January 2002

January 31, 2002 - St. John Bosco, Confessor (Double)

January 30, 2002 - St. Martina, Virgin & Martyr (Semidouble)

The Hours

From: Philip

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Though I think I know most of them, could you please list the times for the following Hours of the Divine Office: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This question pertains not only to Hours of the Divine Office that clergy and devout laypeople say from the liturgical book known as the Breviarium Romanum [Roman Breviary], but also applies to the Office that is required of those in Third [Lay] Orders, those enrolled in the Brown Scapular (of Mount Carmel, St. Simon Stock), etc.

First, an aside. It seems that many who wear the Brown Scapular are not properly introduced to the devotion by the priests who blessed their scapular and enrolled them. Part of the devotion of the Brown Scapular is the recitation of the shorter Officium Parvum Beatae Mariae Virginis [Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary], similar to the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the full Divine Office.

Some think that they can say the rosary instead, but that is not the designated and indulgenced prayer proper to the wearing of the Brown Scapular, for those enrolled in the Brown Scapular are like members of a Third Order, praying with the First (men) and Second (women) Orders of their society, in this case, the Carmelites. When they say the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they are sharing in the prayers, intentions, and indulgences of the Office of that Order being said around the world. Every effort should be made by those wearing the Brown Scapular to meet the requirement of saying the Little Office each day.

To return to your question, the Hours of the Divine Office are to be said within a period of 24 hours. There is no obligation to say them at specific times of the day in private recitation, and some or all of the Hours are often combined (said immediately one after the other). However, it is commendable to pray the Hours in some proximity to their appropriate times, since often the Hours refer (in the Antiphons or Hymns) to the time of day at which they would properly be said.

According to the names of the Hours, the original times would be approximately as follows (depending upon the time of the year): Matins during the night/early morning, Lauds at dawn, Prime in the hour after dawn, Terce at 9 a.m., Sext at noon, None at 3 p.m., Vespers at dusk, Compline at night before retiring.

The Divine Office is the Church's most important prayer and is integrally connected with Holy Mass. The Church commends most strongly to devout laity that they participate in its recitation in whole or in part. There are inexpensive Latin-English editions in print of both the Office the Little Office for the use of the laity. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ5: What Traditional Catholic Books Do You Recommend?

January 29, 2002 - St. Francis de Sales, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor of the Church (Double)

January 28, 2002 - St. Peter Nolasco (Double)

Like Watchmen on the Parapet

From: Bryant

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Last year the Vatican made an extraordinary effort to entice the SSPX to join the Novus Ordo bureaucracy. On the basis of my reading of news reports, there seemed to be a great urgency on the part of the Vatican to effect this union. I do not know if it is true, but I read somewhere that the "problem of the traditional Catholics" is viewed in the Vatican as inhibiting ecumenical efforts. Now the Vatican has enticed the priests of Campos into the Novus Ordo bureaucracy. Why is the Vatican so desperate to get us into their fold?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Traditional Catholics are the thorn in the side of the Modern Vatican, as they should be. They are the only Catholics left who are trying to keep the Vatican on the Catholic line, and they make no bones about the fact that the Modern Vatican is seriously departing from the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Traditional Catholics are the only ones that dispute the legitimacy of the Modern Vatican as being fully Catholic. The liberalists recognize the Vatican as being fully Catholic because they want to turn its political power to the liberalist agenda. Traditional Catholics are not interested in the political power of the Vatican. They simply want the Vatican to represent the Roman Catholic Faith to the world, the Deposit of Faith as we received it from the Apostles, not dumbed-down or nuanced or ambiguated or ecumenized.

In Hans Christian Anderson's story, it was only the one innocent child who stood against the sycophancy of the adults and spoke the raw truth: the emperor has no clothes on. You can be sure that the adults were embarrassed and ashamed, as was the emperor. But they could not deny the obvious truth that the child spoke.

Traditional Catholics are like that child, holding to the truth of the Roman Catholic Faith, no matter what consequences are to them. And you can be sure that the Modern Vatican and its retainers don't like the truth of their failing legitimacy exposed, any more than the emperor did. Moreover, it seems to the world as if the Vatican can't get its own house in order.

Fortunately, the SSPX, whose leadership has not always shown the best sense in the Traditional Catholic Movement, has at least stood firm against being tricked and swallowed up into Novus Ordoism, as already the "indult" groups (Fraternity of St. Peter, Society of St. John of Scranton, Institute of Christ the King) have been tricked and swallowed up after Protocol 1411 of 1999. Nor have the independent traditional Catholics, numbering about 50% of the Movement, been tricked or swallowed up. Actually, they may be the reason that the usually quixotic leadership of the SSPX has been kept on the straight and narrow.

In His human nature, Christ could have been tempted to give up on mankind, but He stood firm for us, nevertheless. We traditional Catholics need to continue to stand firm with Christ and our Faith, even if it takes our whole lifetime, because if we sell out to Novus Ordoism or Indultarianism, no matter how attractively presented to us by the Modern Vatican, we know that we will end up in losing our Roman Catholic Faith, our Roman Catholic Mass, and our Roman Catholic Sacraments.

We are the watchmen on the parapet. If we don't stand firm, as long as it takes, the walls of the Roman Catholic Faith will be totally breached (si fieri potest), and we will have rejected Our Lord just surely as St. Peter once did.

January 27, 2002 - Septuagesima Sunday (Semidouble)

Season of Septuagesima Begins

The season of Septuagesima begins today. The word itself comes from the Latin for "seventy," as from today until Easter there are some seventy days, though not exactly seventy -- the term is used as a round number.

The number seventy is associated with the seventy years during which the Jews were captive in Babylon in the sixth century before Christ. For them, this was a time of somberness and reparation for their transgressions against God. As Psalm 136 describes it: "Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept; when we remembered Sion" (Psalm 136:1/DR). Now the Church observes this seventy-day period spiritually in reparation for our sins, just as the Jews did penance physically by their captivity.

To make a transition from the joyousness of Epiphany time to the penitential character of Lent, the Church has inserted for this and the succeeding two Sundays a kind of "pre-Lent" before Lent proper begins on Ash Wednesday. We see the altar clothed not in the green of hope, but in the violet of penitence. The music of the organ, however, remains until Lent proper begins on Ash Wednesday, when it can be used only to accompany the chant. From now on, we no longer hear the joyous Alleluia, the Gloria in Excelsis, or the Te Deum in the Divine Office or Masses of the season. This elimination of joyfulness from the Sacred Liturgy for Septuagesima is quite ancient, going back at least to the Rule of St. Benedict in the sixth century.

A Catholic Composer

From: Fr. Moderator

Today marks the 246th year after the birth in Salzburg, of the Catholic composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. For several years Mozart was in the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg, for whose cathedral he poured out church music of all forms -- Masses, a Requiem, Vespers, Litanies, and Motets. It has been said that the angels, when they play for God, play Bach, but when they play for each other, they play Mozart. Yet Mozart once said that he would gladly exchange all his music for the fame of having composed only the Gregorian chant for the Preface of the Mass.

Not the Same

From: Fr. Moderator

On January 24 it is reported that about 200 religious leaders accepted the pope's invitation to assemble in Assisi, the city of St. Francis, for what amounted to an "ecumenical prayer meeting." The leaders included not just the usual Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, and Jews, but also leaders of "Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Jianism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and followers of Tenrikyo and African tribal religions."

