22 April 2015

Burying the Lead on Altar Service and Vocations

I have wanted to write about a story that was published in the St. Louis Review back on April 8. It is the heartwarming story of a little boy fighting cancer who, when approached by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, said he wanted to be a priest. His Grace, Archbishop Carlson, along with Master of Ceremonies Fr. Nick Smith, made that dream come true by, among other activities, involving him in the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass at the Cathedral.

Like I said, great story.  God bless this boy (there is a gofundme page set up by a family friend to cover medical expenses here), Archbishop Carlson, and all those who helped.

However, I think the most important element of this story was completely overlooked by the Review.  They buried the lead, as they say.

I ask you, how did the Archbishop make this boy's wish to be a "priest for a day" come true?  By dressing him in the cassock and surplice.  By allowing him to serve at the altar.

Actions speak louder than words. And here is an action that speaks volumes.  Altar service is inextricably linked to the priesthood.

This act of kindness occurred in an Archdiocese, like nearly every other Archdiocese in the world, that still allows girls to serve at the altar.   

We are told that altar servers aren't "little priests".  We are told, despite studies and the evidence of our own eyes, that allowing girls to serve at the altar does not discourage boys from serving, and does not discourage priestly vocations.

Yet it was instinctive, so instinctive that no one publishing or reading the Review even questioned it, that when a boy wanted to "be a priest for a day" he served at the altar, wearing the traditional attire of the acolyte.

So it seems to me that you can have it one of two ways: either limit altar service to males, or advocate the impossibility that females can be priests.  Because that is what our actions say, louder than our rationalizations. The only question facing the Church today, if she will be honest enough and brave enough to face it, is which will it be?

As a thought experiment, I have taken the liberty of rewriting the Review's headline:

Little Boy's Wish, Archdiocesan Response, Link Altar Service to Priestly Vocations

I don't know, it sounds right to me.

And, in a perfect world, that issue of the Review could include an editorial calling for an end to the novelty of altar girls.  Cite this feel-good story, cite Pope St. John Paul II (among other popes), and draw the necessary conclusions.  See, it writes itself.

21 April 2015

Year of Mercy Update: Bishop Finn Purged

I awoke today to see a text from my friend--fittingly, the former Kansas City Catholic-- informing me that His Excellency Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, had resigned.This sad story comes from the Kansas City Star, as does the above photo. I include only the first three paragraphs, because this will be the official template for every story you see about it today:

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason.

1. Pope Francis accepted the resignation. 
2. Finn pled guilty to failing to report.
3. Unfit for office.

That's all the press thinks of this, or at least it is all it wants you to know. Make no mistake, Bishop Finn, like so many others in this regime of "humility", in this year of "mercy", is a victim of Catholic orthodoxy.

The list of victims reads like a roll call of the top prelates on Mark Shea's (to-be-dropped-down-the-memory-hole-by-2013) Best Bishops in the World post:

Burke. Canizares. Pell (in progress). Oliveri. And don't forget Cordileone (also in progress).

While we are waiting for the Holy Father to issue a strong statement of support in favor of Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco, under vicious attack by the wealthy and influential sodomites and adulterers publicly calling for his head (just like Bishop Finn, here in the heartland), note the very liberal Bishop Juan Barros (only recently appointed by His Holiness over strong objections to allegations of his personal connection to an actual clerical child abuser), doesn't appear to be going anywhere.  

That appointment was made in March 2015, long after Pope Francis sent a bishop to investigate the Kansas City/St. Joseph Diocese.  

And, more to the point, the prosecution against Bishop Finn in the Ratigan failure-to-report case was a persecution-dressed-as-prosecution if there ever was one.  Bishop Finn had his own lawyers, of course, but I have always thought it a mistake to plead guilty.  If the world wants to persecute us, let them do their own dirty work.

But that is water under the bridge.  Friends, people talk about a coming persecution.  Wake up.  It is here.  It comes for you and me.  

No servant is greater than his Master.  If the world hates you, know that it hated Christ first.  All who live godly will suffer persecution.

Man up.  In our sinfulness, the Lord has made the effeminate to rule over us.

May Bishop Finn find peace, and strength, and I pray that for us all.

Chartreusings with The Property Brothers

Them's the Property Brothers
"My wish list: A big modern kitchen with a center island, hardwood floors, an open floor plan with a cheesy modern fireplace, a master bedroom with walk-in closet and en suite bathroom, a huge yard for my growing family of three, and located in the heart of downtown Toronto. My max budget is $750,000."

