Thursday, December 30, 2021
Catholic Resolutions 2022
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Each year I have made what I call "Catholic Resolutions."  These New Years Resolutions are not centered on losing weight, eating more vegetables, or securing a raise. I make resolutions for all facets of my life including these.  Rather, these resolutions each year are centered around my spiritual life.  I encourage all of you to make resolutions specifically geared toward improving your own Faith life and your own knowledge of the Faith.  One's spiritual health needs the same care - if not more - than our physical, financial, or professional health.

Ask yourself:
  1. Do I know the Faith that I profess to believe in?  If not, how can I learn more?  For example, CatechismClass.com has an ideal Adult Course just for this purpose.
  2. Am I truly living a Catholic life?  Am I learning more prayers?  Am I helping others to learn the Faith and live it out?  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?
  3. Do you struggle with certain sins or addictions? What actions do I need to take to really conquer them?
  4. Do you need to make more donations to Catholic organizations or pro-life charities?
  5. What is my dominant fault and how can I tackle it and grow in virtues?
  6. What additional days of penance can you observe as days of fasting and abstinence? Can you observe the vigils of the apostles as fast days? What about all 40 days of Lent or the 40 days leading up to Christmas? Will you keep all days of Lent including Sundays as day of abstinence? There are many venerable ways we can practice penance this year and fulfill our Lady's call for "Penance, penance, penance." See the 2022 Catholic Fasting Calendar for ideas.
This is the time of year to truly set Catholic Resolutions which will have eternal repercussions. When so many have already begun to set aside last week's New Years Resolutions, now is the time to actually make true and lasting Catholic Resolutions for the new year.

Some General Suggestions of Catholic Resolutions:
  1. Pray the Rosary every day, if you are out of the habit of it
  2. Pray Lauds, Vespers, and Compline (from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Divine Office) every day.
  3. Say a prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory every day, such as the St Gertrude Prayer. Getting a copy of The Purgatorian Manual: Containing Spiritual Reading and Prayers for Every Day of the Month is also an excellent idea.
  4. Attend Mass one day extra a week in addition to Sunday. And if you have fallen away from Mass, start going weekly again.
  5. Make it a habit to go to Confession every 2 weeks. Ensure that you are sincere and actually detest your sins and desire to amend your life.
  6. Fulfill the First Friday Devotion as well as the First Saturday Devotion
  7. Start wearing the Brown Scapular if you do not already. But ensure you are properly enrolled by a priest.
  8. Determine what is your predominant fault and make a plan to fight it and conquer it this next year.
  9. Make time for a morning meditation and mental prayer each and every day before work.
  10. Identify one virtue to acquire and one vice to conquer this year. Make an action plan for how you will actually make progress on a daily and weekly basis to do so.
I encourage you to make Catholic Resolutions. What are yours? Share them below in the comments box.
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Monday, December 20, 2021
Saturday Abstinence Dispensed in Christmastide
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As highlighted through my A History of Holy Days of Obligation & Fasting for American Catholics in Part I and Part II, Saturday abstinence remained a part of weekly Catholic life for centuries. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions, in regard to Saturday abstinence: “Gregory VII (1073-85) speaks in no uncertain terms of the obligation to abstain on Saturdays when he declares that all Christians are bound to abstain from flesh meat on Saturday as often as no major solemnity (e.g. Christmas) occurs on Saturday, or no infirmity serves to cancel the obligation.” 

Unknown to the overwhelming majority of even committed Catholics, abstinence from meat was previously required on both Fridays and Saturdays in the United States! For American Catholics, Saturday abstinence ceased around 1837 because the Baltimore fathers requested from Pope Gregory XVI a dispensation from Saturday abstinence. It was a 20-year dispensation that was renewed up until the 1917 Code dispensed the venerable practice of Saturday abstinence universally.

Sadly this aspect of the faithful's weekly penance had been in long decline as The Month - Volume 111 from 1908 mentions:

"Meanwhile, the very severe discipline which prevailed in the matter of fasting and abstinence days had been substantially mitigated by Pius VI and his successors. In 1777, most of the vigils occurring through the year, e.g. those of the feasts of the Apostles, ceased to be fast-days, though compensation was made by substituting the Wednesdays and Fridays of Advent. Still more substantial was the relief afforded in 1781 by the abrogation of the weekly fast on Fridays. The abstinence on Saturdays, on the Rogation days, and on the feast of St. Mark, was abolished in 1830, but it is plain from contemporary evidence, that long before this the Saturday abstinence had been little regarded by a number of the laity, and we may conjecture that the weekly Friday fast also, for some time previous to its abolition had not been very generally or strictly kept."

For those Catholics who wish to keep Saturday abstinence in honor of Our Lady's request for penance, how should we model our Saturday abstinence? In short, we should keep the teaching of Pope Gregory VII who declared that the exceptions to Saturday abstinence were major solemnities, which would seem to include for us both Holy Days of Obligation and great feasts, such as those which used to be among the 36 Holy Days of Obligation in past times.

Additionally, if we model our Saturday abstinence based on our forefathers in the Faith, one of the few exceptions to Saturday fasting - in places that maintained this as law - was the Saturdays (but never Fridays) of Christmastide (i.e. December 25th through February 2nd).  France had such an exception as the Catechism of Perseverance makes mention:

"In France, the law of abstinence on Saturday became general. There was no exception, save in some dioceses for the Saturdays between Christmas and the Purification. Hitherto, Spain has introduced no modifications as regards the liberty of eating meat on Saturday beyond this, that the intestines and extremities of animals may be used. The abstinence of Saturday, though less general than that of Friday, should not be less religiously observed. The authority that prescribed both is the same: the authority of our holy Mother the Church, of whom the Savior Himself said, If any one will not obey the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and the publican."

Such an exception also existed in at least some Dioceses of the United States before the dispensation from year-round Saturday abstinence - vigils, Lent, and ember days excepting - that began in the mid-1830s and continued until its complete abrogation by the 1917 Code.

