Ash Wednesday Covid-19 Ashes Latin *Note* signed, but… wait… what?

Back in the mid-1980s, I declined when a Bishop wanted me to get degreed out in Canon Law over in Rome, asking to be sent back over yet again to get degreed out in Sacred Scripture. He sent me instead to the brand new JPII Institute for Marriage and the Family, back when the on the ground founder Father Carlo Caffarra (+2017) was there I think in the second year of its operation. I eventually did get degreed out in all matters Biblical. Although at the same time – back in the day – I was trying to cross-index all the canons of Canon Law in my mind, heart and soul, I am not today any kind of Canon Lawyer at all. So, I’ll just notice some things about this “Note.” I stand to be corrected. Please, do so.

  • First of all, the CDW chose to publish this as a “Note.” Wait… What? It’s not a Motu Proprio, nor a Decree, nor a Directive, nor an Instruction, nor a Circular Letter, nor a Notification, nor a Declaration, nor a Response to a Doubt, but merely as a “Note.” So, the legislative umph that comes with this note is something like zero. It’s like a suggestion for priests who are wondering just how far they can go with absurdity, you know, with permission, pushing for the surreal capitalizing on a plandemic one of whose main purposes seems to have been – of all things – to kick religion in the face.
  • There is no time stamp for “the pandemic,” you know, like someone deputed by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church who is taking responsibility for making a scientific decision for the “end of the pandemic” when scientists have been lying and playing politics over against religion all along. The Covid-19 drama threatens to go on for many years to come. So…? Some dioceses very many hundreds of miles in length and breadth, having wildly diverse circumstances regarding geography, demography, (non-)movement of populations, and regarding how many enjoy immunity in whatever community for whatever reason, age, history of having gotten and gotten over the virus (I know some who got it in Italy and had to stay there until it was all over), and so on. So, the “sacerdos” on the ground is to make the decision.
  • There is no language such as “anything to the contrary notwithstanding,” nothing about penalties, no change in the General Institution of the Roman Missal for any future or continuing epidemics, no extra rubrics. Zippo. It’s a “Note”, right now, that is offered to “the priest.” Period.

Enough of that. Let’s move on to an analysis of the text, you know, the only official, signed text, in Latin. The other languages are not signed, so I’m thinking no one is wanting to claim those as “official translations.” It’s the Latin that has claim to being the “Note.”

  • “Dicta oratione ad benedicendos ceneres, et aspersis eis aqua benedicta, nihil dicens…” /// In my more pedantic and correct translation than that which is otherwise proffered, the meaning is as follows: “Having said the prayer for the blessing of the ashes, and with [ashes] having been sprinkled with blessed water, saying nothing…” /// Syntactically, the entire first paragraph is one sentence. This is merely the introduction to the rest of the sentence. But so far what we have are two past participles of whatever “voice” being subordinate to the present participle which carries, as it were, both of the other preceding participles. What this means is that although the first “dicta” (having said) would otherwise also mean “having pronounced”, being that it is subject to the present participle in the phrase “nihil dicens” (saying nothing), the reference to “dicta” at the beginning actually means something along the lines of “having made pretend to say”, so that the entire blessing is not pronounced except in the priest’s head, you know, because he actually is saying nothing – “nihil dicens” – for the actions of both preceding past participles of whatever voice. There are no words provided for the ashes having been sprinkled. No pronouncement = no blessing. The content of this note is fraudulent.
  • This first sentence continues as follows: “…sacerdos semel pro omnibus astantibus formulam ut in Missali Romano profert:…” /// [having wrought the preceding fakery mentioned at the beginning of this sentence…] …the priest once for all of those present pronounces the formula in the Roman Missal… /// So, now, the priest is actually to speak for the first and only time.”Sacerdos” is the subject of the main verb – profert – that carries the immediately preceding present participle in the phrase – “nihil dicens” – which in turn carries both past participles of whatever “voice” in the opening clauses.
  • The first sentence continues with its conclusion with references to options of what the priest is to pronounce just the one time for everyone: “Paenitemini, et credite Evangelio,” or “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.” /// “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

So, what we have are non-blessed ashes that have holy water sprinkled on them to an unknown effect for the Novus Ordo blessing of water or to the effect of an exorcism for the traditional formula, but nothing as a particular sacramental calling on the merits of Christ and the saints (as real sacramentals do): nothing about repenting specifically from sin. And how many people in the entire world go to Confession? A few hundred? A few thousand? Out of more than a billion? I note about this note, say, in the English “translation”, that the translator found it so very absurd that he broke up the first sentence into three, changed the participles to active verbs, and changed the meanings. But as I have noted previously, even that wasn’t good enough to overcome the surreal nature of this note.

Also, to repeat what I’ve said before, if mere ashes are disrespected and at the same time subjected to hyperventilating fake rubrics, what are we to do to make this consistent with the actual rubrics of Holy Mass about Him, who is infinitely more important, Jesus, Christ our God. Are the consecrations to have been said without saying anything – Nihil dicens – so that there are no actual consecrations of any bread or wine, so that there is, then, no Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ present, so that it is all a simulation of a Sacraement? Is the instruction about the “Body of Christ” or “Corpus Domini Iesu Christi…” therefore an encouragement to commit idol worship, something that we’ve already seen with the Pachamama fiasco?

Commentary on the rest of this “Note” and the additional rubrics others have given – totally absurd – will have to wait for another day. I can only be fed so much feces before wanting to throw up. I’m too weak. Sorry.

7 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Holy See, Liturgy

7 responses to “Ash Wednesday Covid-19 Ashes Latin *Note* signed, but… wait… what?

  1. Nan

    Moot point at my Byzantine parish; Pure Monday is in a week, ashes aren’t a thing.

  2. I to wonder if your prayer over the ashes can be said “in a low voice” rather than being said “in your head.” Also, this has already been one long Lent. Some have been praying for Easter for well over a year.

    • Father George David Byers

      Nihil is altogether nihilist. Having said that the answer to your question is yes. But I will pronounce the blessing as loudly as the Gospel. Or are we also forbidden to preach. It is entirely absurd. This donkey priest will be braying loudly.

      • I get the reasoning behind your answer. Prior to COVID I have witnessed both the quiet and loud approach. I do understand that when one is unjustly told to be quiet, there is an obligation to shout.

      • Father George David Byers

        What I mean is they should stop for one second to see if they are consistent. They are not. Do they want the Gospel to be read sotto voce or Nihil dicens? I will simply carry on carrying on as always.

  3. Tom Schott

    Your strength and courage is contagious and a blessing to your flock. Stay strong and know that you have an army of prayer warriors with you.

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