Monday, September 25, 2017

Freaking out Darwin

Tom Wolfe, "Freaking out Darwin" (World, September 9, 2017):
In The Kingdom of Speech—a runner-up for WORLD’s 2016 Book of the Year in the Science, Math, and Worldviews category—Tom Wolfe has fun with Darwinism and then linguistic theory. Wolfe sees Charles Darwin as an ambitious but fearful upper-class Brit beaten to the punch on natural selection by the lowly Alfred Russel Wallace, and evolution as a fable for atheists, about as reliable as the Apache belief that the universe began with a ball of dirt from which a scorpion pulled strands that became earth, sun, moon, and stars. (Wolfe calls that “the original version of the current solemnly accepted—i.e., ‘scientific’—big bang theory, which with a straight face tells us how something, i.e., the whole world, was created out of nothing.”) In the excerpt below, courtesy of Little, Brown and Company, Wolfe recounts how Wallace undermined his and Darwin’s “child.” —Marvin Olasky

The comment by Guy Noir - Private Eye: "Tom Wolfe, eviscerated by reviewers but caring less! If I have to pray for the souls of vocal and opinionated non-believers, I'll choose his, even while celebrated Jesuits may cringe!" Amen, brother!

Lifesite petition supporting the "filial correction" of Pope Francis for allowing the propagation of confusion and heterodoxy

In July of 2016, an international group of 45 scholars, academics and pastors petitioned Pope Francis for clarification on his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Later that year, four cardinals published their now well-known five questions, or "dubia" (Latin for "doubts") concerning Amoris Laetitia, after receiving no response from Pope Francis. In July of 2017, 62 scholars, pastors and others, sent Pope Francis a "filial correction" (or Correctio) accusing him of "propagating heresy" by equivocal passages in Amoris Laetitia and by "other words, deeds and ommissions." Again, after a month of waiting in vain for a response from Pope Francis, the authors of the Correctio have published their document.

The the document is over 25 pages long, some of it in untranslated Latin, and can be found online at various sites. Clear summaries can be found here and here.

Now I see that LifeSite has launched a PETITION where others can add their names to the signatories. I also see that, despite the Correctio's framer's original intention to voluntarily exclude bishops and cardinals, that Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, has sent in his name to be added to the original list of signatories. Others will probably follow suit.

Just one comment. The whole idea of sending a "correction" to the Pope sounds radical. Some have called it 'epochal.' Yet it may be important to bear in mind that the document does not accuse Pope Francis of formal heresy. Rather, it argues that the Pope has allowed heterodox opinions to proliferate by his silence when asked for clarification (as by the four cardinals last year), by his prolix and confusing declarations in interview, and his appointment to positions of influence within the Church men who publicly dissent from Catholic teaching on the sacraments. It is, in short, a filial cri de cœur directed to the Holy Father asking for him to raise the torch of truth and illumine the darkness amid the sea of benighted confusion in which so many feel as if they are drowning.

Please pray for His Holiness, Pope Francis, for the whole Church, and for all affected by the confusion abroad.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Pastor's Catechesis on Confession

While some of the material in the following article is specific to a local parish, it offers a rare opportunity to "listen in" on the counsel of a good Catholic pastor concerning the Sacrament of Confession -- which readers may find edifying whether they are Catholic or Protestant. My Protestant readers may wish to remember that one of their favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, went to confession weekly and defended the practice, although he never left the Anglican Church where confession is not a Sacrament. It may be worth asking what Professor Lewis may have missed by never becoming a Catholic, especially since so many converts, I included, find the Sacrament of Confession one of the most beautiful things this side of heaven, save, perhaps, for the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, September 24, 2017):
A pastor's page on the topic of Confession has been long overdue. In the main, this ought to be a corrective for some but also a refresher for everyone in some of the basics which may, over time, have gotten a little fuzzy in the mind. To conserve space, I will utilize an outline format ('bullet points').
  1. At this parish Sunday Confessions are a concession for those who live at a good distance from the parish. You should show your appreciation for this by coming to the church early, that is, well ahead of Mass time. You should not be standing in line while trying to hear Mass; you should be in place before Mass begins. When I am in the confessional and the moment the flow of incoming penitents ceases, I leave the confessional and do not wait around for latecomers.

  2. The confession of sin should be to the point, that is, the sin should be immediately identified with specifics only in what concerns essential information on the sin or its circumstances that may affect the gravity of the sin; mentioning the number of times a sin has been committed applies, strictly speaking, only to mortal sins. Unnecessary narration of this kind ought to be avoided: "When I got together with my friends at a birthday party recently we began to talk after dinner about our work environments and the people who work with us. I had the feeling that, sooner of later, we'd get into some negative talk about these people (they're goo people, really) and, sure enough, we did." (Note that the plural "we" is evasive.) What should have been said: "I committed a sin of distraction."

  3. In the above, notice that the corrected statement is self-accusing. Confession must be that precisely and not something of this kind: "I know I need to work on closing my mouth when the subject of other people comes around." That is not material for absolution and therefore a priest cannot absolve it. Similarly 'conditional accusation' is not valid matter for absolution, e.g. "If I have committed any sins of impure thought, I am sorry."