Assisi has been the site for two previous occurrences of this sort, the first of them, in October 1987, being the occasion for the scandalous and sacrilegious placing of the pagan Buddha atop the tabernacle in the Basilica of St. Francis. It appears that the Vatican, while still appearing scandalous in the promotion of religious indifferentism, was just a little more careful this January 24. The "prayer meeting" did not take place in the sanctuary of the basilica, but rather in a "huge plastic tent decorated with a single olive tree." However, Christians prayed together in the frescoed lower basilica of St. Francis, restored after a 1997 earthquake. Others were accommodated in the brick cells of a nearby convent near the tomb of St. Francis, with crosses and other religious objects removed" [Associated Press].

The scandal caused by the Vatican is that these "ecumenical prayer meetings," which popes and councils have consistently condemned with the severest penalties, give the appearance of surrounding the Modern Vatican with the odor of heretical Indifferentism, the condemned notion that "we all worship the same God" and that "all religions are the same." To believe that is to reject the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

For the Catholic, Jesus Christ is God incarnated as man, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, and the prophesied Messias. To the contrary, Mohammedanism, the "Axis of Evil," as U.S. President Bush put it so well, teaches that Christ was but one of the many prophets of Allah, even inferior to the ultimate prophet Muhammad. To the contrary, Judaism teaches that Christ was not even a prophet, not the Messias, but rather a criminal blasphemer.

For the Catholic, God died on the Cross in order to redeem mankind from its sins and open the gates of heaven. To the contrary, both Judaism and Mohammedanism absolutely deny that Christ is the Redeemer of mankind. Judaism awaits a future Messias other than Christ (whose very name means Messias).

In light of so many substantial differences and outright contradictions, how can anyone seriously claim that "we all worship the same God"? Rather, as St. John warns in his First Epistle (4:3/DR): "And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh: and he is now already in the world." The words of St. John could not ring truth than in the last few months.

Certainly, the events of the past months, and even today, the alarming conflict engulfing the Middle East, should inspire us with a greater appreciation for the Savior we so take for granted. The Jews and the Mohammedans seem locked in an apocalyptic death struggle -- and the whole world with them. At root, the conflict centers around their mutual rejection of Jesus Christ. Will the tragic consequences of their fidelity serve to make us more faithful to Christ? [The Roman Catholic, Winter 2001].

Rather, let us pray in the words of the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Pope Pius XI):

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of 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 Savior; may It now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Rose Vestments

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What does the rose color of vestments on the Third Sunday of Advent and the fourth Sunday of Lent represent?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Really, they are not "rose" (although they are now called that), but a lighter shade of violet, which, as you know, is the penitential color of Advent and Lent. Both of these Sundays occur in the middle of their respective penitential seasons, when the penitential nature of the Sunday is somewhat lightened by a theme of joyousness: the Introit of the Masses are Gaudete and Laetare, respectively. The organ may be played (as it generally cannot be in Masses of the seasons of Advent and Lent, except to accompany the chant), and flowers may adorn the altar (sparingly).

January 26, 2002 - Third Sunday after Epiphany, Anticipated (Semidouble)

January 25, 2002 - Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle (Major Double)

A Sane Response to Campos Priests

From: Fr. Moderator

Because of its eminent honesty and traditional Catholic sentiments, we publish here this Open Letter to the Priests of the Diocese of Campos by Dr. David Allen White, Ph.D. Dr. White is in perhaps the best position to give a response to the situation of the Campos priests (on which I have several times previously commented below earlier this month) because he is the author of the study entitled The Mouth of the Lion, which details the resistance of Catholic Tradition led by the late Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer and his faithful priests against Modernism in the diocese of Campos, Brazil. Dr. White is a professor of literature at the United States Naval Academy, whose videotapes on Catholic culture have been reviewed on the TRADITIO. For further information, click on the Special Features section.

My Brothers in Christ and My Friends,
With great sorrow I read today that you are now "considered perfectly inserted in the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church." I never knew you left. During those memorable days when I visited you in 1991 while doing research for my book on your great and honored Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, I had the privilege of witnessing the Catholic life of your diocese, the most perfect embodiment of the Catholic life in a contemporary setting which I have ever witnessed and so much more than I could ever imagine. What a blessing you have been granted! What extraordinary graces you have received, undoubtedly through the prayers and sacrifices and work of the unique bishop who tended the flock of Campos as shepherd for so many decades. In what way were you not then Catholic? In what way were you separated from the Church?
Your announcement that the Holy Father has signed a "letter of entrance," welcoming you "in full ecclesial communion" along with "the Catholic faithful [you] assist" suggests that there had been some separation with Rome, that you were in fact in some sort of schism. Had not the Catholic Faith been handed down intact and in perfect fullness from Our Lord Jesus Christ through His Apostles and through the Bishops of His Church until it came to be passed throughout the Diocese of Campos in our time by the fully Catholic Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer? What did he teach you which was not Catholic? Where did he lead you that left you separated from Rome and thus needing to "return"?
The sad fact is clear, even though the details are not yet fully revealed. You have signed an agreement with Modernist Rome and thereby turned your back on the great legacy of your great and beloved bishop who left you in April of 1991, left you because God called him home, left you secure and Catholic and well provided for. His legacy has now been compromised through the compromise which must have been made with the current power players in Modernist and Progressive Rome, distinct and separate itself from Eternal Rome. To affect a compromise, one must assume leaving one's position and moving toward a middle ground. The position you must leave is the fullness of the Tradition of the Catholic Faith; the new position you must reach is closer to the outskirts of the New Rome, the Rome of bureaucrats and ambiguous talk and ecumenism and collegiality and religious liberty, all the temptations and errors against which your good pastor so courageously and so comprehensively warned and instructed you.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his memorable and insightful address at the Harvard commencement ceremonies in 1978 stated that "a decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outsider observer notices in the West in our days." For many years the name of the Diocese of Campos has brought to Catholic souls battling error and decay in their own parishes, the clear and resounding call to Catholic courage. In our apostate times, perseverance becomes an act of courage. The colossal moral and spiritual stature of the small human man who was your Bishop stood as a model for Catholic courage. Do you now cut his memory and legacy down to merely human size? Will the name of Campos no longer loudly ring with courage but echo distantly with compromise?
Who can doubt your discomfort or not sympathize with the loneliness you must have felt over the years? A small group of priests, organized together as the Priestly Society of Saint Jean Marie Vianney, carrying on the work of Mother Church in isolation, unnoticed, ignored, except when vilified by the voices of those who long ago made their compromises? But what could be more indicative of your true role as alteri Christi if not your work in loneliness and sorrow, with those mocking and derisive voices assailing you? To imagine yourselves now "inserted in the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church" is no solution. You may have a few moments in bonhomie with red and scarlet and purple in the cool marble palaces of the Eternal City, but will Tradition continue in the Diocese of Campos after the compromising and celebrating? How have all other traditional groups fared once they have put themselves under the sway of Modernist Rome? I will not give you the litany of loss and change for you are already aware of it; I will just ask you where is the Traditional Bishop promised to the Fraternity of Saint Peter fourteen years ago? Are the prelates in Modernist Rome to be trusted? Will they deliver to you on the promises they have made? I quote the wise Solzhenitsyn again, "Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?"
You have announced that in a solemn ceremony to be held in the Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior by His Eminence, Cardinal Msgr. Dario Castrillon, Prefect of the Holy Congregation for the Clergy, in the name of the Holy Father, the Pope, on the 18th January, there will be a reading of documents and the singing of the Te Deum. The 18th of January also begins the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" decreed by Rome which will culminate in the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi on January 24th, the second such ecumenical outrage in recent years, a kind of gathering condemned, as you well know, by earlier popes. Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer in a joint statement with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre spoke with the voice of Roman Catholic Tradition in condemning the gathering of religions at Assisi in October of 1987, the first such outrageous ecumenical prayer venture. Have you forgotten his wise and proscriptive words? Will you now join your hands in prayer with Modernist Rome as it openly violates the First Commandment of God and prays with Lutherans and Anglicans and Muslims and Deists and animists in defiance of Catholic Tradition, and then will you pretend still to be Traditionalists? Have you forgotten your own words when in your public Profession of Faith in 1982 you rejected "the ecumenism that makes the Faith grow cold and makes us forget our Catholic identity, seeking to negate the antagonism between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial..."?
You may protest that you will maintain traditionalism in your diocese, that you will still celebrate the Mass of All Time and teach the old catechisms and carry on in the traditional ways. But do you not understand that in compromising, you accept an absurd contradiction, an illogical proposition that any sane mind must condemn: " that Mother Church in her Divine Authority can teach contradictory ideas at different times and pretend they are both true? How can your traditionalism co-exist with Modernism? How can the Mass of All Time be equivalent with the newfangled human contrivance? How can Catholics be forbidden from ecumenical prayer at one time and then encouraged in such actions at a later time? As Hamlet says, when staring at the skull of Yorick, the "gorge rises at it." Such a stark and deadly affront to reason is horrifying. Are you now willing to play this absurd Modernist game with Modernist Rome? Many weary and troubled Catholics will feel the weight of your decision. Already the remarks are circulating that you have "sold out" and "caved in" and "given up." The truth is you have abandoned reason. May I remind you of the words of a prayer you have often prayed: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum [as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end]?
In his courageous statement of June 30, 1988, in Econe, on the occasion of the consecration of traditional bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, your courageous Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer in his message of support and unity spoke the following words:
It is sorrowful to see the lamentable blindness of so many confreres in the episcopacy and the priesthood, who do not see, or who do not wish to see, the present crisis in order to be faithful to the mission which God has confided to us, to resist the modernism at present ruling.
You no longer "wish to see the present crisis"; you no longer wish "to resist the Modernism at present ruling." By your action of compromise with the "Modernism at present ruling," you have increased the sorrow of your great bishop; you have increased the sorrow of your devoted friends. Our Lord in His agony in the garden certainly suffered from the hatred of His enemies, but such suffering was nothing compared to the certain knowledge that He would be betrayed and denied by His friends and disciples.
Be assured of my prayers.
In Christ,
David Allen White

