccalaureate, if not the Master's degree.

As part of a thorough classical education, one would learn something of textual recension, manuscript stemmata, and textual criticism, if that is what you mean by "modern" New Testament studies, though there is nothing particularly modern about that. There would be no point in studying the errors of Eastern religions, except perhaps for apologetic purposes.


From: Bill

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I recently started a corporation which takes a patient's blood during surgery and spins it to either wash it or separates the components of it to make a gel which accelerates clotting and promotes faster healing. It's a blood business.

I am a traditional Catholic through and through. This fact, along with the "ring" of the name, prompted me to use "Precious Blood" in the name. My mother says that this name borders on blasphemy. "Just a gut feeling," she says. I thought just the opposite. As a matter of fact, one of my next gestures was to buy Precious Blood Scapulars for the principals (who are also Catholic). Your opinion, please?

Fr. Moderator Replies

I understand what your mother is getting at, at first blush. However, I think that it is the tradition in some places to name businesses after sacred people and things in order to participate in the blessing of those people or things, e.g., "St. Joseph's Cobblers." The Latin Americans in particular do this.

Blasphemy involves intentional contumely toward God or His Saints. There was no contemely intended in the name, especially as the principals are Catholic. If anything, it was in recollection of Precious Blood that it was done. I think that your response, buying Precious Blood Scapulars for the principals, was Solomonic.

May 4 -- St. Monica, Widow (Double)

No Bible without the Catholic Church

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Was ownership of a Bible forbidden by the Catholic Church during the Renaissance?

Fr. Moderator Replies

Of course not. However, before the introduction of the printing press in the 1450s, books were quite costly, so very few could afford to own a copy. Moreover, one would hardly need it. The Mass and Divine Office of the Catholic Church includes, over the course of a year, practically the entire Bible. The 150 Psalms are said over the course of each week. Much of the Old and New Testaments is read at Matins and the other Hours of the Divine Office each day. It has been said that if the Bible should disappear from the face of the earth, it could easily be reconstructed from the Mass and Divine Office of the Catholic Church.

I'm sure you know too that the world would not have the Bible, had it not been for the Catholic Church. When the Church came out of the catacombs, St. Jerome, the world's most brilliant biblical scholar, who read and spoke as a native all three sacred languages -- of which standard modern translators fall far short --, was able to compile a complete edition of all the books of the Bible, some of which the Protestants do not now have because Luther didn't agree with what they said).

In the Dark Ages, after the fall of Rome and the overruning of civilization by the pagan Germanic tribes, virtually all written texts would have been lost, had it not been for the Catholic Benedictine monks, who made it their work to copy the texts of classical and Christian civilization, most especially the Sacred Scriptures.

So, when you read your Bible tonight, offer a little prayer of thanksgiving for the Catholic Church, its popes and saints, who preserved that inspired book for you.

May 3 -- On the Finding of the Holy Cross (Double of the Second Class)

Why the Exceptions?

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Thank you for all the time you devote to educating us. Be assured that you are remembered in my daily prayers.

Keeping in mind that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, I am wondering about the differences of the many Catholic Rites with regards to the matter/form of the consecration.

I am wondering why the other rites (over 200 years old) were allowed to continue as stated in Quo Primum. If the Novus Ordo Missae changed the words of the consecration so that now the validity of the Sacrament is in question (and I believe it is), and if my traditional priests must recite the words of the Consecration so exactly as properly described in De Defectibus, then why were the other rites allowed to follow other forms? Don't these "exceptions" take away from the oneness of our Faith?

Fr. Moderator Replies

Such rites had immemorial right, and in charity Pope St. Pius V gave them the option of continuing or adopting the Roman Rite -- unlike Paul VI & Co. who without any authority tried to impose a new rite on the Church exclusively and with a vengeance. What happened was that most of those other western rites did adopt the Roman Rite, except for the Dominicans, the Milanese (Ambrosian rite), and a couple of others.

In reality, the other rites differed very little from the Roman Rite. Certainly they did not differ at all in matter and form. All used the same Canon as the Roman Rite. The differences were in other relatively minor areas, many only rubrical in nature. For example, in the Dominican rite the wine and water are poured into the chalice at the beginning of Mass; in the Roman Rite, not until the Offertory.

