Saturday, September 19, 2020
Vigil of St. Matthew
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): September 20

In addition to the Feast of St. Eustace, September 20th is also the Vigil of Saint Matthew. If this Mass is celebrated, the vestments are violet. Otherwise, the Vigil is commemorated at the Mass of St. Eustace.

Traditionally the feasts of all the apostles, which were Holy Days of Obligation in previous times, were preceded with a vigil. It has been kept in the Church from ancient times and is mentioned in the Martyrology of St. Jerome.

Today is a worthwhile day, in years when the Vigil does not fall on a Sunday, for us to fast and abstain from meat as we prepare to celebrate St. Matthew's feastday. In years when the Vigil falls on a Sunday, before the advent of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the fast would be anticipated on Saturday, the day prior.

Luke 5: 27-32 (the Proper Last Gospel today at the Mass of St. Eustace if a second Mass for the Vigil is not offered):

At that time, Jesus saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And, leaving all things, he rose up, and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house; and there was a great company of publicans, and of others, that were at table with them. But the pharisees and scribes murmured, saying to His disciples, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering, said to them, "They that are whole need not the physician: but they that are sick. I came not to call the just, but sinners, to penance."

Collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the august solemnity of blessed Matthew, Thine apostle and Evangelist, to which we look forward, may increase both our devotion and our salvation. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God.

Image Source: Tridentine Mass Society of Madison

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Within the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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We are currently in the midst of another octave - the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, another casualty in 1955 that few people know of or spiritually celebrate anymore. This was previously a Common Octave. In 1913, with the Divino Aflatu reforms, the Octave was downgraded to a simple octave, and the Octave Day itself, September 15th, was replaced by the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

By the 20th century, the Octave of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother had all but vanished as higher-ranking feasts were added to the calendar. The entire octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was impeded, but The Most Holy Name of Mary was celebrated during the octave and The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on the former octave day.

Brief History of Octaves:

By the 8th century, Rome had developed liturgical octaves not only for Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas but also for the Epiphany and the feast of the dedication of a church.

After 1568, when Pope Pius V reduced the number of octaves (since by then they had grown considerably), the number of Octaves was still plentiful.  Octaves were classified into several types. Easter and Pentecost had "specially privileged" octaves, during which no other feast whatsoever could be celebrated. Christmas, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi had "privileged" octaves, during which certain highly ranked feasts might be celebrated. The octaves of other feasts allowed even more feasts to be celebrated.

To reduce the repetition of the same liturgy for several days, Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X made further distinctions, classifying octaves into three primary types: privileged octaves, common octaves, and simple octaves. Privileged octaves were arranged in a hierarchy of first, second, and third orders. For the first half of the 20th century, octaves were ranked in the following manner, which affected holding other celebrations within their timeframes:
  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost
    • Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
      • Octave of Epiphany
      • Octave of Corpus Christi
    • Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
      • Octave of Christmas
      • Octave of the Ascension
      • Octave of the Sacred Heart
  • Common Octaves
    • Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
    • Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
    • Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    • Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
    • Octave of All Saints
    • Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
  • Simple Octaves
    • Octave of St. Stephen
    • Octave of St. John the Apostle
    • Octave of the Holy Innocents 
    • Octave of St. Lawrence
    • Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Crown of Twelve Stars

All praise and thanksgiving; be to the ever-blessed Trinity, Who hath shown unto us Mary, ever-Virgin, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a mystic crown of twelve stars.
R. For ever and ever. Amen.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Father, Who elected her for his daughter.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Father, Who predestined her to be the Mother of His Son.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Father, Who preserved her from all stain in her conception.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Father, Who on her birthday adorned her with His choicest gifts.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Father, Who gave her Joseph for her pure spouse and companion.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Son, Who chose her for His Mother.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Son, Who became Incarnate in her womb, and abode there nine months.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Son, Who was born of her and was nourished at her breast.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Son, Who in His childhood willed that Mary should teach Him.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise is to God the Son, Who revealed to her the mysteries of the redemption of the world.
R. Amen. Ave Maria and Gloria Patri.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Holy Ghost who made her His spouse.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, Who revealed to her first His name of Holy Ghost.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, through whose operation she became at once Virgin and Mother.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, through whom she became the living temple of the Most Holy Trinity.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, by whom she was exalted in Heaven high above all creatures.
R. Amen. Ave Maria and Gloria Patri.

For the Holy Catholic Church, for the propagation of the faith, for peace among Christian princes, and for the uprooting of heresies, let us say Salve Regina.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Make me worthy to praise thee, O Holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thine enemies.

V. Blessed be God in his saints.
R. Amen

(100 days Indulgence)
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Friday, September 4, 2020
Book Review - Oremus: A Treasury of Latin Prayers
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I recently had the chance to review Oremus: A Treasury of Latin Prayers with English Translations (Latin and English Edition) after receiving a copy from the publisher. As a promoter of the Church's sacred language, I was happy to take a look.

The Positives:

  • Oremus features more than just standard prayers. This is not just a paperback with the Rosary prayers in Latin. The book has sections for morning prayers, evening prayers, Rosary prayers, prayers during Eucharistic Adoration, Prayers used in True Devotion by St. Louis de Montfort, the Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Marian prayers, Liturgical Sequences, and many other various prayers.
  • The back of the book ends with a number of Psalms in both English and Latin.
  • They have kept the Gallican Psalter and the Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate, which many Latinist and liturgists substantially prefer to the Nova Vulgata which was commissioned in 1907.
The Negatives:
Areas of Future Improvement:
  • When it comes to prayer books, I prefer hard copy that is durable and will last a long time. Think of the Raccolta, the Douay Rheims Bible, or other Catholic treasures that stand the passage of time. While the paperback is fine, it just does not have that traditional feel that I'd expect in a book. I don't think it would hold up if put to daily use without the spine and pages showing noticeable wear after only a few weeks.
  • I wish the prayers that carried indulgences were marked as such, especially if they referred to the Raccolta's listing.
Regardless if you choose to obtain this book, make it an effort to learn at least the basic prayers of our Faith in the Church's unifying and universal language. And after you master those, expand from there. While God of course hears us in any language, nothing can replace Latin as the unifying language - the counter to the Tower of Babel - which unites peoples from distance lands and various cultures into the one same expression of the Faith. The introduction to the book did give a nice explanation of why pray in Latin before starting on the prayers.

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Thursday, September 3, 2020
Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima
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I received a very interesting email from a kind reader regarding a new Confraternity which is promoting the message and requests of our Lady of Fatima. The message said in part:

I received information on the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima and think you might want to spread this on your blog.  It was started by Bishop A. Schneider and the membership requirements are things traditional Catholics already do: Confession once a month; daily rosary of 5 decades; one daily act of simple penance and the wearing of the Brown Scapular plus praying the Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia!  Hope you will consider including this. 

The Requirements (which are already what many of us already do):

The Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia:


O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother. 

Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church. 

In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia. 

You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope: that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph, through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of the Christian life. 

O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our sweet Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer.        

Amen.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2020
A Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
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The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the self-same Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is one and the same Sacrifice. It is not the Sacrifice of Jesus recreated. It is not reenacted. It is not repeated. It is the same Sacrifice that takes place out of time.

