Monday, October 23, 2017


Pope Francis is the most post-Vatican II authoritarian pope we've had. Even His Holiness' desire that power be shifted away from the Curia to bishops and bishops' conferences, is an act of an authoritarian pope.

I don't know how the curia worked prior to Vatican II but I doubt that they wheeled as much authority as they have since Vatican II. Others might want to comment on this.

Orthodox or traditional Catholics should applaud the restoration of papal supremacy for it is the most orthodox of teachings concerning the Supreme Pontiff in the Church:

Referring to the doctrine of Papal Supremacy the Catechism notes in paragraph 882, “the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." Paragraph 937 states, “"The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, 'supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.'” (This is to be distinguished from the Infallibility, which is a supernatural gift whereby the recipient is shielded from teaching error as it pertains to the faith handed down to us by Christ). Before we examine some of the Biblical texts that reveal this supremacy, we need to point out that the Church, the family of God, is among other things a divinely ordained society and as in all societies there must be an authority whose word is final if chaos is to be avoided. The Jews, for example, had patriarchs, judges and the then kings as well as prophets. Other societies have authorities that govern have prime ministers, kings and presidents. Thus, ordinary human experience shows that the need for authority is primary, which is demonstrated by the fact that the “justification for the existence of authority is not that it works perfectly [for the authorities are sinners like us] or that it never makes mistakes, but simply the rule, ‘no authority, no society.’”

We should 100% support papal supremacy no matter the pope. It is a defined doctrine to say the least.

What this will do in the future is to assure that popes can undo what a predecessor has accomplished as Pope Francis has done since the moment of His Holiness election. No longer will popes need to respect what another pope had set into action or the direction for the Church he has initiated. 

Even progressive or heterodox Catholics are pleased with the restoration of papal supremacy under Pope Francis. We should join them and be united with them in upholding this important Catholic doctrine. 

The following comments from Praytell sum up my concern. When we complain about papal supremacy we become like heterodox Catholics who pick and choose which pope they will adore based upon cafeteria Catholicism. 

Orthodox Catholics cannot be cafeteria Catholics adoring popes we like and choosing not to follow popes we don't like, like the progressives do.  

Praytell comments:

 Earnie Bay says:
It really seems as though Cardinal Sarah is getting the same treatment as the other Cardinals who have dared to question Pope Francis… the Holy Father appears to have as much need for a prefect of the CDW as he had for the one at the CDF or of the Signatura. One wonders if Cdl. Sarah will have the good grace to resign forthwith… or whether the Pope will sack him, or leave him marginalized (on the periphery?), twisting slowly in the ‘vento Romano’… so much for “dialogue”!
Meanwhile there is “the dog that did not bark” in the persons of all of those who were so vocal in their criticisms of Pope Benedict for “not being a ‘liturgist’ ” despite his obvious knowledge of and love for the liturgy… his successor on the Throne of Peter makes no pretense to either and yet not a peep from the liturgical establishment about his qualifications or motivations.
Does he bear any responsibility for any of the present disquiet in the Church?

I can only speak for myself, but I support Pope Francis because, quite apart from whether he’s bothered with the writings of the liturgical establishment, he “gets” the liturgy like very few people I know – including me, to be honest.
The liturgy isn’t about liturgy. Nor is it about music – including the organ music and Latin chant and choral music I so dearly love. Nor is it about sacramental theology. Nor is it about building up the Church. (Those things all have their place, of course.)
The liturgy is about the Reign of God. This is the central preoccupation of all Jesus’ teaching and healing. This is to be the central concern of all of us, as we work for the transformation of the entire world into which the Reign of God is breaking.
It seems to me that Pope Francis gets this. In that sense, he’s the most liturgical of popes!

 Earnie Bay says:
Well, I guess that’s a point of view… I’m trying very hard to support Pope Francis myself but the whole package is very worrisome to me, and the apparent slapdown of Cdl. Sarah continues in the same vein: “Dialogue… but if I don’t like what you’re saying I’ll freeze you out”. “Mercy… but not for those who disagree with my novelties”. Canonize one predecessor and praise another, but oppose their magisterium as no pope in living memory has done… but I guess it’s OK if one agrees with the results. There are many Americans who feel the same way about their president…

Wait a minute, Earnie. I think you are misunderstanding some of the essential facts that are relevant here.
The situation with Sarah is not about dialogue. It’s Sarah’s job to present fairly what the Pope has said in his motu proprio, and to interpret it correctly so that others can understand it according to what Pope Francis actually said and intended. Sarah didn’t do this, so Francis corrected him. Sarah is not appointed to rule on liturgical questions his own, or to advance his personal opinions if they are opposed to the Pope’s. He is appointed as part of the Pope’s cabinet to assist the Pope. How can he do this if he misrepresents the Pope?
As for “novelties,” the Pope has explained (with chapter and verse) where and how his decision is based in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It’s simply not a novelty. If anything was a novelty it was having the CDW micromanage the translation process, as Liturgiam authenticam directed. Same goes for what you are concerned about, re: the magisterium of his predecessors. I think you are underestimating the continuity between Francis and his predecessors, which is considerable. No pope is expected to be a carbon copy of the one before him.
I wonder if you have absorbed some false impressions about what Francis is actually doing, and this is causing you to be concerned.


