Monday, March 30, 2020
Miracles Prove the Catholic Church’s Divine Origin

The Miracle of Saint Dominic by Biagio Bellotti

Reason & Miracles

As the book “My Catholic Faith” summarizes: “Divine Revelation comes down to us by two means: through Holy Scripture, written down under divine inspiration, and through Tradition, handed down orally from Apostolic times.”

Those are the two means of divine revelation we have to know the Faith, but we have tools to help us further understand the Faith that has been revealed by God.  One of those tools is our ability as human beings to reason.  Some things can be known by reason alone.  For example, it can be known by reason alone that God exists.  This is affirmed explicitly at the Council of Trent.  As we examine the created world, as we consider the perfection of creation, as we understand that there had to be a First Cause who started all things, we can use our reason to understand that there must be a divine being.  Reason does not inform us who that being is.  It just helps us understand that something doesn’t come from nothing.  That is our reason working. Reasoning should also be informed by strong, scholastic philosophy.

Another tool at our disposal to bring us to know these truths is the immense generosity of God in His miracles.  The miracles of God further prove the divine origin of the Catholic Faith.  So, by two such tools, namely the use of reason and of external proofs of miracles, we can come to believe what the Church teaches.

The Catholic Church as the Bastion of Miracles

The Catholic Church is the great bastion of miracles.  We have numerous miracles testifying to the authenticity of the Catholic Faith:
Do we have reported Eucharistic miracles in Lutheran churches or Anglican ones?  No.  Yet in the Catholic Church we do. Over 500 people have had the visible (or invisible) wounds of Christ known as the Stigmata on their body including St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of God, St. Francis, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, St. Marie of the Incarnation, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina.  We also have over 150 incorruptible saints whose incorruptibly defies all of science.  And we have dozens of confirmed and verified apparitions in history not only of our Blessed Mother but also of St. Michael the Archangel and other saints. And when miracles are examined by modern science, they still find them unexplainable. 

As the website, illustrates, the true Church ought to be resplendent with miracles and only the Catholic Church has been shown to be accompanied with repeated first-class miracles.

Satan Knows This. That's Why He Attacks the Catholic Church

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 absolutely 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?

Let us always be prepared to give an account of our faith (cf. 1 Peter 3:15), and we can do this by understanding the truth of the Catholic Faith as seen through both intellectual arguments as well as through miracles. By these means, let us be missionaries to all we encounter.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Replacing the Glory Be in the Rosary During Passiontide

The Church begins today on Passion Sunday the most penitential time of the year. During these final two weeks leading up to the holy festival of Easter, we are reminded of the penance of the season by the covering of the statues and images in our churches and in our homes. Additionally, in the Traditional Mass we will notice the further omission of several prayers at the beginning of Mass during the Prayers at the foot of the altar in addition to the Glory Be (known in Latin as the Gloria Patri).

The Gloria Patri is omitted in the Mass and in parts of the Divine Office. Concerning the Divine Office, it is suppressed during the responsories in the Office though kept for most of Passiontide at the end of the Psalms. However, starting with Matins of Holy Thursday said on the night of Spy Wednesday it disappears completely. The day draws close at hand when the whole Church will mourn the Lord's Passion and Death.

It can - though it doesn't have to be - omitted in the Rosary as well. While this practice is more common in certain Catholic countries than others, it makes sense to omit the Glory Be during Passiontide from our prayers, including the Rosary, as we feel the increasing reality of Calvary drawing ever closer. This is also consistent with the Church's official prayers which during this period omit this last remaining expression of joy in the Church's liturgy. Darkness closes in. 

In place of the Glory Be, this prayer is traditionally added:

V: Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem
R: Mortem autem crucis

V: Christ became obedient for us even unto death
R: even unto the death of the cross
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Why Pray the Divine Office?

The introduction given below was written by Fr. Pius Parch, and it is included in the beginning of several breviaries as a means to introduce a person to the spirituality of the Divine Office.

If you are new to the Breviary and want to have a guided approach to praying the Office, use Divinum Officium. I recommend either Divinu Afflato, Reduce 1955, or Rubrics 1960. The 1960 rubrics here are the ones that are used in connection with the Tridentine Mass said according to the 1962 Missal.

If you are looking to upgrade to having the books yourself, I recommend the best English/Latin books out there which use the 1960 Rubrics: The Baronius Press Edition.

The following is taken from the excellent work of Fr. Pius Parch:

The breviary is the official prayerbook of the Catholic Church, the prayer said in the name of the Church. It could be said that the Holy Ghost and the Church have been working on it for more than 3,000 years, and it has become the basic book of prayer. It contains the Divine Office, or the formal prayers which the Church puts into the mouths of her priests and religious.