This video is a powerful and beautiful illustration of this reality. This symbolism is shown below from "The Catholic Church Alone: The One True Church of Christ" by the Catholic Education Company, New York, page 551:

  • "When the priest kisses the altar, he is kissing Christ, *faithfully,* in contradiction to the kiss of betrayal by Judas." In a sense, the priest is making atonement for the betrayal of Judas.
  • "The priest reading the Introit represents Christ being falsely accused by Annas and blasphemed."
  • "The priest going to the middle of the altar and saying the Kyrie Eleison represents Christ being brought to Caiphas and these three times denied by Peter."
  • "The priest saying the 'Dominus vobiscum' represents Christ looking at Peter and converting him."
  • "The priest saying the 'Orate Fratres' represents Christ being shown by Pilate to the people with the words 'Ecce Homo.'"
  • "The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ being mocked and spit upon."
  • "The priest blessing the bread and wine represents Christ being nailed to the cross."
  • "The priest elevating the host represents Christ being raised on the cross."
  • "The priest goes to the Epistle side and prays signifying how Jesus was led before Pilate and falsely accused."
  • "The priest goes to the Gospel-side, where he reads the Gospel, signifying how Christ was sent from Pilate to Herod, and was mocked and derided by the latter."
  • "The priest goes from the Gospel side again to the middle of the altar - this signifies how Jesus was sent back from Herod to Pilate."
  • "The priest uncovers the chalice, recalling how Christ was stripped for the scourging."
  • "The priest offers bread and wine, signifying how Jesus was bound to the pillar and scourged."
  • "The priest washes his hands, signifying how Pilate declared Jesus innocent by washing his hands."
  • "The priest covers the chalice after the Offertory recalling how Jesus was crowned with thorns."
  • "The priest breaking and separating the host represents Christ giving up His spirit."

Share this symbolism with others! Click here for a PDF put together by the Fatima Center and share!

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Saturday, August 22, 2020
My Total Consecration to Mary: True Devotion to Mary
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Last Saturday, the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven, I at last made the total consecration to Jesus through Mary using the method of St. Louis de Montfort. As part of my preparation, I read "True Devotion," which I happily recommend to anyone looking to better understand the necessity of devotion to Mary.

Some of the parts that resonated with me as I read it are quoted below. These are just the tip of the iceberg though. I highly encourage you to read this truly significant work.
  • "It was also Pius X who granted the Apostolic Benediction to all those who would read the True Devotion; and the same Pope raised the Confraternity of Mary, Queen of Hearts, to the dignity of an Archconfraternity...on the occasion of his golden jubilee in the priesthood, he wished to be inscribed as a member of the Association of Priests of Mary." This Confraternity still exists and there are indulgences attached to it.
  • "The more we reflect, the more we realize that the mission of Christianity is to take possession of man in his entirety in order to transform him into a soul worthy of heaven. Hence, Pius XI, in speaking of Christian Education, says that its 'proper and immediate end is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by Baptism.' In this work of transformation, a definite part has been assigned by God to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that of leading souls to Jesus Christ, and of keeping them in His love."
  • "Let us make ourselves, and call ourselves, slaves of Jesus Christ; for that is being the slave of the holy Virgin, inasmuch as Jesus is the fruit and glory of Mary; and it is this very thing which we do perfectly by the Devotion of which we are hereafter to speak."
  • "Our Lord is our advocate and Mediator of redemption with God the Father. It is through Him that we ought to pray, in union with the whole Church, Triumphant and Militant. It is through Him that we have access to the Majesty of the Father, before Whom we ought need to appear except sustained and clothed with the merits of His Son; just as the young Jacob came before his father Isaac in the skins of the kids to receive his blessing. But have we not need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself? Is our purity great enough to unite us directly to him, and by ourselves? If He not God, in all things equal to His Father, and consequently the Holy of Holies, as worthy of respect as His Father? If t through His infinite charity He has made Himself our bail and our Mediator with God His Father, in order to appease Him, and to pay Him what we owed Him, are we, on that account, to have less respect and less fear for His Majesty and His Sanctity?" [See more]
  • "This devotion is a secure means of going to JEsus Christ, because it is the very characteristic of our Blessed Lady to conduct us surely to Jesus, just as it is the very characteristic of Jesus to conduct us surely to the Eternal Father."
  • "Spiritual persons, therefore, must not fall into the false belief that Mary can be a hindrance to them in attaining divine union; for is it possible that she who has found grace before God for the whole world in general and for each one in particular, should be a hindrance to a soul in finding the great grace of union with Him? Can it be possible that she who has been full and superabounding with graces, so united and transformed...that it has been a kind of necessity that He should be incarnate in her, should be a stumbling-block in the way of a soul's perfect union with God?"
  • "Another consideration which may bring us to embrace this practice is the great good which our neighbour receives from it. For by it we show love for our neighbour in an outstanding way, since we give him through Mary's hands all that we prize most highly - that is, the satisfactory and prayer value of all our good works, down to the least good thought and the least little suffering. We give our consent that all we have already acquired or will acquire until death should be used in accordance with our Lady's will for the conversion of sinners or the deliverance of souls from purgatory."

Already made the Total Consecration?

As a reminder, members of the Archconfraternity of Mary, Queen of Hearts, gain an indulgence of 300 days each time they renew their consecration with these words: "I am all Thine and all that I have is Thine, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, Thy most holy Mother."
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Wednesday, August 19, 2020
The Traditional Fasting Days Kept in Rome
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As a follow up to my article "A History of Holy Days of Obligation & Fasting for American Catholics," I wanted to summarize at a high level the change in fasting as seen even in the Eternal City. While the Church has always granted dispensations and allowed for discipline to vary from region to region - albeit far too much in the past few centuries - the Diocese of Rome had previously kept much stricter fasts. 

Fasting Originated in the Early Church

In the Early Church, fasting, which included abstinence as part of it, was widely observed each week on Wednesday and Friday. Some places added Saturday fasting as well, as noted by St. Francis de Sales who writes, "The early Christians selected Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as days of abstinence." One of those places that observed Saturday fasting year-round was Rome. St. Ambrose famously remarked in a letter to St. Augustine: “When I visit Rome, I fast on Saturday; when I am here [in Milan], I do not fast. On the same principle, observe the custom prevailing in whatever Church you come to, if you desire neither to give offense by your conduct, nor to find cause of offense in anothers.”

In addition to the weekly fasting, a special fast on Holy Week was also observed in the Early Church. While not as ancient as the Holy Week fast, the Advent fast likewise originated in the Early Church by at least the fourth century. The Catechism of the Liturgy describes the fast leading up to Christmas: “In a passage of St. Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks we find that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors in the See, had decreed in 480 AD that the faithful should fast three times a week from the feast of St. Martin (November 11th) [up] to Christmas… This period was called St. Martin's Lent and his feast was kept with the same kind of rejoicing as Carnival.” In historical records, Advent was originally called Quadragesimal Sancti Martini (Forty Days Fast of St. Martin).

The Catechism of the Liturgy notes that this observance of fasting likely lasted until the 12th century. Remnants of this fast remained in the Roman Rite in the Diocese of Rome in some respect in the form of fasting two days a week during Advent until the 1900s.

The observance of a fast leading up to the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul also originated in the Early Church under Pope St. Leo the Great around the year 461. At the time of St. Jerome, it was known as “Summer Lent,” though it was not practiced under obligation like the fast of Lent itself. While it subsequently fell out of observance in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Church still observes this fast to some extent. The Roman Catholic Church though maintained the summer Ember Days, which fell during the ancient Apostles Fast, in addition to the traditional fast on the Vigil of Sts. Peter and Paul, until modern times. As a result, only a fragment of the fasting that was originally practiced persisted. 