Sunday, October 22, 2017



Why are academic liturgists so insecure as betrayed by their sheer arrogance when a contrary opinion is offered?

  1. “In the controversial 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam (LA), the Holy See contravened the Second Vatican Council”
    Father Ruff, is not the epithet “controversial” an editorializing remark? Would you call “Comme le prévoit” “controversial”? “Magnum principium”?
    Also, is not “contravened the Second Vatican Council” a bit strongly worded? Your articles seem relentlessly to push the idea that those with whom you disagree are somehow all in contravention of Vatican II. 
    I realize this is a blog post and not a scholarly article, but perhaps a bit more balance is a virtue?

    1. Nope. 
      We get to publish our opinions and our convictions at our blog, Lee. You can start your own blog and publish whatever you want at it. 
      What you can’t keep doing is complaining at Pray Tell about Pray Tell.
      Further comments in this vein will be deleted.

      1. Thanks for that, Father Ruff!
        If Mr. Fratantuono and his lot have something new to say, I’m sure you’d post it and the Pray Tell community would engage it. But I’m glad you’re deleting comments that say the same thing over and over. Pray Tell is a more sane place than a few years ago! I like the range of opinions at the blog and learn a lot from it.
      2. You might want to revisit your comment about the English translation of “in primis”. While I would prefer something like “first and foremost”, “firstly” is not a “mistranslation,” as you call it. It might not be felicitous; it might not be poetic; it might not be ideal…but it is most certainly not a “mistranslation.”
      3. I agree with you, “first and foremost” would be better. As to whether the missal is infelicitous or mistaken – I think this discussion shows that translation is never an exact science, it is an art, and there will always be more than one view about it. It’d be good for all of us to keep this in mind whenever we speak about translation “accuracy.” For all that, I changed “mistranslation” to “translation” in my post in response to your point.



BREAKING: Pope to Card. Sarah: Liturgical translations "no longer... must conform at all points to the rules of Liturgiam Authenticam, as it was done in the past." Rome will no longer need to approve Mass translations or approve their fidelity in accordance with the rules established by Benedict XVI. READ the entire letter here:

"Vatican City, October 15, 2017

Your Eminence is Reverendissima

Mr. Cardinal Robert SARAH

Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Vatican City


I received your letter of September 30, with which you wished to express your gratitude for the publication of Motu Proprio Magnum Principium and to send me a commentary aimed at a better understanding of the text.

In expressing my gratitude for the commitment and the contribution, I would simply like to express, some comments on the above mentioned note which I consider to be important, especially for the proper application and understanding of the Motu proprio and to avoid any misunderstanding.

First of all, it is important to point out the importance of the clear difference that the new MP establishes between recognitioand confirmatio, well enshrined in §§ 2 and 3 of the can. 838, to abolish the practice adopted by the Dicastery following the Authentic Liturgy (LA) and that the new Motu Proprio wanted to change. We can not therefore say that recognitio and confirmatio are "strictly synonymous (or) are interchangeable" or "they are interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See."

In fact the new can. 838, through the distinction between recognitio and confirmatio , asserts the different responsibility of the Apostolic See in the exercise of these two actions, as well as that of the Episcopal Conferences. The Magnum Principium no longer argues that translations must conform at all points to the rules of Liturgiam Authenticam, as it was done in the past. For this reason, individual LA numbers must be carefully re-understood, including nn. 79-84, in order to distinguish what is required by the code for translation and what is required for legitimate adaptations. It is therefore clear that some LA numbers have been abrogated or have fallen into the terms in which they were re-formulated by the MP's new canon (eg No. 76 and even No. 80).

On the responsibility of the Bishops' Conferences to translate " fideliter ", it should be pointed out that the judgment of Latin fidelity and any necessary corrections was the task of the Dicastery, while now the norm grants the Episcopal Conferences the right to judge the goodness and consistency of the 'one and the other term in the translation from the original, even if in dialogue with the Holy See. The confirmatio not supposed more, therefore, a detailed examination word for word, except in obvious cases that can be made to the present Bishops for their further reflection. This applies in particular to the relevant formulas, such as the Eucharistic Prayers and in particular the sacramental formulas approved by the Holy Father. The confirmatioIt also takes into account the integrity of the book, that is, verifying that all parties that make up the typical edition have been translated [1] .

