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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Thursday, July 23, 2020
St. Liborius
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 23

Today is the Commemoration of St. Liborius, who was bishop of Le Mans in France and friend of St. Martin of Tours. Of a noble family of Gaul, he joined the priesthood and was ordained Bishop of Mans in 348 AD. He was a friend of Saint Martin of Tours. During the 45 years of his episcopacy, he built many churches. His relics reside at Paderborn and at Amelia in Umbria. He died 396.

Since Liborius died in the arms of his friend Martin of Tours, he is looked to as a patron of a good death. Since the thirteenth century he has been prayed to for assistance against gallstones that are caused by the water of the limestone area; the first account of a healing of this kind concerns the cure of Archbishop Werner von Eppstein, who came on pilgrimage to the saint's shrine in 1267 AD. He is also seen as a patron of peace and understanding among peoples. He is invoked against colic, fever, and gallstones.

St. Liborius was added to the Universal Calendar in 1702 as a commemoration within the 23 July celebration of Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna. Sadly, like many saints in 1969, he was removed from the calendar.

Collect:

O Almighty God, grant that our solemn celebration of the feast of Your confessor bishop Liborius may increase our devotion and bring us closer to our salvation. Through our Lord . . .
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Virtual Tour of Salt Lake's Cathedral of the Madeline
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In honor of today's feast of St. Mary Magdalene, here are some images from my visit last month to the Cathedral in Salt Lake City, the only Cathedral in America named after St. Mary Magdalene.










While the walls feature a truly beautiful depiction of Our Lord and His Saints, the altar is sadly a shadow of its former self before the destruction following Vatican II. 


From the Deseret News Archives, this image from November 23, 1961, shows the Cathedral on Thanksgiving Day. Sadly, the beautiful altar arrangement and the side altars are a thing of the past. More reason for us to pray for a restoration of the True Roman Rite to return to every consecrated church in our world, our nation, and our own city.
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Sunday, July 19, 2020
What is Christian Meditation?
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What is Christian Meditation? How can a Catholic practice meditation? Is it allowed or encouraged? What exactly is it?

In the recent newsletter for St. Michael's Priory in Africa, Fr. Peter Scott wrote a very insightful article on meditation and how we must practice meditation - even as regularly lay people who are not priests or consecrated religious. The following is quoted from that newsletter:


MENTAL PRAYER

If there is one devotional practice that Catholics fear most, it is meditation, also called mental prayer. They come up with a multitude of reasons why they consider that it is not for them. Some say that they do not even know what it is, let alone how to do it; others that they have distractions when they try; others that it is for religious and not for regular lay people; others that they are too busy to have time for it; others that they do not need mental prayer, for vocal prayers, such as morning and night prayers and assistance at Holy Mass suffice.

Yet, St. Alphonsus dares speak of the “moral necessity of mental prayer” for salvation, which, he affirms, flows from the absolute necessity of the prayer of petition for salvation. By this he means that we cannot go to heaven unless we ask for God’s forgiveness, grace and perseverance. Now, it is true that the prayers of the traditional Mass constantly petition God for forgiveness, grace and perseverance. However, does everyone pray the Mass as he ought? The patron saint of moral theologians goes on to explain that without mental prayer a person will not know what he needs to ask for. He will not be aware of his sins nor of what graces he needs, and of his desperate need for them. “He who neglects meditation will not know his spiritual wants, the dangers to which his salvation is exposed, the means which he must adopt to conquer temptations, or even the necessity of the prayer of petition for all men; thus he will give up the practice of prayer, and by neglecting to ask God’s graces he will certainly be lost.” (The Great Means of Salvation, p. 233). There must, therefore, be answers to the common objections against meditation.

WHAT IS MEDITATION? 

Meditation is prayer that takes place wholly within the soul, and not with the lips, as opposed to vocal prayer, in which the spoken words are an expression of the sentiments in the depth of the soul. Deep down, it is nothing more or less than a conversation with God, with our Divine Saviour, with the Blessed Virgin and the saints. However, it is not just any conversation which is a true mental prayer. If a person talks to God to complain about his lot in life, or to talk about his friends and relatives, or to tell stories of some kind, he is not meditating. In order to lift the soul up and unite it to Almighty God, it must be a conversation founded on and filled with the consideration of the eternal truths that God has revealed to us, such as the Incarnation, the Passion, the Redemption and the four last things. It is precisely here that it is the exact opposite of the fake naturalistic meditations of eastern religions such as Buddhism and Yoga, which have as their absurd goal to empty the mind of everything and to discover nothingness.