-- Annoying home buyer, on every episode

"This house is listed well under market price. Therefore, I suggest that we go in with an offer $10,000 over your max budget."

-- Hunky Drew Scott, on every episode

"This renovation can be done $5000 under your max budget, at least until I inevitably find during the renovation some problem that any kindergartner could've anticipated well ahead of time, which will necessitate a crisis decision on your part to compromise on some major element of the project, in order to come in just at your max budget."

-- Hunky Jonathan Scott, on every episode

Thanks, Em, for the inspiration. Enjoy the show! 

20 April 2015


I thought I would check in on those few of you still left to assure you that I am yet among the living. I plan on writing in earnest again this week, and I confess to having been extremely busy at work. This real world crunch was accompanied by a double-whammy technology situation.  You know, the one where my office laptop crashes-- exacerbating my work issues while making it extremely difficult to blog here-- while at the same time my mobile blogging app quit working entirely after a "helpful" app update, preventing me from blogging at large.  Hence, I could only blog at home, but the four minute window in which I was conscious at night didn't seem to work out.

Still awake?  You are a kind soul.

So, stay tuned, faithful reader, and hopefully I can inspire or annoy you in the coming days.

In the meantime, this might be the place to mention the profoundly tragic situation in Wisconsin you will undoubtedly have read about by now. A father of eight killed driving his wife to the hospital to deliver that eighth child.  A GoFundMe site is up and running and I gladly link to it now.

Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord. May perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

And may Our Lord and Lady make their presence felt with his poor family.

13 April 2015

Thou Hast Protected Me, O God

I would like to take a moment to mark the day-- the tenth anniversary of what I have described before as my "Damascus Road" moment with regard to the traditional Mass.  I covered the process of this deeper conversion to the whole of the Church's Tradition in a prior post.

But today marks the actual day that God knocked me off of my horse in the course of a simple Low Mass at St. Agatha's, April 13, 2005.  Here is how I described it that post:

God's grace hit me like a ton of bricks, and I am not ashamed to say that I wept openly.  It felt as though I had finally tapped into the Vine that contains all graces.  I had found the pearl of great price, and would sell everything I owned to possess it. 

I know that the greatness of the Mass does not mean that I am great.  But I am grateful, and will always, God willing, be so.  I thank Him for this sign of His love for me, and for all the other ones, too.  Throughout the last ten years of daily joys and crosses, I have never forgotten that moment.

Today is the Feast of St. Hermenegild.  He was the son of the King of the Visigoths in Spain, and the Arians put him to death for his belief in the dogma of the consubtantiality of the Word of God with the Eternal Father.  A most fitting intercessor that day, for this Mass, and for this dangerous year.  The Introit today resonates with me:

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.

Thou hast protected me, O God, from the assembly of the malignant, alleluia: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity, alleluia, alleluia. * Hear, O God, my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee: free my soul from the fear of the enemy.

May Our Lord, through the intercession of St. Hermenegild and all the saints, continue to guide us all amidst the dangers of life to our heavenly home.

09 April 2015

No Time for Sulking: Heroism Has Become Our Baseline

Christus Surrexit!  

Dear Readers, a blessed Easter to you.  Here I am, back from a mini-break of celebrating Easter, attending to lots of pressing business, and regretting as usual the various volunteer gigs I take on.

I plan on original content soon, but today I simply have to pass along this wonderful article by the great Hilary White over at her blog, Orwell's Picnic.  

The situation is grave, but hey, Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice, and He told us to expect no less. White's piece, The Fantasy of Bitterness, makes the point that what is handed on easily is not valued as something that requires sacrifice.  That, friends, is absolutely true.  But even more true is that we have no time for sulking.  Heroism is the new baseline:

And now the Faith is still there and can still be found, but it is no longer easy. The result of the post-Conciliar catastrophe has been as our friend above said, but it has also created a race of Catholic guerilla fighters of which we are the second and third generation, and who are now going to be called upon to carry the fight forward. The ferocity with which they have acquired and kept the Faith is going to be required by everyone.

There is no more cheap grace to be had for tuppence in all the shops. Now if you want to know what is true, you have to go looking for it, develop your mind and knowledge and exercise your intellect and will, which faculties had become nearly atrophied in the immediate pre-conciliar period. Now just getting to know what you need to know to be a merely practising Catholic requires almost heroic effort of will and powers of investigation, as well as taking the trouble to learn to tell the truth from the sweet lies nearly all the parishes and priests are peddling. Heroism has, essentially, become our baseline.