Here it can be added that, in the light of the MP, the "fideliter" of § 3 of the canon implies a threefold fidelity: to the original text in the first ; to the particular language in which it is translated, and finally to the comprehension of the text by the recipients (see Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani Nos. 391-392)

In this sense, recognitio only indicates verification and preservation of conformity to the law and communion of the Church. The process of translating relevant liturgical texts (eg sacramental formulas, the Credo, the Pater Noster ) into a language - from which they are considered authentic translations - should not lead to a spirit of "imposition" at the Episcopal Conferences of a date translation made by the Dicastery, as this would undermine the right of the bishops sanctioned in the canon and already before SC 36 § 4. Moreover, keep in mind the analogy with the can. 825 § 1 about the version of Sacred Scripture that does not require confirmation by the Apostolic See.

It is wrong to attribute to confirmation the purpose of recognitio (ie to "verify and safeguard compliance with law"). Of course, confirmation is not merely formal, but necessary for the edition of the liturgical book "translated": it is granted after the version has been submitted to the Apostolic See for the ratification of the Bishops' approval in a spirit of dialogue and aid to reflect if and when necessary, respecting their rights and duties, considering the legality of the process followed and its modalities [2] .

Finally, Eminence, I reiterate my fraternal gratitude for his commitment and note that the commentaire has been published on some websites and wrongly attributed to his person, I kindly ask you to provide this answer to the same sites as well as sending it to all Episcopal Conferences, Members and Consultors of this Dicastery.



[1] Magnum Principium: "The end of the translations of the liturgical texts and the biblical texts, for the liturgy of the Word, is to announce to the faithful the word of salvation in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord. To this end, it is necessary to communicate faithfully to a particular people, through their own language, what the Church intended to communicate to another by means of the Latin language. Although fidelity can not always be judged by singular words, but it must be in the context of the whole act of communication and according to its literary genre, however, some peculiar terms should also be considered in the context of the Catholic faith. liturgical texts must be congruent with the sound doctrine. "

[2] Magnum Principium : "One must certainly pay attention to the usefulness and goodness of the faithful, nor should we forget the rights and burdens of the Episcopal Conferences which, together with the Episcopal Conferences of regions with the same language and with the Apostolic See, must make sure that the indole of each language is preserved, fully and faithfully rendered the meaning of the original text and that the liturgical books translated, even after the adaptations, always shine through the unity of the Roman Rite ".

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Empty churches and bare ruined choirs:

The Church of England (Anglican there, Episcopal here) does not have Humanae Vitae to blame for its decline in church services. It does not have a strict moral code to blame either as it accepts divorce and remarriage and full communion with their sect. There is no distinction between male and female in the vocations to their ministries and marriages. Acceptance of worldly standards for sex prevails.  Yet this denomination is declining so rapidly one wonders if it will exist in any meaningful way in the near future.

On the institutional level this sect has moved so far away from orthodox Christianity signified by full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that we can say there is an institutional loss of Faith that leads their members into a personal loss of faith substituted by a bogus faith and on many levels. Who wants to make a lifetime out of that when simply being secular is so much easier and you don't have to go to church on Sunday and ruin most of the day.

For Catholics, the decline is blamed on halting Vatican II with Humanae Vitae and a conservative reiteration of gender policies and sexuality. Catholics now prefer secularism and this affects their Mass attendance as well as the other sacraments to include marriage and Holy Orders.

Yet Pope Francis seems to want a type of liberal ecumenism that will correspond with what the Church of England has accomplished since it did away with natural law when it comes to gender and sexuality. Liberal Protestantism is not fundamentalistic and thus is preferred by Pope Francis over evangelical Protestantism and what John Allen once dubbed Catholic Evangelicalism or Evangelical Catholicism.

Thus we will see the Francis Effect leading to a further decline in  Mass attendance, RCIA programs and the other sacraments to include Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. I think this is already happening in four short years. Our RCIA at St. Anne's in Richmond Hill is down from last year and significantly, maybe just a blip in the scheme of things? I hope so.

But this is what is happening to the Church of England and it is happening in the Catholic Church and all of it is a result of institutional and individual loss of authentic Catholic Faith, either partial or full:

Church Attendance in the CofE: 14% Decline in 10 Years

Over at Catholic Herald, Stephen Bullivant gives his analysis – as usual for him, incisive and witty – on “Statistics for Mission,” the annual report from the Church of England. Here’s a taste of the sobering data:
Between 2006 and 2016 (not in itself a vast span of time): “Usual Sunday Attendance” has fallen by 14 per cent (and 23 per cent, even more worryingly, for children), Easter attendance by 17 per cent, baptisms and “thanksgivings” by 15 per cent, marriages and “services of prayer and dedication” by 21 per cent, and funerals by a striking 28 per cent.
And here’s Bullivant zeroing in on the essentials:
Sadly, this year’s report – in contrast to last year’s – doesn’t tell us the proportion of Anglican parish churches that either have a toilet and/or moonlight as a Post Office.
Bullivant thinks the Catholic Church ought to follow the CofE’s lead and see what our data looks like:
I dunno… call me crazy, but I’ve always thought it’s better to know what precisely it is we’re up against.
A commenter's observation to the article above: And of course, CofE ordains women and is more accepting LGBT+ people. I am not making a statement about the desirability of any of CofE policies or doctrines but pointing out they are not doing anything to stop the decline. People are just finding it difficult to believe in a personal God, divine revelation, and any institutional church (whether liberal or conservative). 
Of course, the Catholic Communion is having it’s own difficulties. Take a look at Pittsburgh. Mass attendance has dropped over 40% in 16 years. On the upside, in 2000 there were 730 mass attenders for every active diocesan priest. In 2016, there were 658 per priest in Pittsburgh.


