Sunday, October 27, 2019
Turned Away from an SSPX Retreat for Observing Lent

Earlier this year I registered to attend a retreat with the SSPX retreat house in Los Gatos, CA. This would have been my third retreat with the SSPX as I've previously visited their Ridgefield, Connecticut and Phoenix, Arizona retreat houses. My experience was not pleasant and after thinking through this experience for several months I think it's important to share what happened to me.

On February 11th I registered for a retreat that was to take place this Lent and to my surprise shortly after sending in my deposit I received a refund along with this note from the St. Aloysius Retreat Center secretary:
We received a deposit for an upcoming retreat. Father Asher asked me to please refund your deposit. We are sorry, but the Retreat House is unable to accommodate your dietary requests. Your deposit will be refunded through PayPal, as it was the original payment method.
In my registration I had asked for shellfish free meals to be prepared (for an allergy) and for no meat to be served to me for the Monday - Thursday sessions since it is Lent and I follow the pre-1962 abstinence for all 40 days. In actuality, I maintain a vegan diet with an exception for fish but for the sake of ease on the retreat house, I only asked for them to not serve me shellfish or meat. 

I asked for clarification and received a terse reply from the same secretary:
We cannot accommodate either of your dietary restrictions -- it is impossible for the Retreat House to guarantee "no cross contamination" for the shellfish nor can the Retreat House accommodate the "no Meat during Lent" restriction.
A alleged traditional Catholic community can not accommodate no meat during Lent? This is absurd. No further replies or apologies were received. I did not ask for them to make me anything special - just to not serve me meat. So in June I sent in this note to the SSPX district office to see how they would react to this clear violation of Catholic Tradition. How can a retreat house turn someone away who did not want to eat the meat they prepared? I wrote:
I have thought and prayed about this over the past few months but I can no longer support the SSPX. I was planning this year to attend my 3rd Ignatian retreat and I was turn away.  My crime?  Asking that, since it was Lent, I be served meatless meals while there. I thought that was a simple request considering it is the traditional custom of the Lenten fast to abstain from meat for 40 days. Plus, it would be cheaper too for the retreat house. But I was refused. My deposit was returned. No questions asked.
I'm going to cease my donations to the SSPX, cease attending SSPX chapels (which I've done now for nearly 10 years), and as a Traditional Catholic author and writer for several publications, I think I'm going to have to make this situation aware to others. To turn away someone for asking to have a meatless meal is unconscionable. You have it clearly on your website that dietary restrictions are honored. Yet it seems they are not in Los Gatos if that dietary restriction is in keeping with a Lenten practice that, while not in place in 1962, was certainly in place in my grandparent's time.  Please update your website to state that you do NOT honor dietary requests for traditional Catholic practices.
On June 25th I received a response from the Executive Assistant to the District Superior - another lay person and not a priest. After commenting on my request for no shellfish, she wrote:
Your request for a non-meat diet during the retreat was a secondary issue, although, being a preference and not a medically-diagnosed diet, they do have the right to refuse to accommodate such a request. Retreatants, as with all of us who are seeking a deeper spiritual life, are encouraged to accept simply what is set before them at table. If you were to look into saints’ lives, particularly those who dwelt in community with others, they put their individual preferences after the needs or common life of the community. St. Therese of the Child Jesus, for example, would “eat anything” according to her religious sisters and they never knew what she liked or disliked when it came to food. Eating one’s meals in common with others during a retreat could be compared with that aspect of religious life. On a practical note, it would be impossible for the retreat house to cater to each individual retreatant’s preferences when it comes to meals in common. This is why they restrict consideration of diet accommodations to those that are “medically prescribed”, as indicated on the registration form. We were informed that the retreat house did reach out to you by phone after receiving your deposit in order to inform you that they could not accommodate your allergy restriction and that your deposit was refund immediately after that call.
On July 12th, after having through about their email for several weeks, I responded:
While I appreciate your attempt to address these issues via email, they only underscore the need to pull my support for the SSPX: 
1. I do swear that the retreat house never called me and spoke with me. They are either lying or mistaken. There was no discussion - just a refund and a terse email that said that I basically was not welcome 
2. I do not believe my food allergy was the cause. I have attended retreats in both retreat centers in Phoenix and in Connecticut before and they both happily honored my dietary request for no shellfish and to cook the dishes separately when shellfish were served.   
3. The real issue here is that the SSPX seems to think that modernism entered the Church in 1963 and that all practices in place in 1962 were good. They were not. Pope St. Pius X rightfully condemned modernism decades before. And part of that modernism was the New Church's allowing of meat to be eaten during the 40 days of Lent. To violate that abstinence is a sin regardless of what the SSPX thinks. I am not on a crusade to force SSPX priests or Mass-goers to abide by those laws, which are surely still valid, but your refusal to allow me to keep Catholic Tradition is the real reason I was not invited. The 1983 Code is not a valid Code. And I do not violate the traditional tenets of our Faith, including the Lenten abstinence rules. This is not my personal preference - this is true Church law. 
I have already pulled my financial support for the SSPX and will not be assisting at their chapels any further. It was made manifestly clear by the retreat house and by your response that I am not welcome.
No response was ever received. 

Why do I share this story? 

I share this because I know for many years, especially when I was newer to Traditional Catholicism, I viewed the SSPX has the epitome of pre-Vatican II Catholicism. However, after experiencing life in their chapels for many years I can say first-hand that I've met many priests who are extremely hard to talk to, dismissive, and lacking in charity. I still believe Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was a hero, but that does not mean the modern SSPX is perfect.

In recent years, the resurgence of interest in the more traditional 1954 missal, with its octaves and untouched Holy Week ceremonies, has gained popularity in many Traditional Catholic groups but not in SSPX chapels. They continue to hold firm to the semi-modernized 1962 missal and 1961 breviary with the deletion or downgrading of dozens of feasts and octaves, not to mention the liberalizing 1962 Week reforms. To assert that the 1954 Missal is wrong, as I've heard in SSPX groups, is scandalous. But what is even more scandalous is the SSPX's views that the fasting and abstinence laws of 1962, which eliminated the Lenten fast and countless of other fasts on vigils, are to be observed. And even worse, if I were to observe the pre-1962 fasting periods I am refused admission to their retreat house.

The SSPX are not the embodiment of Catholic Tradition. I have met very committed Catholics who regularly attend SSPX chapels but I've found Catholic Traditions in other chapels and communities. I would advise great caution with accepting completely everything said by an SSPX priest, especially when their statements contradict pre-1962 Tradition or result in uncharitable actions towards others. We are all called to be missionaries of Traditional Catholicism and we do not do so by only preaching with fire and brimstone. We can save many by living a pre-Vatican II (that is pre-1960s lifestyle) and doing so in a way that shows others great love and charity and concern. 

My advice: do not attend an SSPX retreat and only attend an SSPX chapel if a Mass said according to the pre-1955 is not available.

Reject the 1962 Missal. Restore the 1954 Missal. Reject the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Observe the 1917 Code. Reject the modernistic fasting that was practiced in 1962, which Pope Benedict XIV surely would have condemned. Practice the traditional fasting done by our grandfathers and their grandfathers. 
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Mission Sunday

"Pere Marquete and the Indians" by Willhelm Lamprecht. Raynor Library, Marquette University. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Last Sunday, the second to last Sunday of October, was World Mission Sunday. Mission Sunday was created in 1926 by Pope Pius XI as a day of prayer for missions and for the Propagation of the Faith. An additional collect for the propagation of the faith was in the Tridentine Mass required to be said on World Mission Sunday. Sadly, this was not kept in the 1962 Missal but it is retained by those who keep the 1954 Missal.

We should not underestimate the impact we can have on the missions and the conversions of pagan souls to the True Faith instituted by our Divine Lord.

One year after naming World Mission Sunday, Pope Pius XI in 1927 named both St. Francis Xavier and St. Therese of Lisieux as the patron saints of missions. St. Francis Xavier was a prolific missionary. Despite language problems, lack of funds, resistance from the Europeans as well as the natives, he persevered. St. Francis converted more people in his life than anyone since the Apostle St. Paul. He baptized over 50,000 in 10 years, converted the entire town of Goa in India, and he labored long in Japan.