Moreover, true mental prayer is what brings us into relation with Almighty God. It is not just an intellectual consideration and consequently, since we are all sinners, it must necessarily contain a profound awareness of our sins and contrition for them. It must consider our duties to God and how negligent we have been, and from this flows the petition that is a necessary part of meditation. When we meditate we repeatedly and constantly beg for the graces of which we are in need in order to accomplish God’s holy will. Moreover, meditation worthy of the name must draw us to grow in the love of God. Hence, it necessarily entails making resolutions, which we offer to the Good Lord, to express our homage and our determination to promote His glory, and to embrace our crosses. Meditation is consequently a conversation based upon a strong Faith, personal convictions, and the acknowledgment of our entire dependence on the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

HOW DOES ONE MEDITATE? 

The big objection that is made to meditation is that people say they do not know what to do or what to say. My answer is: Do you not know what to say to someone you love, especially if you have hurt him? We must first of all place ourselves in the presence of God, whom we love, and with whom we long to communicate. We can do this by reminding ourselves that God is everywhere, and especially in our souls, or we can picture to ourselves the sacred humanity of Christ. Then we continue by begging for God’s grace, for without it we cannot profitably consider divine truths. Then we rivet our attention on the chosen subject, seeking the enlightenment and understanding that will move our wills. Then we come to the acts of affection in our will, such as as the love of God, compunction for sin, compassion for our Divine Saviour, forgiveness of others and charity towards our neighbour. From these flow our resolutions, in the form of petitions, begging for the grace to be faithful to them.

Although great freedom is to be followed, out of fidelity to the inspirations of divine grace, there are nevertheless several methods of meditation that can help to give a more definite structure to our meditations, and make them easier. The oldest is that of meditative reading, the Benedictine method. A text, such as Sacred Scripture, is read very slowly, and during long pauses, the meaning and consequences are reflected upon, from which resolutions are drawn. The well known method of St. Ignatius is much more intricate. After the imagination is captivated by a familiar scene, the grace sought after is to be determined precisely.

Then memory, understanding and will are applied to each of the three points that make up the main body of the meditation. From these come the resolutions, which are expressed in the heart-to-heart colloquy with God the Father or our Divine Saviour.

St. Alphonsus points out the importance of repeated petitions in meditation. “In mental prayer it is very profitable, and perhaps more useful than any other act, to repeat petitions to God, asking, with humility and confidence, His graces; that is, his light, resignation, perseverance, and the like; but above all the gift of His holy love.” (Ib. p. 257). St. Francis de Sales gives special emphasis on resolutions, pointing out that these resolutions to be effective, must not be too general. He gives the example of the desire to pardon our enemies and to love them, but adds that it is of little consequence, unless a special resolution is added, such as: “I shall no longer be disturbed by that disagreeable word which my neighbour always says, or by the scorn directed to me by this or that person.” He then instructs us to conclude our meditation by offering God the good sentiments and resolutions inspired by God’s grace, together with the example of the virtues of Christ Our Lord, and finally by the petition that God might bless our resolutions and make us faithful to them. (Introduction to the Devout Life, II, Ch 6 & 7).

Meditation, therefore, requires a certain solitude, so that the soul can express itself and listen to the inspirations of grace. The fast-moving, hyperactive and materialistic modern life style, with its emphasis on success and production, engenders superficiality and makes mental prayer very difficult. A person must slow his mind down from all its exterior preoccupations, and then he can meditate. Our Divine Saviour speaks of this solitude when he says: “When thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to the Father in secret” (Mt 6:6). This solitude can also be found in a Catholic church, which is often the preferred place, because of the Real Presence and the silence that reigns.

