Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And now for a holy icon!

Here in one of Br. Claude Lane OSB's latest icon. It is his fifth icon of the Divine Mercy. He tells me that all he did was, "follow exactly what St. Faustina described in her vision." It was writing for St. Joseph's parish in Vancouver, Washington.

Click here to see more of Br. Claude's icons. (A great thing about Mt. Angel Seminary is that seminarians are able to take classes in iconography from Br. Claude.)

Recently seen at a church (somewhere, maybe)

New programming!

On the Holy Whaping Television Network. (Still no sci-fi or fantasy, however.)

Favorite 80s Videos -- Lawyers in love

Worth it if only for the lawyer briefcase drillteam. (I think they were in the Doo Dah Parade a couple of times.)

"Play spot the liturgical abuse!" -- Answers

Who would have thought one itsy bitsy picture could cause such a ruckus? One little picture that gets picked up by the big guns. If you haven't yet read Diogenes' commentary, you should. Apparently, turning on the blog light has made liturgical cockroaches run under the fridge. (The image is no longer on the University of Rochester Newman Site.) Also, it has provoked charges of a lack of charity on the part of myself and Stephanos of St. Benedict. If this is a lack of charity, then guilty as charged. But is it really lack of charity to point out when a person is using the Sacred Liturgy as their personal or ideological plaything? It is not as if this is a photo of an elderly priest making an honest mistake, or of a young priest, who because of a horrid formation, actually believes this is what the Church wants, or a Third World congregation doing the best they can with what little they have. This is of a bishop who is well aware of liturgical norms. (He has been fighting them long enough.) That he is treating the Sacred Mysteries as thing to be jazzed up or relevantized is the lack of charity. Pretending they do not exist or making excuses for them, will not make abuses disappear.

Anyway, I spot five certain abuses:

1) The bishop and the priest to his left (the unfortunately named Fr. Cool) are not properly vested. From personal experience, I can tell you that it isn't that difficult to pack a chasuble and alb along with the other necessities when celebrating Mass outside of a church. In grave necessity, they can be dispensed with (in an area where the Church is under persecution or by a military chaplain in the field.) To be casual just doesn't cut it. (FYI concelebrating priest are only dispensed from wearing a chasuble if there are not enough to go around.)

2) The chalice is made of pottery. Even before the GIRM clarified the issue, the material for a chalice had to be solid, suitable, worthy, valuable, appropriate, and non-absorbent.

3) The altar cloth is violet. The altar cloth is to be white, though a colored under cloth may be used.

4) The candles are also violet. Altar candles are to be white.

5) The coffee table used as an altar. First, the GIRM specifically prohibits using meal tables as an altar. (I would bet many a lunch has been eaten on this table at this dorm.) Also, it is too low for the celebrant to stand at the proper times. How hard would it have been to bring a proper table?

Why all the concern? This is the Sacred Liturgy people. This is where Our Lord gives us His Body and His Blood to us. This is where Heaven touches Earth. It is worth, both for our love of and reverence for God, to do properly and well!

One final note: Antonia asked how to prepare a home properly for the celebration of Mass. First, ask if there is a genuine pastoral need for the Mass to be celebrated outside of the church or oratory? Examples of need are such things as for those who are home bound or to bless a place which has been touched by evil in a particular way. Second, prepare a surface not used for dining to be used as the ersatz altar. Ask yourself is it large enough, tall enough, and will it cause scandal. (I have heard of Mass being celebrated on top of a TV; not good.) Third, treat this Mass with as much reverence and prayerfulness as you would treat Mass at church. The rest is the priest's responsibility: proper vestments, linens, vessels, books, and matter for the Sacrament.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wow! More Catholic stuff at Notre Dame!

(An unpaid advertisement.)

"On Sunday April 22nd, 2007 the University of Notre Dame will hold its 3rd annual Eucharistic Procession. All are welcome to join the Most Reverend John M. D'Arcy, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the Notre Dame community as they celebrate and give witness to Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Co-sponsored by many different groups from Notre Dame, St. Mary's, and Holy Cross College, the procession is a revival of an old tradition at the University.
Join us for the 11:45 Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame followed immediately by the procession and a picnic lunch provided by the campus Knights of Columbus. If you intend on participating, please visit the Sign-up page to register."

Wish I could be in attendance.