But why St. Therese of Lisieux along with St. Francis Xavier? She died at the young age of 24, after spending several years in a cloistered monastery. She did not teach catechism, she did not baptize anyone, and she did not go on any foreign missionary trips. So why is she a co-patron of missions? Pope Pius XI recognized that prayer and the contemplative life was essential to support those were were active in the mission fields. St. Therese in her own autobiography wrote:
“Our vocation is not go to reap in the fields of the mature crops; Jesus doesn’t tell us: ‘Lower your eyes, look at the fields and go and reap’. Our mission is more sublime still. Here are Jesus’ words: ‘Lift your eyes and see. See how in heaven there are empty places, he asks you to fill them. You are my praying Moses on the mountain; request workers of me, and I will send them. I only wait for a prayer, a sigh of your heart! The apostolate of prayer, is it not so to say, higher than that of preaching? Our mission, as Carmelite, is one of forming evangelical workers that will save millions of souls whose mothers we will be”
We can join the work of St. Therese by praying on Mission Sunday and even daily for the conversion of non-Catholics, for the reversion of lapsed Catholics, and for the success of foreign missionaries. Missionaries are needed in both foreign lands and in many of our own cities and streets. We pray for all of them to be successful. We pray for the Lord to send more missionaries into the harvest.

Collect Prayer for the Propagation of the Faith:

O God, Who willest that all men should be saved and should come to the knowledge of the truth: we beseech Thee, send forth laborers into Thy harvest, and grant them grace to speak Thy word with all boldness, so that Thy word may spread swiftly and be glorified, and all nations may know Thee, the only God and Him Whom Thous hast sent: even Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Formal vs. Material Heresy

Heresy is a mortal sin. As stated by the Baltimore Catechism: "The denial of only one article of faith will make a person a heretic and guilty of mortal sin, because the Holy Scripture says: 'Whosoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one point is become guilty of all'" (Q. 1171). Sadly, there are many in the Church today who are heretics - many in the hierarchy who are formal heretics and many of faithful lay Catholics in the pews who are led astray into material heresy.

The Catholic Church rightfully asserts and teaches that its doctrines are the authoritative understandings of the Faith taught by our Savior Jesus Christ and that the Holy Ghost protects the Church from falling into error when teaching these doctrines. To deny one or more of those doctrines, therefore, is to deny the faith of Christ entirely. Heresy is both the non-orthodox belief itself, and the act of holding to that belief. However, the Church makes several distinctions as to the seriousness of an individual heterodoxy and its closeness to true heresy. Only a belief that directly contravenes an Article of Faith, or that has been explicitly rejected by the Church, is labelled as actual "heresy."

An important distinction is that between formal and material heresy.

The difference is one of the heretic's subjective belief about his opinion. The heretic who is aware that his belief is at odds with Catholic teaching and yet continues to cling to his belief pertinaciously is a formal heretic. This sort of heresy is sinful because in this case the heretic knowingly holds an opinion that, in the words of the first edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, "is destructive of the virtue of Christian faith ... disturbs the unity, and challenges the Divine authority, of the Church" and "strikes at the very source of faith." Material heresy, on the other hand, means that the individual is unaware that his heretical opinion denies, in the words of Canon 751, "some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith." The opinion of a material heretic may produce the same objective results as formal heresy, but because of his ignorance he commits no sin by holding it. The penalty for a baptised Catholic above the age of 18 who obstinately, publicly, and voluntarily manifests his or her adherence to an objective heresy is automatic excommunication ("latae sententiae") according to Can. 1364 par.1 CIC.

A belief that the church has not directly rejected, or that is at variance with less important church teachings, is given the label, sententia haeresi proxima, meaning "opinion approaching heresy." A theological argument, belief, or theory that does not constitute heresy in itself, but which leads to conclusions which might be held to do so, is termed propositio theologice erronea, or "erroneous theological proposition". Finally, if the theological position only suggests but does not necessarily lead to a doctrinal conflict, it might be given the even milder label of sententia de haeresi suspecta, haeresim sapiens, meaning "opinion suspected, or savoring, of heresy."

Source: Heresy in the Catholic Church
Friday, October 18, 2019
The Traditional Vigils and Feastdays of the Apostles

The Feasts of the Apostles as Holy Days

For over 100 years, the Holy Days of Obligation on the Universal Calendar have remained largely the same. But the number of Holy Days in previous times was significantly larger.

In 1911, Pope St. Pius X reduced the number of Holy Days of Obligation from 36 to 8, although which places observed the holy days were not uniform at all beforehand.  Shortly thereafter, the 1917 Code of Canon Law increased the number to 10 by adding back Corpus Christi and Ss. Joseph. Those ten on the Universal Calendar have remained the same ever since.

However, the Holy Days up until 1911 reveal something quite interesting as all of the feasts of the Apostles were Holy Days of Obligation on the Universal Calendar. The feasts of the Apostles were raised to public holidays in 932 AD as Father Weiser relates (p. 279).

The 36 Holy Days of Obligation on the Universal Calendar back in 1642 under Pope Urban VIII included:

1. Nativity of our Lord
2. Circumcision of our Lord
3. Epiphany of the Lord
4. Monday within the Octave of the Resurrection
5. Tuesday within the Octave of the Resurrection
6. Ascension
7. Monday within the Octave of Pentecost
8. Tuesday within the Octave of Pentecost
9. Most Holy Trinity
10. Most Holy Body of Christ
11. Finding of the Holy Cross
12. Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
13. Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
14. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
15. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
16. Dedication of St. Michael
17. Nativity of St. John Baptist
18. Ss. Peter and Paul
19. St. Andrew
20. St. James
21. St. John (the December feastday)
22. St. Thomas
23. Ss. Philip and James
24. St. Bartholomew
25. St. Matthew
26. Ss. Simon and Jude
27. St. Matthias
28. St. Stephen (the December feastday)
29. The Holy Innocents
30. St. Lawrence
31. St. Sylvester
32. St. Joseph
33. St. Anne
34. All Saints Day
35. The Principle Patrons of One’s Country, City, etc.

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was added in 1708 so it not on 1642 list.

The Church, by reducing the number of Holy Days of Obligation, removed the feasts of the Apostles. And this has diminished their importance in the lives of the average Catholic. How many Catholics can even name all 12 Apostles? How many know the name of the traitor or the name of the Apostle who took his place? Catechesis has failed the modern Catholic.

Make a special effort to observe the feast of all of the Apostles by Mass attendance, if possible, or at least by praying the Collect prayer for their feastdays. You can also try to pray the Divine Office on their feastdays. And you should at the very least remember to implore their intercession on their feastdays.

Observing the Vigil of the Apostles

The term “vigil” is used in several ways.  It may refer to an entire day before a major feast day (e.g. the Vigil of Christmas is all day on Dec 24th). This kind of vigil is a feast day in itself. Before the changes to the Roman Calendar in 1955, nearly all feasts of the apostles were preceded by a special Vigil Day. And the Church put those days in place to help us prepare for the importance of a feast of an apostle. Sadly, the observance of fasting on the vigils of the apostles in many places disappeared back in the 1700s.

Note: A Mass with the Sunday propers and fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation that is anticipated on a Saturday evening is sometimes, though incorrectly, called a vigil. This practice though is a novelty and not part of Catholic Tradition, so I always encourage Catholics to never attend such “vigil masses” on Saturday evenings.

We have lost the importance of the feast of the apostles, I believe, in part due to losing the vigils. We can change that by observing those in our own prayer lives. And the same is true for the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception or the Vigil of All Saints (Halloween), traditional days when we would fast and abstain from meat, but which are neither found in the Novus Ordo calendar nor even in the 1962 Missal.

You can easily find online listings of the pre-1955 Catholic liturgical calendar which include these unique vigil days of preparation.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Book Review: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

It is unfortunate that this book is so highly read by academics and elite business professionals ranging from those in Silicon Valley to Wall Street. Dr. Harari, an atheist, has written a book that is not only logically flawed but written in a way with only contempt for religious - especially Catholics. 

Writing for The Catholic Thing, Francis Beckwith summarizes the logical errors in some of the professor's thinking in his piece: Materialistic Dogmas and Bad Conclusions.

