Category Archives: Liturgy

Traditionis Custodes: some observations and prophesies

Let’s begin this screed here in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC, USA, with our Vicar General’s email sent out late Saturday night [the day after, 17 July, 2021]. It contained the above PDF from the Most Reverend Bishop. We are now to “begin to study” [indefinite time frame] and only then will we “being to consider” [a consecutive indefinite time frame]. That refers to quite a long space of time, which is prudent, given the weighty but oft contradictory commentary of Canon lawyers, bishops and cardinals, with wildly different and contradictory applications right throughout the world.

This already testifies to the stunningly ambiguous and imprecise nature of both the “Letter” of Pope Francis and the “Motu proprio”. This allows for lots of wiggle room, say, loopholes. In the discovery of those loopholes, those suffering the restriction are to be given the widest possible latitude, the least restrictive interpretation possible.

There is some emotionalism regarding this highly controversial letter because of the Promethean “manner and tone”, angry and sarcastic, the taunting, the baiting. It’s quite bullying, non-Fatherly, quite the iron fist, no mercy, no accompaniment, just a literal casting into the peripheries (further comment on that below). In other words, however imprecise the Canon law in these “documents” of Pope Francis, we know precisely, incisively, painfully, exactly what he means. Burn it all!

It’s prudent to wait some time while more knowledgeable minds opine. I saw a great comment the other day, for instance, which would solve a great deal of anguish:

  • When there is a matter of discipline, that is, something not absolutely essential to the faith, an odious and unbearable burden foisted upon Christ’s faithful, priests or laity, any demand for obedience to that prescription, that law, can be lifted by the local ordinary with the stroke of a pen. Yes. Very cool, that. I mean, we’re interested in the motivation of Canon Law and other law, that is, the care of souls, the cura animarum. I, for one, expect this care for Jesus’ Little Flock from our Shepherds.

There is concern that “at the moment, and until further notice [uh oh… or is that just being diplomatic? ;-) ] those priests who have already been offering the Extraordinary Form of the Mass [btw: using that language is a most polite but strong rejection of Pope Francis’ efforts, much along the lines of what Cardinal Mueller has just published. ;-) ] may continue to do so.” Great, for the moment, I mean, that does sound a bit ominous, but we’ll see how it works out.

There is also the statement that we will be “moving together as a diocese in a smooth and orderly transition to the new course charted by Traditionis Custodes.” That is also a merely very carefully phrased statement, for it could include dispensations from prescriptions that are most odious to the faithful. ;-)

While there are a myriad internal inconsistencies and contradictions and impossibilities and ambiguities in both the “Letter” and the “Motu proprio” of Pope Francis, there are a couple of observations which I am compelled in conscience to make as a priest of Christ Jesus.

MY OBSERVATIONS:

There are circumstances in which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered in the traditional use is cast right out of any parish church. Well, there are consecrated non-parish churches or chapels close to Charlotte, such as Belmont Abby and, certainly, the new seminary chapel. And that makes me laugh out loud with great joy. You can’t get better than that, you know, if you live nearby to those places, you know, like the seminarians. Door to door travel time both ways for someone in my parish would be fully ten hours, not to mention the time to arrive early, assist at the Mass, and a little time to pray afterward. Can you imagine the burden for those who are elderly, weak? How terribly cruel would that be? Very.

The solution for my parish, in the middle of nowhere back-ridges at the end of the diocese, would be to sanction that this form of the Mass be offered in the ultra-filthy slimy Community Center of the town. The Mayor of Andrews has already promised that I can have a few early morning hours every Sunday provided no one else has signed up for that time. And that’s unworkable for a thousand reasons where people travel from a number of other states to get here.

But this brings us to the heart of that which horrified me. There are plenty of good reasons for Holy Mass to be said outside of any parish church. Priests said Holy Mass in their bunks in Auschwitz, for instance. Or how about this:

But this action of Pope Francis is an attack from inside the Church. Not to be done.

To throw out any Rite of Holy Mass, right out of any and all parish churches, is to physically throw Jesus Christ Himself out of His own church, His own sanctuary, His own altar. “Damn you, you damn Jesus!” Isn’t that what’s being said? Just a question. But a valid and necessary question that is, at any rate, perhaps, rhetorical.

Oh, I forgot! I get it now! Pope Francis did this on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Alexander Tschugguel went into the Carmelite church at the end of Via della Conciliazione up from the Vatican, grabbed the demon idol Pachamama, brought it to the Tiber River, and threw it in the river. What Pope Francis is doing – throwing Jesus out of His own church – is it in vengeance for Pachamama being thrown out? Remember that Pope Francis held a worship ceremony for the demon idol Pachamama, and then had the demon Pachamama placed on the Papal Altar in Saint Peter’s (above Saint Peter’s bones). This is the Bdelugma, the abomination of desolation where it should not be (see Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14).

In other words, Pope Francis has equated Jesus and Pachamama.