Finally, the Lenten fast began under the Apostles themselves. The Lenten fast was kept in Rome and elsewhere. St. Augustine in the fourth century remarked, “Our fast at any other time is voluntary; but during Lent, we sin if we do not fast.” At the time of St. Gregory the Great at the beginning of the 7th century, the fast was universally established to begin on what we know as Ash Wednesday. While the name "Ash Wednesday" was not given to the day until Pope Urban II in 1099, the day was known as the “Beginning of the Fast.” 

Historical records further indicate that Lent was not a merely regional practice observed only in Rome. It was part of the universality of the Church. Lenten fasting began in England, for instance, sometime during the reign of Earconberht, the king of Kent, who was converted by the missionary work of St. Augustine of Canterbury in England. During the Middle Ages, fasting in England, and many other then-Catholic nations, was required both by Church law and civil law. Catholic missionaries brought fasting, which is an integral part of the Faith, to every land they visited.

In 604, in a letter to St. Augustine of Canterbury, Pope St. Gregory the Great announced the form that abstinence would take on fast days. This form would last for almost a thousand years: "We abstain from flesh meat and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs."  When fasting was observed, abstinence was likewise always observed.

The Minor Rogation and Ember Days

Concerning the Major Rogation, Dom Gueranger, writing in the late 1800s, mentions the ancient custom of abstinence but not fasting for the Major Rogation in Rome:
Abstinence from flesh meat has always been observed on this day at Rome; and when the Roman Liturgy was established in France by Pepin and Charlemagne, the Great Litany of April 25 was, of course, celebrated, and the abstinence kept by the faithful of that country. A Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 836, enjoined the additional obligation of resting from servile work on this day: the same enactment is found in the Capitularia of Charles the Bald. As regards fasting, properly so called, being contrary to the spirit of Paschal Time, it would seem never to have been observed on this day, at least not generally. Amalarius, who lived in the ninth century, asserts that it was not then practiced even in Rome.
Dom Gueranger likewise continues with an account of how fasting and abstinence were kept on the Minor Rogation Days in Rome:
Their observance is now similar in format to the Greater Litanies of April 25th, but these three days have a different origin, having been instituted in Gaul in the fifth century as days of fasting, abstinence and abstention from servile work in which all took part in an extensive penitential procession, often barefoot. The whole western Church soon adopted the Rogation days. They were introduced into England at an early period; as likewise into Spain and Germany. Rome herself sanctioned them by herself observing them; this she did in the eighth century, during the pontificate of St. Leo III. With regard to the fast which the Churches of Gaul observed during the Rogation days, Rome did not adopt that part of the institution. Fasting seemed to her to throw a gloom over the joyous forty days, which our risen Jesus grants to His disciples; she therefore enjoined only abstinence from flesh-meat during the Rogation days. 
While Rome never adopted fasting on Rogation days since these days always fall during Pascaltide, fasting can certainly be done by the Faithful. The Church did though require abstinence from meat, illustrating that even during Pascaltide it is appropriate that we perform some penance.

Like Rogation Days, Ember Days developed early in these times, taking the form that would continue for centuries. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:
At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution.
By the time of Pope Gregory I, who died in 601 AD, they were observed for all four seasons though the date of each of them could vary. In the Roman Synod of 1078 under Pope Gregory VII, they were uniformly established for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (St. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Pentecost Sunday, and after September 14th (Exaltation of the Cross)

Advent Fast Drastically Wanes

The Advent Fast which began in the Early Church developed over these centuries. The fast which began in 480 began to adopt the same rigor of Lent by the end of the 6th century when the fast was extended to the whole Church and priests were instructed to offer Mass during St. Martin’s Lent, as it was then called, according to the Lenten rite. 

By the 700s, the Lenten observance was shortened in the Roman Rite to four weeks, though other Rites maintained the longer observance. By the 1100s, the fast had begun to be replaced by simple abstinence. In 1281, the Council of Salisbury held that only monks were expected to keep the fast; however, in a revival of the older practice, Pope Urban V in 1362 required abstinence for all members of the papal court during Advent.   However, the custom of fasting in Advent continued to decline.

Fasting As A Whole Rapidly Declines In the Post-Enlightenment Period

Some of the most significant changes to fsating in Rome, and elsewhere, occurred starting in the mid 1700s. On May 31, 1741, Pope Benedict XIV issued Non Ambiginius which granted permission to eat meat on fasting days while explicitly forbidden the consumption of both fish and flesh meat at the same meal on all fasting days during the year in addition to the Sundays during Lent. Beforehand, the forty days of Lent were held as days of complete abstinence from meat. The concept of partial abstinence was born even though the term would not appear until the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Yet even with these changes, Pope Benedict XIV implored the faithful to return to the devotion of earlier eras:

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe."  

The Vigils of the Apostles and various feasts were also held as fasting days for centuries, though which vigils were days of fasting changed over time. By 1893, the only fasting days kept in Rome were the forty days of Lent, the Ember Days, and the Vigils of the Purification, of Pentecost, of St. John the Baptist, of Ss. Peter and Paul, of the Assumption, of All Saints, and of Christmas. This is summarized from the Handbook to Christian and Ecclesiastical Rome   In just a few years, Rome would abrogate the fast on the Vigil of the Purification and on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist. 

Fasting in Rome in the 1900s

Fast forward to 1917. While often held as an archetype for Tradition, the 1917 Code largely took the concessions granted to America and other nations and reduced fasting practices that were widely practiced elsewhere in the world. With the promulgation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, we see a change in the rules of fasting and abstinence for the Universal Church, including the Diocese of Rome. 

The days of obligatory fasting as listed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law were the forty days of Lent (including Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday until noon); the Ember Days; and the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, and Christmas. Partial abstinence, the eating of meat only at the principal meal, was obligatory on all weeks of Lent (Monday through Thursday). And of course, complete abstinence was required on all Fridays, including Fridays of Lent, except when a holy day of obligation fell on a Friday outside of Lent. Saturdays in Lent were likewise days of complete abstinence.

The number of fasting vigils (not liturgically observed vigils) was reduced to four. And the requirement of fasting in Advent was also abolished, following the trend of its abolition in places like the United States. Strangely, even the Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul, the primary patrons of Rome, ceased being a day of fasting even though the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul remained a Holy Day of Obligation in Rome.

Per the 1983 Code of Canon Law, fasting and complete abstinence are required only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The notion of "partial abstinence," introduced under Pope Benedict XIV in 1741, was also removed. By this point, the days of obligatory fast had been reduced to merely two days which are observed in Rome and elsewhere.

Conclusion

Alas, the fasting practices were drastically reduced in the 1900s even before Vatican II. Recovering Catholic Tradition is not about setting the clock back to 1962. It must entail re-discovering customs and practices like fasting, which saw significant reductions in the decades leading up to the changes to the Liturgy.
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Monday, August 17, 2020
Octave Day of Saint Lawrence
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This painting is in the parish church of Montreal in southern France. Taken by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP

Today is the Octave Day of St. Lawrence, the illustrious martyr. For a history of Octaves including the history of the Octave Day of St. Lawrence, which is a simple octave, please see Zephrinus.