The two chief objectives which the breviary fulfills are:

1. It is the prayer of the Church as a body

1. The breviary is above all the prayer of the Church. It is helpful to understand the difference between private prayer and liturgical prayer. In private prayer I pray, mostly for myself and my own affairs. It is I who stand in the center of action. But in liturgical prayer, that is, in the breviary, it is not primarily I who am praying, but the Church, the Bride of Christ. The object of Her prayer is broader: all the needs of God’s kingdom here on earth. In liturgical prayer, I am like a leaf on the great living tree of the Catholic Church. I share Her life and Her problems. The Church is praying through my mouth; I offer Her my tongue to pray with Her for all the great objectives of redemption, and for God’s honor and glory.

The Church weeps through our tears with those who weep, rejoices through our joys with those who rejoice, does penance through our penances with those who are repentant. All the sentiments of Holy Mother Church find their echo in us. This gives a deeper content to our prayer; we spread out far beyond our own selves. It is through the breviary that we participate objectively in the official ministry and care of souls. The objectives of the Church, the objectives of Christ’s redemption, become ours. We should approach our prayer of the breviary saying: Now the Church is praising God through my mouth; now the Church is struggling after souls with my hands!

2. It is a guide to genuine spiritual growth for the individual soul, religious or lay

The breviary fulfills a second purpose. In the universal spirit of prayer as described above, the individual soul is not to lose sight of itself. The individual, too, must grow; that is the subjective side of liturgical prayer. The breviary is a staff and guide to heaven. For us,it can be compared to the Angel Raphael who led the young Tobias successfully through all the dangers of his journey. It leads us through the Church year. As our Catholic churches sanctify space, so the breviary sanctifies time. By the arrangement of prayers in the sequence of canonical hours, we are made to progress in building up the temple of grace within our soul. By means of the “hours” of the Divine Office the Church puts sword and trowel into our hands for every time-segment of the day. The breviary, as the prayer of the canonical hours and as the prayer of the Church year, is in the highest sense the guide for souls.

St. Benedict said, “Let nothing be preferred to the work of God.” Is this the case nowadays? Are we not a race of action, of restless, unwearying activity, and not of quiet, contemplative prayer? We say, of course, that prayer is good, but wonder sometimes what we get by it. We tend to want to work and labor to “make ourselves useful.” Has God changed, or have we, nowadays, less need of Him? Can human activity supply the place of divine grace, and is it not solely by prayer that divine grace is called down upon us?

When Israel fought against Amalec, Moses on the mountain was raising his hands in prayer. It was not the fighting warriors that vanquished the enemy, for as often as Moses let fall his hands it was Amalec that got the upper hand. This Old Testament story has often been used in favor of the Church praying as compared with the Church militant. At the present time, more than ever, we stand in need of prayer, and of the solemn prayer in common (if and where possible) of the Divine Office.

The worship of God is the first and most important duty of the human race. Man is a rational being created to praise God, says St. John Chrysostom, to offer to God the worship of all creation. It is not sufficient that each individual should comply with this duty by only his own prayers. The relation of God to man, of the Creator to the creature, of the King of kings to His subjects, demands a solemn common worship, sacrifice, and prayer, such service as Holy Church offers to God.

The human race must offer to God, socially, either as a united body or by due representation, its tribute of adoration, praise; and thanksgiving. If each individual member of a congress were to offer its respects to the Head of State in private, this would by no means have the same significance as if all did so in common, or by special and solemn deputation. That’s what God requires, for He has written: “All the nations that Thou hast made shall come and adore before Thee, O Lord”; “Praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye peoples.” Next to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which the work and fruit of our Redemption is continually re-presenced and perpetuated, the Divine Office gives the greatest glory to God, and is most closely united and intimately connected with that Sacrifice.

The Holy Mass is the sun and the canonical hours the rays which surround it. Without Christ Himself, there would be no rays, but on the other hand the rays announce and spread far and wide the glory of the sun, and it is by their means that we receive the sun’s light and heat. The Divine Office is divine in its origin and source, divine in the Object of its praise, and divine in form, which is of no human invention. The Holy Ghost lives, works and speaks in the Church, and we-have to thank Him for its contents, its arrangement, and its words, which He has inspired. It is the official prayer of the Church, and as She is the Mystical Body of Christ, every breath in Her Body belongs to Him. He is Her Head, and Her prayer, Her language, Her voice are His, and therefore divine. “He Himself praises Himself,” says St. Augustine.

The sublimity of this solemn praise of God implies also its efficacy. Our divine Lord Himself has said: “Wheresoever two or three are united in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” and again, “Whatsoever you shall ask in My name, I will give it to you.” “Thy prayer,” says St. John Chrysostom, “is not of such efficacy when thou prayest alone as when thou prayest with thy brethren,” for, as St. Ambrose observes, “If many souls unite they become powerful, and God cannot despise the prayers of a multitude.”

They who sing psalms together as a well-ordered army in battle array do violence to heaven most pleasing to God. Individuals are like drops carried on by the force of the stream. Devotion in common arouses, vivifies, enkindles. It overcomes, to a certain extent, the lukewarm distractions of the individual and unites him in the harmony of the choir, and thus the common prayer and praise resound like one voice rich and full-toned, well pleasing to God. It is the one voice of the Catholic Church, of His Son, to which He must listen.