The Limbo tempest in a tea cup

Wondering what is the real deal with the Limbo Thing that has got the secular media all hot and bothered and Dick McBrien saying things that are more idiotic than usual? Head on over to the Meandering Monk and read his excellent post.

Blasphemous Icons

The Paleolithic Papist and the Southern Artillery Lady both have great posts on a nut-job Franciscan brother, Robert Lentz, who has produced sacreligious and blasphemous pseudo-icons. These icons, sold by Trinity Stores, express neo-pagan/wiccan feminist 'spirituality', slander canonized saints by presenting them as active homosexuals, and present non-Christians and liberal cultural heroes as saints. (It seems that he believes he has the power to Canonize figures such as Martin Luther King, Pedro Arrupe, and Ceasar Chavez.) Fortunately, it appears that his ordinary, the Archbishop of Sante Fe, had requested that the offending items no longer be sold and, miracle of miracles, the Franciscans are complying.

"Hey Father, how are you going to celebrate Earth Day?"

Man, I hate Earth Day. Yet another bogus neo-pagan, Gaia worship festival. Where did it come from? Hippies! And no, I am not using hyperbole. Among the founders of Earth Day was Ira Einhorn, the Unicorn Killer. (Understandably, his role is disputed by other Earth Day types.) Regardless, it is not an expression of Christian stewardship of and concern for the environment, but rather pantheistic deification of nature. See this great column from Kathy the Relapsed Catholic! (Zuccetto Spin to Jeff 'Jesterius Magnus' Miller.)
I still celebrate Earth Day. My first year at the seminary, we had Earth Day events. I ignored most of them. However, one I couldn't ignore; the hell-spawned Earth Flag flapping in the Oregon wind for two months outside my window. The following year, I worked on the grounds crew, mainly pruning tree. One tree had been damaged in a wind storm and had to be removed. I waited until Earth Day, got out an axe, and chopped it down. ( I have a phobia of chainsaws.) When asked what I was doing, I said, "Everyday should be Earth Day!" So every Earth Day, I remove a diseased plant or tree.

Narf! Zort! Poit! Mark your calendars! (Vol. 3)

Now availible for pre-order at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Seder! A Buffet Dinner! (And, oh yes, the Mass.)

The Orthometric Bloglodyte sent me another nugget of liturgical nausea. This time from that hotbed of 70s style relevant pseudo-Catholicism, St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis. It is an event report from their 2007 Seder Meal which appears to have been joined at the hip to their celebration of the Holy Thursday Mass. The order of self-worship seems to have been the following 1) setting up tables and socializing 2) a gathering song 3) a welcome by the pastor and an opening song 4) an adaptation of the Passover Kaddish 5) a buffet dinner 6) songs 7) the liturgy (barely described as if an afterthought). The pastor even had a Lenten theme of 'Dangerous Stories'. Funny, I thought the Church gave us the Lenten theme; repent and believe in the Gospel. My mistake. The only part of the liturgy that was really described was,
"May Lane-Bernardo lead a processional dance through the tables of worshippers lifting the bread of Eucharist high for all to see. Worshippers bearing additional gifts of bread and wine and standard bearers carrying poles decorated with colorful ribbons followed her."

Oh my, where do I start. First, I am not a big fan of Christians celebrating Seders. The only Seder we need is the Seder of the New Covenant, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (My parish does have a Christianized Seder on Wednesday of Holy Week. They do a good and respectful job, but I have reservations in general about the concept of non-Jewish people holding Seders.) Personally, I would only attend a Jewish Seder. I was invited to one this year, but was unable to attend due to Holy Week Confessions.

Second, the idea of joining the Mass to such a celebration and a dinner is ludicrous. There were and are good reasons why the Church abandoned the concept of Agape Meals. The message seems to be, the Mass is not enough, we need to Jazz it up, to make it relevant!

Third, what does it say that this particular Mass which celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood is seen as a footnote to a buffet dinner.

Fourth, the liturgical abuses....

Not a good day

Today I had to bury a child. A baby; a baby that should not have died. I managed to make it through 12 years of being a priest without a child's funeral, but this is the second in the last year. I know that the child is in the hands of God, but it still rips my heart out to think of a dead child. Before I entered the seminary, I worked at a cemetery in Salt Lake for a summer. This was my favorite summer job. (My least favorite was shoveling out dog kennels.) Once, during that summer we had to dig a grave for a baby. It was the only time I had any trouble with the job. The tiny coffin really got to me. It got to me today too. Please say a prayer for the family.