DISTRACTIONS 

Discouragement is one of the frequent reasons why many do not keep up their meditations. Overwhelmed by distractions, and sometimes even by desolation, they tell themselves that meditating is too difficult for them. It is certainly true that the real effort that it takes to stay focussed on the subject of our meditation is a real test of our love of God. Worldly imaginations, useless thoughts, emotional attachments continually creep in, even when they are not willed. The difficulty is in the weakness of our fallen nature. It struggles to lift itself up to spiritual realities. A method has to be applied to overcome these distractions. Firstly, there must be control of the imagination. The mental picture used for the meditation helps, but a conscious effort must also be applied to expel other imaginations. Whenever a soul realizes that he is distracted, he must firmly but gently rise above such thoughts and return to the subject of the meditation. A good way of passing this test of generosity is to repeatedly offer up requests and petitions to God for the graces that one desires. However, it is also necessary to make sure that the subject of the meditation is sufficiently prepared (the best is to do it the night before), and that the soul is recollected, that is in sufficient interior and exterior silence, and not too tired.

Desolation, or spiritual emptiness or dryness, often accompanies distractions, and makes a person think that he is wasting his time to attempt to meditate. This desolation can be a punishment for someone who is not making the correct effort, but most frequently it is a trial to test whether we are praying to the God of all consolation, or for the consolations of God. Desolation is a universal experience, and this is what St. Alphonsus has to say about it: “The time of dryness is the time for gaining the greatest rewards; and when we find ourselves apparently without fervour, without good desires, and, as it were, unable to do a good act, let us humble ourselves and resign ourselves, for this very meditation will be more fruitful than others” (Ib. p. 244). We must see such difficulties as a test of our love, and not at all a reason for us to abandon meditation.
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Saturday, July 18, 2020
Sts. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 18

It is rather remarkable when one considers the number of martyrs that the Church commemorates in the Liturgy; and yet, sadly so many were removed from the Universal Calendar as part of the modernistic changes to the Liturgy over the past few decades.

Yet for those who keep the traditional liturgy, we find in these heroes remarkable examples of courage, fortitude, and a willingness to suffer absolutely anything - including horrific tortures and death rather than compromise with error, encourage sin, give bad example, or engage in sexual sins. Most of the martyrs were murdered not because they were Christians (and Catholics of course) but because they refused to engage in adultery or drop offerings of incense grains in a bowl to statues. How many Catholics today would agree to such small matters with the intention of later confessing them? How many would actually rather die than drop a few grains of incense in a bowl and pretend to worship a dead statue as divine?

Willingness to suffer death - and a cruel torturous one at that - and a willingness to see one's own children tortured rather than commit the smallest mortal sin should excite in all of our hearts a desire for deeper conversion, more missionary endeavors, and a willingness to do the Lord's will in all things.

According to early chronicles, St. Symphorosa and her seven sons, whom she instructed in the Christian Faith, were martyred at Trivoli, near Rome, circa 120 AD during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. Their story comes just days after the feast of the Seven Holy Brothers, the sons of St. Felicitas.

From the Roman Martyrology:

At Tivoli, in the time of the emperor Adrian, St. Symphorosa, wife of the martyr St. Getulius, with her seven sons, Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justinus, Stacteus, and Eugenius. Their mother, because of her invincible constancy, was first buffeted a long time, then suspended by her hair, and lastly thrown into the river with a stone tied to her body. Her sons had their limbs distended by pulleys and bound to stakes, and terminated their martyrdom by different kinds of death. The bodies were subsequently taken to Rome, and were found in the sacristy of St. Angelo in Piscina,under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV.

Collect:

O God, who has granted us the grace to celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyrs Symphorosa and her sons, grant that we may also share their eternal happiness in heaven. through our Lord . . .
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Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Feasts of Single vs. Double Precept
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Saint Wenceslas and Saint Ludmila during the Mass is a painting by Frantisek Tkadlik

Sadly, few Catholics observe Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation as days not only of obligatory Mass attendance but also as days of abstinence from all servile works. What is servile work? Mowing the lawn, shopping, painting the house, and other manual works are forbidden on these days by virtue of the Third Commandment. Looking at the Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas, there are only four exceptions to the prohibition on servile work on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation:
“We ought to know, however, that servile work can be done on the Sabbath for four reasons. The first reason is necessity. Wherefore, the Lord excused the disciples plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, as we read in St. Matthew (xii. 3-5). The second reason is when the work is done for the service of the Church; as we see in the same Gospel how the priests did all things necessary in the Temple on the Sabbath day. The third reason is for the good of our neighbor; for on the Sabbath the Saviour cured one having a withered hand, and He refuted the Jews who reprimanded Him, by citing the example of the sheep in a pit (“ibid.”). And the fourth reason is the authority of our superiors. Thus, God commanded the Jews to circumcise on the Sabbath.”
But, the Church's history on Holy Days of Obligation reveals an interesting distinction between full and half holy days, or feasts of double and single precept. In times past, Holy Days would often be referred to as days of single or double precept, with those of double precept requiring both hearing Mass and abstaining from servile works, whereas days of single precept would permit servile work.