List of the hours:  Matutinum (Matins), Laudes (Lauds), Prima (Prime), Tertia (Terce), Sexta (Sext), Nona (None), Vesperae (Vespers), and Completorium (Compline).
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Preface for the Reconciliation of the Penitents

Those familiar with the history of the Roman Rite will be familiar that in times past, public sinners were expelled from the Church on Ash Wednesday and received again on Holy Thursday. Whereas today, we are more familiar with the journey that catechumens are making to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil, several centuries ago, the penitents were also making a similar journey to the holiest of all celebrations, Easter.

While this does not still take place on Holy Thursday, we should still nevertheless pray for so many lapsed and fallen away Catholics to return to the Sacrament of Confession and be restored to God's grace. During this Lenten Season, we should often pray for sinners. One great means to do so is to pray the Seven Penitential Psalms on Fridays after Matins and Lauds, a practice that was done up until the Breviary reforms of St. Pius X.

We can likewise offer other prayers for the conversion of sinners, such as of course the Holy Rosary for them. We can pray these prayers now and offer our intentions of this day, in union with the whole Sacrifice of the Mass, for the conversion of lapsed Catholics.

Lastly, the following beautiful Preface given us by the Roman pontifical was formerly recited during the reconciliation of the public penitents. 

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord: Whom thou, O almighty Father, didst will to be born among us by an ineffable Birth, that so he might pay to thee, his eternal Father, the debt contracted by Adam, and put our death to death by his own, and bear our wounds in his own Flesh, and cleanse away our stains by his Blood; hereby enabling us, who had fallen by the envy of the old enemy, to rise again by his mercy. Through him, O Lord, we suppliantly beseech and pray thee that thou graciously hear us making intercession for the sins of others, who are not worthy to plead for our own. Do thou, O most merciful Lord, recall to thyself, with thy wonted goodness, these thy servants, who have separated themselves from thee by their sins. For neither didst thou reject the most wicked Achab when he humbled himself before thee, but didst avert from him the punishment he had deserved. So, likewise, didst thou graciously hear Peter, when he wept, and didst afterwards give to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and thou didst promise the reward of that same kingdom to the thief when he trusted in thee. Therefore, O most merciful Lord! mercifully welcome back these for whom we offer to thee our prayers, and restore them to the bosom of thy Church, that the enemy may not triumph over them, but that they may be reconciled unto thee by thy coequal Son, and by him be cleansed from their guilt, and graciously admitted by him to the banquet of thy most holy Supper. May he in such wise refresh them by his Flesh and Blood, as to lead them, after this life’s course is run, to the kingdom of heaven.

Lastly, here follows the devout formula given by the Roman pontifical in the reconciliation of penitents:

O God, the most loving Creator, and most merciful Redeemer of mankind! who, when man, through the devil's malice, forfeited eternal life,didst redeem him by the Blood of thine only Son; restore to life these thy servants, who thou wiliest not should be dead to thee. Thou abandonest not them that go astray; receive these that have returned to the right path. We beseech thee, O Lord, let thy mercy be moved by the tears and sighs of these thy servants; heal their wounds; stretch forth thy saving hand, and raise them up: lest thy Church be robbed of a part of her body; lest thy flock should suffer loss; lest the enemy should rejoice in the perdition of them that are of thy family; lest the second death should seize them that were regenerated in the waters of salvation. To thee, therefore, O Lord, do we thy suppliants pour forth our prayers, to thee the weeping of our heart. Spare them that trust in thee, and, in thy mercy, suffer them not to fall under the sentence of thy judgment to come, whereby they would be condemned to punishment. Let not the horrors of darkness, or the scorching of flames come nigh to them. They have returned from the way of error to the path of justice; let them not be again wounded. What thy grace hath conferred, and thy mercy hath reformed, let it remain in them whole and for ever. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Rare Urbi et Orbi Blessing In Response to COVID-19

Update: The full video may be watched here:

The Vatican News website reports:
On Friday, 27 March, [Pope Francis] will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication," he said.  
The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.
It is an extraordinarily rare event for an Urbi et orbi to take place any time other than Christmas or Easter. This follows the release of a special indulgences issued in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Monday, March 23, 2020
How Can I Be Forgiven From Venial Sins Without Confession?

What is the difference between Mortal & Venial Sin?

Sins can be grouped into two categories: mortal and venial sins. This is attested to in the Scriptures which mention this distinction in 1 John 5:16-18:

"If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that is not a deadly sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not deadly. There is sin which is deadly; I do not say one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly. We know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him."

Mortal sin is "deadly" sin since it destroys satisfying grace in the soul. The consequence of this is the most serious - to die with mortal sin on the soul is the only determinant if a soul will go to Hell for all eternity or not.