  4. Confessing sins should be straightforward, not hiding or misleading the priest in anything that is mortal sin. Otherwise the confession is invalid.

  5. Sorrow for sins must be sincere and be directed towards God who is the One offended. What we call "guilty feelings" or self-regret are not sufficient for contrition. One must also be sorry for the sins that have been committed and not be selectively sorry for this or that one. Contrition must be heartfelt, but need not be emotional. This sorrow necessarily must include the intention never to do that sinful thing again. If the sin has involved other people, one must sincerely quit or avoid as much as possible that person's company or friendship, or "relationship." If that (the firm purpose of amendment) is lacking, the confession is invalid, no sins are forgiven by it, and another sin is incurred for the insincerity.

  6. The Act of Contrition prayer has various forms that suffice, but not all of them are equally good. The "traditional" acts of contrition include these points: that the sorrow for the sins is directed towards God who was offended by them; that the penitent has hatred for the sins committed; that the motivation for being sorry is best when the contrition is perfect, that is, when its only intention is to make up to God our of love for Him rather than to be sorry merely to avoid God's punishments for the sins.

  7. The "penance" the priest assigns the penitent to perform is a measure of compensation to God for the evils done to Him. Penances may not necessarily be enough reparation for sins but the priest's assigned prayers (or other deeds) are obligatory. One may not do some other penance, even a harder, more strict one, than what the priest has assigned. In addition to the penance the priest assigns, however, more good works can (and usually should) be done. The penance should also be done soon after one has been absolved so that one will not forget to do it or forget what it was. Even if one lapses into mortal sin before the penance has been fulfilled, performance of the penance is still obligatory (though in that case the compensation-value of the penance is lost).

  8. Those without mortal sins should not come to a Grotto Sunday confession every Sunday as this is a burden to other needy parishioners. One should recall that an act of contrition cancels venial sins (though the sorrow there must be directed towards all the sins that were committed, even though one need not advert to them all specifically).

  9. Those who do not confess for a year's time but who have held onto mortal sins in that time commit another mortal sin for neglecting the good of their souls.

  10. Someone who has a mortal sin on his conscience may not receive Holy Communion after making a private act of contrition, eve an act of perfect contrition. Confession of mortal sin is necessary before receiving Holy Communion.

  11. If one has committed no sins since the last confession, in order to be absolved the penitent must confess some specific sin already forgiven in a past confession for which is now sorry again.
Lastly, confession for some can be an ordeal of fear or embarrassment. This is not necessarily all bad since that very discomfort can be an added weight to diminish some of the punishment due to the sins confessed. In confession one should be humble, sorry to God, concise in confessing sin, and firmly resolved not to relapse into sin. -- End of catechesis for today.

Fr. Perrone

P.S. Classes for adults intending to convert to the Catholic faith witll be held Tuesday evenings beginning October 3 at the rectory from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Please call the rectory to reserve a place.

Tridentine Community News - Former Detroiter Organizes First Regular Tridentine Masses in the U.S. Virgin Islands; Catholic Chapels in Shopping Districts; Local TLM schedule

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (September 24, 2017):
September 24, 2017 - Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Former Detroiter Organizes First Regular Tridentine Masses in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Dennis Taubitz was a familiar face at Detroit and Windsor Tridentine Mass sites. An attorney for the City of the Detroit, Dennis served on the Finance Council at St. Josaphat/Mother of Divine Mercy and counted the collection after Mass on Sundays. A few years ago Dennis and his wife Irma relocated to the U.S. Virgin Islands because of a job opportunity. Soon after his arrival, Dennis realized that there was no Tridentine Mass being celebrated on either of the two islands, St. Thomas or St. Croix. Seeing this as an opportunity rather than a problem, Dennis set about the long process of piecing together the many elements necessary to get a new Mass site started: Churches willing to host the Mass, supplies [including altar cards framed at a store in Bloomfield Township], altar servers, newspaper ads, a Facebook presence, and developing a constructive relationship with diocesan officials in the chancery.

The most important part of the puzzle, of course, was finding a priest celebrant, and on that front Dennis’ effort has another tie to Detroit: The celebrant will be Fr. John Fewel, who was a classmate of our own Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz at Pope St. John XXIIII National Seminary in Boston. Fr. Fewel serves as the editor of the diocesan magazine, The Catholic Islander. An issue of the magazine containing an article about the Tridentine Mass is here: [That’s Dennis in the photo sitting in the front row of the congregation on the left.]

All that work has paid off, with not one but two sites debuting: A quarterly Mass has already started, with the first Mass having been on September 3 at 5:00 PM, at Holy Cross Church in Christiansted on the island of St. Croix [photo above]. Starting on Sunday, October 1 at 1:00 PM, there will be a monthly Tridentine Mass at St. Anne’s Chapel in French Town, on the island of St. Thomas. Find out more at:

Catholic Chapels in Shopping Districts

The April 26, 2015 edition of this column listed some Catholic chapels that exist in office buildings. The August 12, 2017 edition of Canada’s Catholic Register newspaper included an article listing some similar chapels in shopping districts. These are all dedicated Catholic chapels, with the Blessed Sacrament reserved, providing a spiritual oasis for busy workers and shoppers. Confession and Holy Mass are offered at all of these sites.

