Monday, May 28, 2007

What Memorial Day is all about

Attention! Memorial Day is about honoring our deceased, in specific those who have served our country in the military. It is a time to pray for and express our gratitude for those who have defended us through the years.
Memorial Day is not about sales, BBQs, or vacations. It is certainly not about a three day weekend. After making holy days holidays, one of the most unfortunate things that our society has done is to more our major civic holidays to Monday. This makes them about us; our leisure and our convenience. We forget what they are really all about. (Also, they encourage people not to go to Mass. If we have to have three day weekends, they should be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.)
Anyway, please remember to say a prayer today for our beloved, military dead. Remember, "All gave some. Some gave all."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In those days there were giants upon the earth

Homiletics & Pastoral Review has a feature in every issue called "My Favorite Priest". I like it for several reasons. First, it is good to read good things about priests for a change. Second, it inspires me to try harder to be a better priest. Unfortunately, they don't always get enough submission, so the editor issued a call for more submissions. This caused me to consider the priests who have positively impacted my life. Here are the ones who have gone to their reward. (I don't want to give the living ones big heads. It is hard to find hats if you have a big head. I should know. Mine is size 8.)

Msgr William McDougal Msgr. McDougal was the rector of the Cathedral of the Madeline when I cam into the church. Despite the fact that I only talked to him once, I was touched by his preaching and the reverent way he said Mass. At all times, there was an air of holiness around him. Msgr. was a delayed vocation. He started out as a journalist. He found himself working in Hong Kong when WWII began. He managed to escape and was sent by the UP to cover the war in the Dutch East Indies. He was on a ship that was torpedoed trying to escape and spent the rest of the war in a Japanese internment camp. (He published two books about his experiences which are unfortunately out of print.) It was there that he received is vocation. At various times in his priesthood, he edited the diocesan newspaper and was rector of the cathedral for over twenty year. It was largely due to him that nothing strange happened their during the 60s and 70s. Due to him, I was able to come into the church in parish where the Mass was normal.

Father Thomas Meersman Fr. Meersman was another WWII vocation. He was a bombardier (or navigator, I can't remember which) on B17s. He was shot down and spent over two years as a PoW in Germany. In the camp, he discerned his vocation. At first, he tried to be a Trappist, but it wasn't for him. He then studied for the diocesan priesthood at the North American College. This led to his love of all things Italian. (In his heart of hearts, Fr. Meersman believed himself to be Italian.) As a young priest in rural Utah, he farmed on the side to help support the local parochial school. There are many stories about his confronting non-practicing Catholics in anything but a gentle manner. However, this tough love got them back to the Faith. He was a pastor several times and also chaplain at the Utah State Prison. If you have seen The Executioner's Song, you have seen father. He played himself in the scene of Gilmore's execution. He also had a 15 minute TV show that was shown very early on Sunday morning. I can't count the number of people who have told me that Meersman profoundly influenced their lives. He told me once, "Erik you are supposed to be a priest. If you don't do it, you will never be happy." The rolled around in my head until I realized he was right.

Father Emmanuel Clark OSB (See this previous post partly about him.) Many of us learned from Immy that you could be a man's man and a good, holy priest.

Msgr. John Sullivan, PA Most priest (and a good part of the laity) in Utah will tell you that he was the very best priest Utah has ever had. He was a local boy born and raised in Tooele (yes, that is a real place). After a stint as curate, in which he taught school and stoked many coal furnace, he was a pastor. If a parish was hard or in trouble, Sullivan was the man for it. He straighten out many problems and built several churches. More importantly, he was a true shepherd of whatever flock was his. Years after he had left a parish, people still talked about him with reverence and awe. He had an Irishman's great laugh and great temper. While he was living many priests turned to him for solutions to pastoral problems. (WWJSD: What Would John Sullivan Do). He was a great friend and is sorely missed.

Bishop Joseph Lennox Federal Bishop Federal retired the year before I became a Catholic. I got to know him as a seminarian when he was living in retirement at the cathedral. He was a southern gentleman from North Carolina who was our auxiliary bishop before becoming our ordinary. He was a council father and at the time of his death one of the oldest bishops in the world. He also had one of the best and driest senses of humor I have ever encountered. As his health began to fail, he would be given the National Catholic Distorter to get his blood pressure back up to a healthy level. He detested Dick McBrien. (I gave him his own McBrien dartboard one Christmas. He used it to torture a liberal priest friend of his.)