All sins are venial sins unless they are mortal sins. And to be a mortal sin, it must meet 3 characteristics:
  1. Grave Matter: The act must involve a serious offense or violation of a moral law. Not all sins are considered grave matter; they must be significant in their nature. Examinations of Conscience will help determine which sins are mortal. Offenses against the Commandments or the Church's precepts are mortal sins. For an examination just on venial sins, the guide by St. Anthony Mary Claret is a good resource.
  2. Full Knowledge: The person committing the sin must have a clear understanding that what they are doing is a serious offense against God's law. Ignorance or lack of awareness may reduce culpability.
  3. Deliberate Consent: The individual must commit the sinful act with full and voluntary intent. Coercion or external factors that compromise free will may diminish culpability. If someone commits a sin while sleepwalking, for instance, there would likely be no sin committed.
The Forgiveness of Mortal Sins: The Sacrament of Confession

The Sacrament of Confession is the means that our Divine Lord has established so that we may receive forgiveness for our sins. This is the ordinary means of forgiveness. Ordinarily, this means that only in Confession can a soul in the state of mortal sin be restored to a life of grace and friendship with God as a result of the way that God has ordered the world to work. Q. 780 of the Baltimore Catechism states:

What sins are we bound to confess? A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.

What can those do who may not access the Sacrament of Reconciliation? If someone is in a faraway distant land or on a battlefield and dying, what do they do? What even should we do if we become ill with a virus and feel life slipping away and fear that no priest will be able to hear our Confession?

In such situations, we are reminded that God has bound salvation to the Sacraments, but He Himself is not bound by His Sacraments. St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote to his followers shortly before WWII:
"Whoever can, should receive the Sacrament of Penance.  Whoever cannot, because of prohibiting circumstances, should cleanse his soul by acts of perfect contrition: i.e., the sorrow of a loving child who does not consider so much the pain or reward as he does the pardon from his father and mother to whom he has brought displeasure."
The Forgiveness of Mortal Sins: An Act of Perfect Contrition

Thus, there is one additional means to receive forgiveness: An Act of Perfect Contrition. This, too, is the only way that protestants with valid Baptism, but without valid Confession, can be saved. We know that there is no salvation outside of the Church, but for those souls who die seemingly separated from the Church, we must pray that they can make a perfect Act of Contrition, repent of their sins, long for union with God and His Church, and thus cheat the devil and merit a crown of glory.

There are two kinds of contrition (i.e., sorrow) that we can have for our sins. The most common is imperfect contrition which is sorrow out of a fear of losing Heaven or suffering in Hell. The other is perfect contrition which is sorrow entirely out of a love of God and regret for offending Him.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on Contrition states: "Catholic teaching distinguishes a twofold hatred of sin; one, perfect contrition, rises from the love of God Who has been grievously offended; the other, imperfect contrition, arises principally from some other motives, such as loss of heaven, fear of hell, the heinousness of sin, etc. (Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, ch. iv de Contritione)."

While those who are dying without Confession and with mortal sin on their souls will need to make such a perfect Act of Contrition in order to avoid hell, we too can seek to make perfect acts of contrition whenever we sin, even if we plan to soon seek out the Sacrament of Confession and receive absolution.

The formula for an Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
The perfect act of contrition, though, is not just a mere fact of saying this formula. It truly requires the proper disposition of being detached from all sins - even venial sins. It is not an easy thing to do, especially those who sin often throughout their lives.

If you are in good health now, make a resolution to say 3 Hail Marys every day to ask for the grace to die in the state of grace with Last Rites.

 The Forgiveness of Venial Sins:

What has been mentioned so far is the forgiveness of mortal sins, those that would deprive a soul of Heaven. The Sacrament of Confession and Perfect Acts of Contrition would both remove mortal sins and venial sins. Is there, however, a way to remit venial sin by itself? There actually is.

However, an important clarification: assuming a person has both moral sin and venial sin on his soul, it is not possible to remove only the venial sins this way and leave the mortal sins for the Confessional. Why? St. Thomas Aquinas explains:
"As stated above (III:87:3), there is no remission of any sin whatever except by the power of grace, because, as the Apostle declares (Romans 4:8), it is owing to God's grace that He does not impute sin to a man, which a gloss on that passage expounds as referring to venial sin. Now he that is in a state of mortal sin is without the grace of God. Therefore no venial sin is forgiven him" (Summa Theologica, Third Part, Question 87: The remission of venial sin, Article 4)
For those, however who only have venial sins on their souls, the Angelic Doctor continues by explaining what the means for remitting the venial sins are:
"No infusion of fresh grace is required for the forgiveness of a venial sin, but it is enough to have an act proceeding from grace, in detestation of that venial sin, either explicit or at least implicit, as when one is moved fervently to God. Hence, for three reasons, certain things cause the remission of venial sins: first, because they imply the infusion of grace, since the infusion of grace removes venial sins, as stated above (Article 2); and so, by the Eucharist, Extreme Unction, and by all the sacraments of the New Law without exception, wherein grace is conferred, venial sins are remitted. 
"Secondly, because they imply a movement of detestation for sin, and in this way the general confession [i.e. the recital of the Confiteor or of an act of contrition, the beating of one's breast, and the Lord's Prayer conduce to the remission of venial sins, for we ask in the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses."
"Thirdly, because they include a movement of reverence for God and Divine things; and in this way a bishop's blessing, the sprinkling of holy water, any sacramental anointing, a prayer said in a dedicated church, and anything else of the kind, conduce to the remission of venial sins" (Summa Theologica, Third Part, Question 87: The remission of venial sin, Article 3)
Thus, we learn that the Sacraments, such as receiving Holy Communion, remit venial sin, although we of course may never receive Holy Communion without prior Sacramental Confession for mortal sin. We also learn that the Confiteor, the Our Father, and blessing ourselves with Holy Water all remit venial sin.