From the Augusta Chronicle:

500 years of the reformation

Protestants see ‘no work so lowly’ that it can’t be a vocation


In 2017, we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Over the next seven weeks, this series will reveal the variety of ways in which life today bears the marks of the Reformation and its legacy.
Sept. 16: Why we commemorate the Reformation Sept. 23: Education Sept. 30: Politics Oct. 7: Conflict and the quest for unity Oct. 14: Marriage and family Today: Economics Oct. 28: Evangelism and missions


REaD mORE about the history of the American prosperity gospel in its diversity of forms in Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
GAP MInISTRIES is open on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m.-noon at the former Greene Street Presbyterian Church (enter at 1240 Ellis St.) Bible study is from 10 to 10:15 a.m. Assistance is available for clothing, food, obtaining an ID or birth certificate and medicine. Learn more about the ministry at

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF Volunteers Dana Ellis and Mike Hodges sort donated clothing at the GAP Ministries clothes closet in the former Greene Street Presbyterian Church. In the early years of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and John Calvin professed that a person could have a vocation without being in the clergy.

Have you ever felt like others in your office were judging you for actually using all of your vacation time? Would you feel guilty if you just sat in a chair and read a book on a Saturday when you could be cleaning an untidy house or doing needed yard-work? Do you consider it a mark of good character if someone comes into work early or if they can work through lunch without taking a break? If so, then your perspective is likely informed by the Protestant work ethic.
The Protestant work ethic has been responsible for great progress and American success, and at the same time, for the tyranny of work in our lives. It is a legacy of the Protestant Reformation – part gift and part curse – and it is still with us some 500 years later.
Among the many changes that occurred as a result of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, one of the most significant for the average person’s day-to-day life was the concept of vocation. Vocation, which is a synonym for calling, was terminology that had long been employed only for the religious life. But with the arrival of thinkers like Martin Luther and John Calvin, no longer was it the case that the professional religious alone could be understood as having a vocation through which one might serve God. All kinds of work could now be considered a vocation through which one might serve and glorify God. All of life belonged to God, and so, the sphere of public life was now sacred, too.
Sixteenth century French theologian John Calvin develops his thought on the matter in a number of places, in his biblical commentaries and in his sermons, but perhaps his most famous work is his theological treatise Institutes of the Christian Religion. The closing lines from the 1541 French edition of the Institutes read as follows: “There is no work so lowly that it does not shine before God and is not very precious, provided we are serving our vocation in it.”
In other words, any kind of honest work could be understood as a calling, every bit as important to God as a religious calling. In this way, there was a democratic ethos about the idea of vocation. At the same time, Calvin was wary about the idea of ambition, and thought it best that everyone seek to serve God in their appointed station, which reminds us that Calvin was very much a man of his time, supporting the aristocratic social ideals of the day.
Over time, this particular influence of the Reformation came to be referred to as the Protestant work ethic, sometimes called the Puritan work ethic or the Calvinist work ethic. The Protestant work ethic is defined by notions of hard work, discipline and frugality. This term was first coined by Max Weber in his classic 1905 work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It is here that he develops what has become known as the Weber thesis, that is, the notion that the growth of capitalism was connected to the development of the Protestant work ethic. Part of the thesis involves the notion that Protestant Christians, and Calvinists in particular, were so driven as a result of the doctrine of predestination, in an effort to demonstrate that they numbered among the elect.

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF GAP Ministries volunteer Ellen Beam bags some donated clothes for a woman at the GAP Ministries clothes closet. The ministry is open from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursdays when 130 to 150 people are assisted through the clothes closet, food bank, and other services, according to GAP Ministries’ Jodi Huff, who was assisting volunteers and clients on a recent Thursday.