This last one isn't dead, but, as the slacker has retired to California, I will mention him anyway.
Msgr. Francis Pellegrino (aka Turbo Pell/Msgr. Clean/The Walking Saint Encyclopedia). Msgr. Pell is also a Utah boy. He grew up in Helper, Utah where I served as pastor for seven years. (Which was great because: first, Pell would visit and second, I got to hear all sorts of stories of the troublemaker he was growing up.) Pell is another of those priest that was legendary wherever he went (and not just for his cleaning skills). He often labored in out of the way places and was not as appreciated as he should have been, but he was always faithful to his calling. I spent one Summer driving Pell around as a seminarian. (Learning important pastoral skills and how to invite myself to dinner.) He gave my mom instructions when she came into the church and allowed me to baptize her when I was a deacon. Until he retired, I would usually con-celebrate Mass with him on my day off. He is still active and busy as a priest in Sacramento. (In spite of his being technologically impaired and technophobic, he reads this blog each morning with the help of a friend. Pell, you are missed and I hope this embarrasses you!)

Regina Caeli rejoice!

This is my boat, Regina Caeli. She is a '25 Catalina and a bunch of fun.
You may be thinking. Hey, this guy lives in Utah. Where does he sail? The Great Salt Lake. Due to the salt content, I can even sail during the winter. It is interesting being out on the lake when the temperature is 18F.
I tried to sail last Friday, but we had micro-burst winds. So I will try again tomorrow. Please say a prayer for good weather.

Haunted by "The Spirit of Vatican 2"

This humble little blog has been reviewed by the blog of Spirit of Vatican 2 Catholic Community. It was rated as PH,C+,T,F,O,R. This means PH - Phariseeism, C - Clericalism, T - Traditionalism, F - Funny Languages, O - Offensive (anti-womyn, anti-GLBTNA, etc), and R - Republican. They even created a new category C+ for extreme clericalism for the BIG O! SCORE!!! They were even concerned that my opinion of Earth Day might offend their Social Justice Minister Che Lovell. (Hey Che, this picture is for you.) Well it looks as though I must be doing something right. The only thing that could be better is if I were commended by the National 'Catholic' Distorter.

(Seriously, Spirit of Vatican 2 Catholic Church is a very funny parody blog. Though I doubt that the liberal parishes that they lampoon would find them amusing: they hit way too close to home.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two great tastes that go great together!

The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and B-Movies! What is not to love! Welcome to the Orthometric Blogroll, The B-Movie Catechism.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Speaking of holy days...

Tomorrow is a VERY IMPORTANT FEAST DAY. No, not the feast on the Universal Calendar, Pope St. John I, martyr. Rather, May 18th is the Feast of St. Erik of Sweden, martyr, a much more important saint! Didn't know there is a Saint Erik? Here is some information about him:

St. Erik IX of Sweden
Martyred king of Sweden, the author of the Code of Uppland or King Erik’s Law. A devout Christian, Erik spread the faith through out the nation after his crowning in 1150. He campaigned against the pagan Finns and persuaded Bishop Henry of Uppsala, an Englishman, to remain in mis­sionary service in Finland. Erik was slain by Swedish nobles who were allies of Prince Magnus of Denmark. They beheaded him near Uppsala as Magnus’ army entered the region. Erik was never officially canonized but is patron of Sweden.

His relics are still preserved in the occupied Cathedral in Uppsalla. The Catholic Cathedral of Stockholm is under his patronage.

Give me my holy day back!

Curse that Curt Jester! He beat me to the punch. Today is, in fact, the Feast of the Rant. It has been for twelve years here in Utah. I am famous for moaning and complaining about Ascension Sunday. A woman in my parish asked her husband, "Is tomorrow a holy day of obligation?" He replied, "No, and you can bet we are going to hear about that at daily Mass tomorrow." And he was right. In my last parish, this time of the year was know as the "When Father Erik complains about moving the Ascension". Every year on Ascension Sunday, one of the General Intercessions reads, "That the Solemnity of the Ascension will be returned to its proper day of
Thursday." My former bishop, Archbishop Neiderauer, was used to my frequent comment that the Church needs more holy days, not fewer and that Catholics needs to be in church more, not less.

So what is wrong with Ascension Sunday? Two things, I think. First, Jesus didn't ascend into heaven on a Sunday, in was on a Thursday. Now I know the Modernists don't believe that. Who cares. That is what the Church teaches. To move the solemnity, undercuts the historicity of the event and the link between the Church Year and History. We are not celebrating an idea or event a doctrine, but rather an event; an important one at that. It was 40, not 43, days after Easter that our frail human nature was taken up into heaven and lifted above all of creation. In a Da Vinci Code world we cannot afford to sell short the historicity of our faith.