The only other thing that has come close was also a funeral. This one was for a single mother who was stabbed to death in front of her children. We know in faith how to respond, but the fleshly part of our existence has trouble going along. I wouldn't say that it is doubt, but rather the sorrow of the whole thing.

I imagine many people are feeling and thinking similar things today in relation to the murders in Virginia. Speaking abstractly about evil is one thing, being confronted with its reality is another. We need to see and help others to see these things for what they truly are; evil. It is tempting to try to explain them away, minimize them, to make excuses, or find scapegoats, but this won't make them go away. They are evil. The only thing that makes existence in the face of such thing bearable is the fact that evil will not ultimately triumph. Christ is risen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"My momma always said, 'Blonde is as blonde does.'"

It seems that the Anti-Madonna is in a Womb Raider contest with Angelina Jolie. Christine has the details.

You have got to be kidding!

From The Washington Times:

Knave: Residents of Littleton, Colo. who oppose a statue honoring fallen Navy SEAL Danny Dietz.

In June 2005, Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz, 25, was wounded in Afghanistan in an al Qaeda ambush. He managed to hold off the attackers for nearly an hour, allowing a fellow SEAL to escape, after which he succumbed to his very severe injuries. Posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his valor, he will soon be honored in his hometown of Littleton with a bronze statue of the young serviceman holding his rifle -- a brave pose for a brave man who sacrificed his life in the line of duty.
Unfortunately, this week, the location of the statue has become a point of contention. The unveiling is scheduled for July 4 in a park that is adjacent to three schools and is a few miles from Columbine High School. where in 1999 two teens killed 12 students and a teacher in a massacre that shook the country. Critics suggest that a statue with a gun should not be in such close proximity to impressionable children, especially in light of the fresh memories of Columbine.
Petty Officer Dietz grew up in Littleton and attended school in the buildings adjacent to the park, and his statue can serve as an inspiration to be a hero for the children who will walk by him daily. Perhaps those opposed to the statue would do well to explain to their impressionable children the difference between a hero who defends his country proudly and with a rifle and a coward who uses weapons to terrorize and murder innocent people. Luckily, the unveiling is right on schedule.
For dishonoring a hero, the folks in Littleton, Colo. who oppose the statue of Danny Dietz are the Knaves of the

Friday, April 13, 2007

Play spot the liturgical abuse!

This is a picture of Bishop Mathew Clark of Rochester, NY 'celebrating Mass'. How many liturgical abuses can you spot?
(Thanks to an Orthometric Bloglodyte for sending this to me.)

The latest in strange

Well, I have almost recovered from the Triduum. I took Monday and Tuesday off and went to mom's. The unfortunate thing about doing that is that there is a always a stack of stuff on my desk when I come back. (OK, a larger and more cluttered than normal stack of stuff on my desk.)

One thing stands out above the rest. Yesterday, I got a call from a parishioner. It seems that one of her Mormon co-workers approached her with the following argument/pseudo-fact. "Your Catholic priests are only Aaronic priests, but we LDS have the higher priesthood; the Melchizedek priesthood." This is strange even from the Mormons and I don't think that it even jibes with their beliefs.

Mormons believe that there are two priesthoods: the Aaronic (lower) and the Melchizedek (higher). Mormon males are initiated into both beginning in early adolescence. They maintain that both disappeared from the Earth with the Great Apostasy and had were restored when various apostles appeared to and ordained Joseph Smith and select followers.

Where do I begin with the problems both theological and historical? First, the Old Testament priesthood was hereditary. It was strictly limited to the descendants of Aaron. Therefore, if you aren't Jewish and your last name isn't Cohen, you are out of luck. Second, the Old Testament priesthood ceased with the perfection of the Old Covenant in the New. Since there is no need of animal sacrifices in the Temple, there is no need to the priesthood of Aaron. Third, the New Testament priesthood is that of Jesus Christ. Every baptized Christian shares in it by virtue of their baptism. Those with Apostolic authority share in it in a different and more profound way through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. That is just a start.

Suffice it to say that this fellow was way out in left field. Welcome to life in Zion.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pilgrimage to Rome

Here is the brochure for the pilgrimage to Rome that I am leading from November 26th through December 3rd. (Adobe Acrobat needed to view it.)