Like all of the most important feasts, that of St. Lawrence was traditionally celebrated with an octave; the octave day has a proper Mass, like the octave of Ss. Peter and Paul, sharing only the Epistle and Gospel with the feast day. The introit of this Mass is taken from Psalm 16, which is also said at Matins of St. Lawrence: “Thou hast proved my heart, and visited it by night, thou hast tried me by fire: and iniquity hath not been found in me.” The words “visited (my heart) by night” refer to the Emperor’s threat to torture Lawrence for the length of the night, to which the great Levite answered, “My night hath no darkness, but in it, all things shine brightly in the light.”

Collect:

Grant us, we beseech Thee O almighty God, to extinguish the flames of our evil dispositions, as Thou didst grant blessed Lawrence to overcome the fires of his torments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
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Sunday, August 16, 2020
St. Roch, Patron Saint Against Sickness
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August 16th is kept in some places as the Feast of St. Roch, the patron saint against sickness and epidemics. Today is also the Feast of St. Joachim, the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Roch was a citizen of Montpellier in the South of France, who devoted his life to the serving of the plague-stricken. On their behalf, God enabled His servant to work many miracles. He died in 1337 AD and has since been venerated as the special advocate of the sick.

Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honor. He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, often lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore, or bubo, in his thigh, and accompanied by a dog carrying a loaf in its mouth. The Third Order of Saint Francis, by tradition, claims him as a member and includes his feast on its own calendar of saints, observing it on August 17.

The following is taken from CatholicTradition.org:

Born at Montpellier towards 1295, he died in 1327. His father was governor of that city and at his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross. Deprived of his parents when about twenty years old, he distributed his fortune among the poor, handed over to his uncle the government of Montpellier, and in the disguise of a mendicant pilgrim, set out for Italy, but stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the Sign of the Cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighbouring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities with the same results. At Piacenza, he himself was stricken with the plague. He withdrew to a hut in the neighbouring forest, where his wants were supplied by a gentleman named Gothard, who by a miracle learned the place of his retreat. After his recovery Roch returned to France. Arriving at Montpellier and refusing to disclose his identity, he was taken for a spy in the disguise of a pilgrim, and cast into prison by order of the governor, where five years later he died. The miraculous cross on his breast as well as a document found in his possession now served for his identification. He was accordingly given a public funeral, and numerous miracles attested his sanctity.

In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honour of the Saint, and immediately the plague ceased. His relics, according to Wadding, were carried furtively to Venice in 1485, where they are still venerated. It is commonly held that he belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis; but it cannot be proved. Urban VIII approved the ecclesiastical office to be recited on his Feast. Paul III instituted a confraternity, under the invocation of the Saint, to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Alexander VI. The confraternity increased so rapidly that Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, with powers to aggregate similar confraternities of St. Roch. It was given a cardinal-protector, and a prelate of high rank was to be its immediate superior. Various favours have been bestowed on it by Pius IV [C. Regimini, March 7, 1561], by Gregory XIII [C. dated January 5, 1577], by Gregory XIV [C. Paternar. pont., March 7, 1591], and by other pontiffs. It still flourishes.

Collect:

O God, who are glorious in the glory of the Saints, and to all those that flee unto their protection, grantest the salutary effect of their petition; by the intercession of Thy blessed Confessor Roch, grant to Thy people, who hold forth their devotion in his festivity, that they may be delivered from the sickness of that plague which he suffered in his body for the glory of Thy name, to which may they ever be devoted.
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Thursday, August 13, 2020
St. John Berchmans
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August 13th is kept in some places as the Feast of St. John Berchmans. 

The following is taken from CatholicTradition.org:

St. John Berchmans was born the eldest son of a shoemaker in 1599 at Diest, Belgium. At a very young age he wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen he became a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons at Malines. After his mother's death, his father and two brothers followed suit and entered religious life. In 1615 he entered the Jesuit college there, becoming a novice a year later. In 1618 he was sent to Rome for more study and was known for his diligence and piety, and his stress on perfection even in small things. That year his father was ordained and died six months later. John was so poor and humble that he  walked from Antwerp to Rome. He died at the age of 22 on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death; he was canonized in 1888 and is the patron saint of altar boys.

Although he longed to work in the mission fields of China, he did not live long enough to permit it. After completing his course work, he was asked to defend the "entire field of philosophy" in a public disputation in July, just after his exit examinations. The following month he was asked to represent the Roman College in a debate with the Greek College. Although he distinguished himself in this disputation, he had studied so assiduously that he caught a cold in mid-summer, became very ill with with an undetermined illness accompanied by a fever, although some think it now to have been dysentery, and died a week later. He was buried in the church of Saint Ignatius at Rome, but his heart was later translated to the Jesuit church at Louvain.

So many miracles were attributed to him after his death at the age of 22, that his cultus soon spread to his native Belgium, where 24,000 copies of  his portrait were published within a few years of his death. He was known for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady, to whom he composed a Chaplet in honor of her Immaculate Conception.

Collect:

Lord our God, you invite us always to give you our love, and you are pleased with a cheerful giver. Give us a youthful spirit, to be like Saint John, always eager to seek you and to do your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Taken from Supplement to the Divine Office For the Society of Jesus.

Indulged Prayer from the Raccolta:

Saint John, angelic youth, sweet-scented flower of innocence, stalwart soldier of the Company of Jesus, ardent defender of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, whom the all-wise Providence of God hath set forth as a light and pattern, in order that He might reveal in thee the treasures of that holiness which consisteth in the devoted and holy fulfillment of the common duties of life,  I earnestly beseech thee to make me ever constant and faithful in observing the duties of my state of life, pure in heart, fearless and strong against the enemies of my eternal salvation, and cheerfully obedient to the promptings of God's holy will.

By thy singular devotion to the loving Mother of Jesus Christ, who looked upon thee also as her dear son, obtain for me the grace of a fervent love for Jesus and Mary, together with the power of drawing many others to love them in like manner. Wherefore, dear Saint John, I choose thee as my special patron, humbly beseeching thee to make me zealous in the things that pertain to the praise of God, and to assist me by thy mighty help, to lead a life filled with good works. Finally, when the hour of death cometh, do thou, of thy loving kindness, cherish in me those motions of humble confidence, which at the moment of thy departure from this world to thy mansion in the skies, as thou didst lovingly clasp to thy breast the Image of Jesus Crucified, together with Mary's Rosary and thy Book of Rules, impelled thee to utter these sweet words: "these three things are my dearest possessions; with these I am content to die."

Pray for us, Saint John, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Grant, we beseech Thee O Lord God, unto Thy faithful servants, to copy the pattern of innocence and faithfulness in Thy service, wherewith the angelic youth, John, did consecrate to Thee the very flower of his years. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Remote Catechesis During COVID-19
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There Has Never Been A Stronger Need for Sound Catechesis

The lack of sound faith formation and reverent liturgies over the past few decades has led to disastrous consequences for the Catholic Faith. Based on statistics available from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate the collapse in enrollment in Catholic religious education, as well as Sacramental reception, has been profound.

Based on statistics available from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate the collapse in enrollment in Catholic religious education, as well as Sacramental reception, has been profound. Since 1970, the number of children in a primary school religious education program has dropped 60% and the number of secondary school students in religious education has dropped 55%. Since 1960, the number of annual adult baptisms has fallen 68%. Since 1975, the number of annual infant baptisms has fallen 18%.

Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell further illustrates the consequences following the changes post-Vatican II. These decades saw significant changes in the Sacramental life of Catholics and the customs and practices of living out a Catholic life (e.g. times of fasting, processions, cultural celebrations). The Church was also shaken by the disastrous consequences of the sexual abuse crisis by some of Her priests. The results are grim: only 30% of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing and 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.

In one often-quoted study, data by D’Antonio, Dillon, & Gautier in 2013 showed 33% of American Catholics are unaware of the Church’s teaching of Christ in the Real Presence and an additional 4% even deny this central tenet of the Faith. The number of Catholics who are unaware of the official Church teaching illustrates the inability of modern religious education to meet the needs of today’s Catholics.

COVID-19 Has Led To Greater Challenges Than Even Before

In response to the continued threat from COVID-19 and the legal ramifications, large numbers of Dioceses continue to restrict Masses, cancel religious education programs for adults and children, and put a number of precautionary measures in place. Online education, to which the Church must turn especially in times like this, is the solution to both the pandemic and to bucking the trend of children not actually learning the Faith.

Remote learning does not have to mean a lack of quality. For instance, CatechismClass.com focuses on providing authentic and unwaveringly sound Theology in a way that ensures accountability. One of the founding hallmarks of that program, as built by Fr. James Zatalava, is that there is accountability built into all of the lessons. As students take lessons, parishes will receive instantaneous quiz reports of the students' progress. They can see the questions, how well the student did, the amount of time they spent on a lesson, and they have the ability to issue retakes for quizzes that need them. In addition to these instant quizzes, parishes may at any time log in to run a roster report to see how students are doing, their cumulative scores, the average time spent on lessons, etc to ensure that they are learning the materials.

Remote Catechesis During COVID-19 Is the Solution

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education published a meta-analysis of evidence-based studies of K-12 and postsecondary online learning programs. The study reported that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better on average than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” We have reason to believe that children in religious education will also perform better.

Children want to learn and be challenged. The discipline in a secular classroom should carry over to religious education. Children should have regular activities and homework — including frequent reception of the Sacraments, the practice of prayers and pious devotions, and ample opportunities for them to share what they learn.

Children want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel connected and a part of something; the internet provides this connectivity and hands-on learning, so long as parents and priests help foster this life.

One of the benefits of the pandemic is surely the rise in online, flexible, and sound catechesis. Programs like CatechismClass.com have arisen to solve these needs and since 2004 they have served thousands of families and parishes.

While the Catholic Faith and its doctrines are timeless and unchanging, the manner in how we teach the Faith must adapt to newer standards in order to help ensure our children do not become statistics for ex-Catholics in the next decade. The Internet is a tool that children and adults are already using. Let’s as a Catholic community use it for the good of their souls.
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Sunday, August 9, 2020
St. Emygdius, Patron Saint of Earthquakes
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Listed in the back of the missal for feastdays in some places is the Feast of St. Emygdius which is kept on August 9th. Back in 1903, the Archbishop of San Francisco ordered Masses to be said in his honor.

The Monks of Ramsgate in their 1921 "Book of Saints" write:

Said to have been a native of Germany who, converted to Christianity and coming to Rome, was consecrated Bishop by Pope Saint Marcellus and sent as missionary to Ascoli in the Marches of Ancuona, where he was put to death under Diocletian (A.D. 303 or 304). His relics are in great veneration, and many miracles have been wrought at his tomb.

The following account is taken from Catholic Restoration:

Raised a pagan, Emygdius converted to Christianity some time near the end of the third century. He then travelled to Rome, where he tirelessly worked to convert other pagans. Emygdius willingly risked his own safety to promote his faith. He once stormed a temple and destroyed a statue of Aesculapius, the Roman god of healing. This act angered many Romans, who clamoured for retribution. Although some records say Emygdius turned to Pope Marcellus for protection, it is now believed that Emygdius probably received help from Marcellus’s predecessor named Marcellinus.

The Pope ordained Emygdius, made him a bishop, and then sent him to Ascoli Piceno, a region just northeast of Rome. Once again, Emygdius eagerly spread the Word of God and converted many. But in 304, the bishop was swept up in the persecution of Christians carried out by Emperor Diocletian, who ordered Emgydius and several of his companions to be beheaded.

Emygdius became particularly venerated in Italy. He was said to offer protection against earthquakes, and Catholics in other areas prone to quakes also turned to him for protection. In 1863, the Vatican approved a request from Catholics in California to name Emygdius the patron saint of what is now the Los Angeles diocese. Several statues of the saint still stand in California, and several parishes bear his name.
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Saturday, August 8, 2020
The Proper Mass of St. John Vianney
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The Feast of St. John Vianney has moved around in the 20th century. Before 1955, it was kept on August 9 before moving to August 8th in the 1962 Missal and then being swapped with St. Dominic on August 4th in the Novus Ordo.

In the Angelus Press Missal on page 1346, the Mass said for his feastday indicates it is simply the Mass Os justi of a Confessor with only a proper collect. Nothing special. But in the back of the missal on page 1675 in the section for Masses said "in some places and congregations" (pro aliquibus locis) there is a special Mass for St. John Vianney. While using the special collect already mentioned, it lists a completely unique set of propers. 
After a few years of searching, I determined the source of these special propers, which are not mentioned in the missal's notes like most other pro aliquibus locis propers.

This proper mass was granted to all French dioceses on April 12, 1905. It is also in use chez the Franciscans. Corpus Christ Watershed has a PDF of a Franciscan supplement to the Gradual containing this Mass. Proper antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat were also assigned to the feast St John Vianney for France. Here is a 1960 French supplement to the Breviary.

I sincerely hope more places use these beautiful propers in honor of the patron saint of parish priests, the great St. John Vianney. May he intercede for all of the wayward, persecuted, tempted, and suffering priests today.
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Friday, August 7, 2020
St. Cyprian on The Importance of Doing's God's Will
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Our obligation is to do God's will and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God's will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead, we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord's presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we should rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ?

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live forever.

Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God's will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers, and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There is the glorious band of apostles, there, the exultant assembly of prophets, there, the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There, in triumph, are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord's command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.
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Comm. of St. Donatus
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The Miracle of Saint Donatus by Jusepe de Ribera, Musée de Picardie.

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): August 7

While it is the Feast of St. Cajetan, today is also the Commemoration of St. Donatus, the bishop of Arezzo in Tuscany, who was arrested and beheaded during the rule of Julian the Apostate in 362 AD. May he intercede for us who remember and recall his life today.

Butler's Lives of the Saints:

"Being illustrious for sanctity and miracles, as Saint Gregory the Great assures us, he was apprehended by Quadratianus, the Augustalis, or imperial prefect of Tuscany, in the reign of Julian the Apostate. Refusing to adore the idols, he suffered many torments with invincible constancy, and at length finished his martyrdom by the sword in 361. His relics are enshrined in the cathedral of Arezzo. At the same time and place Saint Hilarinus, a monk, received the like crown, being beaten to death with clubs. His relics were afterwards translated to Ostia. See the Martyrologies."

Collect:

O God, You are the glory of all Your priests. May we sensibly feel the help of Your martyr bishop Donatus whose feast we celebrate today. through our Lord . . .
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Thursday, July 30, 2020
The US Constitution Is Not The Supreme Law
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In front of St. Cecilia's Cathedral in Omaha is a copy of the divine law

This past month American Catholics - and all of those fighting for the rights for the lives of the unborn - were dealt another setback from the Supreme Court with some of the alleged Catholic justices ruling in a way that will only allow more innocent lives to be murdered before they can be baptized. Justice Clarence Thomas, the most arguably faithful Catholic on the bench, wrote in his dissent to the decision: “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.” He was joined by the recent Trump-appointed justices, though neither went as far as Justice Thomas in calling for an undoing of the legalization of abortion.