1822 Laity's Directory for New York mentions this exception

Thus, for those of us seeking to perform additional penance in imitation of our forefathers and in answer to Heaven's call for penance, year-round Saturday abstinence except on the Saturdays of Christmastide and major feasts would be a fitting practice. See my proposed 2022 Traditional Catholic Fasting Calendar for more inspiration. Do note though that year-round Friday abstinence is to be always practiced unless December 25th falls on a Friday - the 1917 Code introduced the exception that any Holy Day of Obligation would dispense but that is a novelty.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Advent Ember Day Fast
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Ember Days this Advent: December 15, 17, and 18

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence. Please click here for a special PDF Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.

Note, while most Missals call for Ember Wednesday and Ember Saturday to be a day of partial abstinence, this is a rather modern practice. Partial Abstinence refers to eating meat only at the principal meal of the day and do not permit meat to be eaten as part of the collation or the frustulum. Partial abstinence started only in 1741 under Pope Benedict XIV as a concession & as part of a gradual decline of fasting. It is better to keep all Ember Days as days of complete abstinence. Ember Fridays of course are in all Missals days of complete abstinence.

From Angelus Press Daily Missal:

At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.


To-day the Church begins the fast of Quatuor Tempora, or, as we call it, of Ember days: it includes also the Friday and Saturday of this same week. This observance is not peculiar to the Advent liturgy; it is one which has been fixed for each of the four seasons of the ecclesiastical year. We may consider it as one of those practices which the Church took from the Synagogue; for the prophet Zacharias speaks of the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months.[1] Its introduction into the Christian Church would seem to have been made in the apostolic times; such, at least, is the opinion of St. Leo, of St. Isidore of Seville, of Rabanus Maurus, and of several other ancient Christian writers. It is remarkable, on the other hand, that the orientals do not observe this fast.

From the first ages the Quatuor Tempora were kept, in the Roman Church, at the same time of the year as at present. As to the expression, which is not unfrequently used in the early writers, of the three times and not the four, we must remember that in the spring, these days always come in the first week of Lent, a period already consecrated to the most rigorous fasting and abstinence, and that consequently they could add nothing to the penitential exercises of that portion of the year.

The intentions, which the Church has in the fast of the Ember days, are the same as those of the Synagogue; namely, to consecrate to God by penance the four seasons of the year. The Ember days of Advent are known, in ecclesiastical antiquity, as the fast of the tenth month; and St. Leo, in one of his sermons on this fast, of which the Church has inserted a passage in the second nocturn of the third Sunday of Advent, tells us that a special fast was fixed for this time of the year, because the fruits of the earth had then all been gathered in, and that it behoved Christians to testify their gratitude to God by a sacrifice of abstinence, thus rendering themselves more worthy to approach to God, the more they were detached from the love of created things. 'For fasting,’ adds the holy doctor, 'has ever been the nourishment of virtue. Abstinence is the source of chaste thoughts, of wise resolutions, and of salutary counsel. By voluntary mortifications, the flesh dies to its concupiscences, and the spirit is renewed in virtue. But since fasting alone is not sufficient whereby to secure the soul’s salvation, let us add to it works of mercy towards the poor. Let us make that which we retrench from indulgence, serve unto the exercise of virtue. Let the abstinence of him that fasts, become the meal of the poor man.’

Let us, the children of the Church, practise what is in our power of these admonitions; and since the actual discipline of Advent is so very mild, let us be so much the more fervent in fulfilling the precept of the fast of the Ember days. By these few exercises which are now required of us, let us keep up within ourselves the zeal of our forefathers for this holy season of Advent. We must never forget that although the interior preparation is what is absolutely essential for our profiting by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet this preparation could scarcely be real unless it manifested itself by the exterior practices of religion and penance.

The fast of the Ember days has another object besides that of consecrating the four seasons of the year to God by an act of penance: it has also in view the ordination of the ministers of the Church, which takes place on the Saturday, and of which notice was formerly given to the people during the Mass of the Wednesday. In the Roman Church, the ordination held in the month of December was, for a long time, the most solemn of all; and it would appear, from the ancient chronicles of the Popes, that, excepting very extraordinary cases, the tenth month was, for several ages, the only time for conferring Holy Orders in Rome. The faithful should unite with the Church in this her intention, and offer to God their fasting and abstinence for the purpose of obtaining worthy ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, and true pastors of the people.

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
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Monday, December 6, 2021
2022 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion
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SPONSOR: This Devotion is being sponsored again this year by CatechismClass.com.  Whether you are looking for godparent preparation courses, Sacramental preparation for your children, or just to better learn the Faith as an adult, CatechismClass.com has courses for all ages and walks of life. Check out CatechismClass.com's affordable programs and make it a New Year's resolution to learn and live the Faith better than ever before.

You can read about the past devotions in the following posts:
Again, I would like to take a few minutes to explain the devotion.

What is the Saint for the Year Devotion?  We pray that this year the Holy Ghost will again work so that all participants receive a saint that they will be able to pray to for aid throughout the entire year: St. Faustina wrote about it in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. The excerpt is below.
“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the  Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina"

Over the years, I've heard from many people of the great connection they have to their special patrons. Here is one of those stories from the past: 

I have Saints Marcus and Marcellianus ... they are twin brothers who were sent to prison before their death. St. Sebastian visited them continually in prison and helped keep their faith alive. They are buried near St. Felix and are specifically honored in Spain. OK now ... here are a couple of immediate ironies in regard to these saints ... I have a SPECIAL place in my heart for twins! As a child, I LOVED reading the story about St. Sebastian. I had a children's book of saints and I think I wore out the pages on St. Sebastian! Felix is my grandfather's name! Silvia, our exchange student, is from Spain! I am so excited to have these two saints to walk through 2006 with me! I'm looking forward as to where and how they will intercede for me.
How do I enter?  Starting this year, I will be pulling names for everyone who is a Patreon of this blog. You may submit up to 10 names for each Patreon allowing you to have names drawn for your family and friends too. The drawing will happen automatically for all who are patrons at any level. Sign up on Patreon to support this blog and you will be included. Unfortunately, due to the significant time investment I put into this devotion and my many other responsibilities, I will only be able to donate to Patreon supporters.