And then you have to exercise those muscles of will to hold on to it as the World turns on you like a horde of screaming savages. In a situation like this one, the people who know and hold to the Faith are the Charles Atlas of the Catholic world. And it is going to be true very soon that they are going to require all that strength to stand up to what is coming at us. Anger can be the fuel for much of the fire in the blood required to get this far, but indulging in bitterness is really just a means of avoiding the fight. "Bitterness" is really just a fancy word for sulking, and right now, if you are indulging it, you're sulking while everyone else is fighting a war. It's a variety of self-indulgence that we have no spare resources for.


One of the terrors of Traditionalism is that we learn at some point that the Faith makes a totally uncompromising demand. It is this choice that the happy-clappy Kasperian Church wants to hide and banish. But we are coming to a time in which heroism is going to be only the first rung, the bare minimum requirement to save our souls. Ours is a fearsome Faith, and the kind of choices my friend made are going to be forced on more and more of us. We can't expect everyone to make the right one.


A big thank you to Miss White for saying things like this so well.

05 April 2015

Christ is Victorious over Death

Nolite expavescere Iesum quaeritis Nazarenum crucifixum surrexit non est hic. Ecce locus ubi posuerunt eum.

Sed ite et dicite discipulis eius et Petro quia praecedit vos in Galilaeam ibi eum videbitis sicut dixit vobis.

Blessed Easter to you, dear readers!

03 April 2015

Consummatum Est

As an aside, I wanted to make sure to link to two excellent, excellent posts by Ann Barnhardt covering some points to ponder for Holy Thursday and Good Friday.  Some very good insights at both.

02 April 2015

Holy Thursday

Only a relationship with the One who is himself Life can preserve my life beyond the floodwaters of death, can bring me through them alive. Already in Greek philosophy we encounter the idea that man can find eternal life if he clings to what is indestructible -- to truth, which is eternal. He needs, as it were, to be full of truth in order to bear within himself the stuff of eternity. 

But only if truth is a Person, can it lead me through the night of death. 

We cling to God -- to Jesus Christ the Risen One. And thus we are led by the One who is himself Life. In this relationship we too live by passing through death, since we are not forsaken by the One who is himself Life.

--  Pope Benedict XVI, from his Homily for Holy Thursday, 2010

Triduum Schedule at St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

Thursday, April 2 - Maundy Thursday

5:30pm Confessions
6:30pm High Mass,
Procession to the Repository
Adoration until Midnight

Friday, April 3 - Good Friday

8am Stations of the Cross
2pm-6:30pm Confessions
3pm Liturgy of the Passion & Death of Our Lord

Saturday, April 4 - Holy Saturday

8pm Confessions
9pm Easter Vigil, Solemn High Mass,
followed by Blessing of Easter food
(Bread, Eggs ...)

Sunday, April 5 - Easter Sunday

8am Low Mass; 10am High Mass

01 April 2015

Spy Wednesday: On the Threshold of the Triduum

On the very eve of His death, Jesus says to His disciples: "You are they who have continued with me in my trials"; and He immediately adds that, in return, He prepares for them a kingdom, as His Father has prepared one for Him: "As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you." This divine promise applies equally to us. If we have stayed with Jesus in His trials, if with faith and love we have often contemplated his sufferings, Christ will come, when our last hour sounds, to take us with Him that we may enter into the kingdom of His Father.

The day will arrive, sooner than we think, when death will be close to us. We shall be stretched out on our bed, without movement. Those around us will be looking at us, silent in their powerlessness to help us. We shall no longer have any vital contact with the outside world; our soul will be one-to-one with Christ. We shall know then what "staying with Him in His trials" is; we shall understand Him when He says to us, supreme and decisive, in that agony which is now ours: "You never left me in my agony; you accompanied me when I went to Calvary to die for you. Here I am now; I am near you, to help you, to take you with me. Do not be afraid, have confidence, I am here!": "It is I, fear not." We shall then repeat, in full assurance, the words of the Psalmist: O Lord, though the very shadow of death surrounds me already, I "fear no evil, for you are with me."

--from Christ in His Mysteries, by Blessed Columba Marmion

Light blogging until next week. Have a blessed and holy Triduum.