January 24, 2002 - St. Timothy, Bishop & Martyr (Double)

What Music Is Catholic?

From: Mark

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In the local Novus Ordo parish, they have rock music with rock instruments. Is this appropriate in Catholic worship?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Of course not. Rock music can never be permitted in a truly Catholic church. It is a grave sacrilege, and one should have no part in it, even by passive attendance. The teaching of the Church is that the only music that is truly appropriate to the worship of the Church, that is, the Divine Office including the Hours and the Mass, is the Sacred Chant, called "Gregorian," after Pope St. Gregory I, The Great. Sacred polyphony is occasionally permitted (Palestrina, Mozart, Haydn, etc.) on special occasions. Moreover, certain instruments are by their nature profane, that is, not to be used in sacred services: guitars, pianos, drums, etc. You wouldn't find rock music at the true, canonized Traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Catholic Church!

Sin and the Ten Commandments

From: Carla

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I attended the a Novus Ordo church until 3-4 months ago and have since moved to a traditional Catholic church, which by the way, I know is the right place to be. I was taught (and have taught my own children) that breaking any of the Ten Commandments is a mortal sin. My teenage son told me that some his friends (also teenagers and traditional) told him that breaking one of the Ten Commandments is not always a mortal sin, that (for example) it is okay to use the (holy) name of God in a slang way as long as it is not blasphemed, that adultery isn't a sin if one is not married, etc.

I confronted the mother of these children (my "friend") and she told me that I had been taught wrong. She even asked her husband (who trains the altar boys), and he too said that I was wrong. So, Father, can you please tell me what to believe? This type of conflict is causing me turmoil.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Those people were correct in principle, though in error on some of the details. To be a mortal (grave or deadly) sin, the essence of a sin must be grave. For example, blasphemy is, in its essence, grave, as it is a sin directly against the majesty of God, but lying is, in its essence, not. However, circumstances can modify the gravity of sin. For example, lying under oath to God is a mortal sin.

Moreover, as your Baltimore Catechism will explain, to be mortal, a sin must not only be grave in its essence, but also must be done with full knowledge of its gravity and full consent to its commission. Therefore, one who was not culpably aware that to lie under oath is a grave sin would generally not be guilty of a mortal sin. A blasphemy uttered on the spur of the moment without full reflection (consent) and regretted immediately thereafter is generally venial. If you are in doubt about the gravity of sin in the circumstances of a particular act, you would be advised to refer the judgment to your confessor.

On the other hand, it is not profitable spiritually to play the "Philadelphia lawyer" too much about mortal and venial sin. There is an appalling attitude among some Catholics that "a venial sin doesn't count" -- and there aren't many mortal sins anyway. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many souls are suffering great temporal punishment in Purgatory and could be suffering loss of the Beatific Vision until the end of time because of venial sins. Sin is sin and is always to be avoided. Moreover, a venial sin can develop into a habit of mortal sin. It is most profitable to confess venial sins for one's spiritual benefit and the great remission of their temporal punishment by sacramental confession.

Those people were very wrong in saying that "it is okay to use the Holy Name of God in a slang way." The Holy Name of God is never to be used in any way other way than reverently and devoutly. In its essence, deliberately taking the name of the Lord in vain, "in a slang way" or in any other way, is a mortal sin. As to adultery, if the person who engages in the activity is not married, by definition the act is not adultery, but fornication, which is also a mortal sin. If those people have any doubt of that, they should reread the Epistles of St. Paul: "no adulterer or fornicator shall enter the kingdom of heaven."

January 23, 2002 - St. Raymund of Penafort, Confessor (Semidouble)

The Numbers Game

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

How many traditional Catholics are there in the United States?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Gallup Poll would indicate that those with traditional Catholic sympathies number about 45,000,000. Those who would identify themselves as committedly traditional was once put by the Christian Coalition at about 15,000,000. About 1,000,000 attend the Traditional Latin Mass regularly. For comparative purposes, about 11,000,000 attend the Novus Ordo worship service regularly.

By those figures committedly traditional Catholics outnumber each and every one of the following denominations (2001 statistics):

Surprised, aren't you? With our numbers, one can only wonder why traditional Catholics are so defensive and pusillanimous. We ought to be throwing our numbers around with pride!

January 22, 2002 - Sts. Vincent & Anastasius, Martyrs (Semidouble)

Vatican's Real Motives against Campos Priests

From: Eugene

Dear Fr. Moderator:

After the traditional priests of Campos, Brazil, surrendered to Vaticanism, the papal theologian gave an interview that is revealing as to the real motives of the Vatican with reference to traditional Catholics. It shows the Vatican's mixture of fear and derision of traditional Catholics. In the interview, Fr. George Cottier, the Dominican theologian of the Papal Household, made the following statements:

Fr. Moderator Replies.

If anyone is in schism from the Catholic point of view, it is Presbyter Cottier and his Novus Ordinarians, with their temerity to justify a "New Order, which is schismatic, according to the determination of the Popes, Councils, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church." Cottier's comments show why Catholicism and Novus Ordoism are impossible to reconcile. The Vatican must first reconcile itself with Roman Catholicism, which traditional Catholics have never abandoned.

The interview excerpts above demonstrate clearly that the Camposians will, in due time, be totally subsumed into the New Order and will be snuffed out as a Catholic society, in the same way that has befallen the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter of Scranton, the Society of St. John, the Institute of Christ the King High Priest, and all other "indult" organizations, which have essentially been gutted and forced to submit to the New Order as the principal liturgy of Newchurch.

January 21, 2002 - St. Agnes (Double)

Has Card. Ratzinger Lost His Catholic Faith?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Could this latest Vatican document be in line with the teaching of the Church?