The Centre Dieu Chapel in the Laurier Quebec Mall in Quebec City opened in 1967 and serves 15-20 Massgoers every day, with adoration offered after the noon Mass.

The St. Benedict Chapel in Edmonton’s City Centre Mall opened in 2006 and offers three Masses Monday-Friday at 7:15 AM, 12:15 PM, and 5:15 PM, and Saturday at 12:15 PM.

St. Stephen’s Chapel on Bay Street in Toronto is not in a mall but in a busy office and retail district. Opened in 1986, it offers Mass Monday-Friday at 8:00 AM, 12:10 PM, 1:10 PM, and 5:10 PM. It is a smaller version of Chicago’s similarly missioned St. Peter’s in the Loop Church.

Holy Cross Chapel in downtown Houston [pictured above] is also not in a mall but in a busy retail and office area. Run by priests of Opus Dei, it offers Mass Monday-Friday at 11:35 AM and 12:15 PM.

The article also mentions the granddaddy of them all [“of the mall”?], the St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center in Boston, which was already mentioned in our office building chapels column and is constantly busy with Mass, Confessions, and adoration.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria)
  • Tue. 09/26 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
  • Sat. 09/30 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Jerome, Priest, Confessor, & Doctor)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 24, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week








* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Silence of the Shepherds

Why is it that Catholic bishops seem to be plumping for Muslims? Why do they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading? Why do they appear to be so intent on protecting the image of Islam? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. Given current events and the historical record of Islam’s aggressive campaigns against the Christian West, the rational thinker could be forgiven for believing that the leaders of the Christian world might just want to pay a bit more attention to contemporary anti-Christian violence — thousands of terror attacks, beheadings, stabbings, kidnappings, rapes, torching of churches and Christian-owned businesses — committed by Muslims, in the name of Islam.

Instead, most of the world’s Catholic bishops (with some heroic exceptions, such as Ignatius Joseph III Younan, patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, and Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo), when they’re not extolling the virtues of Islam as a “religion of peace,” can be found counseling their flocks against so-called Islamophobia — anti-Islam sentiment, bias, or violence — typically in the immediate aftermath of a Muslim-perpetrated act of terror or instance of anti-Christian persecution.

For example, in May, after Muslim militants in the Philippines burned down the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, murdered more than a hundred Catholics, and held a dozen others hostage, Bishop Edwin de la Peña y Angot of the Marawi prelature worried out loud that the ensuing anti-Muslim sentiments might damage interreligious dialogue. “Some of the natural biases that Christians have against Muslims will be stirred up again,” he said in an interview (Zenit, June 9). “Interfaith dialogue is a very fragile process and these incidents can destroy the foundation that we have built.” About anti-Christian sentiments among Muslims, the bishop was silent.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stat crux dum volvitur orbis - the Cross stands as the world spins

My birthday, September 14th, is the 10th anniversary of the day on which Summorum Pontificum was put into effect. It is also the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And here is an appropriate reflection for this feast day by Fr. George W. Rutler from his weekly column for September 10, 2017, last Sunday:
In the tumultuous eleventh century, seven monks including Saint Bruno formed the Carthusian order, dedicated to prayer for the serenity of souls, taking as their motto: “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis” — the Cross stands as the world spins.

September’s Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross would seem a curiosity, were it not that Christ used that most cruel machine of death to conquer death. Saint Peter was uncomprehending when his beloved Master said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Peter “took Jesus aside” and told him that this must never be, only to be admonished that he was thinking not like God but as a limited human being. When Jesus rose from the dead, he “took Peter aside” and told him that he would go where he did not expect. Not long afterwards, Peter hung on a cross in Rome. To the astonishment of men intent on stretching out their dreary lifespans as long as they could, Peter died gladly.

Mrs. Fanny Crosby wrote more than 8,000 hymns, including in 1894 “Keep Thou My Way.” One of its lines was “gladly the Cross I’ll bear.” Inevitably that led to choirboys calling it “Gladly, the cross-eyed bear.” Her story, though, was not a joke. She was blind all of her ninety-five years and was a student and teacher at the New York Institute for the Blind right here in our parish on Ninth Avenue and 34th Street. She told one of her fellow teachers, the future President Grover Cleveland: “If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” Her small tombstone is engraved: “Aunt Fanny: She hath done what she could.”

Saint John Vianney said, “The worst cross is not to have a cross.” A current “televangelist” has made many millions of dollars preaching a “Prosperity Gospel” in an arena where the cross is absent. His wife summed up their Gospel: “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.” These two newly rich people have now begun a cosmetics business, but Prosperity Theology itself is nothing more than cosmetic. At Holy Mass, the celebrant says: “Lift up your hearts,” not “Lift up your faces.”
Hat tip to J.M.]

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"George Weigel: The Swan Song of the Catholic Neocons"

[Disclaimer: Rules ##7-9]

A Review of George Weigel’s Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II (Basic Books, 2017), by Dr. Jesse Russell, Fetzen Fliegen (A Remnant newspaper blog, September 7, 2017):
The notorious journalist and friend of Catholic traditionalist Patrick Buchanan, Hunter S. Thompson once wrote in his famous essay “The Hippies”: “The best year to be a hippie was 1965, but then there was not much to write about, because not much was happening in public and most of what was happening in private was illegal.”