Second, this is yet another withdrawal in the face of secularism. Meatless Fridays, processions, rogatation and ember days, etc ... all gone in the name of compromise with the world. Neither the Church nor the world is better for it. This is yet another sign, intentional or not, that religion is just something for Sundays. Mark my words, the Sunday Obligation is next up on the Liturginazi chopping block. I suspect that a dislike of anything that is distinctively Catholic is the real motivation behind the assault from within the Church on holy days. (That and the fact that too many priests are too lazy.) Sometimes I also think that they imagine that people will explode, implode, die, or turn purple if they have to attend Mass twice in a week. Newsflash: no one ever died from attending Mass (aside from those martyred during times of persecution, of course). And I don't care that many people didn't attend anyway. That is their sin. We shouldn't surrender to it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fred Thompson thumps Michael Moore

Too cool!

Happy Birthday Torq!

Today is the eleventh birthday of my senior bulldog, Torquemada Freiherr von Richtsteig.

"Hey Hippie! Get away from my toilet paper!"

To quote my evil, South Park alter-ego Eric Cartman, " I hate hippies! I mean, the way they always talk about "protectin' the earth" and then drive around in cars that get poor gas mileage and wear those stupid bracelets - I hate 'em! I wanna kick 'em in ...! " It isn't enough that they ruined a whole decade, now they are after my toilet paper. Gunnery Sergeant Ugh tells us that Sheryl Crow wants everyone to use only one square of TP to help save the Earth! (And compares her unfavorably to Joe Dirt in the process.) I suspect this may be related in some way to her break up with Lance Armstrong.

#$#$ Hippies! Is nothing sacred? My last year at the sem, the crunchy granola brigade managed to persuade the powers that be to install low flow shower-heads and buy recycled TP. A man a right to at least two things: a good shower and a comfortable bathroom experience. The shower-heads were easy enough to deal with. (The phantom plumber struck at 3:00 am). The TP was another matter. I couldn't see myself carrying a role of Charmin with me when I went to the john. Weren't you a little bit overly sensitive? NO! This stuff was like drawing paper from the first grade; gray, slick, and with slivers. Not my idea of appropriate asceticism. I ended up raising the issue at a Rector's Conference. Something to the effect of, "I want to talk about the toilet paper!" Alas, to no effect.
Ms. Crow can do what she wants. As for me, hands off the TP!

Monday, May 14, 2007

All about MEme

(No one tagged me but I want to do it anyway. Why? Because it is all about ME!)

1. Male or Female: male
2. Married or Single (or religious): single (diocesans are not religious)
3. Dream vacation: Antarctica Cruise (seriously)
4. Birthplace: Cedar City, Utah
6. Someone you wish you could meet: Pope Benedict (I tried last time I was in Rome, but he was at lunch. Of course, he was only a Cardinal then.)
7. Biggest "pet-peeve": Heretics
8. Favorite Religious devotion: besides Mass? Divine Mercy Chaplet
9. Favorite Saint (besides the Blessed Mother): St. Athanasius of Alexandria
10. Favorite sport that you play: sailing
11. Favorite food: PIZZA!
12. Tridentine or Novus Ordo: Yes
13. Would you (or are you) home school or public school: Home school (but fortunately I don't have to worry about that.)
14. How many kids do you have: 2 bulldogs, 1 green cheek conure.
15.Ever been in an auto accident: twice
16.Ever seen a pope in person: yes, three times. World Youth Day, Denver, 1993 (He was about 1/4 inch tall.) First Rome pilgrimage, 1995 (He was 2 inches tall.) Second Rome pilgrimage (Semi-private audience! Score!)
17.Languages that you know fluently: English (or what passes for it in Utah).
18.Last movie you saw in theatres: 300
19.Favorite Blog: tie between The Curt Jester and The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.
20.Your thoughts on (1)Barney, (2)the Easter bunny, and (3)Santa Claus: (1) The Antichrist's punk younger brother, (2)(3) harmless fun for little kids as long as they are taught that they are make believe.

Think the occult is harmless?

Read this post from The Recovering Dissident Catholic and this post from Adoro Te Devote and think again!