The Catholic Encyclopedia provides a concise, high-level overview of Holy Days of Obligation from 1150 to 1791:
The Decree of Gratian (about 1150) mentions forty-one feasts besides the diocesan patronal celebrations; the Decretals of Gregory IX (about 1233) mention forty-five public feasts and Holy Days, which means eighty-five days when no work could be done and ninety-five days when no court sessions could be held. In many provinces eight days after Easter, in some also the week after Pentecost (or at least four days), had the sabbath rest. From the thirteenth to the eighteenth century there were dioceses in which the Holy Days and Sundays amounted to over one hundred, not counting the feasts of particular monasteries and churches. In the Byzantine empire there were sixty-six entire Holy Days (Constitution of Manuel Comnenus, in 1166), exclusive of Sundays, and twenty-seven half Holy Days. In the fifteenth century, Gerson, Nicolas de Clémanges and others protested against the multiplication of feasts, as an oppression of the poor, and proximate occasions of excesses. The long needed reduction of feast days was made by Urban VIII (Universa per orbem, 13 Sept., 1642). There remained thirty-six feasts or eighty-five days free from labour. Pope Urban limited the right of the bishops to establish new Holy Days; this right is now not abrogated, but antiquated. A reduction for Spain by Benedict XIII (1727) retained only seventeen feasts; and on the nineteen abrogated Holy Days only the hearing of Mass was obligatory. This reduction was extended (1748) to Sicily. For Austria (1745) the number had been reduced to fifteen full Holy Days; but since the hearing of Mass on the abrogated feasts, or half Holy Days, the fast on the vigils of the Apostles were poorly observed, Clement XIV ordered that sixteen full feasts should be observed; he did away with the half Holy Days, which however continued to be observed in the rural districts (peasant Holy Days, Bauernfeiertage). The parish priests have to say Mass for the people on all the abrogated feasts. The same reduction was introduced into Bavaria in 1775, and into Spain in 1791; finally Pius VI extended this provision to other countries and provinces.
The trend of removing this distinction between feasts of single and double precept accelerated under Pope Pius VI. As illustrated in the Irish Ecclesiastical Review, the reduction in Irish Holy Days, along with the distinction of double vs. single precept, led to a significant reduction in the rest that characterized Holy Days of Obligation. Days of Full Obligation were days of double precept:


Alas, this trend in the relaxation of discipline continued in America as well, ultimately leading to the 1911 changes under St. Pius X that reduced universal Holy Days to only 8, before they were increased to 10 under his successor. Gone was the distinction between feasts of single and double precept by the time of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

If more priests could encourage their parishioners to observe former Holy Days of Obligation, even devotional, as feasts of single precept, this could go a long way to helping rediscover the Catholic liturgical life. And for those able to do so, the observance of both Mass attendance and the sabbath rest on these former holy days (see here for the full list), should be commendable.
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Sunday, July 12, 2020
Sts. Nabor and Felix
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 12

While today is the Feastday of the St. John Gualbert, the liturgy also includes today the commemoration of Saints Nabor and Felix. If you have forgotten the incredible story of St. John Gualbert and his model of forgiveness, it is well worth reflecting upon today, especially during times of social unrest.