I picked up a copy of the book and flipped through only a few pages where I read some of the many attacks against the Catholic Faith including:

  • "The Catholic alpha male abstains from sexual intercourse and raising a family, even though there is no genetic or ecological reason for him to do so"
  • "The Catholic Church has survived for centuries, not by passing on a celebacy gene from one one to the next, but by passing on the stories of the New Testament and of Catholic canon law."
  • "According to this story, if a Catholic priest dressed in sacred garments solemnly said the right words at the right moment, mundane bread and wine turned into God's flesh and blood. The priest exclaimed 'Hoc est corpus meum' and hocus pocus - the bread turned into Christ's flesh...millions of devout French Catholics behaved as if God really existed in the consecrated bread and wine."
Firstly, Dr. Harari seems to forget that there is a reason for priests to abstain from sexual intercourse and raising a family so that they are more conformed to Christ's life, are able to focus entirely on ministry, and in fulfillment of Christ's own words (cf. Matthew 19:12)

Secondly, Canon Law was only first created by Pope St. Pius X in 1917. The Catholic Church exists to transmit the Faith as taught by Christ Himself and the Apostles and to transmit the Sacraments instituted by the Redeemer. It has not survived for centuries by passing on canon law. Any historian should find that claim absurd.

Thirdly, Dr. Harari's blasphemy against the Real Presence stands in sharp contrast to the many Eucharistic miracles confirming Transubstantiation (Miracle of Lanciano, Siena, Orvieto, etc) as well Christ's own words.

This atheistic work is both historically inaccurate, blasphemous, opposed to divine revelation, and founded on faulty logic. It is fit only for the trash heap or the burn pile.
Sunday, October 6, 2019
Why Women Cannot be Doctors of the Church

The title of "Doctor of the Church" is bestowed on certain individuals not only for their faith but for their skillful defense of it. The first saints given this title on September 20, 1295, by Boniface XIII included Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, & Saint Gregory the Great. The next added was St. Thomas Aquinas and since then has grown to include thirty-three saints.

In the post Vatican II Church, the attacks on Traditional Catholic views and beliefs include far more than just the Tridentine Mass. While it is praiseworthy to see more and more people seeking out and supporting the Traditional Latin Mass, it is disheartening to still see many of these groups believing some or many of the novelties that came after Vatican II.

What are these novelties? 

  • The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are one. They were invented by John Paul II in an attempt to change the Rosary which had been given in its 3 set of mystery format directly from the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
  • Other novelties include the drastic change in the canonization process in 1983 that cause reasonably doubt on the infallibly of modern canonizations, especially those of liberal popes like Paul VI who did all he could to abolish the Tridentine Mass.  
  • Another such novelty is the 1983 Code of Canon Law which reduced the Eucharistic Fast to only one hour, another change that Traditionalists need to reject.
But one novelty that few Traditionalists seem to care about is the addition of female saints to the list of Doctors of the Church. St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen were added to this list post Vatican II. And while their writings and work are certainly praiseworthy they cannot be called Doctors of the Church. To do so would be a violation directly against apostolic teaching attested to by St. Paul and recorded in Sacred Scripture.

An explanation on this was some years ago penned by Bishop Richard Williamson on why recent Popes' actions to declare some women saints as Doctors of the Church is to be rejected against Catholic Tradition. I quote:
A few days ago I met in Rome a gracious Roman lady who asked me why in a sermon several years ago I had been opposed to the papal declaration of St. Catherine of Sienna as a Doctor of the Church. The problem, I replied, lies in the confusion of roles. 
Recent Popes have declared three women Saints to be Doctors of the Church: Catherine of Sienna, Theresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. Now no Catholic in his right mind would call in question either the orthodoxy or the great usefulness of each of their writings. We have only to thank God for their inspired and intuitive wisdom. Nevertheless for the Pope to declare them Doctors, i.e. teachers, is to encourage Catholic women to set up in public as teachers. St. Thomas Aquinas (IIa IIae, 177, art 2) has three reasons against this. 
Firstly he quotes St. Paul (II Tim II, 12): “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.” St. Thomas distinguishes here public from private teaching: in the home a mother must teach her children, in a quasi-domestic setting a woman may well teach, especially girls and little boys. 
Secondly, any woman set up in public view is liable to arouse unclean desire in men.
Thirdly, “women in general are not so perfect in wisdom as to be entrusted with public teaching.”

I hope more Traditionalists will seek to live an authentic Traditional Catholic life which is not focused merely on the exteriors of the Mass but on the Faith itself. And that Traditional Faith is still under assault even from priests in the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, SSPX, or other Traditional groups. Reject the Luminous Mysteries, reject the modernized fasts enshrined in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and reject the title of Doctor of the Church being given to female saints. 

Seek to live out the Catholic Faith in the same manner (i.e. the Mass) but also with the same beliefs as our grandfathers and their grandfathers. The Catholic Faith cannot change because God does not change. What was true in the past must be true now. And if St. Paul's teachings were true in the past, they must be true now. We cannot change what is of apostolic origin.
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Blessed Dalmatius Monerio

Beloved Dominican Saints, a painting by Bernadette Carstensen, commissioned by the St. Joseph Province for the 800th jubilee of the Order of Preachers, portrays 24 Dominican saints and blesseds. St. Dominic, the founder, appears kneeling in the center left. Image courtesy of the artist, Bernadette Carstensen, © Dominican Province of St. Joseph, 2015

Today in the Dominican Order, the Feast of Blessed Dalmatius is celebrated. Little information exists for this truly heroic saint online aside from the text from the Short Lives of the Dominican Saints published originally in 1901.  As the life of this truly holy man is worth imitating, here is an excerpt from that book:
Blessed Dalmatius Moner was born of pious and respectable parents at a small town in Catalonia, about A.D. 1291. From childhood he was distinguished for innocence and piety. He received a good education at Girona, which was completed at the University of Montpellier. Entering the Dominican Order at the age of twenty-five, he made it his lifelong study perfectly to conform his conduct to the requirements of the Rule and the Constitutions. He was employed for many years in teaching, but at length humbly resigned this office from a desire to devote himself more closely to the service of God. 
Blessed Dalmatius led a life of extreme penance and mortification. He seldom ate anything but herbs and vegetables, almost raw, and in the burning heat of a Spanish summer would entirely abstain from drinking for as many as twenty consecutive days. His scanty rest was taken on the bare ground; he afflicted his body with continual fasts, disciplines, and other austerities, and devoted himself day and night to the exercises of prayer and contemplation.  Continue reading... 

O God who didst make Thy humble servant Dalmatius glorious for many miracles and virtues, and didst wonderfully inflame him with Thy love, to the despising of all earthy things, grant, we beseech Thee, through his intercession, that we may be disengaged from all earthy affections and freed from all adversities, and have no desire but for the things of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, September 23, 2019
Pope Francis: Man Must Obey the U.N.

Guest Post By David Martin

2000 years ago, Christ instituted the Roman Catholic Church with the commission that it enlighten all peoples on the path of salvation and provide a sure means of attaining it. As Christ sees it, the Roman Catholic Church is the one central world authority to which all peoples should be subjugated.

In 1945, the archenemies of Christianity founded the United Nations with the objective of destroying Christianity and submerging the world’s peoples under the tyranny of communistic one-world government. The U.N. today is that central world force that is generating the present day revolt against the Faith, with special emphasis on children’s rights, feminist rights, abortion rights, LGBT rights, and all the Masonic rights that were created to separate man from God. The U.N. asserts that these “rights” are to be respected everywhere by all peoples.

Pope Francis agrees. During a September 10 press conference on route to Rome from Madagascar, the pope insisted that when the United Nations speaks, man must listen.
“When we acknowledge international organizations and we recognize their capacity to give judgment, on a global scale—for example the international tribunal in The Hague, or the United Nations—If we consider ourselves humanity, when they make statements, our duty is to obey … We must obey international institutions. That is why the United Nations were created.” 
So according to Francis, when the U.N. says that homosexuals must be free to express their sexual orientation and that women must be guaranteed their right to abortion, the world must obey. Hard to believe? Let us not forget that the pope on several occasions has invited U.N. abortion advocates like Jeffery Sachs and Ban Ki moon to speak at the Vatican concerning their Sustainable Development Goals of making “mother earth” a safer place through population control.