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF Volunteer Julie Usry helps a woman get a copy of her birth certificate, which is among the services GAP Ministries offers.
This thesis has been the matter of much controversy, and one can easily see why. Even if we approve of the economic system, it is troubling to attribute results that are financially driven and materialistic in nature to a spiritual reformation. The idea that success was a sign of God’s election is surely not something that John Calvin himself would endorse. Instead, this is a way that theological concepts have been largely misconstrued by Weber’s thesis. Election, to Calvin’s way of thinking, is entirely inscrutable, and there is no way that our success or lack thereof or anything that we ourselves do would be any indicator. However, Calvin certainly placed a high value on hard work. Work is of value in that it is an opportunity to glorify God.
But like so many religious ideas born from reformation and the best of intentions, over time they can lose their impact on the world. Religious ideas no longer influence the culture, but the culture begins influencing them. Such is the case with the Protestant work ethic.
One has to wonder whether it is now capitalism’s influence on Protestantism that has led to the understanding of the Protestant work ethic as it is broadly construed, rather than the other way around. For better or for worse, Calvin did not find ambition seemly. It is also not difficult to make the link between the Protestant work ethic and the American prosperity gospel. As some have mistakenly understood that the Protestant work ethic meant that success was a sure sign of God’s election, it is only a few short steps from there to the many different iterations of health and wealth or personal empowerment theologies that have been a part of American culture for the last century and beyond.
As for me, I recently told my husband that while going to the beach and relaxing for vacation was fine, I preferred a vacation where I felt like I had accomplished something. Where I could check off a list – I had seen this or that, been to this or that new place, had this or that experience, achieved this or that goal. I guess the Protestant work ethic goes on vacation, too.
Erin Kesterson Bowers is the associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church in High Point, N.C.

Friday, October 20, 2017


I will give the benefit of the doubt to whoever taught the class on this because it might have been speculative theology. But of course, theologians back then saw themselves as a parallel magisterium and as the so-called "loyal opposition" to the authentic magisterium of the Church. So who knows?

But I learened with my classmates a more sophisticated understanding of salvation and damnation. We were taught that in ages past, using pagan philosophy, the soul was immortal. Not so, though. It is immortal only because of the will of God.

Thus heaven is where the soul find immortality and eternal bliss contemplating the presence of the Most Holy Trinity and in the company of all the angels and saints.

Hell on the other hand is "nothingness" that is, the soul dies. There is no suffering or anguish except for the moment when the soul dies one realizes what one misses if one had been good enough for heaven.

I like that concept of hell, don't you? Nothingness is quite pleasing and it reminds me when I am put under for surgery how falling asleep in that circumstance is like becoming nothing.

We were also taught that God is so merciful that in His love God would not let anyone go to hell. That is a lovely sentiment too.

But are both of these teachings, these speculations heresy?

In addition to this, we were taught about an eschatology that brought about the Kingdom of God here on earth and that like the Jews of old, the Promise Land is now and that we should be content with the here and now and not fret about the hereafter because this might be all there is and we should make the world the best place it can be in the here and now especially for the poor and marginalized.

Nice no?


Who's the Catholic here?

You can hear the BBC talk show here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


The  National Catholic Register has a story on a parish that has gone Ad Orientem. You can read it there.
Above, Bishop James Conley celebrates Advent Mass for the diocesan staff at the John XXIII Pastoral Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Below, Mass being said <i>ad orientem</i> at Star of the Sea and Holy Rosary parishes.
Above, Bishop James Conley celebrates Advent Mass for the diocesan staff at the John XXIII Pastoral Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Below, Mass being said ad orientem at Star of the Sea and Holy Rosary parishes. (2015 photo, Southern Nebraska Catholic via Bishop James Conley Twitter; others courtesy of the parishes)
NATION   |  OCT. 17, 2017
Ad Orientem Posture Given New Life in Nebraska
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has provided the latest inspiration for its use in the ordinary form of the Mass.

My comments: When altars were turned around almost overnight around the world beginning in early 1966 (just add another 6), the point was to make the Mass more intelligible to the dumb laity who didn't know what was going on. It was another case of academic liturgists looking down their academic noses to the peons who knew nothing and had to be informed.  

But the turning around of altars wasn't enough, the entire interior of magnificent old churches had to be reoriented too so that the laity could gather around the altar as if concelebrants. In fact, many academic theologians insisted that the laity have a more active part in the Eucharistic Prayer. Some priests invited the laity to say the prayers with him all or in part. The Doxology is a classic example. 

But what is there to see when the priest faces the congregation? Nothing but the priest's facial expression, arm gestures and eye contact or lack thereof. You might see the epeclesis and the single Sign of the Cross over the bread and wine prior to the consecration. You'll miss the reduced number of genuflections, now only three, because most of the genuflection is behind the altar and thus obscured. 

Symbolically, what was gained in turning altars around and reorienting entire older churches and new ones to be built? NOTHING except the loss of Catholic reverence and awe!

Symbolically what was lost? That all liturgical prayer is directed to God, through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Facing the people this symbol is diminished and weakened so much so that most congregants believe the prayers of Mass, as though these are greetings, Scripture readings and homily, are directed to them as is the  central part of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Consecration, especially when the priest uses the bread and chalice and gestures with them in a wide sweep over the altar to the congregation. 

Facing the people is the cause for so much of the loss of symbol and sign when it comes to the direction of prayer.

Facing the people moves the priest to a confrontational and superior position to the congregation as though he is a professor, an academic, teaching the poor dumb souls before him. 

Ad Orientem places the priest in the same direction as his congregation, poor souls all in need of salvation and the  gifts of sanctifying Grace the Holy Mass offers.  

Ad Orientem isn't about clericalism or fostering it.