When will the saints be drawn?  This year I will start the drawing of saints in the morning of the Feast of the Circumcision and the Octave Day of Christmas (i.e. January 1st). Drawings will occur as the Litany of Saints are recited.  That means results will likely be emailed/messaged to Patreons in the late afternoon (US Central Time) on Thursday, January 1, 2021. This will be the only drawing this year. 

Please pass this message on through your blogs and/or email distribution lists, letting all of the Catholic Blogsphere have the chance to participate.
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Friday, November 26, 2021
Commemoration of St. Peter of Alexandria
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St. Peter of Alexandria (right) alongside Pope St. Clement whose feastday was on November 23rd.

November 26th is the Feast of St. Sylvester the Abbot. It is in addition also the feastday of St. Peter of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Alexandria, who was one of the first martyrs for combating the heresy of Arius. He was martyred because of his adherence to the True Faith in 310 AD. Eusebius wrote that Patriarch Peter was "a divine model of the Christian teacher." Severus of Ashmumeen describes the moment when the Patriarch was martyred: 

And he took off his omophorion, and bared his neck, which was pure before the Lord, and said to them: "Do as you have been commanded." But the soldiers feared that trouble would befall them because of him. So they looked one at another, and not one of them dared to cut off his head, because of the dread which had fallen upon them. Then they took counsel together and said: "To him that cuts off his head each one of us will give five denarii". Now they were six persons; and one of them had some money; so he took out five and twenty denarii from among the coins and said: "He that will go up to him, and cut off his head, shall receive this money from me and from the four others". So one of the men went forward, and summoned up his courage, and cut off the head of the holy martyr and patriarch Peter; that day being the 29th of Hatur.

In the Divine Office, a Commemoration is made of him.  Likewise, a Commemoration is made for him at all Masses (per the 1954 rubrics) and at Low Mass only (per the 1962 rubrics).

While it is easy to forget the many celebrated saints who were removed from the New Calendar in1969, it is even more so the case for saints who were previously only commemorated. May we not forget to invoke their patronage and thank God for their example from their past actions while also thanking God for their intercession now from Heaven.

Collect:

O Lord, graciously accept the gifts we offer You in honor of Your blessed martyr bishop Peter and help us find in them unending assistance. Through our Lord . . .

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021
In These Times of Crisis, Support a Unique Traditional Diocese!
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Friends of Campos, Inc. is launching their second fundraiser of 2021 to support the traditional Catholic seminary and institutions of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney in Campos, Brazil.

This unique traditional Catholic diocese cares for over 30,000 parishioners in 14 parishes. The people are also served by an array of private schools, religious associations, and charitable services. Though the region is spiritually rich, Brazil remains a poor country, and every dollar donated makes a big difference!

Our Advent 2021 fundraiser will help buy food and pharmacy items for the seminary and largest convent; desks and chairs for the seminary; computer workstations for the seminary and convent; and musical instruments for the sacred music program at the convent. For details on the project, click here to visit their website.

Please help them reach our Christmas goal of $20,000 USD!  Donate today!

Please keep them in your prayers and share this appeal with friends and family. The seminarians and sisters pray for their benefactors, and a monthly Mass is offered at the seminary in thanksgiving for the supporters of Friends of Campos.

Particular prayer requests are always welcome (click here to send yours). For more information about Friends of Campos, Inc., visit their website.

God reward you for your help!



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Saturday, November 13, 2021
All Norbertine Saints
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"The saints don’t need us to honor them. Our devotion adds nothing to what they already have. When we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, whenever I think of them, I feel inflamed by a tremendous yearning. . . So let us long for those who long for us. Let us hurry to meet those who await us. And let us ask those who envision our coming to intervene for us" (Saint Bernard).

Today is kept by the Canons Regular of Prémontré (i.e. the Premonstratensians also known as the Norbertines) the Feast of All Saints of the Premonstratensian Order. Living a worldly life, St. Norbert decided to receive Holy Orders only as part of a career move. St. Nobert joined the Benedictines at Siegburg and after a narrow escape from death, took his vows seriously and experienced an interior conversion. Ordained a priest in 1115 AD, St. Norbert accepted the duty of preaching, particularly in France and Germany. St. Norbert founded a religious community of Augustinian canons at Premontre, France, who became known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians.

As described in The Life of Saint Norbert:

Norbert established a clergy dedicated to the ideals of the Gospel and the apostolic Church. They were chaste and poor. They wore the clothing and the symbols of the new man; that is to say, they wore "the religious habit and exhibited the dignity proper to the priesthood." Norbert asked them "to live according to the norms of the Scriptures with Christ as their model. 

The priests lived in community, where they continued the work of the apostles. When Norbert was appointed as archbishop, he urged his brothers to carry the faith to the lands of the Wends. 

Faith was the outstanding virtue of Norbert's life, as charity had been the hallmark of Bernard of Clairvaux. Affable and charming, amiable to one and all, he was at ease in the company of the humble and the great alike. Finally, he was a most eloquent preacher; after long meditation he would preach the word of God and with his fiery eloquence purged vices, refined virtues and filled souls of good will with the warmth of wisdom.

Like other Orders which keep feastdays in honor of their saints sometime during the month of November, today's Feast of the Norbertines should further inspire us to pray for the success of Traditional Norbertines active in our world today. May the intercession of all Norbertines in Heaven help them - and us - to spread the Catholic Faith, to do penance, and to one day save our souls.

Visit Norbertine Vocations for the list of all saints of the Order.

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Friday, November 12, 2021
Prayer for the Election of a Pope
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May the Lord send us a truly holy Pontiff who will restore all things in Christ and see to the resurrection of the Church in light of the grave scandals and loss of Faith which have afflicted Her for more than 50 years.

Latin:

Supplici, Domine, humilitate deposcimus: ut sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae concedat Pontificem illum tua immensa pietas; qui et pio in nos studio semper tibi placitus, et tuo populo pro salubri regimine sit assidue ad gloriam tui nominis reverendus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritu Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.

English:

O Lord, with suppliant humility, we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou wouldst grant the most Holy Roman Church a Pontiff, who by his zeal for us may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may be ever honoured by Thy people for the glory of Thy name.