On April 29, 2015, the Vatican officially endorsed their United Nations Goals (SDGs), which include contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. Moreover, the pope in May 2019 was calling for a supranational, legally constituted body to enforce these U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Since his election, Francis has advocated that we look to this global elite for our instruction, as expressed in his encyclical Laudato Si: “There is urgent need of a true world political authority.” Wasn’t the authority of the King of kings good enough? The U.N. is the infamous brood of vipers that is perverting the nations and bringing them to a collision course, so why is Francis commending the flock of Christ to them?

Francis Executing Internationalist Plan

It is no secret that the U.N. was founded in 1945 by the CFR members of the Illuminati, a satanic secret society that works conjointly with the Freemasons. What these internationalists advocate is a universal break from the past and a merger of all peoples into an ecumenical one-world government/religion, which the Second Vatican Council was instrumental in advancing. Pope Francis advocates this departure from the past and merger with other religions, which has elicited praise from globalists and Freemasons the world over.

For instance, In July 2013, commemorating his friend and late Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Masonic Grand Master Gustavo Raffi (Grand Orient of Italy) launched this tribute to Pope Francis:
“Humanity today is poorer and poorer, as is also the Catholic Church. But the one of Pope Francis is a church that promises to be respectful of the otherness and to share the idea that the secular state promotes peace and coexistence of different religions.”
On September 21, 2013, during the celebrations by the Freemasons of the Grand Orient of Italy, Grand Master Gustavo Raffi also stated, inter alia:
“Pope Francis launches messages of humanity that are in tune with what we have been saying for years….This is a living Masonry, talking to people [in dialogue].” [One Peter Five]
On and on the praises go, the reason being that this pope from the beginning has done the bidding of Freemasons to down-talk Church tradition, even dubbing “schismatic” those who hold tenaciously to the old teachings, while continually emphasizing that we move forward with this Masonic plan to unite the Catholic Church with the world. 

Pope Calling for “Global Pact” for a “New Humanism”

And now the pope acting as a U.N. pawn has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “global pact” to create a “new humanism.”

“A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism,” Francis said in a recent video message to launch the initiative. Pope Francis invites religious, political leaders to sign ‘Global Pact’ for ‘new humanism’  As if Christ didn’t already give us the solution for world peace and unity! The implication is that Christ’s instruction through tradition is ineffective so that this new humanism is now needed.

What is needed is a universal return to God and His Divine Laws, which means a universal rejection of the secular humanism that Francis is peddling for his global masters. He cannot bow to Jesus Christ and to globalists at the same time. He cannot advocate a new church of man and be truly Catholic at the same time. For our unity is with Christ, not with the world.

What Christ requires of the hierarchy is that they reject humanism and restore His Church to its former position of honor as it stood before Vatican II. For the Freemasons infiltrated Vatican II and engendered the new order of change that is fast coming to a head under Francis, so our duty as Catholics is to resist this new order of temptation and to remain ever faithful under siege, remembering the exhortation of St. Paul for withstanding these days of Antichrist:

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
Saturday, September 21, 2019
How to Live a Liturgical Life

Part 1: The Sacredness of Time

Under the Old Law that we study in the Old Testament, God’s people observed annual ceremonies commemorating important events in salvation history which prefigured the completion of the Old Law through Christ. Similarly, Holy Church commemorates important mysteries, events, and persons, using an annual cycle of prayers, scriptures, hymns, and various spiritual disciplines. In the same way, each of the 12 months has a unique focus and each day of the week has a unique focus as well. Even in the day, the hours of the day are divided up into the canonical hours. In so doing, all time is devoted to God since He alone created all time and redeemed all of time.

Unlike the pagan religions which often view time as an endless cycle of death and rebirth, the Christian view of time is linear. While God alone has always existed and has no beginning, time had a beginning. There was a first day on earth. And there will be a last day. There will be a day ultimately when the sun will rise for the last time and when it will set for the last time. Time will end. And God Himself will end it as time belongs to Him. It is our duty to honor God in time.

The Catholic Day

Each day is comprised of the Canonical Hours during which priests, religious sisters and brothers, and any laypeople who want to pray the set prayers for those hours. Called the Divine Office, or the Breviary, these 7 prayers throughout the day are a primary means by which we sanctify time. We will discuss the breviary at a much greater extent later in this talk.

Furthermore, the day is further consecrated to God by the Angelus Prayers. Traditionally said at 6AM, Noon, and 6PM the Angelus is a means by which we consecrate time to God, invoke the Blessed Mother, and honor the Incarnation. For this reason, church bells will often ring at noon and at 6 PM as a call to prayer for the Angelus. 6am is usually too early for bells to ring so most parishes don’t ring them then, nevertheless 6 am is the first time for the Angelus each day.

In fact, Mother Teresa and other missionary nuns have remarked that the sight of seeing Catholics fall to their knees to pray the Angelus when the Angelus bell sounded brought about many conversions. One former Hindu who converted and became a nun remarked that the sight of seeing Catholics instantly fall to their knees to offer those prayers even in the market at noon left such an impact on her that it brought about her conversion. We can have a similar impact by keeping the sacredness of the Catholic Liturgical Day.

The Angelus is traditionally prayed kneeling on everyday of the week except Sundays and except during Pascaltide (that is the 50 days of the Easter Season). On Sundays and during Easter time, you instead make a genuflection on your right knee at the mention of the Incarnation. If you are not familiar with the Angelus prayers, I would direct you to go online and find those prayers, save them, and start saying them daily. Even if you are not up at 6 AM or you are busy at precisely noon, you may still say them. In that case, you can pray the Angelus Prayers before your breakfast and likewise offer the next two prayers before lunch and before dinner respectively.

Some Catholics might also pray a Morning Offering Prayer upon awaking and make a Nightly Examination of Conscience just before bed. If you are not familiar with these practices look them up as well. In such a way, we can consecrate the day and time to God, the author of time.

The Catholic Week

All time belongs to God Himself as He has redeemed all time, and we see the sacredness of time chiefly on Sunday.  Just as we are to pay a tithe, a share of our earnings, for the poor and for the Church’s needs, so too we are required to pay a tithe of our time to God in the form of Sunday Mass.

We read in the Baltimore Catechism the clear teaching of the Church on the sacredness of Sunday time:
“By the third Commandment we are commanded to keep holy the Lord's day and the holy days of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service and worship of God. Holy days of obligation are special feasts of the Church on which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to hear Mass and to keep from servile or bodily labors when it can be done without great loss or inconvenience. Whoever, on account of their circumstances, cannot give up work on holydays of obligation should make every effort to hear Mass and should also explain in confession the necessity of working on holy days.”
The Third Commandment explicitly forbids servile work on Sundays. We cannot mow the lawn, we cannot move to a new apartment on Sunday, we cannot paint, we cannot perform physical work that is servile – that is work that would have been done by a servant in past eras. Yet, the Church further commands that all Sundays — and all other Holy Days of Obligation — are mandatory days of Mass attendance. The Sacredness of Sunday requires not only abstaining from certain actions but also the doing of other ones. Missing Mass on one of these days without a grave reason — such as grave illness or the inability to reasonably obtain transportation— is a mortal sin. If you were not able to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a good reason, you should still read the Missal for that day and pray the prayers from the Missal or watch an online broadcast of the Mass. There are several sites which broadcast daily the Traditional Mass. These activities though do not fulfill your obligation. If you are not able to make it to Mass for a legitimate reason, the obligation to attend Mass is lifted for you that day. But these pious activities can still help our own spiritual edification.

Sunday is also a day in which to participate in communal Rosary, Vespers, and Benediction services. Sunday is the day on which the Faithful should be most willing to read Catholic newspapers, books, and magazines. Listen to Catholic podcasts or You-Tube videos. Study catechism and supplemental religious education lessons. It is a day of rest from physical work so that we can give this tithe of our time to God.

And it should also be underscored that only attendance at the Catholic Mass fulfills our Sunday obligation. Attending a protestant service does not. In fact, attending a non-Catholic form of worship is sinful. If you were to go with a friend to say a Lutheran service on Sunday instead of Mass, you would have two mortal condemning your soul – first the missing of Sunday Mass and second, the taking part in false worship of other religions. The Church’s teachings on this are clear.