Sts. Nabor and Felix shed their blood for Christ in Milan around 303 AD. Butler's Lives of The Saints states:
St. Ambrose greatly praised these martyrs and multitudes of people flocked to Milan to venerate them. Late legends say that they were Moorish soldiers in the army of Maximian Herculeus, stationed at Milan, and that they were beheaded for their faith at Lodi; but these legends are imitated from those of the other soldier martyrs, such as St. Victor of Marseilles, and are historically worthless. The names of SS. Nabor and Felix occur in the canon of the Milanese Mass, and their cultus was widespread in northern Italy.
Collect:

O Lord, may the prayers of Your holy martyrs Nabor and Felix always accompany us, just as we never fail to celebrate their birthday. Through our Lord . . .
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Friday, July 10, 2020
Commemoration of Ss. Rufina and Secunda
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 10

Today is the Feastday of the Seven Holy Brothers. The Roman widow Felicitas and her seven sons were martyred around the year 162 AD for the Faith. Pope Gregory the Great said of her, "She was more than a martyr, for seeing her seven children martyred before her eyes, she was in some sort a martyr in each of them."

A century later, Rufina and Secunda, daughters of a wealthy Roman, refused to marry two suitors who had apostatized from the Christian religion. For this, they were scourged and beheaded. May these all too often forgotten martyrs intercede for us on this day of their commemoration.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII states:
Saints Rufina and Secunda, Roman martyrs, who according to the legendary Acts (Acta SS., July, III, 30-1) suffered in 287 during the Aurelian persecution. Their place of burial was at the ninth milestone of the Via Cornelia, as is stated in the Berne manuscript of the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 89). These martyrs are also recorded in the Itineraries of the seventh century as on the road just mentioned (De Rossi, "Roma sotterranea", I, 18283). Pope Damasus erected a church over the grave of the saints. The town on this spot named after St. Rufina became the see of one of the suburbicarian dioceses that was later united with Porto (cf. Allard, "Histoire des Persécutions":, III, 96).
And Butler's Lives of The Saints states:
According to their unhistorical "acts", these were sisters, daughters of Asterius, a man of senatorial rank in Rome. They were engaged to be married, the one to Armentarius, the other to Verinus, who were also Christians. But when the persecution of the Emperor Valerian fell upon the Church, these two men apostatized. The two girls refused to follow their example and fled secretly from Rome. Their flight being soon discovered, they were overtaken not far from the city and haled before the perfect, Junius Donatus. He imprisoned them with the object of making them apostatize, and when he found that they were unmoved either by arguments or threats, he ordered Rufina to be scourged; whereupon Secunda cried out, "Why do you judge my sister to honour and me to dishonour? Be pleased to beat us both together, for we declare that Christ is God." After they both had been tortured in divers ways, they were put to death by beheading. A pagan lady named Plautilla gave their bodies burial at a spot eleven miles from Rome on the Aurelian Way, and herself became a Christian from their example. The place where they lay was at that time called Silva Nigra, the Black Forest, but from these martyrs that name was changed to Silva Candida, the White Forest. A church was built over their tomb and a town grew up around it, which also was called Silva Candida, or Santa Rufina; it was made an episcopal see and became appurtenant to the cardinalate in after years. The relics of the martyrs were translated in 1154 to the Lateran basilica, near the baptistery of Constantine. The church dedicated in honour of SS. Rufina and Secunda in the City purports to be built over the site of their dwelling-house. Except their existence, their martyrdom and their early cultus nothing is certainly known of these maidens.
Collect:

O Lord, we pay honor to the bravery of Your glorious Martyrs in bearing witness to You. Grant that we may feel the power of their intercession with You. Through our Lord . . .
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Thursday, July 9, 2020
St. Veronica Giuliani
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Today in some places is kept the feastday of St. Veronica of Giuliani. The following account of her holy life is taken from The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, OFM


Saint Veronica Giuliani was born of devout parents at Mercatello in Italy. As a child she, too, was of a devout disposition, but inclined to be quite irritable, and, as she herself admits, would stamp her feet at the least provocation.

Saint Veronica's mother died when Veronica was only four years old. In her last moments she assigned each of her five children to one of the five wounds of Christ and bade them take their refuge there whenever they were troubled. Veronica was the youngest. She was assigned to the wound in the side of our Lord, and from that time on her heart became more tempered.

Co-operating with the grace of God, her soul gradually went through a refining process by which she became an object of admiration in later years.

When Saint Veronica came of age, her father believed she should marry, and so he desired her to take part in the social activities of the young people. But she had been made aware of another call, and she pleaded so earnestly with her father that, after much resistance, he finally permitted her to choose her own state in life.