So if you find yourself away from the Sacrament of Confession, do not lose heart. Make use of the prayers and Sacramentals at your disposal.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Special Indulgences Available Due to COVID-19

The Procession of St. Gregory by Jacopo Zucchi

The following is taken from the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic issued on March 20, 2020:

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.

The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza

Major Penitentiary
Saturday, March 21, 2020
The Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: 

FRONT One side of the medal bears an image of St. Benedict, holding a cross in the right hand and the Holy Rule in the left. On the one side of the image is a cup, on the other a raven, and above the cup and the raven are inscribed the words: “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Round the margin of the medal stands the legend “Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus” (May we at our death be fortified by his presence).

BACK The reverse of the medal bears a cross with the initial letters of the words: “Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux” (The Holy Cross be my light), written downward on the perpendicular bar; the initial letters of the words, “Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux” (Let not the dragon be my guide), on the horizontal bar; and the initial letters of “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” in the angles of the cross. Round the margin stand the initial letters of the distich: “Vade Retro Satana, Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana — Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas” (Begone, Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities — evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison). At the top of the cross usually stands the word Pax (peace) or the monogram I H S (Jesus).

The History of the Jubilee Medal:

Any priest may receive the faculties to bless these medals.

The medal was made  in 1880, to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of St. Benedict’s birth. The Archabbey of Monte Cassino has the exclusive right to strike this medal. The ordinary medal of St. Benedict usually differs from the preceding in the omission of the words “Ejus in obitu etc.”, and in a few minor details. (For the indulgences connected with it see Beringer, “Die Ablässe”, Paderborn, 1906, p. 404-6.) The habitual wearer of the jubilee medal can gain all the indulgences connected with the ordinary medal and, in addition: (1) All the indulgences that could be gained by visiting the basilica, crypt, and tower of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino (Pius IX, 31 December, 1877) (2) A plenary indulgence on the feast of All Souls (from about two o’clock in the afternoon of 1 November to sunset of 2 November), as often as (toties quoties), after confession and Holy Communion, he visits any church or public oratory, praying there according to the intention of the pope, provided that he is hindered from visiting a church or public oratory of the Benedictines by sickness, monastic enclosure or a distance of at least 1000 steps. (Decr. 27 February, 1907, in Acta S. Sedis, LX, 246.)

[Note the toties quoties indulgence was extended in 1914 to anyone, even those who do not have or use the Jubilee Medal]

It is doubtful when the Medal of St. Benedict originated. During a trial for witchcraft at Natternberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria in the year 1647, the accused women testified that they had no power over Metten, which was under the protection of the cross. Upon investigation, a number of painted crosses, surrounded by the letters which are now found on Benedictine medals, were found on the walls of the abbey, but their meaning had been forgotten. Finally, in an old manuscript, written in 1415, was found a picture representing St. Benedict holding in one hand a staff which ends in a cross, and a scroll in the other. On the staff and scroll were written in full the words of which the mysterious letters were the initials. Medals bearing the image of St. Benedict, a cross, and these letters began now to be struck in Germany, and soon spread over Europe. They were first approved by Benedict XIV in his briefs of 23 December, 1741, and 12 March, 1742.

Specific Promises associated with the St. Benedict Medal:

1. To destroy witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences;
2. To impart protection to persons tempted, deluded, or tormented by evil spirits;
3. To obtain the conversion of sinners into the Catholic Church, especially when they are in danger of death;
4. To serve as an armor against temptation;
 5. To destroy the effects of poison;
6. To secure a timely and healthy birth for children;
7. To afford protection against storms and lightning;
8. To serve as an efficacious remedy for bodily afflictions and a means of protection against contagious diseases.

How to wear the medal:

1. On a chain around the neck;
2. Attached to one’s rosary;
3. Kept in one’s pocket or purse;
4. Placed in one’s car or home;
5. Placed in the foundation of a building;
6. Placed in the center of a cross.

How to Order One: Amazon has a variety of Jubilee Medals
Traditional Benedictine Mass Propers for St. Benedict

Although often impeded by Lent, March 21st is the feast of St. Benedict, the illustrious founder of the Benedictines and of monasticism.