The decision leading to the striking down of a Louisiana law that would have led to fewer abortions reveals a key point that is often forgotten. We can not rely on secular institutions to do what can be done only by the Church. Our efforts as Catholics must be directed at converting souls, hearts, and minds to the Traditional Catholic Faith. Only then will life be protected. Secular laws enacted by governments that are not founded on Catholic principles will never do what evangelization alone can do. Secular laws are not a replacement for divine law. We must make abortion unthinkable in America not primarily by passing legal restrictions (although these are certainly good and meritorious since they help prevent the weak and pressured from murdering their children). Our focus must instead be anchored in Catholic doctrine.

By helping form another generation of true Traditional Catholics we can make abortion unthinkable. Abortion is a two-fold murder - first, it destroys sanctifying grace in the mother's soul who murders the child. It also destroys any grace in those who perform or help foster, encourage, fund, or support the murder of human life in any way. But it even more tragically sentences the child (a truly human life with an immortal soul) to an eternity away from God. Baptism is necessary for salvation. These aborted babies are not baptized. We are not aware of any way how aborted children can go to Heaven. While we trust in God's mercy that they will spend an eternity in Limbo away from the fires of Hell, they will ultimately never see the face of God in Heaven since they were deprived of Baptism.

This reality, which is hardly taught even by Catholic priests anymore who fear offending people, must be proclaimed even more loudly. How many souls have been deprived of Heaven because of secular governments divorced from God's laws and founded on the false principle of man's rights? The United States was founded on the notion that the government derives its ability to govern from the consent of the people - directly contrary to the Lord and His Church which affirms that all authority comes from God (cf. Romans 13:1) and governments traditionally obtained the ability to govern by divine right, leading to the consecration and coronation of the monarch.

The failures of America and the world as a whole including formerly Catholic nations like Ireland, Spain, and Italy to prevent divorce, artificial contraception, and abortion all stem from the rapid onset of modernism which continues to obscure the truths of life, government, and God. The errors of French Revolution the Enlightenment continue to pollute our minds, our schools, our institutions, and even our seminaries and priests.

There is only one supreme law and that is not the United States Constitution. It is not a document of the United States, the United Nations, or the EU. It is also not the Code of Canon Law. It is not a document published by the Vatican. The Supreme Law of the Church is the Salvation of Souls. And that law is what must be the cornerstone of all efforts or else they will fail. As King David reminds us, all our efforts if not based on the Lord's true law and true Church will fail: "Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it" (Psalms 126:1).

All Catholics must work for the salvation of souls with an ardent and generous spirit. This is not optional. This commitment must underscore our day to day lives. We must be missionaries to our families, our friends, and everyone we meet. Everyone must know that we are Catholics. And our efforts at converting others by our example, our charity, and our unwavering commitment to the Faith will be our tools to make abortion unthinkable. And in addition to this, let us support Catholic pro-life work which understands that we are above all fighting for the salvation of souls, not just for earthly lives.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Sts. Felix II and Companions
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On July 29th, the Feast of St. Martha, the Church traditionally commemorates the martyrs Ss. Felix II, Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice. Pope St. Felix II was martyred in Tuscany, Italy, in the fourth century. The brothers Simplicius and Faustinus and their sister, Beatrice, gave their lives for Christ at Rome in 303 AD.

Liturgica Latina writes: 

"The holy Pontiff Felix III is a Pope of the fourth century. He was martyred in Tuscany in the time of the Arians (A.D. 365). He is sometimes referred to as Pope Felix II - there was a Pope Felix II in the earlier part of the fourth century, who is usually regarded as an antipope, and this causes confusion in enumeration.

"Simplicius and Faustinus, denounced as Christians to the persecutors, were put to death at Rome under Diocletian A.D. 304. Beatrice, their sister, was arrested and strangled in prison. Leo II placed the relics of these three martyrs in a church at Rome dedicated in their names."

The Book of Saints from 1921 by the Monks of Ramsgate state:

"Saint Felix, Archdeacon of Rome, was elected Pope A.D. 355, when Pope Liberius was sent into exile by the Arian Emperor Constantius, but on the return of Liberius, after two years of exile, he at once resigned the Pontificate of which in all probability he had been merely the Administrator. The Roman Martyrology records his martyrdom at Cervetro (Caerae) in Tuscany, probably about A.D. 360; but it is the opinion of some authors that he lived on for several years in retirement and died a peaceful death. The Church also commemorates the Finding of the Body of Saint Felix with those of other Martyrs. It is especially to be noted that from the outset he has always been regarded as a Saint, and there are no real grounds for setting him aside as a mere Anti-Pope."

The New Liturgical Movement writes on nice reflection today on St. Felix II and the scholarship around whether or not he was an antipope.

Regarding Ss. Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice commemorated today, the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1912 states:

"Martyrs at Rome during the Diocletian persecution (302 or 303). The brothers Simplicius and Faustinus were cruelly tortured on account of their Christian faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded; their bodies were thrown into the Tiber. According to another version of the legend a stone was tied to them and they were drowned. Their sister Beatrice had the bodies drawn out of the water and buried. Then for seven months she lived with a pious matron named Lucina, and with her aid Beatrice succoured the persecuted Christians by day and night. Finally she was discovered and arrested. Her accuser was her neighbor Lucretius who desired to obtain possession of her lands. She courageously asserted before the judge that she would never sacrifice to demons, because she was a Christian. As punishment, she was strangled in prison. Her friend Lucina buried her by her brothers in the cemetery ad Ursum Pileatum on the road to Porto. Soon after this Divine punishment overtook the accuser Lucretius. When Lucretius at a feast was making merry over the folly of the martyrs, an infant who had been brought to the entertainment by his mother, cried out, “Thou hast committed murder and hast taken unjust possession of land. Thou art a slave of the devil”. And the devil at once took possession of him and tortured him three hours and drew him down into the bottomless pit. The terror of those present was so great that they became Christians. This is the story of the legend. Trustworthy Acts concerning the history of the two brothers and sister are no longer in existence. Pope Leo II (682-683) translated their relics to a church which he had built at Rome in honour of St. Paul. Later the greater part of the relics of the martyrs were taken to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore."

Collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Christian people rejoice in being able to celebrate the temporal solemnity of Thy martyrs Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, so they may also rejoice thereat in life eternal and receive the fruit of the sacrifice which they offer.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2020
St. Innocentius I
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SemiDouble (1954 Calendar): July 28

Along with Saints Nazarius & Celsus and Pope St. Victor I, Pope St. Innocent I is celebrated on July 28th.

St. Innocent I, a native of Albano, Italy, reigned from 401 to 417. This energetic Pope is known for his zealous welfare for the entire Church. His decrees became law in Spain, Gaul and Italy. He demanded that the Eastern Bishops re-install St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, who had been unjustly deposed. He censured the Bishop of Jerusalem for his negligence. He ratified the condemnation of the Pelagian Bishops of Africa who denied the need of grace for salvation.

Pope Innocent I was a contemporary of St. Jerome, who urged Christians to keep the faith of Pope Innocent and to "receive no other doctrine, however wise and attractive it may appear."