A similar statement could be made of Catholic neoconservatives: the best year to be a Catholic neoconservative was 2001. September 11 had given the green light to the destruction of any country that stood in the way of the New World Order’s goal of global hegemony. With magazines like First Things and books such as Witness to Hope and The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, the very polite triumvirate of neoconservative leaders, Fr. Richard Neuhaus, George Weigel, and Michael Novak, had not only complete control over the American reception of John Paul II’s life and work, but increasing access to the White House of President George W. Bush.

Many bishops such as Charles Chaput, Francis George, and Timothy Dolan (whom Weigel refers to as an “old friend”) were the under the spell of Weigel, Neuhaus, and Novak. Even the lumbering, felt-banner-adorned battleship of old liberals called the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was turning toward the shores of the “new” Catholic conservativism born from Fr. John Courtney Murray and Jacques Maritain.

But then something happened. Like a Greek tragic hero, the Catholic neocons at the apex of their power, fell from grace.

Pope Francis further democratizes liturgy

Jason Horowitz, "Pope Francis Shifts Power From Rome With 'Hugely Important' Liturgical Reform" (New York Times, September 9, 2017):
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, who has used his absolute authority in the Vatican to decentralize power from Rome, made a widespread change Saturday to the ways, and words, in which Roman Catholics worship by amending Vatican law to give national bishop conferences greater authority in translating liturgical language. Read more >>
See also New Catholic, "Breaking: Motu Proprio 'Magnum Principium' granting authority on liturgical translations to Bishops' Conferences" (Rorate Caeli, September 9, 2017), which has an English translation of the Motu Proprio, analysis of "Canon 838 in the Light of Conciliar and Post Conciliar Sources," and, further, "A key to reading the moto proprio 'Magnum principium'" by X Arthur Roche, Archbishop Secretary, Congregation for Divine Worship & the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Tridentine Community News - List of canonized Popes; Local TLM Mass schedule

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (September 10, 2017):
September 10, 2017 - Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

A List of Canonized Popes

Holy Mother Church gives us the Feast of All Holy Popes each year on either July 3 or July 4, to commemorate all canonized popes. It is instructive to know which of history’s chief shepherds have been raised to the state of sainthood. With credit to the A Catholic Life blog, we present a list of all of the sainted Holy Fathers. The author of that blog makes the sound suggestion that we make a Litany out of this list, adding “pray for us” or “ora pro nobis” as we read through the names.
1. St. Peter (32-67)
2. St. Linus (67-76)
3. St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
4. St. Clement I (88-97)
5. St. Evaristus (97-105)
6. St. Alexander I (105-115)
7. St. Sixtus I (115-125)
8. St. Telesphorus (125-136)
9. St. Hyginus (136-140)
10. St. Pius I (140-155)
11. St. Anicetus (155-166)
12. St. Soter (166-175)
13. St. Eleutherius (175-189)
14. St. Victor I (189-199)
15. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
16. St. Callistus I (217-22)
17. St. Urban I (222-30)
18. St. Pontain (230-35)
19. St. Anterus (235-36)
20. St. Fabian (236-50)
21. St. Cornelius (251-53)
22. St. Lucius I (253-54)
23. St. Stephen I (254-257)
24. St. Sixtus II (257-258)
25. St. Dionysius (260-268)
26. St. Felix I (269-274)
27. St. Eutychian (275-283)
28. St. Caius (283-296)
29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
30. St. Marcellus I (308-309)
31. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
32. St. Miltiades (311-14)
33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
34. St. Marcus (336)
35. St. Julius I (337-52)
36. St. Damasus I (366-83)
37. St. Siricius (384-99)
38. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
39. St. Innocent I (401-17)
40. St. Zosimus (417-18)
41. St. Boniface I (418-22)
42. St. Celestine I (422-32)
43. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
44. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
45. St. Hilarius (461-68)
46. St. Simplicius (468-83)
47. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
48. St. Gelasius I (492-96)
49. St. Symmachus (498-514)
50. St. Hormisdas (514-23)
51. St. John I (523-26)
52. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
53. St. Agapetus I (535-36)
54. St. Silverius (536-37)
55. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
56. St. Boniface IV (608-15)
57. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
58. St. Martin I (649-55)
59. St. Eugene I (655-57)
60. St. Vitalian (657-72)
61. St. Agatho (678-81)
62. St. Leo II (682-83)
63. St. Benedict II (684-85)
64. St. Sergius I (687-701)
65. St. Gregory II (715-31)
66. St. Gregory III (731-41)
67. St. Paul I (757-67)
68. St. Leo III (795-816)
69. St. Paschal I (817-24)
70. St. Leo IV (847-55)
71. St. Adrian III (884-85)
72. St. Leo IX (1049-54)
73. St. Celestine V (1294)
74. St. Pius V (1566-72)
75. St. Pius X (1903-14)
76. St. John Paul II (1978-2005)
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/11 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Protus & Hyacinth, Martyrs)
  • Tue. 09/12 7:00 PM: High Mass at Rosary Chapel at Assumption Church, Windsor (Most Holy Name of Mary) – Note special location for Mass this week only. All are invited to a reception after Mass in the lower level social hall of Holy Name of Mary Church. [Holy Name of Mary Church itself is being used for an Ordinary Form Mass for its titular Feast Day this evening]
  • Sat. 09/16 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Ss. Cornelius, Pope, & Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 10, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, September 09, 2017