January 18, 2002
Vatican Says Jews' Wait for Messiah Is Validated by the Old Testament
By Melinda Henneberger
The New York Times
VATICAN CITY, Jan. 1, 2002. The Vatican has issued what some Jewish scholars are calling an important document that explicitly says, "The Jewish wait for the Messiah is not in vain." The scholarly work, effectively a rejection of and apology for the way some Christians have viewed the Old Testament, was signed by the pope's theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The document says Jews and Christians in fact share the wait for the Messiah, though Jews are waiting for the first coming, and Christians for the second. "The difference consists in the fact that for us, he who will come will have the same traits of that Jesus who has already come," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
At least one Jewish scholar said the new document is a marked departure from Dominus Iesus, a study of the redemptive role of Jesus that was released last year in Cardinal Ratzinger's name and that fanned disputes between Catholic and Jewish scholars. The new document also says Catholics must regard the Old Testament as "retaining all of its value, not just as literature, but its moral value," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the pope's spokesman. "You cannot say, `Now that Jesus has come, it becomes a second-rate document.' The expectancy of the Messiah was in the Old Testament," he went on, "and if the Old Testament keeps its value, then it keeps that as a value, too. It says you cannot just say all the Jews are wrong and we are right."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

When a number of conservative and indultarian publications were effusing about how traditional Card. Ratzinger is, TRADITIO issued a serious caution. Now, TRADITIO's long-standing warning about this "wolf in cardinal's clothing" has been proven true. If Dominus Iesus was highly problematic, this document gives every indication of having crossed the line into heresy, even though it is described as a scholarly document (as if scholars couldn't become heretics!). In fact, Ratzinger signed this document in his capacity as head of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

No Catholic Pope, Council, Father, Doctor, or Saint of the Church could ever hold that the Messias has not yet come. It is Catholic dogma that the Messias has come for all nations in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He born to the world at Bethlehem. We have come to expect the most ambiguous and confusing language emanating from the Vatican since Vatican II, but this document appears to say that the Messias has not come for the Jews. If that is what this document preaches, that is outright heresy.

Now is put into clearer context the grave scandal that was caused by this pope when, on June 24, 1986, he sat with Grand Rabbi Elio Toaff in the sanctuary of the Jewish synagogue at Rome and prayed for the coming of the Messias.

January 20, 2002 - Second Sunday after Epiphany (Semidouble)

Polka "Mass," Gay "Mass" -- Now Potter "Mass"

From: Fr. Moderator

Traditional Catholics don't have to justify themselves against "obedience" to the New Order. We don't need a defense. The New Order is so silly and so certainly not Catholic that it condemns itself in the eyes of any reasonable person. One has to question the rationality of those who attempt to defend it. The Emperor is naked to anyone with honesty and eyes. It's as simple as that.

This week we saw another instance of how nonsensical the Novus Ordo worship service is -- worldwide. Undoubtedly, this Dutch priest in the following story had the explicit or tacit approval of his bishop. Undoubtedly, he was being obedient to his bishop. So what? He committed sacrilege and scandal. To whom he was being "obedient" is immaterial. Harry Potter is even described as "obedient" -- "obedience" being the only Novus Ordo virtue left -- really a vice, because it is obedience to evil.

Now, when anyone ask you why you aren't "obedient" to your bishop and instead attend the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively, just say that you don't consort with witches!

Haagse Courant, The Hague, Netherlands - 11:49 Sunday 13th January 2002
Dutch priest celebrates Harry Potter mass
A Dutch priest has celebrated a Harry Potter mass for children
He donned a wizard's hat and asked the youngsters to come dressed as Harry. Pastor Joris Ridderbos says there are a lot of similarities between the story of Harry Potter and the life of Jesus. Potter books have been denounced and even burned by some Christian clergymen, who claim they promote witchcraft.
The priest from Haren, however, told the Haagse Courant newspaper: "The story of Harry Potter starts with an alternative reading of the story of the three kings, there is a speaking snake and, like Jesus, Harry Potter was a very obedient boy. "But the most important link between the two stories is that no victory is achieved without an effort.
"As a result from his first meeting with evil, Harry Potter is bearing a mark. And I want to emphasize to the children that every victory has a price." The pastor has denied only holding the event to make the church more popular. He added: "I see the Harry Potter story as a new story that can make the old Bible story much more comprehensible."

Dedicated Souls

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Dedicated souls at traditional chapels must often answer vicious and contumelious criticism by Modernists and (some) Indultarians, who habitually violate the Eighth Commandment. They destroy the good name and reputation of traditional Catholics by accusing them of sin because they are allegedly "disobedient" to their New Order bishops! How should traditional Catholics respond to such criticism?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I have many times here provided theological arguments to answer these points, and the TRADITIO Library of Files is filled with technical argument. However, a traditional chapel in Florida has provided this common-sense response.

Don't try to defend your decision of conscience with theology or canon law. Don't quote St. Athanasius, St. Thomas Aquinas, or St. Charles Borromeo, who clearly taught the limitations of papal authority and obedience. These subjects mean nothing to a Modernist, while many Indultarians don't admit the grave crisis that exists in the Church hierarchy today.

Instead, throw the Modernists' own arguments back in their face with this response:


This approach reminds me of the common-sense answer of an elderly lady who was told that by attending the Traditional Latin Mass she wasn't obeying the bishop. She responded: "The bishop doesn't obey the pope, so I don't obey the bishop." It's hard to argue with that clarity of mind!

French Fries and Abstinence

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A while back, McDonald's was embroiled in a controversy when some vegetarians had found out that McDonald's fries their french fries in beef fat, or were using beef fat for flavoring, and were upset about it. Ordinarily, Friday one would think of french fries as a food that would not break the abstinence, since they are potatoes. However, if it should be discovered that a particular restaurant used beef fat to fry their fries, or for flavoring, would those french fries then break the abstinence? How does one handle the situation of eating at a restaurant when you are not always entirely sure of every ingredient used during the preparation of the foods?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The abstinence from fleshmeat does not include condiments. In this case, the fat is being used only to cook the food, not even to flavor it, since the beef flavor in the fat would have been removed for the frying. What should be abstained from would be obvious: pieces of meat, or soups and gravies prepared with fleshmeat.

January 19, 2002 - Our Lady's Saturday (Simple)

Is It Bread, or Is It...?

From: Matt

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Would you explain to me what altar breads are actually consecrated during a Mass? I'm thinking of those who feel that a person going to an "indult" Mass runs the risk of receiving a host doubtfully (if at all) consecrated at a Novus Ordo worship service. Is all the bread in the sanctuary consecrated at a Mass? If the Novus Ordo consecration is invalid, would the consecration of a Traditional Latin Mass subsequently celebrated at the same altar then then transubstantiate the hosts that were already present in the tabernacle?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Generally speaking, only those altar breads that are present visibly on the corporal or in a ciborium (properly uncovered for the Offertory and the Consecration) are consecrated. If there were invalid Novus Ordo breads in the tabernacle, they would not be re-consecrated simply because a Traditional Latin Mass was subsequently celebrated at that altar.

In order to connive people into the Novus Ordo against their will, diocesan bishops will not infrequently force "indult" Masses to use altar breads purportedly "consecrated" at a Novus Ordo worship service. Diocesan bishops like to force this procedure so that the faithful cannot insist on a Host validly consecrated at a Traditional Latin Mass. The "indult" notion is, of course, that "it's all the same." Traditional Catholics know that it's not all the same.

Naturally, the Novus Ordo worship service should be avoided at all costs. A growing number of "indult" Masses need to be avoided as well, because they are incorporating features of the Novus Ordo to one degree or another, such as the use of Novus Ordo "hosts" for distribution of Communion.