Source: Missa pro eligendo Summo Ponti

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Thursday, November 11, 2021
Support My Patreon Account
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I have been blessed to be involved in Catholic apologetics now for many years. I have been writing here for "A Catholic Life" since 2004, for CatechismClass.com since 2009, for Catholic Family News since 2018, for the Fatima Center since 2018, for Latin Mass Magazine since 2020, and for 1P5 since 2021. 

But I have plenty of other plans in store for the future. I want to explore podcasts and video creations, especially to turn my series of articles on fasting and abstinence into video content for YouTube and/or Vimeo. 

And I have dozens of other articles on my shortlist to research and write so that more Catholics can learn about forgotten aspects of our Faith. Here are some of my articles on unknown topics just this year:


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Tuesday, November 9, 2021
2022 Traditional Catholic Fasting and Abstinence Calendar
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Click to enlarge

As a follow-up to the significant research I have done in regard to Traditional (both Roman and Eastern) Catholic fasting and abstinence, I have put together a 2022 fasting and abstinence calendar for my own devotional purposes. I share it here so that anyone who wishes to better observe the Church's precepts may do so. As our Lady of Fatima has pleaded with us to advance in prayer and penance, fasting beyond the mere minimum should be the aspiration for all Catholics who are physically able to do so.

Traditional Catholic Fasting Rules:

Fasting: Fasting refers to how much food we eat. It means taking only one meal during a calendar day. The meal should be an average-sized meal as overeating at the one meal is against the spirit of the fast. Fasting generally means that the meal is to be taken later in the day. Along with the one meal, up to two snacks (technically called either a collation or frustulum) are permitted. These are optional, not required. Added up together, they may not equal the size of the one meal. No other snacking throughout the day is permitted. Fasting does not affect liquids, aside from the Eucharistic Fast which is a separate matter.

Abstinence: Abstinence in this context refers to not eating meat. Meat refers to the fleshmeat of mammals or fowl. Beef, poultry, lamb, etc are all forbidden on days of abstinence. Abstinence does not currently prohibit animal byproducts like dairy (e.g. cheese, butter, milk) or eggs, but in times past they were prohibited. Fish is permitted along with shellfish and other cold-blooded animals like alligators. In times past, days of fast were always days of abstinence as well; however, not all days of abstinence were days of mandatory fasting.

Partial Abstinence: Partial Abstinence refers to eating meat only at the principal meal of the day. Days of partial abstinence do not permit meat to be eaten as part of the collation or the frustulum. Partial abstinence started only in 1741 under Pope Benedict XIV as a concession and as part of a gradual weakening of discipline. Beforehand, days of abstinence were days of complete abstinence.

Fasting, therefore, refers to the quantity of food and the frequency of eating. Abstinence refers to what may or may not be eaten.

Calendar Notes:

1. Partial Abstinence is a modern invention and is not part of this calendar. Abstinence is always full, never partial. 

2. All Days of Lent aside from Sundays are days of fasting and abstinence. Sundays are days only of abstinence.

3. For Lent only abstinence refers to all animal products (e.g. dairy, butter, eggs) in addition to meat. This includes Sundays.

4. January 22nd is in the USA only an obligatory day of penance for offenses against the dignity of human life.

5. This calendar keeps the 1954 Roman Catholic Calendar and the pre-1917 practice of anticipating Vigils on Saturday that fall on Sunday in a given year.

6. Major Fasts: Great Lent (March 2 - April 16), Apostles Fast (June 13 - June 28), Dormition Fast (Aug 1 - Aug 14), St. Martin's Lent (Nov 14 - Dec 24).

7. Dominican Specific Fasting Days: April 29, August 3, and October 6 are not on the calendar but will be observed by Dominican Tertiary per the 1923 Rule (the last one before Vatican II). Same with all Fridays of the year which Dominicans are asked to keep as days of fasting.

8. Days of fasting generally include all of the Major Fasts as noted above in addition to the following days when they fall outside of those periods: Ember Days, Vigils of the Apostles, and Vigils for Major Feasts. Rogation Days were often days of abstinence but not fast.

9. Saturday Abstinence used to be obligatory year-round with some exceptions for days "as often as no major solemnity (e.g. Christmas) occurs on Saturday, or no infirmity serves to cancel the obligation.” One exception granted in some places was for all Saturdays of the Christmas Season to be exempted.

10. Above all, this calendar goes far beyond the mere "minimums" which are virtually non-existent and attempts to present concrete ways for Catholics to actually fast in the manner as our forefathers did.

Not listed but certainly recommendable based on the Early Church's practice of Wednesday penance (and based on the wishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), would be to also observe abstinence year-round on Wednesdays (beyond the dates noted on the calendar). Such a practice would be commendable on all additional Wednesdays of the year with exemptions when either a Holy Day of Obligation, Former Holy Day of Obligation, or First Class Feast falls.

For those interested in understanding the various ways fasting and abstinence have changed over time, please explore the archives regarding fasting and abstinence. And for those looking for ideas on what to make to eat on fasting days, the Lenten Cookbook produced by Sophia Institute Press has a section on vegan recipes that is worth checking out.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
What Does A "Privileged Altar" Mean?
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On a recent trip to Old St. Mary's in Cincinnati, Ohio I noticed the high altar had the word "Altare Privilegiatum" or "Privileged Altar" on the front. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia written in 1907 describes what a privileged altar means:

An altar is said to be privileged when, in addition to the ordinary fruits of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, a plenary indulgence is also granted whenever Mass is celebrated thereon, the indulgence must be applied to the individual soul for whom Mass is offered. The privileged altar must be a fixed, or immovable, altar, but in a wider sense that is, it must be stationary or permanent, whether built on a solid foundation or attached to a wall or column, even though it be not consecrated, but have merely a consecrated stone (portable altar) inserted in its table. The privilege is annexed not to the altar-stone, but to the structure itself, by reason of the title which it bears, that is, of the mystery or saint to whom it is dedicated. Hence if the material of the altar be changed, if the altar be transferred to another place, if another altar be substituted for it in the same church, provided it retains the same title, and even if the altar is desecrated or profaned, the privilege is preserved. To gain the indulgence, the Mass must be a Mass of Requiem, whenever the rubrics permit it. If, on account of the superior rite of the feast of the day, or on account of the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, or for other reasons, a Requiem Mass cannot be celebrated, the indulgence may be gained by celebrating another Mass (S. C. Indulg., 11 April 1864). This privilege is of two kinds, local or real and personal. It is local or real when it is annexed to the altar as described above. Hence whoever the priest may be who celebrates Mass at such an altar, the indulgence is gained. It is personal when it is inherent in the priest, so that it does not depend on the altar, but on the priest who celebrates. Hence on whatever altar he may celebrate, whether it be a fixed or a portable one, and in whatever church he celebrates, the altar he uses is for the time being a privileged altar. On 2 November every altar is privileged. The bishops of the United States have the faculty (Facultates Extraordinariae C., fac. viii) of declaring privileged one altar in every church and public chapel or oratory, whether it be consecrated or not, of their dioceses, provided this privilege had not been previously granted to any other altar in such church under the same conditions.