Thus reads another missive from our underground correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, sent yet again by carrier pigeon from God-knows-where. Unfolded and spread on the table, it read:
Ding ding ding! Read this (but kids, please be safe…)

Rod Dreher, "Cheap Sex = Dying Christianity" (American Conservative, September 5, 2017), who quotes Mark Regnerus, "Christians are part of the same dating pool as everyone else. That's bad for the church." (Washington Post, September 5, 2017):
Cheap sex, it seems, has a way of deadening religious impulses. It’s able to poke holes in the “sacred canopy” over the erotic instinct, to borrow the late Peter Berger’s term. Perhaps the increasing lack of religious affiliation among young adults is partly a consequence of widening trends in nonmarital sexual behavior among young Americans, in the wake of the expansion of pornography and other tech-enhanced sexual behaviors.

Cohabitation has prompted plenty of soul searching over the purpose, definition and hallmarks of marriage. But we haven’t reflected enough on how cohabitation erodes religious belief.

We overestimate how effectively scientific arguments secularize people. It’s not science that’s secularizing Americans — it’s sex.
About which, Noir noted that decades ago Frank Sheed also wrote on sex, as one finds here in this beautifully arranged post entitled "Let's Talk about Sex" (September 9, 2017).

In answer to which, sent back to Noir via carrier pigeon the following reply, folded up in a paper:
This is good stuff from Sheed. As always. I've run into several things on the topic lately, and one thing I'm gathering is that (ironically) the actual practice of sexual intercourse has dropped off precipitously since the advent of pornography. In Japan they're apparently no longer interested in getting married. It seems that actual relationships with real human beings are too much trouble. People are too busy having sex with themselves to trouble themselves with having it with others.

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week








* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Tridentine Community News - Young Carmelites Nuns Move to Philadelphia; FSSP Given Baltimore’s St. Alphonsus Church; FSSP Requiem CD Becomes Classical Best-Seller; FSSP Apostolate Growth; Welcome Old St. Mary’s Readers; Local TLM schedule

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (September 3, 2017):
September 3, 2017 – Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Young Carmelites Nuns Move to Philadelphia

One of the biggest women’s religious vocations success stories in modern times revolves around the Carmelite nuns of Valparaiso, Nebraska, near Lincoln. This monastery of cloistered nuns has attracted so many vocations that it has spawned a daughter convent in Oakland, California. What is its secret? A full embrace of the traditional Latin liturgical life. Their enthusiasm is catching: the chaplain of the Valparaiso monastery – a priest who celebrates exclusively the Extraordinary Form for them – is the Vicar General of the Lincoln diocese, a diocesan priest, not a priest from the nearby seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), as one might expect.

A reader brought to our attention that this same convent has come to the rescue of a Carmelite convent in Philadelphia that was suffering from lack of vocations. Six young nuns from Valparaiso, along with four nuns from the Carmelite monastery in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, have relocated to the Philadelphia convent, and Archbishop Charles Chaput has appointed them a full-time chaplain from the FSSP, a likely recipe for continued growth.

FSSP Given Baltimore’s St. Alphonsus Church

The Fraternity of St. Peter has been in the news recently for other reasons. Most notably, one of North America’s most important and ornate historic churches has been been assigned to their care, the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Baltimore, Maryland. St. Alphonsus has hosted the Tridentine Mass since 1992 and is known for being perhaps the only church in North America to have been pastored by one saint, St. John Neumann, and one blessed, Bl. Francis Seelos, C.SS.R. The parish will continue to offer Sunday Ordinary Form Masses in English and Lithuanian as well as the EF, but daily Masses will all be Tridentine. More information is on the parish web site: [Photo by Neal J. Conway]

FSSP Requiem CD Becomes Classical Best-Seller

It has been a few years since we last heard of a Gregorian Chant CD topping the charts, but it has happened once again: The Fraternity of St. Peter’s recently-issued Requiem CD has reached the top of the classical music sales charts. This recording of FSSP priests chanting the Traditional Requiem Mass was produced by AimHigher Recordings/De Montfort Music, an organization with ties to Sony Classical Recordings and thus able to draw upon powerful marketing resources. De Montfort has also produced recordings of some of the other leading Catholic Latin choral groups, including Boston’s St. Paul Choir School, the London Oratory Junior Choir, the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and the Monks of Norcia. More information and ordering details are available at:

FSSP Apostolate Growth

The Fraternity continues to top the charts in another way: growth in number of apostolates. The August, 2017 edition of the FSSP’s Meménto newsletter included the above graph depicting their continued steady climb, now with 47 “parish-type apostolates” in North America, in only their 25th year of operation here.