Likewise, only the Catholic religion rightfully understands that not only Sunday but the entire week is devoted to God.

Let’s take for instance Fridays. Fridays are penitential days in remembrance of our Lord’s brutal torture, crucifixion, and death on Friday. And we are required to perform penance on all Fridays of the year.

One of the most common caricatures of Catholics is our frequent eating of fish on Fridays. Yet, few non-Catholics understand this practice at all. And the sad truth is that many Catholics nowadays fails to properly observe these practices since abstinence from meat is actually required all year long - NOT just during Lent.

Let's take a few minutes to understand this practice.

Let me summarize these requirements. Catholics are required without exception to abstain from meat on Fridays in Lent. And Catholics are also required to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year unless the Bishops Conference of that area allows an alternative penance to be performed. This is a novelty though. Many faithful Catholics however choose just to honor the tradition of abstaining from all meat on Fridays year-round instead of substituting an alternative. That is what I do and what I encourage you to do as well. Due note, in Lent there is no substituting allowed.

Back when I was in college, I had a roommate who one Friday in Lent said he was going to a party that Friday so he would just abstain from meat on Thursday instead.  You can’t do that. It’s Friday. Christ died on Friday. And having to eat a salad and not a burger is a small sacrifice. If you can’t do that, how can you resist the tempting sins of the flesh? The same is true for Sundays. You can’t say, I’m really busy on Sunday so I’ll just go to Mass before class on Monday morning to fulfill my obligation. It doesn’t work that way.

The Church had over the past several hundred years lessened the discipline of Lent significantly little by little over the centuries. We would do well to return to forty days of abstinence from meat and animal products while also observing them as days of fast. Returning simply to the fast as practiced in 1917 is still a shadow of the fast as formerly practiced by our ancestors and forefathers in the Faith.

So, we can live a Catholic liturgical life in part by 1. Going to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, 2. Refraining from all servile work (manual work, cleaning, physical labor) on Sundays and Holy Days, and 3. Abstaining from meat on all Fridays of the year unless a dispensation is offered.

But these are the minimums. These are the requirements. To truly live a liturgical life, we cannot be satisfied with only not sinning against these laws. We have to want to enter deeper into the liturgical life. And we can do that by honoring each day of the week. Sunday is devoted to the Resurrection and Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ, but there are still 5 other days in the week.

Mondays are devoted to the Holy Ghost and the Souls in Purgatory. Do you pray to the Holy Ghost for guidance especially on Mondays? Do you pray for the souls in purgatory on Mondays? Have you made it a custom to visit a nearby cemetery on Mondays to pray for the dead there?

Tuesdays are devoted to the Holy Angels. Do you make sure you pray to your guardian angel on Tuesdays? We can also pray the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel on Tuesdays. If you not familiar with that, look it up online. The Chapel of St. Michael is a devotion that few Catholics are aware of anymore. Tuesdays are also dedicated to the Holy Face and also to St. Anthony of Padua and St. Dominic.

Wednesdays are devoted to St. Joseph. What devotions can you do on Wednesday to honor St. Joseph? After all, after the Blessed Virgin Mary, he is given the highest veneration among all the saints.

Thursdays are devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. Can you visit your local church, chapel, or Shrine for Adoration? Even if the Sacred Host is in the Tabernacle, God is still there, and we can and should make an effort to honor Him on Thursdays in the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar. This of course is on Thursday since our Lord instituted the Sacrament on Thursday. And what’s interesting, is that traditionally seminaries were closed not only on Sundays but also on Thursdays. Thursdays in honor of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament and of the priesthood. That is a custom that has also fallen by the wayside.

And lastly Saturdays are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Do we invoke her in a special way on Saturdays? Do we especially make sure we pray the Rosary then? Do we honor the First Saturday devotion?

These are real questions that I ask you to consider. How can you better live out the Catholic Liturgical Week?

The Catholic Month

And just as we considered the Catholic Day and the Catholic Week, each month of the year has a specific focus as well:

January is devoted to the Holy Name and the Childhood of our Lord
February is devoted to the Holy Family
March is devoted to St. Joseph
April is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament
May is in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
June is devoted to the Sacred Heart of our Lord
July is dedicated to His Precious Blood
August is in honor of the Immaculate Heart
September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary
October is in honor of both the Holy Rosary and the Holy Angels
November is dedicated to praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory
And December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

In regard to these months, how often do we give these any thought? Do you pray the Litany of Loreto in May or the Litany of the Sacred Heart in June? Do we make special devotions to the Precious Blood in July? Do we honor the dead and make special satisfaction for souls in November? If you are truly serious about living a Catholic liturgical life, I ask you to look up these monthly devotions and live them out.

Part 2: An Overview of the Catholic Liturgical Year

After considering the liturgical day, week, and month, we come now to the second part of this talk: The Catholic Liturgical Year. Running concurrently with the weekly and monthly devotions is the annual liturgical calendar.

Through the liturgical year, we re-live the life of Christ each year starting with His coming and ending with the end of time. The Church runs on a special schedule all year long, with special days focused on different events in the life of Christ. In fact, many protestants are shocked to learn that Catholics have Mass daily – not just on Sundays. And they are even more shocked when they learn about the hundreds of feast days we have throughout the year. Whereas many of them will celebrate Christmas and Easter, a Catholic sees nearly every day of the year dedicated in some way to a unique saint or mystery of the Faith.

Every year the Catholic Church remembers certain key events — the birth of Christ, the death of Christ, His Resurrection and Ascension. The birth and death of Christ are preceded by a time of preparation — Advent and Lent respectively.

Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year and is an approximate four week long time of preparation for the birth of Christ. It begins around the end of November. Advent ends with Christmas.

Christmas is always celebrated on December 25th. The Reverend Dom Prosper Gueranger, an abbot who lived until 1875, wrote a long series of reflections on the different seasons of the year in fifteen volumes (although he did not live to complete his monumental work). Father Gueranger’s Liturgical Year volumes are the gold-standard in knowledge on the liturgical year. If you could buy just one set of books on the Liturgical Year, save up and buy his volumes. They are incredible.  For instance, Father Gueranger wrote about the characteristics of Christmas when he wrote:
“It is twofold: it is joy, which the whole Church feels at the coming of the divine Word in the Flesh; and it is admiration of that glorious Virgin, who was made the Mother of God. There is scarcely a prayer, or a rite, in the Liturgy of this glad Season, which does not imply these two grand Mysteries: - an Infant-God, and a Virgin-Mother” (Gueranger, 4)
And Father Gueranger has lengthy reflections for every single traditional feast day in the year. Now, Christmas itself is not only a single day but an entire season. And after it we have, the third season: time after epiphany.

After the Christmas and Epiphany seasons, the Church enters Lent, a time of repentance. Lent is actually preceded by a period of pre-Lent called Septuagesima and then Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday. This observance is on the Wednesday forty-six days before Easter and features the imposition of blessed ashes. The priest traces the sign of the cross on each person’s forehead (though he does so on the head at the place of tonsure for clerics not their foreheads) while saying “Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return”. It is a day of mandatory fasting and abstinence. This sets the tone for the entire Lenten season. As the Saint Joseph Sunday Missal urges us:
“The ashes on your forehead have only as much meaning as you are giving them. Make this symbolism a meaningful beginning of a time of penance, preparing to celebrate the paschal mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection” (Saint Joseph Sunday Missal, 233).
The Lenten season is penitential, so we are asked to devote time to spiritual and corporal acts of mercy as well as prayer, fasting, and the giving of alms. In all of these ways, we can make satisfaction for sins if we are in the state of grace. Catholics often give up something for Lent such as candy or watching television although, as we will discuss later, much greater sacrifices are needed and asked for. The notion that Catholics are only asked to give up chocolate for Lent is scandalous. The sacrifices of our forefathers in the Faith puts the modern Catholic to shame.

Catholics should also participate in additional prayers such as attending extra Masses during the week or making the Stations of the Cross on Fridays. This is also a particularly important time to confess our sins to a priest and receive God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. Lent is traditionally forty days of fasting and forty days without meat.