Requiem Simplicity

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Why are certain prayers and gestures omitted at a funeral Mass, for example, the priest not making the sign of the cross over the water before pouring it into the chalice, the omission of the Iube, Domine, benedicere, etc.?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In general, there are two reasons for the formulary. One has to do with the utter simplicity called for by its nature of the Requiem Mass. As you may have observed in the Sacred Liturgy, the more festal the day is, the more elaborate the formulary of the Divine Office and the Sacred Chant is. The more ferial the day is, the simpler. And the Requiem Mass is even starker than the ferial. As we approach the Septuagesima, Lenten, and Passiontide seasons, you will see this gradual simplification of the Divine Office (including the Holy Mass) and the Sacred Chant.

Secondly, the Requiem Mass harkens back to a time when the Mass was a bit simpler (though the differences are not great). You can see this simpler formulary also in the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday, the fourth part of the Sacred Liturgy on that day when, for example, the Agnus Dei is omitted because it was a later addition.

As you have noticed, at a Requiem Mass there are no blessings: not of the celebrant before reading the Holy Gospel, not of the water to be offered, not of the congregation before the Last Gospel. The only blessing during the Exequial Rites are of the deceased.

January 18, 2002 - St. Peter's Chair at Rome (Major Double)


From: Julianne

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is the historical background of celibacy and why is Catholic faith the only religion that requires this of their clergy? Do you think that the celibacy requirement is a dominant cause for the decline in vocations? Has it become detrimental to the Church?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Catholic faith is hardly the only religion to expect celibacy of its priests. Both ancient and modern religions have that natural requirement in whole or in part, and people are instinctively uncomfortable when their clergyman is not celibate. They seem to think instinctively that he should be "married" to his flock, not to a wife.

The dominant cause of the decline of vocations is the New Order that has been imposed in large parts of the Church since Vatican II. There is no question about this. Practical confirmation is provided by the fact that traditional seminaries, which reject the Modernistic New Order, have been flooded with those seeking entry. New Order seminaries are practically shut down for lack of those seeking entry.

Far from being detrimental to the Church, celibacy is one of its crowning glories. I have no doubt that the situation of the Church and of the secular world would be far worse if the heroic virtue of the celibate clergy did not exist. One only has to look around one to see the consequences of a sex-crazed society -- obscenity, pornography, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, rape, etc. As the natural respect for celibacy has declined, sexual crimes, sins, and perversions have skyrocketed. Yet people deep down know that celibacy is right, as they are captivated by the idea (as they should be), such as your question implies.

The tradition of clerical celibacy was solemnly proclaimed by the Council of Nicaea, the First Ecumenical Council, in 325. Canon No. 3, unanimously approved by the Fathers, admitted of no exceptions whatsoever. The Council considered that the prohibition imposed thereby on all bishops, priests, and deacons against having a wife absolute. All subsequent councils that have addressed the subject have renewed this interdiction.

Not only would it be a violation of Sacred Tradition to blot out a custom decreed for 2,000 years to be absolutely obligatory, but also one must recognize that clerical celibacy is to be seen not merely as of ecclesiastical institution, but partakes partly in what is more known as divine positive law. That is, it is not merely disciplinary in nature.

January 17, 2002 - St. Anthony, Abbot (Double)

Priests of Campos Genuflect to Vaticanism

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I heard confirmation that it does indeed appear that the Society of Jean Marie Vianney in Campos, Brazil has signed an agreement with the Vatican. This agreement incorporates the Society into the Diocese of Campos, betraying all that traditional Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer stood for. So much for the principled stand taken by the priests of Campos in their steadfast and uncompromising defense of Tradition in their booklet "Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman." Please could you give your interpretation of this momentous event?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First off, I don't see this as "momentous" at all. What is momentous, if you will, is the widespread deception that the New Order has been able to perpetrate upon most Catholics since the early 1960s.

Could anyone honestly deny that the very notion of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being celebrated in vulgar tongues, communion in the hand, and all the other bizarre innovations introduced by the New Order would have been (and were) condemned in the strongest terms as unCatholic, heretical, and sacrilegious by popes and councils since the early Church, up to and including John XXIII and (in part) by Paul VI and John Paul II?

The fact that a few weak priests in a vicinity of Brazil reneged from the courageous traditional stand of their late bishop is regrettable, but certainly not surprising or momentous. There always are some handful of SSPXers, for example, who have gone over to the indultarian side or, God help them, even the New Order. This is to be expected. When Our Lord was in agony, so distressed as to sweat blood, His three closest friends in this world -- including the pope who swore "even if all others should desert thee, never will I desert thee" -- fell asleep, fled, and even denied him.

Men are often weak and subject to the temptations of what is known in theology as acceptatio personarum [respect of persons], that is, a human weakness to play up to people, to be "one of the boys," to be hypocritical, even if it means condoning or even doing evil to be accepted by the "authorities" or "the majority." We see that motivation in such cases as those who compromise the Catholic Faith and the Holy Mass merely to get the "Good Housekeeping seal of approval" from diocesan bishops, who can hardly be said to be even Catholic any longer -- certainly not Catholic from the perspective of the popes, councils, fathers, doctors, and saints of the Church through two millennia.

However, one should not dwell on the little blips of the microcosm and lose sight of the macrocosm. The "big picture" tells us that the novelty of the Novus Ordo is rapidly wearing off. Attendance under the Novus Ordo has plummeted from some 80% to less than 19% in a mere forty years.

With all the ammunition that Modernist diocesan bishops can level against traditional Catholicism, it increases as the Novus Ordo decreases. Those of us priests who have had the privilege of ministering to those in their last hours now that often, just before the end, the patient rallies -- a last gasp, if you will, before the inevitable. The Novus Ordo is dying; it's just that the last-gap propaganda would have you believe otherwise.

In recent years, it has been interesting to note how even the 1962 Missal is being recognized as an early stage in the liturgical deconstruction of our Roman Catholic Faith, and more and more traditional priests are returning to the fully traditional rites before the changes of 1962, 1960, and even 1956 -- returning to those rites that retain a higher veneration of the saints and an uncompromising (not "politically correct," falsely ecumenical) Catholicism.

In the words of one author, the Traditional Latin Mass is "the Mass that will not die," no matter how much is thrown against it by Modernistic ecclesiastics under false color of authority. Not only will the true Mass not die, the traditional Roman Catholic Faith will not die. For that, we have Our Lord's promise. It is only when we unnecessarily despair that the Enemy is victorious.

Frequent Confession

From: Stephen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have a heard that a good Catholic should go to a confession at least once a month. If one does not have any serious sins to confess, should one then confess something from one's past that they are still sorry for? Also, how does one make a general confession?

Frequent confession is a laudable practice, encouraged by the Church and by the advice and example of many Saints. Frequent Confession is a requirement for gaining a plenary indulgence from those prayers and good works to which a plenary indulgence applies.

Venial sins (as well as sins of one's past life, even if confessed before) are valid matter for Confession, and it is hard to imagine anyone who has not committed many venial sins over the course of a month. Anyone who cannot accuse himself of these has almost certainly not made an adequate examination conscience. One can work on these with one's confessor to make one's life more pleasing and meritorious to God.

There seems to be an attitude among some Catholics that only mortal sins are important (and there aren't many of those), that venial sins "don't count." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only are venial sins most displeasing to Our Lord and merit us more temporal punishment than we will know, but also they can often lead us into mortal sin.

A general confession, which is usually undertaken before one is to receive a Sacrament such as a Holy Order or Matrimony or when one is in a crossroad of one's spiritual or moral life involves a thorough examination of conscience over one's entire life. A general confession is a most salutary practice in giving one the "big picture" of one's life in relationship to God's will for us, showing us where we have failed, and what we need to improve in our spiritual journey.