Welcome Old St. Mary’s Readers

We extend a special welcome to the new readers of the Tridentine Community News at its newest distribution site, Old St. Mary’s Church. The Tridentine News is also distributed at the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Masses at St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches in Windsor, at the Oakland County Latin Mass Association Masses at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills, and at the Tridentine Masses held occasionally at St. Hyacinth and Holy Redeemer Churches. It is also available from the ushers at St. Joseph Oratory and on-line at

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria)
  • Tue. 09/05 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
  • Sat. 09/09 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Peter Claver, Confessor)
  • Sun. 09/10: No Mass at OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart
  • Sun. 09/10 12:30 PM: High Mass at Old St. Patrick, Ann Arbor (Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost) – First Tridentine Mass of recently ordained Fr. Joe Campbell
  • [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 3, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

    Tridentine Masses This Coming Week









    • Sun. 9/10 12:30 PM (2nd Sundays): Tridentine Mass at Old St. Patrick's, Ann Arbor - First Tridentine Mass of recently ordained Fr. Joe Campbell.

    * NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

    Friday, September 01, 2017

    "The kids are old rite" - Heh, back to the future!

    Matthew Schmitz, "The kids are old rite" (Catholic Herald, August 31, 2017). Excerpts:
    Francis’ remarks are yet another sign of his anxiety over the traditional direction in which young Catholics are carrying the Church. We have seen this before, in the stories he tells about young priests who shout at strangers and play dress-up, unlike the wise, old, compassionate (and liberal) monsignori. Francis has played variations of John Lennon’s Imagine: “We are grandparents called to dream and give our dream to today’s youth: they need it.” Maybe so, but the youth do not seem to want it.

    ... Anyone who doubts the reality of the conflict should visit a monastery or convent, where young monastics will almost invariably be more traditional than their elders. In France, in 20 years’ time a majority of priests will celebrate exclusively the traditional Latin mass. Wherever one looks, the kids are old rite....

    In a 2010 address, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia described the experiences of these young traditionalists. “My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.”

    DiNoia’s generation sought to unite the Church and the world, but the young priests believe the two are finally opposed. “It may be hard for us to comprehend, but these young people do not share the cultural optimism that many of us learned to take for granted in the post-conciliar period.”

    ... Many young Catholics feel that they have been denied an inheritance that was rightly theirs. They have had to reassemble piecemeal something that should have been handed to them intact. An English academic recently told me of his attempt to obtain a copy of the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, a reference book that went from impeccable authority to liber prohibitus at the time of the Council. He contacted a Belgian who helped declining religious houses dispose of their libraries. This Belgian found a Franciscan community that was willing to sell its set – but at the last moment took a different course. The monks decided to burn the books, “to prevent them getting into the hands of traditionalists”.

    Who are these terrifying young traditionalists? Step into a quiet chapel in New York and you will find an answer. There, early each Saturday morning, young worshippers gather in secret. They are divided by sex: women on the left, men on the right. Dressed in denim and Birkenstocks, with the occasional nose piercing, they could be a group of loiterers on any downtown sidewalk. But they have come here with a purpose. As a bell rings, they rise in unison. A hooded priest approaches the altar and begins to say Mass in Latin. During Communion, they kneel on the bare floor where an altar rail should be.

    In a city where discretion is mocked and vice goes on parade, the atmosphere of reverence is startling. These Masses began a year ago, when a young priest finally gave in to the young worshippers’ demands. They wanted the traditional Mass; he feared offending older colleagues who loathe it. This secret conventicle was the compromise. Advertised by word of mouth among students and young professionals, it has slowly grown.

    After the Last Gospel, the worshippers break their fast nearby with coffee. I ask one how she started coming here. “I’ve been going to Mass for 24 years,” she says. “I still go to both forms, but when I encountered the Latin Mass it felt more reverent. I was taken out of this world.” Her manner is disarming, her dress contemporary and unassuming. As the conversation drifts into a discussion of why Pius IX was right in the Mortara case, I reflect that she is the kind of person image-conscious Catholics would like to hold up as the Church’s future – were she not so drawn to its past.
    [Hat tip to JM]

    In Cupichianity, Love means never having to say "I believe you [God] exist"!!!

    "I can see lots of great Christians with my new glasses!"

    Bruvver Eccles, "Do atheists make the best Christians?" (Eccles is saved, August 26, 2017).

    Commenting, of course, on the statement in the Chicago Sun Times (August 24, 2017) by Cardinal Cupich, who wrote:
    Some of the greatest Christians I know are people who don't actually have a kind of faith system that they believe in. But, in their activity, the way they conduct themselves, there's a goodness there. It might not be articulated in a faith context like my own, but there's a goodness there that is a witness that encourages me.
    [Hat tip to JM]

    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    "Still a bulwark of sanity in our big and zany Church"?

    Those, paraphrased, are the words of Guy Noir - Private Eye in a recent message to me via carrier pigeon, as per usual lately. He was commenting on an article by Thomas Joseph White, "Catholicism in the Modern World" (First Things, August 25, 2017), which is, indeed, reassuringly sane.

    After linking to this other article and remarking, "much as I've carped over JPII’s TOB overreach or Jos. Ratzinger’s exegesis of Genesis, more than a little do I miss them," he then turned to White's article, saying about it (his actual words):
    There is also this fascinatingly fusionary list, with Newman, Garrigou-Lagrange (!) and Ratzinger too. Somehow reassures me there is still a bulwark of sanity in our big and… being kind, zany… Church.