The final two weeks of Lent are traditionally called Passiontide, and Lent culminates in the second week of Passiontide, called Holy Week, which commemorates the final days of our Lord’s life on earth before His Crucifixion. Palm Sunday starts Holy Week and on that day, we commemorate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Many of the crowd who shouted “Hosanna” and placed palms before His path only a few days later demanded His death. The Liturgy for Palm Sunday shows us the great immutability of human beings. How fast we are to forget.

On Holy Thursday we remember the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and on Good Friday, God Himself is crucified. Good Friday is also a day of required fasting and abstinence and is the most somber day in the entire year. The day after, Holy Saturday, is a day of mourning and quiet. God has died and sleeps in the tomb. We then arrive at the most joyous celebration of the entire year, the crowning joy of the liturgical life: Easter Sunday!

Easter bursts forth as we hear of the Lord’s rising from the dead, the greatest proof of His own divinity. Astonished, His Apostles and disciples first hear of His resurrection and then see His risen body. The Easter Season is a period of joy for us as well and lasts for fifty days, eclipsing the long forty days of fasting and penance during Lent.

Jesus would not stay with His Apostles for long but ascended to heaven. We celebrate this forty day after Easter Sunday on Ascension Thursday. However, our Lord promised not to leave us as orphans but to send the Holy Ghost. The Apostles gathered in Jerusalem, waiting for the Holy Ghost. And we celebrate the coming of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after Easter Sunday. Trinity Sunday occurs the Sunday after Pentecost to honor the Blessed Trinity and begins the period called Time after Pentecost. And that season will run until we begin it all over again with Advent.

Thus, to summarize, there are traditionally 2 Liturgical Cycles and 7 Liturgical Seasons: The first cycle is the Christmas Cycle and includes Advent, Christmastide, and the time after the Epiphany.  The second cycle is the Easter Cycle and includes Septuagesima, Lent, Pascaltide (also called Eastertide), and the Time after Pentecost.

It’s also important to realize that each rite in the Church (Roman, Maronite, Chaldean, etc.) has its own calendar, and some have multiple uses or forms (e.g. within the Roman rite are the Traditional Roman Calendar of 1962, the Traditional Catholic Calendar in place in 1954, the modern Roman Calendar of 1969 that your typical parish down the road would use, and the Anglican Use Calendar). Even within the same use or form, there are variations according to local customs. For instance, the patron saint of a church or of the cathedral would be ranked higher in that calendar for that local jurisdiction.

It’s also important to define some important aspects of the liturgical year before we can do more a deep dive into it. And for those definitions, I’m relying on a good summary presented by, a website that I’d encourage all of you to get to know well.

The Liturgical Year

Whereas civil calendars presently start on January 1st (even though that was not always the case), Church calendars begin four Sundays before Christmas (not counting Christmas itself), so that the date of the Church’s “new year” varies from late November to early December. There is also a lunar element to how celebrations in our liturgical year are determined. The lunar element is in the method of calculating the date of Easter, from which the other variable feastdays follow. Easter Sunday is calculated as the first Sunday after the First Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.

Holy Days and Feasts

It’s a very common term when we are discussing the liturgical life. But what exactly do they mean? Although the terms “holy day” and “feast” are sometimes used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

In fact, our English word “holiday” is based on the concept of a “holy day”. A holy day in the general sense, is any day the Church has set apart for a regularly recurring public ceremonial observance. It finds expression primarily in the Mass and Divine Office, which have special prayers, and sometimes special ceremonies (such the distribution of candles on February 2nd) or special disciplines (such as fasting in Lent), for each holy day. In this sense, every feast day is a holy day.

Sunday is the primary holy day; its weekly ceremonial observance replaces that of the Jewish Sabbath.

However, sometimes “holy day” is short for “holy day of obligation,” as in the expression “Sundays and holy days.”

A feast, in the general sense, can also mean a holy day or set of holy days commemorating a particular person, event, or mystery of the Catholic Religion. Feast, when we are discussing the liturgical year, does not mean a large dinner gathering.

A feast may fall on a Sunday, either regularly (e.g. Easter Sunday) or coincidentally (in which case either the Sunday or the feast takes precedence depending on their liturgical ranks). For example, what happens when St. James’ feastday falls on a Sunday? Which takes precedence? Does that change if your parish is the Church of St. James or if the Cathedral in our Diocese is the Cathedral of St. James? These are questions that someone who wants to live a liturgical life should keep in mind.

On the modern (1969) calendar in the Novus Ordo, a “feast” in a narrower sense is a holy day of lesser rank than a “solemnity” and greater than a “memorial.”

Ranks have changed over the past several decades. In the modern Church, they will use the terms solemnity, feast, memorial, or optional memorial. In the 1962 Missal, we have First, Second, Third, or Fourth Class feastdays. But before the 1962 Missal up until the changes made by Pope Pius XII in 1955, there were from least to most important: Simples, Semidoubles, Lesser Doubles or also known as Doubles, Greater Doubles, Doubles of the second class, and lastly Doubles of the first class.

Temporal and Sanctoral Cycles

Feasts are listed in liturgical books according to two different, concurrent annual cycles.

The Proper of Seasons, or Temporal Cycle traces the earthly life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It consists mainly of Sundays related to the various liturgical seasons. This maps onto the 7 liturgical seasons contained in the two cycles we previously discussed: the Christmas Cycle and the Easter Cycle. It starts with Advent then goes through Christmas, Epiphany, Septuagesima, Lent, Easter, and Time after Pentecost.

There is also the Proper of Saints, called the Sanctoral Cycle, which is the annual cycle of feasts not necessarily connected with the seasons. We commemorate and ask the intercession of those holy men and women who set a marvelous example that we should all strive to imitate. We also commemorate various events and mysteries of the faith in the Sanctoral Cycle.

Fixed and Moveable Feasts

Besides Sundays, holy days are generally associated with a liturgical calendar in one of two ways:
  • We have Fixed Feasts which generally fall on the same date each year, e.g. Christmas on Dec 25th. (Though as an exception in some cases, a fixed feast, in spite of its name, can be moved if it coincides with a moveable feast of greater rank.)
  • Moveable Feasts may shift a few days forward or backward from year to year, mainly depending on the date of Easter for that year. (Pentecost, for example, is 49 days after Easter.)
Easter Sunday is “moveable” only insofar as its date varies somewhat depending on the lunar cycle; otherwise it cannot be moved, as it is the highest feast and the basis for many others.


We also have vigils. The term “vigil” is used in several ways. It may refer to an entire day before a major feast day (e.g. the Vigil of Christmas is all day on Dec 24th). This kind of vigil is a feast day in itself. Before the changes to the Roman calendar in 1955, nearly all feasts of the apostles were preceded by a Vigil Day (some of which were days of required fasting but those requirements generally disappeared in the 1700s).

Finally, a Sunday Mass anticipated on a Saturday evening is sometimes, though incorrectly, called a vigil. This practice though is a novelty and not part of Catholic Tradition, so I always encourage Catholics to never attend such “vigil masses” on Saturday evenings.


Lastly, we have ferias. A weekday with no feast associated with it is called a feria or ferial day (from the Latin feria meaning “free day”). On such a day, in the traditional rite, the priest generally offers the Mass of the previous Sunday or a Votive Mass of his choice. He may choose to honor the mystery of that day (for instance, on a ferial Wednesday he may be offering a Votive Mass of St. Joseph) but he may offer a Votive Mass for any saint. He may also generally, exceptions aside, offer a Requiem Mass.

So now that we have some essential definitions down, I’d like to walk through a guided meditation on the Liturgical Year in our time left. Again, this material will come from the Liturgical Year Course offered on and is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many insightful meditations in the liturgical year for us to consider that this is just a small piece of that.

Part 3: Details of the Catholic Liturgical Year 

Note: Much of this section is taken from the affordable and extensive online course on the Liturgical Year offered by


To many in our world today, Advent is extinct. Christmas starts around Thanksgiving with in-store sales and Christmas carols and ends on December 26th. To a Catholic, this borders on blasphemy.