This benefit of a privileged altar was also granted to certain priests where they celebrated Mass at and at least one of those instances was for priests who made the heroic act of charity. As the Purgatorian Manual states: "The Indult of a Privileged Altar, personally, every day in the year to all priests who shall have made this offering."

To summarize: A privileged altar is an altar where a plenary indulgence could be applied in favor of a particular soul in purgatory by the priest celebrating Holy Mass whenever Mass was celebrated there. This was an indulgence, over and above the graces and benefits normally flowing from the celebration of Mass. The “privilege” was attached to the place, not to the physical altar, and the privilege could also be given to a certain priest so that no matter where he celebrated a plenary could be gained! 

Sadly, Paul VI removed these privileges and countless other indulgences in 1967 in Indulgentiarum Doctrina. However, the validity of his actions remains questionable by some and, despite this, we should never stop having Masses offered for the dead and gaining indulgences for the faithful departed, especially during the month of November.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021
7 Traditional Catholic Podcasts Worth Listening To
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As a follow-up to 4 Traditional Catholic Radio Stations, I wanted to assemble a list of 7 Traditional Catholic-themed podcasts. Podcasts have been increasingly popular as a way to consume content. Spotify, one of the largest music platforms, has a significant number of podcast listeners as Statista writes, "At the end of Q1 2021, Spotify had 2.6 million (!) podcasts on its platform as roughly 25 percent of its 356 million monthly active engaged with podcast content."

With the rise of the popularity of podcasts, it is natural that the Faith should be made available through new mediums. All too often traditionalists have a tendency to shun new technology with some priests and faithful still scorning the Internet and email despite their ubiquitousness and usefulness in spreading the Faith. Thankfully, there are Traditional Catholics engaging with souls today via podcasts. 

In no particular order, here are 7 Traditional Catholic Podcasts to listen to:

The Fatima Center Podcast

This regularly updated channel features excellent commentary on the crisis in the Church, the praying of the Rosary, Faith formation talks by priests, and all-around great content.

SSPX Podcast

The SSPX Podcast features interviews, conferences, and sermons delivered by SSPX  priests, and gathered from various English-speaking sources. Many talks center around the crisis in the Church and clarity on the Church's official and timeless teachings.

What Catholics Believe

The long-running YouTube program "What Catholics Believe" is now in podcast format. Listen to the priests of the Society of St. Pius V teach and discuss the disasters of Vatican Council II, the crisis in the modern Church, and the traditional teachings of the Catholic faith.

The Meaning of Catholic

The Meaning of Catholic is a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of the Holy Catholic Church. The founder is the now current editor of One Peter Five

Dr. Taylor Marshall

A former Episcopalian "priest" turned traditional FSSP going Catholic who regularly engages in writing and talks to spread and defend the Faith, his clarity and concern for the Faith are palpable. 

St. Gertrude the Great Sermons

Sermons from the independent chapel in West Chester, OH led by Bishop Dolan, whose sermons are daily tweets are profoundly insightful and connected to the traditional liturgical year.

Return to Tradition

Covering the crisis in the Catholic Church and its connection to the ongoing degradation of society, Return to Tradition dives into the news and history of the Church.

There are even more quality traditional Catholic podcasts out there. For more podcasts beyond the 7 already mentioned, please share your recommendations in the comments box below.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Votive Mass of a Feast Formerly Celebrated on A Sunday
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First, the general rubrics concerning when a Votive Mass may be offered in the Tridentine Mass are generally fairly well known. There are some changes that occurred in the 20th century up until 1962 so strictly speaking the 1962 rubrics will differ in some respects. The 1962 Rubrics may be viewed by clicking here. The Pre-1962 Rubrics may be viewed by clicking here.

In addition to these general rubrics, there is an interesting exception for certain feasts which were kept on Sundays up until the changes instituted under St. Pius X in 1911/1914. These Feasts were as follows:

In many places, the Feast of Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Sacred Heart, and The Feast of St. Peter and Paul were celebrated as an External Solemnity on the following Sunday. In fact, there was an obligation to do so in some places such as in the United States for the Sunday following Ss. Peter and Paul. Permissions to solemnize the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on the Sunday following June 29th were given to the United States on December 19, 1840, and that of Corpus Christi on November 25, 1885.

The Local calendars and those for religious orders give even more examples. After the reforms, the feasts formerly fixed on a Sunday were transferred to a date or to a number of days after the Sunday. But for the good of the faithful, the Mass could be celebrated on its former day.

Other Local Feasts would also be celebrated as External Solemnities and would include:

  • Dedication of the Cathedral Church.
  • Titular of the Cathedral.
  • Patron of the Diocese.
  • Dedication of the Chapel / Church.
  • Titular of the Chapel / Church.
  • Patronal feast of the place.
  • A first or second Class Feast in your Diocese or Country.

While it is unusual for External Solemnities to be celebrated on a day other than a Sunday the Rubrics allow this. External Solemnities can also be celebrated for altars/shrines in a Church dedicated to particular Saints. So in short if the Celebrant accepts that this celebration is for the good of the faithful, have an External Solemnity.

Source: Musica Sacra

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Monday, September 20, 2021
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Conversion of the Americas and the Whole World
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O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in these our times the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of thy divine Son, Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly “one fold and one shepherd”, with all governments recognizing the reign of they Son, Jesus Christ the King. This we ask of the Eternal Father, through Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord and by thy powerful intercession – all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church and peace in the world. Amen.