The propers (i.e. the prayers and readings) for the Feast of St. Benedict in the Tridentine Mass are simply taken from the Common of Abbots. However, tucked in the back of many hand missals is a section of propers "In Some Places and Congregations." That section gives the special propers unique to the Feast of St. Benedict when said in Benedictine Churches. In the Angelus Press Daily Missal, these may be found on page 1641. They are as follows:


Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of Saint Benedict the Abbot, on whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God. Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, on His holy mountain. Glory be to the father. (Ps. 47:2) Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of Saint Benedict the Abbot, on whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.


O Almighty and Eternal God, Who didst on this day lead Thy most holy Confessor Benedict out of the prison of the flesh and raise him up to heaven, grant, we pray, the pardon of all sin to Thy servants who celebrate this feast, so that while with glad hearts they rejoice at his glory, they may also by his intercession hav epart in his merits. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Ecclus. 50:111,13,14

Behold the great confessor who in his life propped up the house, and in his days fortified the temple. By him also the height of the temple was founded, the double building and the high walls of the temple. In his days the wells of water flowed out, and they were filled as the sea above measure. He took care of his nation, and delivered it from destruction. He prevailed to enlarge the city, and obtained glory in his conversation with the people: and enlarged the entrance of the house and the court. He shone in his days as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full. And as the sun when it shineth, so did he shine in the temple of God. And as the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of the spring, and as the lilies that are on the brink of the water, and as the sweet smelling frankincense in the time of summer. As a bright fire, and frankincense burning in the fire. As a massy vessel of gold, adorned with every precious stone. As an olive tree budding forth, and a cypress tree rearing itself on high. About him was the ring of his brethren: and as the cedar planted in mount Libanus, so as branches of him, and all the sons of Aaron in their glory.

Matthew 19:27-29

Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my names sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.

Laeta quies magni ducis

The happy death of our great Leader bringing the benefits of a new day is commemorated now.

To the pious mind charity is given; so let first resound in a heart aflame with love what is brought forth in song and ceremony.

As along the pathway of the East he rises, let us admire the splendor of our patriarch.

The numerous race that from him sprang makes him shine as the sun, make him like another Abraham.

A raven you see ministering to him while as Elias he hides within a humble cave.

He appears another Eliseus when he calls back the axe from the torrent's rocky depth.

Purity of life make him another Joseph, knowledge of the future makes him another Jacob.

May he be mindful of his family, and bring us to the joys of Christ Who lives forever. Amen.


Thou hast given him his heart's desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.


Be appeased, O Lord, by the gifts we offer in honor of Thy most holy Confessor, Benedict, and through his prayers grant Thy servants pardon of their sins. Through our Lord.


The faithful and wise servant, whom his lord setteth over his family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season.


After receiving Thy saving Sacraments, we humbly pray, O Lord, our God, that through the prayers of Thy most holy Confessor Benedict, what we perform for his festival may profit us unto salvation. Through our Lord.
Friday, March 20, 2020
The Samaritan Woman at the Well: St. Photina

On Friday in the Third Week of Lent we read in the Gospel for the Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. This woman, though few know it, is known as St. Photina, who eventually died as a martyr for the Faith.

Coincidentally, today is also the 20th day of March. And in the Roman Maryrology for today, we also happen to read her entry:
"The same day, the Saints Photina, a Samaritan, and her sons Joseph and Victor; also, Sebastian, military officer, Anatolius, and Photius; Photides, Parasceves and Cyriaca, sisters, who were all martyred for confessing Christ."
Catholic Online provides the following entry on St. Photina:
"According to Greek tradition, Photiona was the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus spoke at the well as was recounted in the Gospel of St. John, chapter four. Deeply moved by the experience, she took to preaching the Gospel, received imprisonment, and was finally martyred at Carthage. Another tradition states that Photina was put to death in Rome after converting the daughter of Emperor Nero and one hundred of her servants. She supposedly died in Rome with her sons Joseph and Victor, along with several other Christians, including Sebastian, Photius, Parasceve, Photis, Cyriaca, and Victor. They were perhaps included in the Roman Martyrology by Cardinal Cesare Baronius owing to the widely held view that the head of Photina was preserved in the church of St. Paul's Outside the Walls." 
May St. Photina and her sons pray for us to the Lord. Just as she saw our Lord and converted, may all those who are away from the Catholic Faith be touched by grace and enter the Holy Catholic Church through the saving waters of Baptism.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Must the First Fridays and First Saturdays be Consecutive?

From time to time the question arises on whether or not the 9 First Fridays must be consecutive. One of the reasons for this is that traditionally the faithful may never receive Holy Communion, except in the case of the dying, on Good Friday. And some years Good Friday will fall on the First Friday of the month.

Likewise, during the crisis due to the coronavirus, many parishes - even traditional ones - are forced to cease public Masses due to the various shelter in place orders or government decrees to limit attendance at any gathering to a certain amount.

If this crisis continues into April, will the First Friday devotion need to be restarted again? Likewise, if through no fault of our own, will the Five First Saturdays devotion need to be restarted if we are unable to receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday of April? The answer is yes.