In 410, during his pontificate, Rome was ravaged by the barbarians of Alaric. He took the responsibility of rebuilding the city and showed great charity in helping the victims. Pope St. Innocent died in 417 AD.

Collect:

Defend us, O Lord, through the blessed martyrdom of Your saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor, and Innocent, and may their merits support us in our weakness. Through our Lord . . .
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Monday, July 27, 2020
Traditional Blessing of Cars
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Traditional Catholic Car Blessing Prayer

It is good to hear of more priests offering blessings of vehicles on a Sunday near the feastday of St. Christopher, which falls on July 25th. St. Christopher is known as the “patron saint of travelers” and his intercession is frequently invoked when traveling by car. You may also always ask a priest to bless your vehicle at any time of the year.

The Traditional Rite of Blessing of an Automobile or Other Vehicle

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord God, be well disposed to our prayers, and bless + this vehicle with your holy hand. Appoint your holy angels as an escort over it, who will always shield its passengers and keep them safe from accidents. And as once by your deacon, Philip, you bestowed faith and grace upon the Ethiopian seated in his carriage and reading Holy Writ, so also now show the way of salvation to your servants, in order that, strengthened by your grace and ever intent upon good works, they may attain, after all the successes and failures of this life, the certain happiness of everlasting life; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.
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Sunday, July 26, 2020
Why You Should NOT Attend the Novus Ordo
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Sometimes I hear people ask the question of whether they can or should attend the Novus Ordo if the Tridentine Mass is not accessible locally. The closest Mass may be more than an hour's drive away. Or someone may be on vacation and there is no Tridentine Mass in the local area - or even in the country. What should someone do? Should they attend the Novus Ordo instead, even though they often attend the Tridentine Mass? Alternatively, I have heard some people ask whether it would be better to attend Eucharistic Adoration instead of the Novus Ordo Mass during the week.

After having attended the Tridentine Mass exclusively now for 10 years, and after having left the Novus Ordo seminary after two years in it, I do not hesitate to say that no one is bound to attend (or should attend) the Novus Ordo.

Why such a dramatic view that the Novus Ordo should never be attended? The Novus Ordo is unfortunately impregnated with the very spirit of Protestantism. It is harmful to the Faith, even when exterior acts of reverence are inserted into it.

I'd like to briefly outline why I would encourage every Catholic to leave the Novus Ordo behind and cease attending it, promoting it, or donating to it.

1. The Novus Ordo Prayers are Protestant at the Core

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre famously remarked, "The Novus Ordo Missae, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules, ...is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith." Simply put, every Novus Ordo is harmful to one's faith. Even though it is possible for God to work good out of evil and lead to the Truth even those in false religions or heretical denominations, this does not make the Novus Ordo as praiseworthy, as honoring, or as fitting for God. Rather, the defects in the Novus Ordo are not merely external but intrinsic in the very prayers created for the New Rite of Mass.

The Holy Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The purpose of Mass is to be present at the Sacrifice of Christ that is made present again through the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  We worship God at Mass in the manner which He has established for His worship. We are present at Calvary.  Rather than merely remembering the life and death of Christ, we are present at it and partake of its eternal fruits which flow to us from the altar and during the Canon when the priest stands in the place of Christ and offers the Eternal Victim on the Altar to God.  We can further receive grace by partaking of the Holy Eucharist if we are Catholics in the state of grace. This view of the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice has been lost in the Novus Ordo and replaced by notions of community, where the priest is a presider, and many Catholics falsely view receiving Holy Communion as the purpose of going to Mass, rather than being present at the august sacrifice of the Eternal Victim.

As Archbishop Lefebvre noted in Chapter 4 of the Open Letter to Confused Catholics, the changes to the Mass in the offertory, the sermon, the canon, and elsewhere mimic the changes sought by Martin Luther! They are in their very core protestant, especially for instance in the newly created prayers of the Offertory which bear no similarity to the Offertory in the Tridentine Mass.

Of course, while any validly ordained priest may consecrate bread and wine using the words of consecration, even while omitting the rest of the Mass (which is done at times in cases of necessity for instance by priests who are imprisoned and can only smuggle in a small piece of bread and a small amount of wine), this is not the same as promoting and saying protestantized prayers. I do not hold the Novus Ordo lacking merely because it does not have as many beautiful prayers. I hold it as protestantized because the prayers which are a part of it were written with the intention of appealing to protestants.

Jean Guitton, an intimate friend of Paul VI wrote: “The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the [New] Mass, was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist Mass.” And we know that the Calvinists - and any protestants for that matter - do not have a valid rite of Mass and do not confect the Holy Eucharist.

2. The Novus Ordo was Formed Under the Error of Archeologism

Those who encourage or at least tolerate the Novus Ordo often do so by saying that Paul VI sought for the Church to merely return to a more ancient manner of saying the Mass. This view is actually the error of Archeologism as Fr. Peter Scott explains:

"Pius XII inveighs against the error of those who would want to use the pretence of antiquity to bring
about changes in the Church’s prayers and ceremonies: “It is neither wise nor laudable to reduce
everything to antiquity by every possible device” (§ 62), for “ancient usage must not be esteemed
more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new
situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity” (§61). This is the
error of Archeologism, namely that because something is older it is necessarily better, and it denies
that the development of liturgical rites over the centuries owes its “inspiration to the Holy Spirit,
Who assists the Church in every age”. (Ib.)

"This error of those who try to justify liturgical revolution by ancient practices is clearly condemned
by the Pope: “The temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for
the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe
reproof” (§ 59). Here are some of the examples of archeologism listed by the Pope:

  • Replacement of Latin by the vernacular in the august Eucharistic Sacrifice
  • Transferral of feast days to Sundays
  • Deletion from the liturgy of some texts of the Old Testament
  • Replacement of the altar by a table – “one would be straying from the straight path were he
  • to wish the altar restored to its primitive table-form” (§ 62)
  • Excluding black as a liturgical color
  • Eliminating the use of sacred statues and images
  • Crucifixes not showing Christ’s suffering (Risen Christ)

"It is interesting to note that twenty years later every single one of these examples of abuses
condemned by Pope Pius XII had been incorporated into the New Mass, always under the pretence
that it is returning to old things. Other examples Pius XII did not mention are the procession for the
presentation of the gifts and the Kiss of peace for the laity, the abolition of the prayers at the foot of
the altar, the elimination of “mystery of faith” from the words of consecration, the elimination of
the Roman Canon (although it is the truly oldest part of the Mass), many feast of saints, the Last
Gospel and the prayers after Mass."

Even if we claim that Paul VI imposed the Novus Ordo under good intentions, they are still nevertheless imbued with archeologism. And this is not just "bad." It is heretical as Fr. Scott further explains:

"Pius XII further explains that this“exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism”(§64) is not new,but derives from the illegal Council of Pistoia, condemned by Pope Pius VI in 1794.  Due protestant influence this false council wanted to promote a return to the simplicity of the earlyChurch, despising later developments. Its principle is found in the first proposition, which Pius VIcondemned as heretical: “In these latter times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ”(Db 1501). This is precisely the reasoning of the modernists, when they want to do away with devotions to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Virgin, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the saints. Yet it is condemned as heretical."