Source: Angelus Press 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal, page 1794

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021
100th Anniversary of the Legion of Mary
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The Legion of Mary was the vision of Irishman Frank Duff who on this day, the Nativity of our Blessed Mother, in 1921 founded it to serve the needy and grow in personal and global sanctification. Duff said that all people are “called to be saints.” The Legion he started grew to become the largest apostolic lay organization in the world. 

“The Legion aims to bring Mary to the world as the infallible means of winning the world to Jesus and legionary service is based on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ so that in their fellow members and in those they serve, legionaries seek to have the Person of our Lord once again seen and served by Mary, his Mother.” 

Legionaries meet weekly and offer service to the local Church in the form of spiritual works of mercy. Today let us spare a prayer for their work, especially that they be faithful to the message of our Lady of Fatima and work for the preservation of Traditional Roman Catholicism and the death of the errors of the past sixty years ranging from liberalism and modernism to Communion and Communion in the hand. And may today's Legionaries be especially taught about the errors of religious indifferentism so that they work at all times for the conversion of all non-Catholics to the Catholic Faith.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Commemoration of St. Agapitus
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August 18th, a day during the Traditional Octave of the Assumption, is also when the Church commemorates the lesser-known martyr - St. Agaptius of Palestrina. The following is taken from The Order of St. Benedict Bethlehem Priory Servants of Jesus:

Triumph of the Faith by Eugene Thirion

Saint Agapitus (Agapetus) suffered in his youth a cruel martyrdom at Praeneste, now called Palestrina, twenty-four miles from Rome.  St. Agapitus was but 15 years old, when he was apprehended by the tyrant Aurelian, on account of being a Christian. As he unflinchingly proclaimed his belief in Christ, he was whipped with scourges and then cast into a dungeon, without any food, that he might thus be forced to forsake Christianity. When Antiochus, the prefect, found him, at the end of five days, more determined than before, he ordered a live coal to be put upon his head. The brave youth stood immovably under this torture, and praising God, said: “A head, which would wear an eternal crown in Heaven, must not hesitate to wear suffering and pain upon earth. Wounds and burns make my head the more worthy to be crowned with eternal glory.”

Antiochus, greatly provoked, ordered them to whip the holy youth till his body became one great wound, after which they hung him by the feet over a fire, hoping to suffocate him. But they failed; for, after a long silence, he addressed the prefect saying: “Behold, Antiochus, the people will say that all thy ingenuity, all thy wit, ends in smoke.” Enraged at this remark, the tyrant had him again cruelly whipped and ordered boiling water to be poured into the open wounds. After this, they knocked all his teeth out and broke his jaws with blows. God punished the tyrant for his cruelty; He caused him to fall from his seat and break his neck. Aurelian, hearing of this, ordered the martyr to be thrown to the wild beasts, but as they refused to touch him, he was finally beheaded. Thus ended the glorious martyrdom of the holy youth, Agapitus, in the year 275.  

Two churches in Palestrina and others in various places are dedicated to God under his name. 

Note: This is a different St. Agapitus than the one comemmorated with St. Xystus II on August 7th.

Collect

Grant, O Lord, that thy Church may with all gladness trust in the advocacy of thy blessed Martyr Agapitus, and that by his glorious intercession, it may be enabled to continue steadfastly in all godly devotion and established in security against all adversity.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end.  Amen.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
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The traditional Octave of the Assumption culminates on August 22 with the Feast of the Immaculate Heart, a time when Catholics reflect on the immense love Our Lady holds for the entire human race. With this love in mind, I encourage you to look to Mary in August with renewed fervency.

There are many needful things for which we can offer our prayers, in the Church, in the world, and in our families. Let us approach Jesus through Mary and ask her special favor and intercession.  A beautiful way we can join our prayers together is through the Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We begin on the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 14) and continue to the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Aug. 22). Recite the daily prayer during the nine day novena and offer the Solemn Consecration to the Immaculate Heart on the final day.

DAILY NOVENA PRAYER TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially... (special intention). 

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever. Amen. 

Say Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be

A SOLEMN ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY BY POPE PIUS XII

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. 

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. 

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. 

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. 

Amen.

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Friday, July 30, 2021
Support Traditional Catholic Priests in Brazil
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Brazil is home to a unique traditional Catholic diocese, under the care of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, in communion with Rome. 

The diocese has its own seminary, 33 active priests, thirteen parishes, six rectories, fifteen private Catholic schools, four homes for the aged, and eight associations of women religious. It serves over 30,000 active parishioners! 

Friends of Campos, Inc. was founded in 2019 to help support the seminary, where 30 young men are currently in formation. The region is spiritually rich but materially very poor.

This year Friends of Campos is funding food and medicine for the seminary, improvements to the library and dormitories, and food and medicine for the largest convent. Click here for 2021 project details.

Now more than ever we could use your help! Your contributions of any size are gratefully appreciated, as are your prayers! Click here to donate

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Monday, July 26, 2021
Pontifical High Mass by Bishop Vitus Huonder at the SSPX Seminary
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Images were recently shared online of Bishop Huounder offering a Pontifical Mass at the SSPX Seminary. The video is available on YouTube.

In 2019, Pope Francis relieved Bishop Vitus Huonder of his duties as Bishop of the Diocese of Chur (Switzerland) for him to live at the house of the Society of St. Pius X. In a joint statement in 2019, Bishop Huounder and the Superior General of the SSPX, Father Pagliarani, stated:

On Monday, May 20, 2019, Pope Francis relieved Bishop Vitus Huonder of his duties as Bishop of the Diocese of Chur (Switzerland), while appointing an administrator with a view to the election of his successor. According to an intention that he stated long ago, Bishop Huonder is retiring to a house of the Society of Saint Pius X. The one sole purpose of this step is to dedicate himself to prayer and silence, to celebrate the traditional Mass exclusively, and to work for Tradition, the only way of renewing the Church. The Society of Saint Pius X appreciates Bishop Huonder’s courageous decision and rejoices to be able to provide him with the spiritual and priestly surroundings that he desires so deeply. May this example be followed by others, so as to “restore everything in Christ”.