Happy Mother's Day (or why the priest is a bad son)

The Crescat posted that she had a bad Mom's day. She writes, " 'Mother like Mary' is the popular refrain. You know what? That's all fine and dandy but who really has a child like Jesus? I'm pretty confident that Mary didn't have to raise her voice and repeat Herself when she needed Jesus to do something for Her. I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't leave his sandals flung all over the house. And I think I can safely assume He never once sassed His mother or screamed 'I hate you! This is SO unfair!'." Kat is right. I am sure Jesus never told His Mom He hated her. (Though, since being cluttered is not a sin, I am not so sure about the sandals.) As any duffer who tries to measure up to Tiger Woods can tell you, our role models can give us inspiration, but we shouldn't be surprised or disappointed if we can't be just like them. The great thing about the saints is that they aren't just role models, they are intercessors who obtain for us the grace of God in following Jesus. Anyway, I am sure Kat has many better Mother's Days in the future.

My mom likes to tell me, "Now I know how Mary felt." Usually, this comes out when I have to cut short a phone call for 'priest business', I can't visit her on my normal day off because of a wedding or funeral, or when I can't be with her on Mother's Day because, well, Sunday is a work day. This year I had a substitute priest making an appeal so I was able to surprise her and be in Salt Lake on Sunday. (I was mean. I didn't tell her ahead of time.)

I hope she had a good day, because Mom has earned it. Like Kat, she raised her son alone. Boy, did I put her through the wringer. Just about every other year I mention the 'give your 10 year old son wine on Christmas Eve so he will sleep incident' or 'how I learned Brussels Sprouts were created by the Devil when I was six incident' in a homily. I am the kid who put the bobby pin in the light socket, grabbed the shiny orange thing in the oven, locked mom out of the trailer, swallowed a marble and caused her to invent the Heimlich Maneuver, was (and is) a backyard pyro, was a teenager, and drove my car into a telephone pole. In spite of all this, I turned out relatively OK with a lot of help, much of it from mom. So parents, there is always hope!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fever induced dreams

During my last bout with the flu, I had some pretty amazing fever induced dreams. No, I won't tell you what there were. But I wish one had been like this:

It has been almost 20 years since Clint Eastwood did his last Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool. I think it high time for another one. However, Clint is probably too old for all the stunts and Harry would certainly have retired. What if Harry had experienced a conversion and moved on to a new vocation? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Holy Harry in Religious Impact!

Open on Father Harry Calahan. He has just discovered the parish liturgical coordinator altering the hymnal so that they will have inclusive language. He had the fellow pinned to the wall by the neck. "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he pray five decades or only four?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is the Holy Rosary, the most powerful devotion in the Church, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel blest? Well, do ya, punk?"

WOW! Seminary formation has changed!

(Zuccetto Spin to The Crescat!)

Amazing, Inspiring Video

This is a great video about a baby born with severe disabilities and parents. I can't recommend this video stongly enough. (Zuccetto spin to Dennis.)

Monday, May 07, 2007

These you have to see

The guys over at Christus Vincit have answers to 10 questions posed to folk groups. YOU MUST READ THEM!

Also, the Paleolithic Papists (aka The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen) has a hella cool post on the Hard Hat Riot of 1970: a little remembered incident when Blue and White Collar united to beat the tar out of some hippies. This too is required reading.

AND, Dale at Dyspeptic Mutterings has a great post on numb-skulls who want less children in the interest of "a lower carbon footprint." (And he references Orthometric favorite Army of Darkness in it.)

A friend's response to the Slate Motu article

On the 4th, Slate published an article on the incoming Motu Proprio. Better folks than I have commented on it, but I though you might appreciate a comment on it posted by a priest friend.

Thirty years ago, I celebrated my First Mass in Latin - perforce in the New Rite promulgated (and effectively made mandatory) by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Like most Roman Catholic priests, I have since celebrated the vast majority of my Masses in this rite. When the Indult came (the special permission to celebrate the old Latin Mass), I gladly said the old (“Tridentine”) Latin Mass for congregations who had requested it. I have been doing this on a pretty regular basis since 1990. This (Sunday) morning, I said an 8am Tridentine Mass at another church, and then presided at a New Rite “Gospel” Mass at my predominately African-American parish. I don’t know if that’s “conservative” or “liberal,” but it’s very literally “Catholic.”

One thing of which I have become convinced is that there is not much of a constituency for the New Rite Mass in Latin. If people want a “Latin Mass,” they overwhelmingly prefer the old one. There is probably as much of a demand for the New Rite Mass in Latin as for the Tridentine Mass in the vernacular. Why might this be?