At the age of 17, then, the Saint Veronica Giuliani entered the convent of the Capuchin nuns at Citta di Castello in Umbria, where the primitive rule of St Clare was observed. Imbued with sincere humility she considered herself the lowliest member of the community. At the same time she greatly edified all by her obedience and love of poverty and mortification. Sometimes she was favored with interior conversations and revelations. She resolved that she would reveal all such matters to her superiors and her confessor; she had neglected to do that when she was still in the world, and as a result she had often been misled by the father of lies.

When Saint Veronica Giuliani had spent 17 years in various offices in her community, she was entrusted with the guidance of the novices. She endeavored to imbue them with the spirit of simplicity and to lay a firm foundation for humility. She directed them to the truths of the Faith and the rules of the order as their safest guides on the way of perfection, and warned them against reading idly speculative books as well as against everything unusual.

Meanwhile, extraordinary things were beginning to happen to Saint Veronica Giuliani. On Good Friday she received the stigmata, and later the Crown of Thorns was impressed on her head amid untold sufferings. She also experienced a mystical espousal, as she was given a mystical ring by Our Lord's own hand. One eye-witness said: "This ring encircled her ring finger as ordinary rings do. On it there appeared to be a raised stone as large as a pea and of a red color."

After careful examination of the matters, the bishop sent a report to Rome. Then Rome appointed a commission, which was to put her humility to the severest test, in order to determine whether she was an imposter, a person deluded by the devil, or a person favored by God.

Saint Veronica Giuliani was deposed from her office as novice mistress, and deprived of every suffrage in the community. She was even imprisoned in a remote cell. No sisters were permitted to talk to her, and a lay sister who was made her warden was ordered to treat her like a deceiver. Finally, she was even deprived of Holy Communion and was permitted to attend holy Mass only on Sundays and holy days near the door of the church.

At the conclusion of these trials, the bishop reported to Rome that she scrupulously obeyed every one of his ordinances, and showed not the least sign of sadness amid all his harsh treatment, but rather an inexpressible peace and joy of spirit.

The test had proved the admirable manifestations to be the work of God, but Veronica did not on that account deem herself a saint, but rather a great sinner, whom God was leading on the way to conversion by means of His holy wounds.

Having filled the office of novice mistress during a space of 22 years, Veronica was unanimously elected abbess. Only in obedience could she be prevailed upon to accept the responsibility.

Purified more and more by many sufferings, to which she added many austere mortifications, she went to her eternal reward on July 9, 1727, after spending 50 years in the convent.

Saint Veronica Giuliani was one of the rare saints who had received the stigmata. Whenever the wounds were opened, Fr. Salvatori recorded that "they emitted so delicious a fragrance throughout the whole of the convent that this alone was sufficient to inform the nuns whenever the stigmata had been renewed."

The saint's body remained incorrupt for many years until it was destroyed in a flood. Her bones are now kept in a composite figure of the saint, the skull of which is covered with wax. Her heart, though, is still incorrupt, and is kept in a separate reliquary.

Because of her heroic virtues and the many miracles that were continually being worked at her tomb, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.

Collect:

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst miraculously imprint the marks of thy own suffering upon the blessed maid Veronica, grant in thy loving kindness that, by crucifying the flesh, we may become worthy to gain everlasting joys: thou who art God.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2020
St. Lawrence of Brindisi
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Mass in Some Places (1954 Calendar): July 7
III Class (1962 Calendar): July 21

Before the changes to the Calendar of Saints in 1960 under John XXIII, the Feast of St. Lawrence Brindisi was kept in some places on July 7th. In 1960, after he was named a Doctor of the Church, his feast was moved to July 22nd. July 22nd was the Feast of St. Praxedes. After this change, as seen in the 1962 Missal, St. Praxedes was reduced to a Commemoration to make room for St. Lawrence's feastday. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was the last saint to be named a Doctor of the Church before Vatican II.

St. Lawrence acquired great fame for learning and eloquence. He labored with remarkable success in most parts of Europe preaching to Catholics, Protestants, and  Jews. When 80,000 Turks invaded Hungary in 1605, he inspired the united Christian armies of 18,000 men to the attack and led the charge while carrying a large cross. The Christian forces were victorious. He died in Lisbon in 1619 at 60 years of age.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) was an Italian Capuchin Franciscan. Lawrence could read and speak Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French fluently. Lawrence was ordained a priest at the age of 23. He was beatified in 1783 and canonized in 1881. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1959.