Contemplating Marriage Redux

From: Christine

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Just a note to thank you for the wise and forceful advice you gave to this young man. I am single and have seen too many Catholics end up in disastrous marriages because they either married outside the Faith and/or did not think through and discuss carefully what married life would be like. One hundred years ago, most people had a better idea of what marriage entailed than they do now. Most Catholics agreed on social, moral, and religious matters. No longer. Sometimes single people do not care about their religion until they get married.

The saints were right when they said it is better and more blessed to be single and chaste. If people developed their spiritual lives more and read more spiritual books, they might be less inclined to chase after prospective mates who can lead them astray.

May 1 -- Sts. Philip & James, Apostles (Double of the Second Class)

Contemplating Marriage

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am getting married. My fiancee was brought up in the Novus Order while I was raised as a traditional Catholic. Now that we're getting married, she wants to get married at her local parish with a priest who is a friend of the families.

I feel like I am doing something wrong if I choose to get married at her church. After all it is not the Traditional Latin Mass. I prefer to get married at a traditional Mass, but don't really have the option. Please let me know what you think?

Fr. Moderator Replies

Your message indicates that you already suspect the answer in your own heart: that this signals trouble and that you really need to think further about whether this is a proper marriage for you.

If you are not even married yet and you already "don't really have the option" to practice your Faith, what does this signal for the future? Is this marriage going to prevent you from what should be the most important thing in your life, or anyone's life, a proper relationship with your Creator, or is it going to support it? Is this just the beginning of what will be a series of compromises in your Faith that will end in seeing you compromise your Faith away altogether -- and the consequences of that we don't want to contemplate.

Marriage is supposed to be a Sacrament, and yet it sounds as if this marriage may be just the opposite of a Sacrament. I am suprised that in your discussions with your fiancee that you did not already discuss these important issues. All too often couples get too carried away by a passing "emotional love" and forget to discuss in detail each of the parties' characters and beliefs, because those are what you will have to deal with daily for many, many years.

That is what a period of engagement is supposed to encourage -- for the parties to discuss future life issues. Now, when both are devout traditional Catholics, one worries less, but you are basically marrying a Protestant, and that carries with it a burden for you that you probably cannot sense fully now. Believe me, it is likely to be a serious issue every day of your marriage. I can think of some very unhappy traditional Catholics who must patiently suffer the constant friction of a spouse who in ways subtle and overt undercuts the practice of their Faith and makes their life miserable.

Perhaps to get the discussion rolling, you should ask your fiancee the questions that any Protestant would be asked before a dispensation could be considered to marry a Catholic. Can you swear never to interfere with the Catholic party's practice of his Faith? Can you swear to allow any children arising from the marriage to be raised exclusively in the traditional Catholic Faith? If there is any hestiation on these points from your fiancee, you may have learned just in time that this is not the marriage for you. Have you sought the advice of your traditional priest on your quandry? If not, that is the very next action you should take. You need advice and support now.

Remember, until you take that public oath before the priest, you can withdraw. After that point, you are committed for life. No matter what pressure your fiancee or family or friends may be putting on you, it is your immortal soul; it is your life; it is your decision. A hard saying, I know, but I think that you know in your own heart that you may have been given an insight that will allow you to think about this affair long and hard.

A Matter of Universal Doctrine

From: Oleh

Dear Fr. Moderator:

On the Filioque, the doctrine that the Father proceeds from both the Son and the Holy Ghost, which version is Athanasian Creed? What year was this decided in and what were the justifications for the changes? I heard it had something to do with defending the Western Church against Calvinists. Is this incorrect?

Fr. Moderator Replies

No, it is not correct. You're in the wrong century, nor were there any changes, nor does it have anything to do with the Western Church. The Athanasian Creed, the third great creed of the Church (the other two being the Apostles Creed and the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed), is attributed to the great Eastern Father and Doctor of the Church, St. Athanasius, who lived in the fourth century. The Filioque doctrine is already mentioned in this Creed, which certainly expressed Apostolic doctrine already transmitted to the Church. St. Athanasius in the Creed expressed that Apostolic belief for the Universal Church, that is, in both the East and West.

Return Arrow Return to Commentaries from the Mailbox.