Facing the people fosters clericalism in the priest because of his "superior" not humble position before the laity. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Please note there is a lector for the Epistle as the celebrant proclaims it to God!


reading of the gospel
The reading of the Gospel at a low Mass

Mordacil has left a new comment on your post "DID THE COMMITTEE THAT REVISED THE MASS MAKE IT TO...": 

I'm 29 years old and didn't become a catholic until 2014 but somewhere along the way I heard that the readings were an offerings to God in the Liturgy of the Word like the Eucharist was an offering to God in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It made sense to me especially after seeing Tridentine Masses and realizing the Latin readings were for God and the English during the homily was for us. It was a gray parallel that helped teach me the meaning of the Eucharist-just as we offer God his own word that he gave us, we also offer the Eucharist, which we can only give because He gave it first. It really emphasizes the fact that we have nothing to give to God that He didn't already provide for us to be able to give it. It puts us in our rightful place regarding His love and our salvation. 

My comments: And the Word of God is returned to us in the homily. At the Cathedral's EF Sunday Mass, a lector reads in English from the pulpit the readings as the priest offers the readings to our heavenly father in a low voice from the altar. 


Father Robert served as a Franciscan priest for decades before retiring in 2012. Instead of taking up a hobby or relaxing, Robert ministered to the poor and society’s misfits, said leaders in the Florida and Georgia dioceses. They came to Augusta in January to petition the prosecutor not to seek the death penalty for Murray.

Father Robert opposed the death penalty and in 1995 he signed a personal “Declaration of Life,” a document that requests no death sentence be imposed if he should be killed by another, regardless of how heinous the death.

Murray to plead guilty to murder in slaying of priest

The former Aiken man accused of killing a priest is scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Steven J. Murray, 30, will make what should be his last appearance in Burke County Superior Court, a short drive from where Murray said he shot the Rev. Rene Robert of St. Augustine, Fla., in April 2016.

Murray, a petty criminal and drug user from Aiken, moved to Florida several years ago. Not long after, he was behind bars again, this time for dealing in stolen property in 2012. Murray was the kind of person the 71-year-old priest spent his retirement years ministering to, according to friends.

Robert served as a Franciscan priest for decades before retiring in 2012. Instead of taking up a hobby or relaxing, Robert ministered to the poor and society’s misfits, said leaders in the Florida and Georgia dioceses. They came to Augusta in January to petition the prosecutor not to seek the death penalty for Murray.
Robert opposed the death penalty and in 1995 he signed a personal “Declaration of Life,” a document that requests no death sentence be imposed if he should be killed by another, regardless of how heinous the death.

Former District Attorney Ashley Wright, now a Superior Court judge, filed notice of her intention to seek the death penalty for Murray if he was convicted of murder, which she contended was committed during a kidnapping and aggravated battery.

According to Murray’s statements to investigators and a
Florida Times-Union reporter, on April 10, 2016, Murray decided to drive Robert’s car to Aiken so he could visit his children. Robert likely didn’t know where Murray was headed when he agreed to go for a ride, authorities said.

When Murray was denied access to his children, he forced Robert into the trunk of the car while he allegedly burglarized several homes, setting one on fire.

On rural River Road in Burke County just off Highway 56, Murray pulled to the side of the road and removed Robert from the trunk. He fatally shot the elderly priest, then got back in the vehicle and returned to Florida.

On April 12, 2016, Murray is suspected of leading Florida police on a chase. The next day he was spotted in Aiken near Snipes Pond and Wire roads. In the pursuit Murray crashed Robert’s car before being taken into custody. He was returned to St. Augustine where law enforcement were investigating Robert’s disappearance.



On April 18, 2016, Murray led officers from two states to Robert’s body.

Murray has been held in various jails since his arrest, most recently in the Clayton County Jail. On July 29, 2016, he threatened jailers, saying, “I got bodies under my belt. One more ain’t gonna make no difference,” according to the incident report.

On Aug. 27, 2016, Murray attempted suicide twice by jumping off a second floor balcony with a bed sheet tied around his neck. The first time the knot came undone.

On Jan. 6 while in the infirmary, Murray allegedly stole a pair of scissors and a calculator. An officer searching his room found two pairs of medical scissors taped under the bed, a broken light bulb under the toilet, and medical tape and rubber gloves on a shelf, according to another incident report.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


A Scripture reading during Mass--is she using God's words during Mass to worship and praise God or is she reading them for the edification and instruction of those before her? 

Read these two comments about the use of two separate ambos, one for the Gospel only and the other for the other Scriptures:

--Nor do I (get it) as a post Vatican 2 "student". Are you saying the readings should not be delivered from am ambo or pulpit? If so, I can't see any reason why they should not be---after all, they are being read to the congregation, right? The altar is where the sacrifice is made present---but the preparation of the gifts happens after the readings and the creed. Is there anything wrong with saying the Mass has two main parts?....
"after all, they are being read to the congregation, right?"-------------------
--Not so. At least in the traditional view, where the purpose of the readings is latreutic (directed toward God) rather than didactic (directed toward the people. They constitute praise of God in God's own words.