The more complete handmissals have sets of questions to assist one in examining one's conscience in detail for a general confession. Naturally, one should schedule an appropriate occasion with his confessor for a general confession, as it takes considerably longer than an "incremental" confession.

January 16, 2002 - St. Marcellus I, Pope & Martyr (Semidouble)

Vow of Poverty

From: Robert

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Do priests still take a vow of poverty?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Priests do not take a vow of poverty, at least secular priests do not. The vow of poverty is associated not with the priesthood as such, but with certain religious orders (like the Dominicans), whether the members of those orders are priests, nuns, or brothers.

Most priests that you know are probably secular priests, that is, priests not belonging to a religious order. In fact, secular priests may be ordained titulo patrimoniae suae, that is, under title of their own patrimony, or self-supporting. Therefore, such a priest might actually be quite wealthy, as from a family inheritance, and there have been many such priests throughout the history of the Church.

Many secular priests through the centuries have also worked for a living to support themselves by their own patrimony, following the example of St. Paul, who supported his missionary work by working as a tent-maker so as not to be a burden to the Christian community (1 Thessalonians 2:9/DR).

January 15, 2002 - St. Paul, First Hermit, Confessor (Double)

January 14, 2002 - St. Hilary, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor (Double)

Why the Papacy Has Sunk

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It is said that the traditional priest, Padre Pio, who never said the Novus Ordo and is the only priest who was impressed with the Sacred Stigmata, refused to give absolution to a woman who had just procured an abortion. Padre Pio broke down into tears, told the distraught woman to return in the morning, and that he would then absolve her grievous sin.

Upon her return Padre Pio gave the woman absolution. The woman pleaded with Padre Pio to tell her why he did not absolve the sin during her prior visit to the confessional. "I choose not to discuss it," was the priest's firm reply. "But, I insist," countered the woman. Padre Pio hung his head down, and after wiping the tears from his cheeks, he gave in to the woman's request.

"The baby that you and your husband so selfishly aborted, Madame, was destined to be a great pope, who would one day aid the Church in her most trying hour."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I hear from so many disheartened Catholics, who say, "Why doesn't God send us a great pope like Pius V or Pius X? Why doesn't He fix what is wrong in His Church?" Isn't it a bracing thought to realize that He may be doing so, but that we on earth are thwarting the divine generosity, in many more ways than just this case.

There are many instances in Sacred Scripture of men being given generous gifts by God, only to have those gifts thrown back at him -- Adam, Eve, Cain, Saul, David, Judas, the Jewish ecclesiarchs, and so many more. God is not the problem; we are.

January 13, 2002 - Octave of the Epiphany (Major Double)

Papolators at It Again!

From: Nestor

Dear Fr. Moderator:

An individual quite hostile to traditional Catholicism claims that the promises of Christ were given only to St. Peter and his successors. To be Catholic means to be submissive to Peter. Your comments, please.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The statement as quoted above is heresy, defined as such by Vatican Council I. The promises of Christ were given to all, as part of public revelation, which consists of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The statement that you have quoted is a particularly virulent form of what is technically known as papolatry, that is, ascribing to the pope divine prerogatives, which he does not possess. It is heresy, and even blasphemy, pure and simple. There is a way of stating the proposition concerning the pope that would be in accordance with Catholic teaching, but that formulation is certainly not. Probably the individual is just ignorant of Catholic teaching.

To be Catholic means to be submissive first and above all to Christ, who is the Head of the Church. His teaching is contained in the Deposit of Faith, coming from public revelation: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Our understanding of this Deposit of Faith comes from popes, councils, and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. This is called the Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Church, which is of 2000 years' duration now.

Catholic teaching is that is sinful to obey evil, including a pope who tries to impose innovations on the Church against Sacred Tradition. That limitation on the pope was clearly and infallibly decreed by Vatican I, as promulgatged by Pope Pius IX. For further information, see the Library of Files for POPELIM: The Limitations of Papal Authority to Change Sacred Tradition.

Catholics Could Never Get Away with This!

From: Assist News Service

BRENTWOOD, CA (ANS), January 9, 2002 -- As children return to school this week, following the Christmas break, 7th graders in a growing number of public schools, who are not permitted to wear a cross or speak the name of Jesus, will be required to attend an intensive three week course on Islam; a course in which students are mandated to learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own Jihad. In Byron, California, parents were outraged when students came home with their handouts and were told what was being taught. Their complaints to the school principal not only were ignored, but officials of this public school, funded by tax dollars, essentially fluffed them off.

There is not one negative to be found about Islam in this one-sided account, such as the wars, massacres, cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims that Islam has consistently perpetrated over the centuries. Nor is any mention made of the way Muslims treat their own people, cutting off hands, feet and heads for even the slightest violations of the Islamic tenets of faith, or the shocking way they treat their women. The "miraculous" events leading up to the Koran, the "holy" book of Islam, and other "revelations" are presented as factual. Any reference of the miraculous regarding Christianity is always set next to a disclaimer stating that "It was (is) believed by Christians (or an individual such as Martin Luther) that ...," implying an absence of credibility about the stated event.

January 12, 2002 - Feast of the Holy Family (Major Double)

"Dry" Periods

From: Bill

Dear Fr. Moderator:

How do we keep our Faith fortified when we seem to become drier with each Rosary? Is going through the motions of our religion during a dry period better than nothing at all?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Saints tell us that their most spiritually fruitful and meritorious periods were not when they were in ecstasy, but when they were in their "dry" periods, when everything was an effort and the "feeling" of God was not there. You have been given a special way to show your love for God and to merit much by making the effort to exhibit patience and persistence (both important Christian virtues) in your Faith, even when it does not "delight" your feelings. I'm sure that Our Lord, in His human nature, could many times have been tempted to give up, but He persisted for us. Let us persist through difficult times in the Faith for Him.

Another thought occurs to me, which I commonly mention in sermons and spiritual direction. Often sincere Catholics get into very limited prayer habits. For example, all they can think of is saying the Most Holy Rosary, and they fall into a repetitious pattern, particularly when they say it in a vernacular language instead of Latin.

But these good people never consider saying parts of the Divine Office or saying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which scapular enrollees should be saying, not the Rosary; confessors should not grant substitution lightly). Or pray the Litany of the Saints, the Blessed Virgin, Sacred Heart, etc. Or sing the chant and hymns. Or do scriptural reading. Or simply quietly meditate upon the Gospel, the Christian virtues, etc. and listening

When your prayer life becomes stale and dry, change it. The Church's treasury of prayer and devotion is rich. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ5: What Traditional Catholic Books Do You Recommend?

January 11, 2002 - Friday within the Octave of Epiphany (Semidouble)

Appropriate Children's Literature

From: Bonnie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am a mother of six and a grandmother for now of five. I love them all so much and derive much pleasure in babysitting them and being in their company. Two of the boys, who are now almost four and five, are much into the Power Rangers stories. Another series of stories is the Harry Potter books. Please give me your opinion and enlightenment on appropriate children's literature.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I would recommend staying with the tried and true. First, there are a number of excellent books presenting Bible stories for children. It is sad that so many Catholic children are ignorant of the Sacred Scripture. There are also many wonderful children's books on the lives of the Saints, which involve much of interest and drama, and display for us examples of faith, hope, and charity, as well as prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

After the purely Christian literature, children love the time-honored myths of our western culture, which can be introduced to them at an early age. What child is not thrilled by the old Greek myths, which are the allegorical basis for so much of western and Christian literature? Much of Dante, for instance, was based upon Vergil's Aeneid and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

Read these works aloud to your children, and have them read them to you. Engage their imagination. Read aloud the great works of literature in versions adapted for children. Then, as they grow older, they will delight in reading the real thing.