3. The Novus Ordo's Fruits are Manifestly Rotten

We do know from first-hand experience, the fruits that have followed Vatican II, the New Mass, Communion in the Hand, and the near elimination of fasting and abstinence. Christ, Himself said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-16). What are these fruits? These are the fruits as shown by the Old Evangelization Website:


The results are grim beyond the statistics shown above. Only 30% of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing and 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.

Turning again to the words of Archbishop Lefebvre, who saw first hand the effect of the Novus Ordo on the African continent and how it eroded the successful work that Catholic missionaries had done there, he writes:
"Furthermore it can be said without any exaggeration whatsoever, that the majority of Masses celebrated without altar stones, with common vessels, leavened bread, with the introduction of profane words into the very body of the Canon, etc., are sacrilegious, and they prevent faith by diminishing it. The desacralization is such that these Masses can come to lose their supernatural character, “the mystery of faith,” and become no more than acts of natural religion. 
"Your perplexity takes perhaps the following form: may I assist at a sacrilegious Mass which is nevertheless valid, in the absence of any other, in order to satisfy my Sunday obligation? The answer is simple: these Masses cannot be the object of an obligation; we must moreover apply to them the rules of moral theology and canon law as regards the participation or the attendance at an action which endan- gers the faith or may be sacrilegious."
Conclusion

For those who are unable to attend a Tridentine Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, it is better to pray the Rosary, sanctify the day by abstaining from servile works, read the prayers of the Missal, listen to good sermons, perform works of charity, and even to watch a live stream of the Mass.

I do not hold any animosity toward those who do go to the Novus Ordo through mere ignorance. The truth is that the vast majority of Catholics do not know of the Tridentine Mass or at least do not view it as important. They do not see the errors in the New Church and have likely been told to avoid the Latin Mass or at least the SSPX or groups more traditional than them. These people may even view the FSSP for instance as traditional enough and posit them as an ideal, claiming falsely that the SSPX is schismatic (which it is not).

The changes to the Catholic Church in the past fifty years have been disastrous and that is in a significant part due to the imposition of the Novus Ordo. As I mentioned in my article 20 Immediate Actions to End the Protestantization of the Catholic Church, the Restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass - the Mass of All Times - in all Latin Rite parishes and the abolition of the 1969 Rite of Mass known as the Novus Ordo is necessary.

Please join me in praying for the Restoration of the Roman Mass.
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Friday, July 24, 2020
Why the Catholic Priesthood Is Necessary
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Having read several articles in liberal publications on the need to abolish the priesthood, I have realized that most people in our world fail to understand what the priesthood is. The Catholic priesthood is not a social club. It is not a civic organization. It is not a noble charitable work. It is not a committee or a group overseeing the Church that could be switched out. On the contrary, the Catholic priesthood is an institution which God Himself founded as necessary for our salvation, and as such, no one other than God may abolish it.

Why is the Catholic Priesthood Necessary?

The Catechism of St. Pius X explains: “The Catholic Priesthood is necessary in the Church, because without it the faithful would be deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the greater part of the sacraments; they would have no one to instruct them in the faith; and they would be as sheep without a shepherd, a prey to wolves; in short, the Church, such as Christ instituted it, would no longer exist.”

Without the priesthood, we would have no ability to have our sins absolved after Baptism. If the priesthood were to die out, there would be no Holy Eucharist or Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The perfect oblation that is offered on the altar every single day throughout the world in satisfaction for sins (cf. Malachi 1:11) would die out. Confirmation would no longer occur. There would be no teaching authority to guide the Church. Last Rites would never be imparted again to the dying.
And if no bishops remained on earth, holy orders would end. The priesthood would end. We truly would be a flock without a shepherd and the wolves would devour us. Only the Sacrament of Baptism and Holy Matrimony would be able to continue. All the other Sacraments which require a validly ordained priest would cease.

The Lord Jesus Christ Instituted the Catholic Priesthood

When did our Lord institute Holy Orders? The Catechism of St. Pius X again explains: “Jesus Christ instituted the Sacerdotal Order at the Last Supper when He conferred on the Apostles and their successors the power of consecrating the Blessed Eucharist. Then on the day of His resurrection He conferred on them the power of remitting and retaining sin, thus constituting them the first Priests of the New Law in all the fullness of their power.”

At the Last Supper, Our Savior's words, “Take and eat, this is My body... take and drink this is My blood” (Matthew 26:26-28) truly transformed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In yet another act of humility, Christ gave Himself to us through this Sacrament — the Holy Eucharist. The apostles alone were given this power which they have passed down through apostolic succession.
Our priests today have this same power to stand at the altar on account of their ordination. Our same priests have the power to forgive sins (cf. John 20:21-23) and baptize (cf. Matthew 28:19) as well as to bless and preach by virtue of this unbroken chain back to the Last Supper. A priest is necessary for our salvation and even a priest needs a priest for his own salvation since priests also must go to Confession. Without the priesthood, our religion would essentially end.

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail Against the Priesthood

Yet we must not despair of such a future day. Continuing on, the Catechism of St. Pius X assures us that despite all the threats that will assail the priesthood, the sad day when the priesthood is abolished will never occur: “In spite of the war that hell wages against it, the Catholic Priesthood will last until the end of time, because Jesus Christ has promised that the powers of hell shall never prevail against His Church.”

We ought to work for the advancement of the rites of the Catholic Church and labor for the salvation of our fellow man. We should also frequently pray to our Lord to raise up new vocations who will labor in His vineyard – a vineyard of souls. Pope Pius XII wrote a prayer for vocations that we can print out and pray daily. 

In fact, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s April 2017 Newsletter stated that praying for vocations is not optional. It is required of us:
The Lord Jesus commands that we foster vocations, "Ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest" (Mt 9:38).  Praying for priestly vocations is not optional.  This might be a revelation for many a good Catholic.  Praying for priestly vocations is not a matter of spiritual taste or preference.  Rather, praying for priestly vocations manifests our shared responsibility in obtaining from God the many "other Christs" - the priests needed chiefly for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and for reconciling penitents, but also for evangelizing, for instructing converts, and for performing the countless works of education, culture, and charity granted by God to the world through His holy priesthood.

Why Does Satan Attack the Priesthood Then?

A study of Catholic Doctrine illustrates both by reasoning and through miracles that the Catholic Church alone is God’s established religion. God, in His goodness and generosity, showers us with proofs of the accuracy of the Catholic Church’s doctrines.  And this too is why satan is not attacking Lutherans, or Baptists, or Muslims.  He is attacking the Catholic priesthood. He is infiltrating our seminaries and leading men ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ to betray their office and sexual assault children – an absolute diabolical and unspeakable blasphemy.  And satan does this because in the Catholic Church is the truth.  Why would he waste his time on attacking those souls who are already under his rule? 

The sexual abuse crisis, which has caused so many to distrust the Church, illustrates just how much we must pray for our priests and bishops. Satan continues to work for the overthrow of the Church and writers like Marie Carre in "AA-1025" describe the infiltration of seminaries and the priesthood by communists and atheists who sought to bring it down from within. But they will not succeed. Despite their efforts to scandalize the faithful and to lead souls astray, God will continue to help steer Holy Mother Church and give us good priests who will labor for the good of souls. Those priests – often the traditional Catholic priests who sacrifice so much to offer the Latin Mass – are the true priests. Let us pray for them and for more vocations. And let us pray for all those who have left the Church due to satan’s attacks. May they be reconciled soon and come back to the Sacrament of Confession, made possible because of the priesthood.
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