Just as turning the priest toward the people during the Canon diminished awareness of the latreutic character of the Mass, so did his facing the people for the readings.

To be honest with you, I have never been taught, pre or post Vatican II that the purpose of the readings at Mass were directed to God in praise of God in God's own words. 

Given the fact that the Mass, all of it, is about the Church giving praise and thanks to God, it makes sense. 

But with the Mass facing the congregation, we think it is all about God instructing us--which He does, but the Mass isn't about God's instructions, it is our worship and praise and thus viewing the readings as a part of this is wholly consistent with the meticulous organic development of the liturgy where all fits together in a logical whole.  

In the EF Mass, the homily is not considered a part of the Mass. It is to be instructive and inspirational for the congregation and the priest can use his talents, rhetorical and teaching skills and acting to impress the congregation.  The homily is priest oriented as it is congregation oriented. And yes, the readings could be repeated at the pulpit (and in the traditional design of churches built for the EF Mass, the pulpit is outside the sanctuary!) for instructive purposes, not directed to God but the congregation. 



In new book, Francis calls honest interviews a 'pastoral risk' to create church of dialogue

by Joshua J. McElwee

Rome — Pope Francis says in a new book that he chooses to give interviews and to speak freely in press conferences as part of his desire to create a Catholic Church that understands how to dialogue with the people of today.

The pontiff adds that while he knows giving such interviews entails the possibility of being misinterpreted he wants to run that "pastoral risk" in order to have direct communication with people.

Referring to the Gospel story of Jesus after his death appearing to two disciples walking together, Francis says the church of dialogue is "the church of Emmaus, in which the Lord 'interviews' the disciples who are walking discouraged."

"I desire a church that knows how to insert itself into the conversations of people, that knows how to dialogue," states the pope, writing in a preface for a new collection of eight of the interviews and public dialogues he has given since his March 2013 election as pontiff.

"For me, the interview is part of this conversation of the church with the people of today," he says.

The collection, to be released in Italy Oct. 19, carries the title Adesso fate le vostre domande ("Now, ask your questions") and was edited by Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, a papal confidant and editor of the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. Excerpts from Francis' preface to the volume were printed Oct. 17 by the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Francis says in the preface that during his press conferences on papal flights he likes "to look into the eyes of the person [asking questions] and respond to the questions with sincerity."

"I know that I have to be prudent, and I hope to be so," the pope states. "I always pray to the Holy Spirit before I start listening to the questions and answering. And as I must not lose prudence, I must also not lose trust. I know that this can make me vulnerable, but it's a risk that I want to run."

The pontiff says the interviews have a "pastoral value" akin to the daily homilies he gives at the Masses he celebrates on weekdays at the chapel in the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta guesthouse, where he lives.

"It is a way of communicating my ministry," says Francis. "And I tie these conversations in the interviews with the daily homilies in Santa Marta, which is -- let's say it like this -- my 'parish.'"

"I need to have this communication with people," states the pope. "I have a true need of this direct communication with people. Giving an interview ... means having an encounter with journalists who often ask you questions taken from the people."

"One thing I like is speaking with small newspapers," he continues. "I feel even more at ease. In fact, in those cases I truly hear the questions and the worries of the common people. I seek to respond in a spontaneous way, in a conversation that I want to be comprehensible, not [made up of] rigid formulas."

"I also use simple, popular language," Francis explains. "For me, interviews are a dialog, not a lecture. For this reason I do not prepare."

"Sometimes I receive the questions in advance but I almost never read or think over them," he states. "Other times, in the plane press conferences, I imagine the questions they might ask me. But to respond I need to encounter the people and look into their eyes."

"Yes, I have a fear of being poorly interpreted," says the pontiff. "But, I repeat, I want to run this pastoral risk."

Adesso fate le vostre domande is being published by Rizzoli, a publishing house based in Milan. The eight interviews and dialogues it collects include Francis' 2013 interview with Spadaro, his 2016 interview with Polish Jesuit Fr. Ulf Jonsson, and conversations he had in 2015 and 2016 with the Philippine and Polish Jesuits during papal trips to their countries.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent.


Spectacular start: An aerial view of Saint Peter's Square prior to the start of the installation Mass as the bishops, cardinals and VIP guests arrive
Spectacular start: An aerial view of Saint Peter's Square prior to the start of the installation Mass as the bishops, cardinals and VIP guests arrive

After the concoction of the "new" Mass, modern liturgists described the two main parts of the Mass as "the table of God's Word and the table of the Lord's Supper." Altar was not used in this paradigm as it wasn't ecumenical.

What the new Mass did was to seperate the offering of God's word from the one location where it had occurred, the one altar itself where also the one Sacrifice is offered, to another location, the ambo, referred to as the "table" of God's Word.

However a remnant of the Epistle side and Gospel side of the one altar continues at papal Masses but only outside St. Peter's Basilica at St. Peter's Square. It happened this past Sunday at the canonization Mass.