May Bishop Huonder help to restore Tradition in his work, and may his presence at the SSPX help quash the slanders against the Society of St. Pius X.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Go Ahead and Eat With Sinners – But Never Compromise on the Faith
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Prayer before Meal, c.1663 - 1665 - Jan Steen

Reprinted from a 2019 Catholic Family News Article. Subscribe to CFN for more such articles.

St. Mark early in his Gospel recounts how Our Lord ate with sinners.  "And it came to pass, that as he sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat down together with Jesus and his disciples. For they were many, who also followed him. And the scribes and the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat and drink with publicans and sinners? Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners" (Mark 2:15-17).

Just this past Easter Sunday I invited over to Easter dinner a few people.  All of whom were not Catholic.  One man, a friend of my mother, grew up Lutheran but has largely fallen away from any religious practice aside from occasional Bible reading while he hunts deer.  The other man was a friend of my sister who grew up in a household that loved carnal desires, rock-n-roll, and what we might just call downright debauchery. And when I related to a friend of mine, let’s call him Jim, of their presence at dinner, he was outwardly scandalized.  “Why would you invite them over to Easter dinner?  Don’t you know they aren’t Catholic?”

“Yes, I certainly do,” I replied.  I continued, “In fact, that’s why I invited them to begin with!”  He was confused.  So I took a few moments to explain.  

We are often quick to condemn the sins of others – and rightfully so!  But while we should admonish sinners, our battle in this world is not to chase away souls.  Our Lord prayed, “Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing” (John 6:39), and we who are called to help preserve and diffuse the Catholic Faith should pray that our actions likewise should lose not a single soul.  

As a Third Order Dominican and as a catechist, I often say that we can never study the truths of the Faith enough.  We cannot read the catechism or re-study Christian doctrine too much.  So I reminded Jim that we first and foremost are in a battle.  He certainly agreed.  But, this battle is not one that will be won with an outward assault on our enemies.  It will be won in the deepest reaches of our soul (cf. Matthew 11:12) and through our persistent, subtle actions that target souls held in slavery by the camp of Satan.

Whether we like it or not, we are in a battle, and this battle is one which we did not create.  In fact, this battle has existed far before the errors of Vatican II even seeped into the Church.  Our battle is namely the same that St. Paul referenced when he said, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  And we fight this battle by virtue of our Confirmation.

In the traditional Confirmation Rite, the bishop lightly slaps the cheek of the one who has been confirmed as an outward expression of the inward reality, namely that those confirmed must be ready to suffer all things, even death, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

And like a good and noble soldier, this war is not our cause.  It has existed long before our time.  In fact, we have been thrown into the very middle of the warfare as a paratrooper would land deep into the heat of the battle.  And just as the noble soldier who undertakes such a perilous mission behind enemy lines knows, his battle ends only at death.  We too, as confirmed Catholics, must continue to remind ourselves that our battle is one that will end with the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, but it is a battle in which we must die.  We must die to ourselves while persisting in the state of sanctifying grace until death. For the battle is fought first within ourselves through penance and prayer (1 Corinthians 9:27) before we can battle against the principalities of this world of darkness.

So imagine yourself in the heat of battle.  Immorality and carnal lust swirls around us.  Debauchery, idolatry, greed, and envy reign in the highest places.  Darkness is around.  You paratroop in and hit the ground.  Everything goes black.  Suddenly you awaken to the sound of battle.  So what do you do?  

What soldier in the midst of battle does not arise and double back in order to pick up a sufficient weapon lest he stand no chance?  The same is true for the spiritual conduct we find ourselves in.  It doesn’t matter if we were baptized and confirmed long ago before the battled raged as it does today.  It doesn’t matter if we are timid by nature or not.  On the contrary, we are in the battle!  Our focus is not to understand why we got here – the immediate focus is on what we can do to fight the good fight and press on.

And our weapons in this battle are plentiful.  In fact, Heaven has showered our battlefield with a myriad of weapons.  My focus as a catechist is on the Doctrine of Christ which is sweet and awe-inspiring to souls.  There are in fact other weapons though – the Rosary, the various Scapulars given by our Lady, the St. Benedict Medal, the Miraculous Medal, the Cord of St. Philomena, and countless others.

My “weapon of choice” though besides these Sacramentals which I wholeheartedly encourage nonetheless, is the sweetness of the Doctrine of Christ.  For those wishing to ground yourself in authentic Catholic teaching, I recommend a few essential books that must be in your library.

Firstly, the Baltimore Catechism and the Roman Catechism are foundational.  Use the Baltimore Catechism with your children and read it yourself too.  Keep these simple but true axioms of the Faith in mind.  Whereas modern churchman are accustomed to lengthy and complicated theological studies, the Catechisms provide in clear and easy to understand language the truths of the Faith that are timeless and unchanging.  

Next, pick up a copy of the Douay Rheims Bible and pair with it a copy of Fr. George Leo Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary.  Fr. Haydock's Douay Bible with his extended commentary was originally published in 1811 and became the bestselling English Catholic Bible in the 19th century in the world.  The text is available freely online - and the same is true for the Baltimore Catechism and the Roman Catechism.

And as any good soldier would do as he surveys the battlefield and fills his satchel, you need some stronger weapons for the stronger enemies on the battlefield.  In our spiritual conquest, we too will find those enemies.  Whether they be in the form of the unrepentant sinner of 50 years, the Jehovah’s Witness at our door, or the Protestant street preacher, we need to be prepared.  

For those tougher battles, find a copy of the Summa Theologia of St. Thomas Aquinas.  The text is one of the best summaries of the Catholic Faith with various arguments and their refutation by chapter.  While the Summa is a truly massive text, fear not.  Two years before he died, St. Thomas Aquinas asked by his assistant, Brother Reginald, to write a simple summary of the Faith for those who lacked the time or the ability to tackle his massive Summa Theologica.  That text is known as the “Shorter Summa” and is available for purchase online.  

And last of all, for those hardlined modernists who assail Catholic Tradition, let us take as our weapon the “Liturgical Year” by the Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger.  Written in 15 volumes, no work today better expresses the beauty, majesty, and symbolism of the entirety of the Traditional Catholic Liturgical Year.  