Paschal Inferno

It is bigger than last year, but still not big enough. One of the parishioners suggested that I use an oil drum. Upon reflection, no can do. We belong to the Latin Rite, not the Hobo Rite.

To answer Tara's question: the fire is made of 2 inch fencing slats, newspaper, last year's holy oils, and a liberal dose of charcoal lighter.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Coming Easter Sunday...

a Triduum wrap-up and pictures of the Paschal Inferno.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My most memorable Holy Thursday (for all the wrong reasons).

About 8 or 9 years ago, while I was serving as pastor at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Helper, Utah, I had a quite memorable Holy Thursday. Unfortunate, it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. It was memorable because it was the day I fell off the church roof.

What, you may well ask, was I doing on the roof? We had an electronic bell system and the speakers are in a cupola on the church roof. For several months a parishioner had complained to me that the bells didn't sound right. They sounded OK to me, but as anyone who has heard me sing can attest, I am not a judge in such matters. It was entirely possible that the vibrations from passing trains (we were right next to the rail yard) had loosened the speaker wire connections. (BTW Helper was named after the helper engines that were added to the trains to help them get over the mountains.) I had a bit of time before I was due to hear confessions. I put on my overalls and headed up to the roof. It turned out the connections were just fine.

Unfortunately, in my rush I hadn't changed shoes and was still wear my standard deck shoes. As I was working along the roof, I slipped and slid off the roof just barely catching the edge of the roof. (It wasn't as scary as it sounds. This is a small church whose gables are as far from the ground as your average one storey house.) I quickly decided I didn't have enough upper body strength to pull myself up, so I decided to drop and roll. I landed a bit on my feet but mostly on my butt. I bounced three times and landed with the wind knocked out of me. This was a good thing as I was swearing like one of the kids from South Park. As I was laying on the grass figuring out how much damage I had done to myself, the Irish nun who worked for me came out of the church and said, "Father, they are waiting for you in the confessional." (She didn't ask why I was on the lawn. She probably didn't want to know.) So figuring that since I could move my legs, I changed an heard confessions. My back began to get progressively into more and more pain. It made the washing of the feet a true act of penance. Why didn't I go to the hospital? Because I wouldn't have been able to say the Holy Thursday Mass.

After Mass, one of the parishioners who was a retired OR nurse noticed I was in pain and asked what had happened. She asked if I had any muscle relaxants. Ummm, no I general don't have a supply of narcotics on hand. As I was walking back to the rectory, I realized, "Heck yeah I have muscles relaxants!" I filled a tumbler with single malt and downed it.

I was able to go to the hospital the next day. It seems that I had just messed up some muscles. I spent the rest of the Triduum on real pain killers and muscle relaxants. Again making it memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

Another tidbit of info; my Mass intention that day was for Carly Burton. Carly had died several years before falling off the roof of his house. I have always thought he was praying for me that day.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

All hail our black-robed masters!

Well, the leftist, judicial activist section of the Supreme Court strikes again. In a 5-4 decision, the wise and learned elite has decreed that the EPA must consider carbon dioxide a pollutant. They have also decreed that we are all to bow down before the altar of the demigod Algore and make our profession of belief in Global Warming. At least some of the justices have not interpreted their position as deification. The dissents quite properly pointed out that this is an issue for the executive and legislative branches, not the judicial. (Note also that with only one more justice who realized that it was his job to interpret and not make law, the outcome would have been different. 'Special thanks' to all the voters who last November made sure that this will not happen with the next Supreme Court appointment.)

On related Utah news, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (aka Busybody Granola MDs) have proposed the following to clean up our local air.
* Moratorium on new coal plants. Are they getting kick backs from OPEC?
* Mandatory state-of-the-art controls on existing plants. Are they going to pay for our higher power bills?
* Reduction of speed limit to 55 mph when air pollution exceeds federal standards. I suspect they want more Emergency Room traffic from the frustrated drivers.
* Offering public subsidies for mass transit to encourage free ridership and expanded service. Yes, please spend more of my tax money.
* Aiming for a 20 percent cut in pollution emissions through the Utah Air Quality Board. Ah, the liberal panacea, more regulation.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


This is my junior godson. My senior godson is also a big Star Wars fan. (Can you say geek off the old block?)