January 10, 2002 - Thursday within the Octave of Epiphany (Semidouble)

January 9, 2002 - Wednesday within the Octave of Epiphany (Semidouble)

Fund-Raising Alert

From: Fr. Moderator

I have become privy to a report alleging highly disturbing fund-raising practices on the part of one of the "indult" organizations. The matter is said to be currently under ecclesiastical investigation. I will only restate what I have said here from the beginning: it is highly imprudent to contribute to "pie-in-the-sky" projects solicited by expensively-produced brochures with no record to back the projects up. The report has it that this organization has raised money in the millions and after several years has yet to spend any significant amount on the project that was described to donors.

I will repeat my oft-stated advice about donations. The prudent thing to do is to contribute principally to local organizations, particularly the traditional sites in your own area. That way you can see how the money is being spent first hand. Better yet, get involved in the local traditional site so that you can assist with the projects on which your contributions are spent.

January 8, 2002 - Tuesday within the Octave of Epiphany (Semidouble)

Immoral or Subjective?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Traditionally in Catholicism, doctrine and morality were interlinked. Would it be right to state that in the post-Vatican II period the two have been delinked, particularly with the "right to conscientisation" taught by modernist theologians and the virtual endorsement of the Protestant notion of universal salvation?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Universal salvation is hardly a Protestant notion. Luther certainly didn't belief it, nor did Calvin. Quite the opposite! For them, relatively few would be saved. You are probably thinking of Modernist Protestantism, the liberalistic fringe of the mainline churches (Episcopalian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.), which to be sure has gotten pretty far from anything scriptural.

In a fundamental sense, the false notions about morality in the modernist era is a consequence of subjectivist philosophies (e.g., phenomenology) being introduced in place of objective philosophies (e.g., that of St. Thomas Aquinas). Because according to the subjectivist philosophies, there is no objective truth, there is no objective morality either. You simply do what subjectively "feels" good to you, and you can't criticize others for what you believe to be objectively immoral, since it may not "feel" immoral to the others.

Politically Correct Neo-Jesuits

From: NewsMax
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2001 11:04 a.m. EST
Politically Correct at Boston College
Michael Reilly
Political correctness reigns at Jesuit Boston College. NYPD, NYFD, and many other heroic organizations have a Holy Name Society for Catholic men who wish to practice their faith.
But when a young man from Staten Island wanted to start a Holy Name Society at Boston College, a Jesuit school, he was forbidden. Evidently Boston College does not want an organization that invites only Catholic men to join. I wonder if they have a Muslim Students' Association?
Under these rules and restrictions, St. Ignatius could have never founded the Jesuits. In retrospect, maybe he shouldn't have.

January 7, 2002 - Monday within the Octave of the Epiphany (Semidouble)

Epiphany Ceremonies

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

After Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany, the priest performed some sort of blessing on boxes containing what looked like small stones. Would you please explain it?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is a Catholic custom for the faithful to use Epiphany Chalk to write the year's Inscription over all the doors of their house. Soft chalk of any color is best for writing on varnished surfaces. A priest blesses the chalk brought on Epiphany Day using the special blessing that is taken from the Roman Ritual.

The Inscription for this year is:

20 + G + M + B + 02

in which 20 02 stands for the current year. G, M, and B stand for the Magi: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.

There is also water that is blessed in a most elaborate special rite on the Vigil of the Epiphany. This is water, like the ordinary lustral Holy Water that Catholics are familiar with at the door-stoops of churches and at the Asperges before the principal Mass on Sundays, can be used in the rooms of homes and sickrooms.

Also, after the principal cathedral and monastic Masses on Epiphany the proclamation of the year's moveable feast days is made. The proclamation made this Epiphany (January 6) was as follows:

Noveritis, Fratres carissimi, quod annuente Dei misericordia, sicut de NATIVITATE DNJC gavisi sumus, ita et de RESURRECTIONE EJUSDEM SALVATORIS NOSTRI gaudium vobis annuntiamus.
Die vicesmia septima Januarii, erit DOMINICA IN SEPTUAGESIMA.
Unatricesima Martii, SANCTUM PASCHA DNJC cum gaudio celebrabimus.
Nona Maji, erit ASCENSIO DNJC.
Prima Decembris, DOMINICA PRIMA ADVENTUS DNJC, cui est honor et gloria in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.

January 6, 2002 - Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Double of the First Class)

January 5, 2002 - Vigil of the Epiphany

Authenticity and Truth?

From: Ned

Dear Fr. Moderator:

How can we know that the New Testament and, more specifically, the Gospels, are authentic and truthful? It seems to me that there are very powerful forces at work to discredit the Gospels at every turn -- modern history books, magazines, television, etc. They all give some supposedly excellent theory for why their book gives the "true historical Jesus" or "historical Paul," which is never, of course, in line with anything that the Catholic Church teaches, and they never even admit the possibility of the New Testament writings being accurate.

I was born into the Novus Ordo and essentially converted anew to the traditional Catholic Faith during college. I sometimes find it hard to shake the doubts raised by years of exposure to the anti-Catholic teachings of the world.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Given the fact that virtually all of our civilization has accepted the authenticity and truth of the Gospels for 2000 years, including virtually all of the most brilliant minds throughout that period, it seems that the burden of proof should be upon the naysayers.

It may be that you are not thinking of the 2000-year perspective, but the particularly modernistic thought of the last few decades, which has a philosophy of accepting the authenticity and truth of nothing (skepticism, nihilism, etc.), not only in religion but also in morality, politics, personal ethics, knowledge, and many other areas of human thought and action.

As a Catholic you are better off realizing that there are many whose chief purpose in life is to confuse you, meanwhile taking the money out of your pocket while doing it, since your dollars pay for the books, televisions, etc., that bring the confusion to you. Remember, Our Lord said that there would be times so bad that even the elect, if that were possible, would be led astray.

It is a sin against the virtue of religion to expose your faith to unreasonable doubt. Therefore, you should eschew such books and programs from people who do not share your faith and instead inform yourself in depth about your faith through the reading of reliable works, such as those by the Saints and Doctors of the Church, particularly those of the Apostolic and Patristic Ages.

How to Dress for Holy Mass

From: Allan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Is it true that it does not matter how we are dressed for Mass and that it is better to attend Mass dressed in shorts than not to go at all?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

When you have the privilege of assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, you are present before the tabernacle of Your Lord Himself. Naturally, as a matter of the virtue of religion, you should dress in an appropriate way to attend upon your King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

That having been said, the detailed customs of dress differ from place to place and climate to climate. One is normally safe in following the example of the best laypeople at your Mass site. If you have any question, you should consult them, or your priest. I do not think that it should be necessary to have some kind of minute dress code, as the example of the best laypeople and one's own informed sense of prudence and modesty should guide one in what is appropriate.

It would be the unusual case where shorts would be appropriate. However, if through no fault of one's own, that happened to be what he was wearing for some other reason (e.g., vacationing in a remote spot), and it was not possible for one conveniently to change, he should assist at Mass so dressed rather than not assist at all. Out of modesty, however, he might find a place in the back of the church so as not to distract others unduly.

January 4, 2002 - Octave Day of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Simple)

What Is Ecumenical?

From: Joe

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Could you please explain the meaning of the word oekumenike from which the English word ecumenical derives? One of my sources says that it means "for all the world". Another source says that it means "everything pertaining to the house," and therefore an ecumenical council would only be called only to deal with matters pertaining to the Catholic Church.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Oekumenike is the present passive participle of the Greek verb oikoo, which means "to inhabit" (in the passive, "to be inhabited"). The related noun oikos means "house." In the feminine participial form, it came to be used as a substantive (scil., ge), meaning "the inhabited world." Thus, it has significations both of what is catholic, that is, universal, and of what is of the household, as St. Paul expresses it, "the household of the faith."