With the First Sunday of Advent, the Church now begins anew the liturgical year.  In the words of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, it is in one liturgical year that the Church re-lives the 33 years of Christ’s life – thirty years obeying, three years teaching, and three hours redeeming.  Advent is a unique season of its own, not an extension of Christmas. It is neither an appropriate time to sing Christmas carols, nor is it a time for Christmas parties.

Advent is a time of penance in anticipation for the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord.  But it is also a time to help us remember that we must always be prepared for the Final Judgment and the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent as a season is quite ancient. The season itself went through slow development, taking form back in the 4th century and reaching a definite form in Rome by 6th century. Advent starts on the Sunday nearest Nov 30th (Saint Andrew’s feastday) and formed the beginning of the liturgical year by the 10th century. It started earlier at one time (as early as Nov 11th) because it was fashioned after Lent, so it had forty days originally in some areas, and even earlier in other areas (starting in September) which forms the basis of the monastic fast. However, by the 6th to 7th centuries the number is set as a span of four Sundays. And the 1962 Missal preserves most of the ancient Masses of this season even though they are not in the Novus Ordo.

And while the modern Catholic will be generally familiar with Advent, the main part of Advent that they will be largely ignorant of is the Advent Embertide Fast. Ember days (in Latin the Quatuor Tempora, meaning four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence.

Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers prescribed in the Breviary. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5). We are called to do penance throughout the year, and we can do that by uniting to the traditional times of penance which have nearly all been forgotten.

I now with some slight modifications quote from the New Advent encyclopedia:
“They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (who reigned from 1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (St Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (another name for Pentecost Sunday), and after September 14th (The 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 "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (who reigned from 217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Pope Leo the Great considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (around 495) 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.” 
By observing these Ember Days in Advent, we truly live a more liturgical life. Not a single day of the year should pass when we do not feel a connection with the Liturgical Calendar. To do so, to neglect the feast days and fast days before us, is to live as orphans. Just as we keep these holy days, so too in Heaven there are holy days. It is our purpose in life to make it to Heaven, and Heaven will have feast days. If we do not feel within ourselves a desire to unite with the Church and honor and praise Almighty God through the Liturgical Year, we are not living truly Catholic lives.


Lent is a period of 40 days of penance (excluding the Sundays of Lent in the number) in preparation for the solemn celebration of the Lord's Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Our Lord, before beginning His earthly public ministry, fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. As the Gospel continually reaffirms, penance is an important part of repentance. And the Lord gave us the example of fasting for 40 days and nights. The concept of 40 days existing as preparation was seen by the Prophet Elijah, who fasted and journeyed to Horeb for 40 days (1 Kings 19:8). There are dozens of other references to the number 40 in the Old Testament.

For those Catholics who wish to more closely follow the ancient customs of the Church, Lent is a time of austere penance undertaken to make reparation to God for sin (our own sins and those of others), to grow in virtue and good works, and to comfort the heart of our Savior much offended by the proliferation of sin and filth increasing by the day.

Yet, there are very few Catholics who undertake the true discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. You, the remnant of the Catholic Faith, must observe the strictest of Lents. If you don’t, who will?

How many of us observe all 40 days as true fast days and not just Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?  Yet our ancestors did.  In fact, it was forbidden to eat meat or any animal products (e.g., eggs, dairy, cheese, butter, olive oil, or even fish) through all of Lent, even on Sundays!  How many of us are making this kind of intense sacrifice?  How many of us are finding the time during Lent to pray the Rosary every day or go to Daily Mass more often or at least pray the Stations of the Cross each Friday?

We live in sad, pitiful times when few souls even care to observe Lent.  The prophetic words of Pope Benedict XIV are coming true when he said:
“The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should men grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.” 
And yet, how many people indulge in public sin, lust, and gluttony on Fat Tuesday in a mockery of our ancestors?  Nowadays, few Catholics fast for all forty days.  Yet, people are engaging in eating on Shrove Tuesday like they were.  It is a mockery of the Faith!  How many people are fasting by "light eating" on Ash Wednesday and then indulging on cheeseburgers on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday on a Lenten feria day!

Even the great liturgist Father Dom Guaranger wrote of the excesses and sinfulness of Mardi Gras in his own time.  And how much worse it is in our own times than his back in the 1800s! He said in part:
“How far from being true children of Abraham are those so-called Christians who spend Quinquagesima (The Sunday before Ash Wednesday) and the two following days in intemperance and dissipation, because Lent is soon to be upon us!...”
It is a shame.   It is a public scandal.  And our Lord Himself has asked for reparation. In an approved apparition of our Blessed Lord to Mother Pierina in 1938, the Lord said:
“See how I suffer. Nevertheless, I am understood by so few. What gratitude on the part of those who say they love Me. I have given My Heart as a sensible object of My great love for man and I give My Face as a sensible object of My Sorrow for the sins of man. I desire that it be honoured by a special feast on Tuesday in Quinquagesima (Shrove Tuesday – the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). The feast will be preceded by novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me uniting themselves with my sorrow.”
Thus, our Lord wished for us to make amends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the last day of the period of Septuagesima, and yet so few people know of this. Living a liturgical life necessitates that we live true Lents. 40 Days of Fasting and abstinence from meat. And that we care enough to learn of these traditions. So when next Lent comes, I ask you – how can you observe a truly Catholic Lent? And what will you be able to do on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in reparation for the sins of those who give in to carnal lusts on Mardi Gras?

The great Fr. Gueranger provides hundreds of meditations for Lent. Regarding the true uniqueness of the Lenten season, Fr. Gueranger writes:
“Each feria of Lent has a proper Mass; whereas, in Advent, the Mass of the preceding Sunday is repeated during the week. This richness of the lenten liturgy is a powerful means for our entering into the Church's spirit, since she hereby brings before us, under so many forms, the sentiments suited to this holy time... All this will provide us with most solid instruction; and as the selections from the Bible, which are each day brought before us, are not only some of the finest of the sacred volume, but are, moreover, singularly appropriate to Lent, their attentive perusal will be productive of a twofold advantage.”
After having given consideration to Advent, Lent, and Ember Days, I wish to share a final reflection on Rogation Days, another element of our liturgical life that has fallen by the wayside.

Rogation Days are the four days set apart to bless the fields and to invoke God's mercy on all of creation. The 4 days are April 25th, which is called the Major Rogation (and is only coincidentally the same day as the Feast of St. Mark); and the three days preceding Ascension Thursday, which are called the Minor Rogations days (i.e., the Lesser Litanies). Traditionally, on these days, the congregation marches the boundaries of a parish, blessing every tree and stone, while chanting or reciting a Litany of Mercy, usually the Litany of the Saints.

These were long before the 1962 Missal, days of fasting and abstinence from meat. The requirement for abstinence was universally kept for some time but the fasting was kept only in some locations (e.g. the Churches in Gaul where the Rogations days originated from as well as by St. Charles Borromeo in Milan). The Church Universal did not mandate days of fasting in the Easter Season so these days were often observed by abstinence from meat. Of course, keeping them as fast days is certainly in the proper spirit of penance, as St. Charles Borromeo's example shows us.

Besides keeping these days of penance, we can join in these processions. We can also pray special Rogation Days prayers. I personally try to go to a field of crops on April 25th where I pray the Litany of Saints in keeping with the liturgical spirit for the Major Rogation and say some additional prayers appropriate for the day.

Father Christopher Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina has put together a beautifully illustrated guide explaining both the Rogations and Ember Days, with a number of very useful quotes from various liturgical sources.

Part 4: Living a Liturgical Life through the Mass & the Office

The entire year helps us to commemorate Jesus’ life and the work of the Holy Trinity. Through the Mass, meditation, prayers, acts of mercy, and devotions, we become closer to God. The Mass and all prayers are ultimately for the sole purpose of the worship of the Trinity. Our purpose in life is ultimately orientated to the worship of the Holy Trinity. The Mass, the greatest act of Catholic worship, at its core is the greatest worship that can be given to the Trinity because the Mass is the re-presentation of Jesus Christ on the Cross to God the Father. And we know from our attendance at Mass that the Mass is the chief way we come into contact with the liturgical life.