The following is taken from the American Ecclesiastical Review in regards to the question of Good Friday falling on the First Friday of the month. While the author notes this is not a universal opinion, he nevertheless does state that only Our Lord [or Our Lady in the case of the First Saturdays] could render a definitive decision on this matter. As none has been received from Heaven in a subsequent vision, we must conclude that the souls who are unable to receive Holy Communion, even through no fault of their own, must restart the devotion.

Let us pray for a quick end to the coronavirus crisis and the reopening of our churches and the offering of the Mass again to the public!

Does Good Friday Break the First Friday Devotion?

Prayer of Consecration to St. Joseph

O Blessed Saint Joseph, I consecrate myself to thy honor, and give myself to thee that thou mayest always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a great purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life. After thy example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And do thou, O Blessed Saint Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of thy holy death. Amen.

Those who are interested should also see the 31-Day St. Joseph Daily Reflection Manual: Free PDF. Those who wish to make a formula consecration to St. Joseph, please get a copy of Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Father Donald Calloway.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Can Unclean Food Defile a Man?

To those who claim that the Scriptures in Matthew 15:11 condemn the Church's law of abstinence and fasting, Dom Gueranger in his "Liturgical Year" addresses the following words:
[God] tells them that there is no creature which is intrinsically, and of its own nature, unclean; and that a man’s conscience cannot be defiled by the mere fact of his eating certain kinds of food. Evil thoughts, and evil deeds, these, says our Saviour, are the things that defile a man. Some heretics have interpreted these words as being an implicit condemnation of the exterior practices ordained by the Church, and more especially of abstinence. To such reasoners and teachers we may justly apply what our Saviour said to the pharisees: They are blind and leaders of the blind. From this, that the sins into which a man falls by his use of material things are sins only on account of the malice of the will, which is spiritual, it does not follow that therefore man may, without any sin, make use of material things, when God or His Church forbids their use. 
God forbade our first parents, under pain of death, to eat the fruit of a certain tree; they ate it, and sin was the result of their eating. Was the fruit unclean of its own nature? No; it was a creature of God as well as the other fruits of Eden; but our first parents sinned by eating it, because their doing so was an act of disobedience. Again, when God gave His Law on Mount Sinai, He forbade the Hebrews to eat the flesh of certain animals; if they ate it, they were guilty of sin, not because this sort of food was intrinsically evil or cursed, but because they that partook of it disobeyed the Lord. 
The commandments of the Church regarding fasting and abstinence are of a similar nature. It is that we may secure to ourselves the blessing of Christian penance— in other words, it is for our spiritual interest—that the Church bids us abstain and fast at certain times. If we violate her law, it is not the food we take that defiles us, but the resisting a sacred power, which our Saviour, in yesterday's Gospel, told us we are to obey under the heavy penalty which He expressed in those words: He that will not hear the Church, shall be counted as a heathen and publican.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Comprehensive List of Live Streaming Traditional Latin Masses

Updated 11/23/2020

With the current crisis in regards to the coronavirus, many Dioceses or governments have suspended all Masses and gatherings. This is unprecedented in the Church. As a result, in most places, the faithful have been dispensed from Sunday Mass. Yet, while it is possible to be dispensed from the precept of assisting at Mass, the divine law requires that Sundays are nevertheless honored. We must refrain from servile works on Sundays, pray, worship God as we can, and perform works of mercy, in addition to using the time for rest and leisure with family or friends. See: Top 5 Ways to Sanctify Sunday When Mass is Suspended

In order for the faithful to help sanctify Sunday, many parishes are now live streaming their Masses. In fact, many of the links here offer daily streaming - even the weekday Masses and the devotions.

During this Lent, we especially bear these crosses which the Lord has given us. When Lent started, we never planned to receive this Cross, but like our Lord, we must bear it with patience and resignation.

Some of these live streams are only during this period of crisis. Others are available all year round. If you know of any more, please list them in the comment section below. Some of these and more are listed on as well.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Society of St. Pius V
Society of St. Pius X
Institute of Christ the King
Diocesan / Independent / Others in the USA
Churches in England & Wales
Eastern Catholic Rites
Indulged Prayer for the Dying

O most merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I beseech Thee, by the agony of Thy Most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of Thine immaculate Mother, wash clean in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who are to die this day. Amen.

V: Heart of Jesus, who didst suffer death's agony
R: Have mercy on the dying

An indulgence of 300 days as listed in the Raccolta
Holy Communion Under One or Both Species?

What is Holy Communion?

The Eucharist - Holy Communion - simply is Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. It is not a symbol of Christ, but rather, it is truly and really Jesus Christ! At the point in the Mass known as the consecration the priest, acting in persona Christi, will say "This is my Body, which will be given up for you" and "This is my Blood...". These were the words of Our Savior when He turned the bread and wine at the Last Supper into His Body and Blood, and, by the divine power of God in the priesthood, the bread and wine become Jesus Christ.

The Council of Trent condemned as heretical anyone who claimed that the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity of Christ: “If anyone denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.”

What is Transubstantiation?

The Baltimore Catechism Q. 246 asks, “What is this change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord called? This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord is called Transubstantiation.”