Girls or Boys?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

According to a CNS release, the Vatican has now said that bishops cannot require priests to use female altar servers. While upholding bishops' authority to permit use of female servers in their dioceses, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said the use of male servers should be especially encouraged, in part because altar boys are a potential source of priestly vocations. The document, a July 27, 2001, letter responding to a query from an unidentified bishop, was published in late December in Notitiae, the Congregation's bulletin. The bishop was considering whether to authorize the use of female altar servers in his diocese.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Even in the Novus Ordo, altar servettes were never permitted (but when did that ever stop the New Order?!). The whole fiasco was begun by an unsigned Vatican fax that was never officially published. In this case, I have no doubt that the Novus Ordo bishops will enforce their will philogynism whether their diocesan priests want servettes or not.

The Vatican has lost authority to enforce anything on the bishops, who are its master. There is no real law or justice in the Church right since Vatican II. The bishops enforce their personal whims by threats and intimidation both on the clergy and the laity. Those who appeal to Church law are cast into the outer darkness, called minions of the devil, etc. The diocesan bishops have become petty potentates, listening to no one, including the Vatican. And the Vatican must blame itself for this situation, since it itself has fallen prey to the most absurd Novus Ordoism.

St. Jerome said of the fourth century that the world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian [heretic]. In the 21st century the Vatican groans and is amazed to find itself hung by its own petard!

January 3, 2002 - Octave Day of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist (Simple)

A Presumptuous Biretta?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A most odd occurrence happened at Mass on Tuesday. A seminarian (in his first year of spiritual formation at a well-known "indult" organization) was home for break and attended our Traditional Latin Mass. He was allowed to join in the procession, but insisted on wearing his collar and biretta. Is not the biretta reserved for those who are at least sub-deacon? At the very earliest, the seminarians are invested with the cassock during their second year, so this seems to be pushing things. When I pointed out to this young man that it would be just as inappropriate for our pastor to come out dressed as a bishop, his only reply (and stern at that) was that we "are not a religion of the book." The response left me cold both because of its tone and its non-sequitur character. Is wearing the biretta in this case wrong?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The biretta may be used by anyone who is a cleric. That is, he must have received First Tonsure, marking entry into the clerical state, when he receives the cassock and surplice (and by implication the collar, with of course the black tab on it until he is admitted to Major Orders, starting with the Subdiaconate.

The answer that "we are not a religion of the book" is typical of an "indult" organization to excuse its deviations from traditional practice. Such organizations are of dubious traditional qualification.

January 2, 2002 - Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Double of the Second Class)

A Lesson Learned?

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Did the attack on the World Trade Center change the hearts of as many people as we are led to believe? We were all given a glimpse of Hell on September 11th. It seemed that for a brief period there was a genuine need for the assistance of Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Now that some time has passed, have we learned anything?

I ask you, Padre. You are a man, who in the age of technology, seems to be in the right place, at the right time, to judge the direction and force of the winds of change. Have we learned anything from this horrific event, or will man's stubbornness and need for self-gratification turn him away from God?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I don't see any change of heart. We have the political propaganda machine spewing out statements in support of Islamism and against Christianity. Public school auditoria are opened five times a day for Islamics to pray while Christians can't even read their Bible quietly at lunch period. One hesitates to think what vitriol would be poured out against any Catholics who requested those auditoria for a noon Mass!

The worst Islamics are now being called "Fundamentalists," a term that, as soon as the Bin Laden matter is concluded, will, I have no doubt, be applied to Christian Fundamentalists, against their "close-mindedness" on abortion, homosexuality, blasphemy, etc.

On New Years Day we again heard "God Bless America" prominently sung, but no one ever asks why God should bless America. America has become too godless a place in comparison to what it was even fifty years ago. The rampant blasphemy that is now spewed out on radio and television was then prevented by the broadcaster's Code of Decency. The rampant violence and perversion that is now commonplace now in films was then prevented or curtailed by the Film Board and the Legion of Decency. Sexual matters were eschewed as a topics of polite conversation, and sexual perversion was not mentioned and certainly not condoned.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were quite right on September 11th in their criticism of current American morality. It is sobering that the reaction from the country to their statement was not one of self-criticism, but one of denial. No, I don't see any evidence that America has learned anything morally from September 11th. The only thing we have learned is technological: how to test more quickly for anthrax. An honest appraisal of where we stand as a country in 2002 comes a lot closer to "God Less America" than "God Bless America."

In Old Testament times both Nineve and Sodom were warned. The people of Nineve repented and were saved. The people of Sodom persisted in their evil and were destroyed. No, I don't think that we have learned our lesson, not by a long shot.

January 1, 2002 - Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Double of the Second Class - Holyday of Obligation)

Why the Circumcision?

From: Joseph

Dear Fr. Moderator:

During my time as a Novus Ordoite, January 1st was always said to be the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Referencing through your site, I see that it is the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Was the Marian Feast an additional Feast later added by the Novus Ordo? Is it also to be celebrated on the same day as the Circumcision?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The day recognizes the Circumcision, the Octave Day of the Nativity, the beginning of the civil year (as it is now), and a Marian feast. However, the focus of the day is traditionally the Circumcision, which emphasizes Our Lord's incarnation under the Mosaic Law and the applying of His Holy Name, meaning "Savior," on the day of Circumcision, as the traditional Gospel for the feast from St. Luke explains.

Finding Time to Study the Faith

From: Maureen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

You are one man, yet you are reaching thousands with your knowledge and advice. How did you come to learn so much, and what advice can you give the laity for using their time more productively to learn about the faith? I find my day is so short and I don't seem to accomplish much of anything significant. How, generally, can we structure our days to incorporate time for Catholic study?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It was first a thorough classical education to the post-graduate degree in language and literature, emphasizing Latin and Greek, with additional study in the traditional core areas: mathematics, the physical sciences, the biological sciences, the social sciences (so they call themselves), history, philosophy, law, music, and so forth, before undertaking the traditional seminary studies of sacred theology (dogmatic and moral), Patristics, Sacred Scripture, ecclesiastical history, canon law, sacred liturgy, sacred music, and pastoral theology.

This has historically been the clerical foundation, even from late antiquity, which developed eventually into the mediaeval trivium (= A.B), consisting of logic, grammar, and rhetoric, and the mediaeval quadrivium (= M.A.), consisting of astronomy, geometry, music, and mathematics. On this foundation the Sacred Sciences were then added and eventually codified into seminary studies after the Council of Trent.

As with secular learning, the institutional part is only a foundation, upon which one builds for the rest of one's life. It is necessary to review constantly the basic principles of dogmatic and moral theology, sacred liturgy, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and much more, particularly in an age, like our own, when apologetics must be applied to modern conditions. Bishop Sheen commented once that he was shocked at how little most priests studied after their seminary education, wrongly thinking that that was enough for a whole lifetime. It isn't, nor is the Baltimore Catechism sufficient for a layman.

My suggestion for continuing study is that it is better to set aside regular short periods of time rather than infrequent, long periods of time. One can read through all of Sacred Scripture in a year by setting aside only 10 minutes a day. For example, I know people that have gotten through a university-equivalent study of basic Latin by setting aside just an hour two or three days a week. Also, be sure to make good use of otherwise idle time, like riding the bus or driving in the car, when you can listen to audiotapes. (I have recently done this for reviewing the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, as well as their classical foundation provided by Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics). Like saving a dollar a day, one is surprised when it adds up at the end of the year to $365, plus interest.

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