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    Fr. Perrone: how the majesty of Mary can preserve our reverence for God

    Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary file] (Assumption Grotto News, August 27, 2017):
    On our patronal feast day we were glat to see once again some of the religious of the Holy Cross Order who spent the day with us. One of the perks in being a pastor is the reception of gifts by visitors, and on this occasion I gratefully accepted from the nuns a delicious loaf of homemade spelt bread, some fine chocolates, and a biography of the woman who was the impetus for the Work of the Holy Angels, one Mother Gabriele. The little book is entitled God Is Good, evidently a favorite motto of the holy lady.

    I confess that I have always found that phrase somewhat of a trifle. After all, isn't the most obvious, minimalistic thing to say about God that He is good? (Would anyone ever have thought God to be bad?) Of course, the intended meaning of asserting God's goodness is much more than its face-value meaning, for it conveys also His mercy, love, generosity, and much else. The words in question are found in the sacred scriptures, almost as a recurring refrain: "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good." And so, I withdraw my petty objection in humble assent to the word of God which proclaims that He "is good."

    My discomfort with that expression was due to something I once grumbled about in a sermon, to wit, that for many God is too little, too small. These are they who undervalue the immensity of Infinite Being; who regard Him casually as their chum, a great gift-giving Giveaway, who dismisses human crimes as mere peccadillos. By such standards He doesn't much care how we talk to Him or about Him, or what clothes we may wear in His Presence. He's no big deal, loving us no matter what, and, sure as He is God, will usher everybody into heaven in the end.

    This undue familiarity with and distorted view of the Almighty reduces His size and recklessly ascribes to His all-good nature the dismissal of any consequences for sin. This is the "no-fault," non-judgmental, PC mindset that has formed the moral criteria for the millennial generation and which has affected even those of a more venerable age who ought to know better.

    Recently I have been reading The Mystical City of God, a life of the Virgin Mary by the Venerable Mary of Agreda. It's not a book (or rather series of books) for everyone's reading. I would definitely not recommend it to those who have no tolerance or appreciation for mystical discourse: they would find it odious or bewildering. I mention this work because of the portrait of the Virgin Mary which emerges from it. She is a being of such unspeakable, divine-bestowed excellence as to astound the mind over the prodigy of grace and virtue which ennobles Her perfectly saintly life. In coming to know Mary through these prodigious divine endowments, one becomes so much more appreciative not only of who She is in truth but also of who God Himself must be. Put in the context of what is written above, 'God is goo' has a meaning that so far transcends the ability of the intellect as to make one conclude that all one can ever come to know of God, even by the most brilliant of minds, is closer to knowing nothing than to have knowledge. God is that big!

    In the practical order this means that the God who is my pal, my buddy, is an offensive caricature, and that His indulgence towards sinners in an unfathomable reach of divine condescension for which no one ought ever to be presuming. On the devotional level, this has made me realize once again that the more one knows the greatness of the Holy Virgin Mary, the better one comes to know God; and the more one effaces himself before the divine Majesty the more one begins to know Him and to see Her as the finest jewel in all His handiwork.

    My final word on this is to say that it is important that you pray to God reverentially (not that one needs high-falutin' words); that you dress modestly and decorously for Holy Mass; that you feel deep contrition for your sins, and so on. It is also important to place Our Lady in the uniquely high place She occupies in reality, in the sight of God. And if She is that holy of holies which houses God, and if He is unutterable Infinite Being, we ought to be very much more reverential in our manners before the mysteries of God, of Mary, and indeed of all things we hold in the creed of the Catholic Church.

    Does your estimation of things divine perhaps need a little stretching?

    Fr. Perrone

    Tridentine Community News - First Tridentine Mass of Fr. Joe Campbell; Pontifical Solemn Tridentine Mass on EWTN; Detroit Church Blog; VBP Chicago conference; Culmen et Fons conference; local TLM schedule

    "I will go in unto the Altar of God
    To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

    Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (August 27, 2017):
    August 27, 2017 – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

    First Tridentine Mass of Fr. Joe Campbell

    Another newly ordained priest will celebrate Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the first time: Fr. Joe Campbell, ordained this June for the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, will offer his first Tridentine Mass at Old St. Patrick Church in Ann Arbor on Sunday, September 10 at 12:30 PM. That means both of the two ordinands to the priesthood this year for Lansing, the other being Fr. Tony Smela, will both be celebrants of the Traditional Mass, as is the bishop who ordained them, Bishop Earl Boyea. That’s an impressive statistic of support for the Extraordinary Form that few if any other dioceses can match.

    Pontifical Solemn Tridentine Mass on EWTN

    On Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 PM, EWTN will broadcast a Pontifical Solemn Tridentine Mass from Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul. Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry will offer the Mass in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the effective date of Summórum Pontíficum.

    This is the first Tridentine Mass EWTN will have aired in quite some time and is at least partially attributable to requests made via e-mail to: Network executives do pay attention to the feedback they receive.