Only the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have a valid Eucharist. The protestants, who do not have valid Holy Orders, do not have valid priests and therefore can not confect the Holy Eucharist. They can not by their words cause transubstantiation to occur. A Lutheran or Anglican priest is not a valid priest.

What is Consubstantiation? 

That being said, the Lutherans, although, they do not have a valid Eucharist, believe the Communion in their services is both the Lord’s Body and Blood alongside the substance of bread and wine. This is called consubstantiation. The theological view of consubstantiation, which has no basis in the teachings of the Early Church at all, was explicitly condemned as heretical by the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.”

The writings of the Early Church Fathers abound in teaching the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, long before the term was coined by the Church. To illustrate the clear Catholic view that existed centuries, even a millennium before Martin Luther, we can turn to a few examples. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313 – 386 AD) wrote, "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ.” And St. Augustine (354 – 430 AD) similarly and succinctly wrote, “Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored It.”

What is a Eucharistic Species?

In Theology we use the terms species in reference to the Eucharist. What does species mean? The Modern Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. defines “species” as the following: “Appearances, especially those of bread and wine, after the Eucharistic consecration. The term "species" is used by the Council of Trent to identify the accidents, i.e., the size, weight, color, resistance, taste, and odor of bread, which remain exactly the same after transubstantiation. They are not mere appearances as though these physical properties were unreal. But they are appearances because after the consecration they lack any substance that underlies them or in which they inhere.”

This is an important definition because by it we see a few things. First, the Catholic view is transubstantiation. Second, in transubstantiation the bread and wine, at the moment of consecration, cease being bread and wine and are now the substance of the Lord’s Body, His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity.  The only thing remaining of bread and wine are the accidents (the color, taste, smell, appearance, et cetera) of bread and wine. They are however not bread and wine any more.

Is Christ’s Body Only in the Consecrated Host? Is the Consecrated Wine Only His Blood?

In the Catechism of St. Pius X we find the clear and universal teaching of the Church: “Both under the species of the bread and under the species of the wine the living Jesus Christ is all present, with His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity. Both in the host and in the chalice Jesus Christ is whole and entire, because He is living and immortal in the Eucharist as He is in heaven; hence where His Body is, there also are His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity; and where His Blood is, there also are His Body, His Soul and His Divinity, all these being inseparable in Jesus Christ.”

The smallest fragment of the Eucharistic Host is the fullness of Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And the smallest drop of the Consecrated wine is likewise the fullness of Our Lord: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We may in conversation refer to the Consecrated Host as “Christ’s Body” and the Consecrated Wine as “Christ’s Blood,” but in reality under each of the species of bread and wine there is no substance of bread or wine and there is the fullness of Christ.

The great confusion on this necessary teaching for salvation comes from the modernism that has infected the Church in the past few decades. In fact, many Catholics fail to understand this because Catholic parishes have introduced Communion in the hand, which was introduced as a liturgical abuse, and they now also distribute Holy Communion from the chalice. The sacrilege of Communion in the hand and the distribution of both Eucharistic species has led to a growing trend in Catholics failing to believe in the Real Presence (i.e. in transubstantiation) and, even for those who do believe, there is a trend in Catholics who believe the Consecrated Host is only Christ’s Body and the Consecrated Wine is only Christ’s Blood.

Should We Receive Holy Communion from the Chalice? 

In the Traditional Latin Mass, Holy Communion is given to those who are kneeling (with the elderly and ill able to stand), on the tongue, and only under one species. Why? The Baltimore Catechism in Q. 900 advised, "The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord's blood is present under the appearance of bread also."

The trend following Vatican II to distribute both Eucharistic species incorporates a protestant practice that the Church had repeatedly prohibited in order to both safeguard our Lord’s Body and Blood and to teach the authentic Theology of the Real Presence under one species more fully. The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the Church’s history of this topic for those looking for more thorough information. While the Eastern Rites of the Church have continued to offer the Holy Eucharist through intinction (where the Consecrated Bread is dipped in the Consecrated Wine), this practice has long ago vanished from the Western Rites of the Church. The protestants introduction of this was done due to their heretical view of the Consecrated Bread containing the fullness of Christ.

We should not receive Holy Communion from the chalice as traditionally this was for the priest alone. We should also attend the Traditional Latin Mass and not the Novus Ordo. And we should of course never receive Holy Communion in the hand.  As Fr. John Hardon remarked: “Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”
Sunday, March 15, 2020
2nd Saturday of the Month TLM in Menlo Park, CA

The Church of the Nativity now offers the Tridentine Mass on the 2nd Saturday of each month. I've been able to attend this Mass a few times and here are some images from it.

If you would like to receive email updates from the organizer of this monthly Mass, please contact me and I will pass along your email address.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and looking for other Traditional Masses in the Peninsula or elsewhere in the Bay, consider following the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco as well as the Mid-Peninsula Latin Mass on Facebook.

Advent Feria Mass:

Feast of St. Lawrence:

Saturday in the 2nd Week of Lent:


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