Well, the New Rite in Latin is essentially artificial. It is not an organic outgrowth of anything. It was put together by Vatican approved liturgists in the 1960’s, following the Decree on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. Yes, I know, it was based on the outlines of the classical Roman Rite – plus some ideas that the liturgists were really dying to try out. The Latin original (the “editio typica”) was primarily considered to be the template from which vernacular translations were to be made. Aside from a few Papal Masses or Masses in great cathedrals (and, admittedly, occasional Masses celebrated by priests like myself), the “Novus Ordo Missae” celebrated in Latin has existed primarily in the world of ideas.

What became the Tridentine Mass (or some slight variants), on the other hand, has been celebrated in the Western Church for at least 1000 years. It was officially promulgated as the normative Mass for the Roman Rite by Pope St. Pius V in 1570, following the decrees of the Council of Trent (In Latin: “Tridentum”). However, it was not anything new or unfamiliar to 16th Century Catholics. Trent basically “canonized” the existing liturgy of the Roman Curia, which was already spread throughout Europe. (There were and are other Latin rites in the West, and they were not suppressed if they could prove at least 200 years of existence.)
I do not wonder that those Catholics who wish a Latin Mass would prefer one that has a real history, one which formed the spirituality of a millennium of Catholics, and was offered by hundreds of canonized saints. (Canonization not being an option for me, I’m just happy to be able to say it.)

As indicated above, I say Mass in both modes, although you can probably figure out my personal preference. Why? “Salus animarum suprema est lex.” – the salvation of souls is the highest law.

Yet more proof that leftist of all stripes are spoiled brats

The left lost the French presidential election and Frenchmen might actually have to work again. Their response? Rioting. This is, of course, what the losing candidate threatened France with if she lost. Read about it here. (The more I see stuff like this, the more I think every country should have access to Cossacks to turn loose on these twits.)

Behavior in church.

This morning I pounded my fist into a block wall a couple of times. (Dirty little secret: I have a very bad temper. I have only really lost it five times in my life, which is a very good thing.) I am fed up with the way some people are treating our new church. A few weeks ago a parent allowed their kid to draw on the baptismal font with purple crayon. After this weekend, we had to clean up crushed candy and punch off the floor and shoe and pen marks off the pew seats. I really want to hire a beadle. (A beadle was a church official that kept order by smacking offenders with a stick.) Alas, we have to settle with the following announcements in the bulletin.

Over the last month or so, several incidents have occurred that necessitate reiterating the obligation for each parishioner to work to keep our church clean and new. Parents have allowed children to draw on the baptismal font with crayons, to draw on the pew seats with pens, to walk on the pews with shoes, to litter the pews and floor with snacks, and spill drinks with no effort to clean up afterwards. Lest you think this is just a problem with careless parents, older people have used the kneelers as foot rests, failed to replace the missalettes and hymnals in the pew racks, and left their trash in the pews.
Our church is the house of God. It must be treated with care, reverence, and respect. (It is not a playground or a family room!) Please observe the following rules:
1-No gum is to be chewed in the church.
2-Silence cell phones before you enter the chapel.
3-Save conversations for the entrance area or the social hall.
4-Please do no let children draw in the church with pens, pencils, crayons, or markers.
5-If your small child must have a snack during, it is YOUR responsibility to clean up after them. Also, no snacks that are sticky or have the potential to stain.
6-Please no juice or milk in bottles. Water only in the church.
7-Don't let children walk on the pews wearing shoes or to stand with their shoes resting against the pew seats.
8-Kneelers are for kneeling. The are not footrests.
9-Straighten up your own pew before you leave. Replace books in the rack, take any trash with you, and leave the kneelers in the upright position.
All parishioners, please help us keep these rules. If you see someone who is out of line, please gently remind them of their obligations.


It is that time of the year again and it will, we hope, be getting warm again. Everyone wants dress comfortably, but we also need to show respect to God, His House, and one another. Our dress in church needs to be clean and modest. Unfortunately, many modern styles are anything but modest. Please avoid form fitting clothes, shirts which are too revealing or expose the belly or have inappropriate sayings or images, and short shorts or skirts (think Mormon shorts). Parents, please help your children with this.

"Hey Father, why have you been slacking off on the blogging?"

Good question. I have been getting over a bout with influenza, have had two big funerals, this last weekend we celebrated First Holy Communion, and the Bishop is coming tomorrow to celebrate Confirmation. Add to this the usual parish crises that only happen when you are already busy. (Yup, poor me.) Anyway, I am back and bloggin.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007