And the Epistle ambo is smaller than the Gospel ambo.

No one on heterodox or orthodox blogs ever comment on this papal Mass anomaly. You would think traditionalists would applaud it and hold it up as an example for all parishes and non traditionalists would be apoplectic about it, like those at Praytell.

I don't get it.


Borrowed from

Were these soldiers really victims? Having grown up in the evangelical south I would have been offended as a Catholic if I were in the army and a Protestant chaplain used a barbecue to proselytize me. What do you think?

Seems to me Pope Francis is right about not proselytizing!

This is from this morning's Augusta Chronicle. Fort Gordon is in Augusta:

Group says BBQ aimed to convert

Troop complaints sent to Fort Gordon leaders

A religious freedom organization is calling on post leadership at Fort Gordon to take action after some soldiers reported they were forced to undergo fundamentalist Christian proselytizing by an Army chaplain during a Saturday “spiritual” barbecue. A post official said attendance was voluntary.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for a sharp separation of church and state, is acting on behalf of 43 soldiers, the majority of them young, but has not taken legal action, said Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of MRFF.

Weinstein said the soldiers were marched to a Fort Gordon chapel Saturday under belief the event was mandatory. At the chapel, loud Christian rock music played and an Army chaplain tried “his level best to get them to accept and surrender to his version of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein was unable to provide documentation, but said MRFF’s clients gave their “confirmed word” of what happened. He said the event “divided people and hurt people” as several companies, and possibly an entire battalion representing a variety of religions and atheism, were ordered to participate.

Weinstein said his organization typically works with company or battalion leadership on complaints, but, in this instance, went straight to Maj. Gen. John Morrison, Fort Gordon’s commanding general and highest ranking official, and asked the general to investigate and actively punish those responsible.

Fort Gordon Acting Public Affairs Officer Geralyn Smith Noah said the post is aware of Weinstein’s concern and will investigate whether there was “undue command influence” resulting in attendance by approximately 500 soldiers at the Fall Spiritual Fitness Cookout.

“While the event was clearly advertised as a voluntary activity only, we will conduct an inquiry to ensure there was no undue command influence to attend,” she said.


In a Facebook Live interview with The New York Times on Monday, actress and author Mayim Bialik discussed a recent opinion piece that drew accusations that she was blaming accusers of Harvey Weinstein.

In one of the news stories about Harvey Weinstein, an actress stated he made unwanted sexual advances toward her. Then she had the audacity to state that when a movie casting agent asks an actress to wear a bikini to a private audition so he can see her body since flesh will be the star of the movie, she should feel safe doing so.

No one wants to be a victim and yes, Harvey Weinstein should be charged if he victimized women who enticed him.

But just as one wears a seat belt to help reduce injury  when someone runs a red light, one should dress modestly to prevent from becoming a victim of sexual assault.

Miriam Bialik  became politically incorrect by suggesting women dress modestly to prevent from becoming a victim of sexual assault and was forced to walk it back. She understands concupiscence but was bullied into "clarifying" her remarks by a culture than is blind to it thus putting victims at higher risk:


Actress Mayim Bialik has clarified her comments on the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein after an opinion piece she wrote drew accusations of victim blaming.

Bialik wrote in a New York Times piece published Friday that she makes choices to be “self-protecting and wise” like dressing modestly and not acting flirtatiously.

She later added that nothing “excuses men for assaulting or abusing women” and women should be able to wear and act however they want.

Bialik responded to social media criticism in a Facebook interview with the Times on Monday.

She says women can’t avoid being “the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” She adds that she regrets that the piece “became what it became.”

Monday, October 16, 2017


Pope Francis, like a triumphant politician, think Trump, emerged from his election to the loggia of St. Peter’s  Dressed down, casual in his greeting in Italian, showing in a somewhat arrogant way that he would be the anti- Benedict, that is, his papacy would be in discontinuity, a rupture with Benedict ‘s and John Paul II’s. This is a novel secular political thrust to the papacy dividing the Church  into political camps or parties!

However, every dead pope is always referred to as His Holiness or as pope. Once a pope always a pope. Pope Benedict is still pope as Presidents Bush, Bush, Carter and Obama are still refered to as President.

Pope Francis’ rupture with Benedict is the problem thus creating political parties in the Church herself or confirming the heresy of such that developed as a result of the “spirit of  Vatican  II” which Francis has recovered with a vengeance! With a living Pope Emeritus, the rupture is quite vivid and scandalous this energizing the Benedict Party to want to win the next election in order to undo the Francis effect. Francis, not Benedict, is to be blamed for this unprecedented politicalization of the Church and papacy!

Resigned pope creates ‘multiplied and divided’ authority, author says

Resigned pope creates ‘multiplied and divided’ authority, author says
From Crux, read the rest there:

What the author describes in his book is an ‘internalization’ by the Catholic Church of a conflict, typical of the political realm, that had never existed before. This matter is more relevant since both pontiffs recognize each other’s authority and position, something that had never occurred in papal history.