    Detroit Church Blog

    The Archdiocese of Detroit is blessed to have a large collection of architecturally significant churches. Founded by Andrew Fanco, the Detroit Church Blog has striven to document these churches with photos and historical narrative. Several years ago Mark Nemecek took over the blog and continues to update it with visits inside some of metro Detroit’s lesser-known churches. Take a look at:

    VBP Chicago Conference

    Interested in attending a Latin Mass conference but can’t make the trip to September’s Pópulus Summórum Pontíficum event in Rome? There are two options in September closer to home:

    First, Chicago’s young adult group Véritas, Bónitas, Púlchritas is offering a one-day event on Saturday, September 16 at the neighboring churches of St. Mary of Perpetual Help and the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, including a Pontifical High Mass at the latter. Visit for details and registration information.

    Culmen et Fons Conference

    A little further afield, in Peabody, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, the Culmen et Fons Conference on Monday-Friday, September 18-22, will bring together an impressive array of liturgical scholars, including speakers Dom Alcuin Reid, Fr. Thomas Kocik, and Fr. Neil Roy. There are separate tracks for those interested in talks about the liturgy and those interested in sacred music. Bishop Joseph Perry will celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Faldstool. For more information visit

    Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
    • Mon. 08/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
    • Tue. 08/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)
    • Fri. 09/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at Old St. Mary’s (St. Giles, Confessor) – Choir will sing Missa Prima by Claudio Crassini and O Nata Lux by Thomas Tallis. First Friday Devotions are prayed before Mass. Reception in the second floor social hall after Mass.
    • Sat. 09/02 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Stephen of Hungary, King & Confessor)
    [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for August 27, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Tridentine Masses This Coming Week








    * NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    Sammons and Lawler: why we pretend nothing went wrong after Vatican II

    Three articles were published recently revisiting the confusion following Vatican II and suggesting how to make sense of it: The last article by Lawler draws the three together by summarizing points made by Mosebach and Sammons. Mosebach's and Sammons' articles, however, should not be neglected, because they make excellent points in their own right that do not make it into Lawler's summary -- particularly some of the details about "soft censorship" of bad news by the Church and Catholic media, and their promotion, almost exclusively, of good news (the "Everything is Awesome" view). A good example of the latter is George Weigel's recent article, "Motown and the Turbocharged Church," First Things (August 16, 2017), which speaks to the positive aspirations of key Church leaders in Detroit, but ignores the long-entrenched aberrations of others.

    Sammons identifies three reasons why inconvenient truths are often suppressed by Catholic media. Bad theology ("Many believe that since Ecumenical Councils are guided by the Holy Spirit, nothing erroneous or even harmful can come from them"); institutional bias ("The Church and its supporting institutions have heavily invested themselves on the idea that Vatican II was beneficial to the Church"); and financial support ("If an orthodox organization questioned Vatican II, its speaking engagements and invitations from parishes and dioceses would disappear"). It is safe to assume that George Weigel's speaking engagements and invitations will not disappear any time soon.

    But Lawler offers the most convenient summary. He writes:
    Something went wrong—seriously wrong—in the Catholic Church in the years after Vatican II. Can we all agree on that much? Leave aside, for now, the familiar debate about the causes of the problem; let’s begin with the agreement that there is, or at least certainly was, a problem.

    Eric Sammons makes the point in a provocative essay that appeared in Crisis last week:
    If an entirely objective social scientist were to study the Catholic Church in the second half of the twentieth century, he would see one fact staring him straight in the face: the Church experienced a precipitous decline in the Western world during that time.
    The problem (whatever it is) is compounded, Sammons remarks, by a general refusal to acknowledge the reality of our post-conciliar difficulties: what he terms a “soft censorship” of unpleasant news. Bishops and pastors, diocesan newspapers and parish bulletins have bombarded us for years with reports that the Church is “vibrant,” that programs are booming, that the liturgy is beautiful, that religious education is robust. Never is heard a discouraging word. Yet we know better. We know about the shortage of priests; we see the news of parish closing; we notice the empty pews on Sundays. Something is wrong; we know that.

    Sammons argues persuasively that this “soft censorship,” this see-no-evil approach, is now an impediment to evangelization [my emphasis], because it thwarts serious discussions about the current state of the Church. Evangelization means bringing people to the truth, he reasons, and that process “cannot thrive in a censored environment.” ...

    ... Did the problems that arose after Vatican II come solely because the Council’s teachings were ignored, or improperly applied? Or were there difficulties with the documents themselves? Were there enough ambiguities in the Council’s teaching to create confusion? If so, were the ambiguities intentional—the result of compromises by the Council fathers?

    Suggesting that there could be difficulties with some Vatican II documents does not mean denying the authority of the Council’s teaching. No document drafted by human hands will ever be perfect. There may be a need for clarification, elucidation, explanation, even correction.

    More to the point, while it is certainly true that the “spirit of Vatican II” that is often cited in support of radical changes cannot be reconciled with the actual teachings of the Council, it is also true that the proponents of change can cite specific passages from Council documents in support of their plans. So are those passages being misinterpreted. Are they taken out of context? Or are there troublesome elements of the Council’s teaching, with which we should now grapple honestly? One thing is certain: we will not solve the problem by pretending that it does not exist.
    Related: John T. Elson, "The Catholic Church Battles Its Old Guard," LIFE Magazine (October 18, 1963), pp. 114ff.

    [Hat tip to E.P. and J.M.]