Collect:

O God, who didst confer upon Thy Confessor and Doctor, blessed Laurence, a spirit of wisdom and fortitude in hard labors for the glory of Thy name and for the salvation of souls, grant us in the same spirit both to perceive where our duty lies, and to accomplish it through his intercession. Through our Lord . . .
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Friday, July 3, 2020
Within the Octave of Ss. Peter and Paul
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We are currently in the Octave of Ss. Peter and Paul. This is a Common Octave, meaning that the Mass and Office of Ss. Peter and Paul during the Octave days gives way to any feast day above the level of Simple. In practice, the only intra octave day where the Mass of Ss. Peter and Paul could be celebrated would be July 4th. The other intra octave days would be outranked by the liturgical feasts already on the Calendar of SaintsYet July 4th is Our Lady of Refuge in the Diocese of San Diego and in some places, such as Los Angeles and Brooklyn, it is the Commemoration of All Holy Popes.

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 
Traditional Catholics still attached to the pre-1955 Missal will be familiar with the above list of Octaves. We can live out this forgotten Octave by adding to our daily prayers the Collect from Ss. Peter and Paul. And we can certainly pray a litany in honor of all holy popes.

Collect:

O God, Who hast consecrated this day to the martyrdom of Thine apostles Peter and Paul, grant to Thy Church in all things to follow their teaching from whom it received the right ordering of religion in the beginning. 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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Thursday, July 2, 2020
Prayer for the Restoration of the Roman Mass
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O Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest and Immaculate Lamb of God, slain for us and for many on the altar of Calvary, and continually offered to Thy Heavenly Father in the clean oblation of Thy Eucharistic Sacrifice:

Grant, we beseech Thee, through the merits and prayers of Thy Saints Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Pius V, that the holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Mass, ratified, expounded and perpetuated by them respectively, may be rightly restored to the altars of Thy Church throughout the world; that once again this most awesome, majestic and perennial rite may offer infinite worship and homage to the Most Blessed Trinity; the fullest fruits and consolation and spiritual nourishment to the faithful; an impregnable defense and counterbalance against the rising tide of evil; and a sure termination of the anguish, fear, doubts and profanations occasioned by its unsanctioned abandonment and replacement.

O Holy Saints of the centuries, who sanctified and nourished your souls with the perennial Roman Mass, and Holy Martyrs who shed your blood for it, grant, we pray in desperation, that we will no longer be bereft of it, and that we will, as you, commit ourselves to the Mass at all costs and to the last breath of our lives.

O Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the Immaculate Eucharistic Victim, pray for us that we may bravely, prudently, diligently, and with sound doctrine and means pursue the rectification of the present encroachment on the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and secure with thy powerful maternal aid the restoration of our Roman Catholic Mass and the Reign and Order of the Kingship of Jesus Christ thy Son. Amen.
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Commoration of Ss Processus and Martinian
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The Martyrdom of St Processus and St Martinian by Valentin de Boulogne

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 2

Besides the feast day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, July 2nd is the Commemoration of Saints Processus and Martinian. According to tradition, these martyrs converted by St. Peter, were jailers of the Mamertine prison in Rome.

The Catholic Encyclopedia published in 1911 states:
They were publicly venerated in Rome from the fourth or perhaps the third century, although nothing further is known. A legend makes them the keepers of the prison of Sts. Peter and Paul (Lipsius, "Apokryphe Apostelgeschich. u. Apostellegenden", II, Brunswick, 1887, 92, 105 sqq., 110 sq.). It cannot be shown how the legend came to give them this identification. Pope Paschal I (817-24) translated the bones of the two martyrs to a chapel in the old basilica of St. Peter; they still rest under the altar dedicated to them in the right transept of the present St. Peter's. Their feast is celebrated on 2 July.
When the Visitation was added to the Calendar, the observance of their feast was reduced to a commemoration.

Collect:

The glorious profession of faith of Your holy martyrs Processus and Martinian overshadows and protects us. May we profit by their example and rejoice in the assistance of their prayers. Through our Lord . . .
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