As “soldiers of Christ,” we often are prone to envision these battles as glorious opportunities to defend Christ.  On the contrary, every battle is a grind.  We will slip in mud.  We will fall and scrap our legs.  We will lose our hearing as the bombs explode and we will lose our sight at times from the glow of the bombs.  We are the in trenches.  We fight.  We get up through the Sacrament of Confession and refresh our souls through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, worthily received.  

Our time for rest and glory is only after our fight in the battle ends – not during it.  And our battle ends only at death.

So then I stopped and Jim understood why I invited the lapsed Lutheran over and the agnostic, worldly man.  Far from keeping the day to only celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection with family, I wanted to spend it using persistent but subtle conversations to plant the seed of Faith in other souls.  I may never reap those fruits or see them reaped.  But that’s fine!  May the souls that I plant seeds of the Faith in, one day ripen nonetheless.  And through them, may God be glorified.

So gone on, eat with sinners!  Don’t be afraid to befriend Muslims or Pagans or Protestants.  Go to their homes.  Be friends with their children.  Care about them.  Pray for them.  Carry the Cross and make reparation for them.  

But with any battle, do so only with the weapons of catechesis properly in your mind and lived out in your heart.  Fight until the Good Lord calls us to the end of our battle.  And on that day may we hear the blessed words, “Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23)

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Friday, July 16, 2021
Must Catholics Obey Traditionis Custodes?
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Jorge Mario Bergoglio (centre) in Argentina c 1976. Photograph: Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Today, in the sharpest reversal and attack on a predecessor, Pope Francis has issued Traditionis Custodes, which seeks to make the celebration of the Tridentine Mass harder. It is in effect a reversal and repudiation of both Pope Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum.

For those seeking to understand the issue and its implications, I encourage the following articles: Rorate Caeli: Canon Lawyer's Analysis of the Anti Summorum Pontificum Motu Proprio & Latin Mass Society: Some Comments on the Apostolic Letter 'Traditionis Custodes'.

In good news, reports already are surfacing of diocesan bishops affirming the continued celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in places ranging from San Francisco to Albany to Arlington. Pittsburgh has affirmed such as well. And the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago affirmed that they will continue doing so as well. Of course, this could change at a moment's notice in any of these places or elsewhere. The Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas has just ended all Diocesan TLM's in the state except for two FSSP locations.

But all of this forces the question: Do Catholics have to obey Traditionis Custodes or any motu proprio? Yes but with two very important exceptions but of which are based on Church law and common sense legal arguments:

1. If the person issuing the statement lacks authority, no law is created.

A law must come from a valid lawgiver. It requires the government to pass laws according to the rules of the Constitution and laws already in place. The one issuing the law must do so in the lawful manner and have the power to do so by the office he holds. Not just anyone can do this. 

In the Church, this requires the Pope generally to issue a law. A man who is truly elected Pope ceases to be the pope and thus a valid lawgiver when he died, abdicates, or loses his office due to heresy. For instance, if Pope Francis was a heretic, he would not possess the authority to rule. And if he lacks the authority, this motu proprio can - and must - be rejected. This is based on developed and established Church teaching as shown, among others, in the following two sources:

X. Wernz, P. Vidal (1943) 

"Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact [ipso facto] is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgement by the Church.. A pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church." Ius Canonicum. Rome: Gregorian 1943. 2:453. 

Udalricus Beste (1946) 

"Not a few canonists teach that, outside of death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy. In the latter case, a pope would automatically fall from his power, and this indeed without the issuance of any sentence, for the first See [i.e., the See of Peter] is judged by no one. 

"The reason is that, by falling into heresy, the pope ceases to be a member of the Church. He who is not a member of a society, obviously, cannot be its head. We can find no example of this in history." Introductio in Codicem. 3rd ed. Collegeville: St. John's Abbey Press 1946. Canon 221.

Thus, a papal document like a motu proprio must come from a valid Pope who has not lost his office. Otherwise, the document is worthless. 

2. If the law is harmful to souls, it must be rejected.

Assuming that the person has authority a law must still be rejected if it is harmful to souls or encourages, promotes, or orders what is sinful. The adage "salus animarum, suprema lex" (the salvation of souls is the supreme law) which is this blog's motto underpins all of this. For this reason, while obedience is to be highly valued, if a superior orders what is sinful, we must disobey his command.

Is the Latin Mass harmful to souls? No. It was and is the Mass of the saints. Are the fruits of the Latin Mass overwhelmingly positive? Yes. And is the fruit of the Novus Ordo evil? Sadly yes. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre famously said, "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." He was right and the rotten fruits of fifty years show us this.

One point which Pope Francis seems to make - that there may not be two forms of the Roman Rite- is a position that I have come to believe as well. These "forms" are not the same Rite and not the same religion. Their spirituality and entire orientation are diametrically opposed - one is centered on man and one is centered on God.

Pope Francis stated in this document that the Novus Ordo Mass is the "lex orandi" of the his Church. Well said. If the "lex orandi" of Francis' church is the Novus Ordo, we know that is not the "lex orandi" of the Catholic Church. The Novus Ordo which is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism is not the "lex orandi" of the Catholic Church. 

As I mentioned some years ago in Should Traditional Catholics Attend the Novus Ordo, the very nature of the Novus Ordo Sacraments, while not necessarily invalid (but questionable in many instances), bear in them the theology of the New Rite and the Post Vatican II Church.  To frequent these Sacraments is to mix the good, true, and beautiful with that which is present in the New Sacraments: novelty.  By receiving the Novus Ordo Sacraments, you profess your Communion in and with the beliefs of the Novus Ordo Church, even those beliefs that are flawed.

Even those who generally follow the current Pope will admit that serious ambiguities exist in this document, raising questions on their legal effects, ramifications, and implementations.

Conclusion:

All Catholics should affirm either statement 1 or 2 above. As such, Catholics are not required to obey this document and must actually resist it openly. Traditionis Custodes is to be rejected totally and entirely without reservation. Salus animarum, suprema lex. Long live Tradition. Long live the True Catholic Church. Down with the counterfeit Church of the Modernists.

Reject Traditionis Custodes and direct your money to traditionalist orders and priests who do likewise.

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