Mass is not a mere obligation. It is a privilege. It is the ability to worship God in the manner He wishes to be worshiped. It is the most perfect prayer and we have the unique privilege if we are in the state of grace to unite our prayers and sacrifices with the One Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross at the altar during Mass. There is no prayer more in line with a Catholic liturgical life.

But I am also a strong proponent of the Divine Office. Through the Divine Office we can sanctify our day and live in uniformity with the liturgical year. Now, I’m not suggesting that all of you are called to the priesthood and religious life, but I suspect that among us here are souls that God has called to this life. And to you, those chosen by God to consecrate your entire lives to His service, you will have the awesome privilege to pray the Divine Office 7 times a day. Traditional Orders will start the divine office in the night – I’ve seen schedules for it to begin at 3 AM.

Why do we pray the Divine Office 7 times a day? This is in part from the words of King David in the Psalms: “Seven times a day I rose to sing thy praises.” And we can do so likewise.

But for those of you called to married life or single life, you too can and should, according to your abilities, pray the Divine Office. Now, there are several versions of the Divine Office. We have the modern Liturgy of the Hours used by the Novus Ordo and which uses the new calendar. That is one that I do not recommend. There is also the 1962 Breviary. Or there is the Office as said in 1955, when Pope Pius XII made a number of changes to the rankings of the feastdays and changed the number of octaves drastically. There is also the version that I pray, the pre-1955 version that is the version promulgated by Pope St. Pius X in Divino Afflatu in 1911.

In the modern Liturgy of the Hours, they removed some of the hours and changed some of the naming. Traditionally, the hours were:
  • Matins and Lauds: Technically they can be said at different times but are usually said together very early in the morning (even before sunrise)
  • Prime: This office is said usually around sunrise
  • Then we have the daytime hours of Terce, Sext, and None
  • Then we come to evening and have Vespers
  • Then we conclude the day with Compline at night before bed
Nowadays, Matins has been replaced by the Office of Readings which is said at anytime of the day. Lauds is usually just known as morning prayer. Vespers is called evening prayer. Compline is known as night prayer. But the actual prayers in these hours has been changed significantly, in addition to using the New Calendar.

So what I encourage all of you – even those who are not called to the consecrated religious life – is to pray a few of those offices a day. Start the day with the readings from Matins. That will only take a few minutes if you read the last nocturn’s readings on the saint whose feastday is that day. Then pray Lauds or Prime. That can take around 10 – 15 minutes.  If you can, take time in your day to pray the Angelus and/or the Sext prayer at Noon.  Before dinner, say the Angelus again and spend 10 – 15 minutes praying Vespers and thanking God for the great blessings of the day. And finally, end your day before bed by praying Compline, which includes in it a short examination of conscience.

What I really recommend to those starting out with incorporating the Divine Office into their life is to use the online website: divinum officium.  In that site you can choose for instance Divino Afflatu or the 1960 rubrics and then click on the hour you want to pray. All of the prayers will be on that page and there is no guesswork. The site is well-formatted for using it on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or even a mobile phone. They even have an app. I would recommend this as an easy way to start living a liturgical life.

And lastly, familiarize yourself with the liturgical year. If you go to Google and search: a catholic life feastdays. The top listing should be a listing that I have put together and updated throughout the years. It is the traditional pre-1955 Catholic calendar with various meditations for the sanctoral cycle and some days in the temporal cycle. Study. Learn.  Care about our Catholic heritage.  Learn about the devotions to St. Nicholas on December 6th, learn about the feast of St. Martin on November 11th which is known as Martinmas. What’s interesting is that Martinmas used to be one of the last times in the year we would have outdoor processions before winter.  And that is one reason the anti-Catholic President Woodrow Wilson put Armistice Day (Veterans Day) there so that it could help block out that Catholic feastday.

I’m shocked when I learn of Catholics who are not aware that February 2nd is the feast of Candlemas and the last day of the Christmas season, or that on February 3rd we get our throats blessed in honor of St. Blasé, or that wine is traditionally blessed by our priests for us on December 27th, the feast of St. John. These are just a few of the hundreds of ways we can live out the liturgical year. So spend time and immerse yourself into the Traditional Catholic liturgical year’s customs.  Learn about the unique indulged prayers that occur on select days throughout the liturgical year.

It is no coincidence that the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is on the Octave Day of the Assumption. It is no coincidence that the Transfiguration celebrated on August 6th is 40 days before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And it is no coincidence that there are 40 days between the Assumption and St. Michael’s feastday – a time known as St. Michael's Lent. It was during this time that St. Francis of Assisi observed a second Lenten fast of 40 days in honor of St. Michael and for his protection. Part of this ancient tradition even remains today in the form of the monastic fast.

I would also direct you to and click on “Being Catholic” at the top. And from there, you will find dozens of articles on practical tips of living out the liturgical life.

A truly Catholic life is a liturgical life.  Make time now to help the Church uncover what so few Catholics keep anymore. And through our collective keeping of the Catholic liturgical life (the Angelus, feastdays, the divine Office, Ember Days, Rogation Days, Sunday rest, Friday penance, and more) we truly give honor to Almighty God who is worthy of all liturgical worship and honor per omni secula seculorum.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Explained

The Roman Catechism states, “[T]he faithful are bound to believe that Jesus the Lord was not only conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost but was also born of the Virgin Mary.” Elsewhere, referring to the birth of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Catechism explains this sublime mystery on the Virgin birth:
"... as the rays of the sun penetrate, without breaking or injuring, in the least, the substance of glass; after a like, but more incomprehensible manner, did Jesus Christ come forth from his mother's womb without injury to her maternal virginity, which, immaculate and perpetual, forms the just theme of our eulogy."
In 2006 “The Nativity Story” premiered and it was rightfully boycotted by some Catholics, despite having its premiere in Vatican City, since it depicted Mary, the New Eve, in child birthing pains, which is heretical. Likewise, some protestants and non-believers alike attempt to claim that the Virgin Mary had other children with either St. Joseph or with other husbands by twisting the words of the Gospel of Mark 6:3 and the Gospel of Matthew 13:55–56, failing to understand as Rev. George Leo Haydock explains in this illustrious Bible commentary that was published in 1859, "These were the children of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, sister of our blessed Lady and therefore, according to the usual style of the Scripture, they were called brethren, that is, near relations to our Savior." These verses do not in any way refer to brothers and sisters of our Divine Lord, as we would say in modern terms.

The central mystery of the Catholic Faith – namely the incarnation of Jesus Christ to a Virgin – is beyond our understanding. Yet, rather than twisting the Scriptures and Church history to fit new, heretical views, we pray that we can slowly come to better understand this marvelous mystery on how God Himself took human flesh and was born of only one biological parent. This mystery harkens back to the beginning of Creation with Adam and Eve, and in Christ and our Lady the Catechism rightfully calls them the Second Adam and the Second Eve:
“The Apostle sometimes calls Jesus Christ the second Adam, and compares Him to the first Adam; for as in the first all men die, so in the second all are made alive: and as in the natural order Adam was the father of the human race, so in the supernatural order Christ is The author of grace and of glory. The Virgin Mother we may also compare to Eve, making the second Eve, that is, Mary, correspond to the first, as we have already shown that the second Adam, that is, Christ, corresponds to the first Adam.”
Sr. Lucia, one of the three children who saw the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima in 1916, received a vision on December 10, 1925, of Our Lady who requested at that time the practice of the First Saturdays. In a few months’ time on June 12, 1930, in a request from her confessor for more information on the reason for the five Saturdays as requested by Our Lady, Sister Lucia explained that she had received a vision of our Lord on May 30, 1930 where our Lord Himself asked for these to correspond to the five kinds of blasphemies uttered against His Mother. One of those five was blasphemies against her perpetual virginity. Not only would we do well by learning and sharing this truth of our Lady’s virginity, but we should also make reparation for those who blasphemy her and who attribute child birthing pains to the Blessed Mother.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is Ever-Virgin. She likewise did not suffer child birthing pains. And those who contradict either of these statements succumb to heresy and have separated themselves from the Church. They must repudiate their errors and return to Holy Mother Church through the Sacrament of Confession.

Sermon by Saint Augustine
(Sermo 25, 7-8:PL 46, 937-938)

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine – our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church”, I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.

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