  • “But Father George! Father George! You obviously didn’t read what Pope Francis wrote about how much he hates abuse of the New Order of Mass! What you say cannot be! You’re an old meanie, rigid!”

Well, here’s the deal, for Pope Francis there is no abuse possible in the Novus Ordo Mass, for he himself is the worst abuser of the New Order of Mass, having enthroned the demon idol Pachamama on the Papal Altar.

HERE’S MY PROPHESY:

There will be forced concelebrations of all priests once a month, say, with their bishop at their Cathedrals, with each occasion having having a different theme:

  • Gay-marriage theme in honor of enculturation of Germany
  • Demon Pachamama idol theme in honor of enculturation of the Amazon
  • Dirt-bringing theme in honor of enculturation of aboriginal peoples in Australia
  • Red-Mass theme in honor of pro-abort politicians, making sure all them get Holy Communion
  • Need I continue for all 12 months of the year? I think you get the idea. Perhaps you can think of other themes.

If you are a bishop somewhere in this world trying to suck up to Pope Francis, smashing down priests, but having no intention of following up yourself on such diabolical behavior, know that you will be the next target. If this is done to Jesus, don’t think you are safe. And then what will you do? Follow Jesus or deny Him. Those who deny Him in this world be denied by Him before His Heavenly Father.

BONUM EX INTEGRA CAUSA, MALUM EX QUOMUNQUE DEFECTU:

“A thing is good because it is integrally so; a thing is evil on account of any defect. An evil law is no law at all. It can’t be obeyed or disobeyed; it is simply nothing. The law-giver is acting ultra vires, beyond his powers. It is to be ignored.

To put that differently, disobedience of a subject to an evil order from a superior is supreme obedience, an act of charity beneficial to the subject, to the superior, to all others who hear of it.

I AM JOYFULLY ENTHUSIASTIC IN MY HOPE TO SEE POPE FRANCIS IN HEAVEN

I’m not angry, bitter, upset with Pope Francis. I pray for him. Thanks be to God and to the prayers of many, even I rejoice in profound peace. I offered Holy Mass for Pope Francis today. I included bishops who are cancelling priests unjustly. I included priests who are have been cancelled, and those who are in the process of being cancelled unjustly, and know it or don’t know it.

The irony is that the Holy Mass that I offered was in the use of the Traditional Latin Mass at the main parish Mass in the Main parish church this past Sunday, two days after this was forbidden. The letter of my own bishop was sent out late Saturday night, but I knew nothing of it until after Sunday, on Monday morning. :-)

God called us to live in this time. Let us have the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit, come what may. Hail Mary

OH! AND HERE’S ANOTHER PROPHESY…

I’m thinking that Pope Francis will require all priests to get vaccinated with vaccines which are dangerous and immoral, having been derived from living tissue ripped from babies as they are taken living out of the womb. Priests who are faithful to baby Jesus in the womb of His dear Immaculate Virgin Mother will be dismissed forthwith from the clerical state (laicized) and large numbers of Jesus’ Little Flock will be deprived of the sacraments. Jesus is not happy with that, nor is our Blessed Mother.

ONE LAST PROPHESY…

Those who are close to Jesus and Blessed Mother (say the Rosary!) will find themselves rejoicing in heaven.

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Why the Lectionary was incorporated into the Traditional Roman Missal

A priest friend visited today. He instructed me on why it is that the readings for Holy Mass were incorporated into the Roman Missal, for instance, in the early Missale plenum and then with the Tridentine Missale Romanum established with Quo primum. The words of Sacred Scripture are inspired by the Holy Ghost to form us into the One Living Word of God, the Eternal Logos, who is Himself being sacrificed on the Altar, and are appropriately, as it were, sacrificed with Him.

To put it differently, it is with the Holy Sacrifice that we are made one with the Head of the Body being sacrificed, He the Head, as Saint Paul says, and we the members, we who are being sanctified also with those words of Sacred Scripture inspired by the Holy Ghost and which were inspired in such manner as to assist us in being formed into that One Living Word of God in that Sacrifice of His.

I recall the critica textus project of the dogmatic first decree of the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent which proclaimed that the inspired words of the original language manuscripts (be they Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician…), those scrolls and papyri and codices, can be established if we can but ascertain which books and sentences and words were to be found always in the ancient Latin Vulgate (from Saint Jerome until April 8,1546) in all ages as used in the Sacred Liturgy of the Church, particularly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Word Incarnate, what with those words being inspired for our sanctification when the Eternal Word is lifted up on the Cross. The Holy Ghost did not inspire the words uselessly!

I already knew the mind of the Fathers of the Council of Trent on this matter. But it was like a light-switch turning on when this priest friend mentioned the Scriptures being on the Altar of Sacrifice bringing us all to Jesus on the Altar.

That is so different from the Scriptures being aimed at the congregants from some ambo or lecturn or podium or whatever. The lecturn thing is like smashing the congregants over the head with the Bible instead of inviting them right into the very Sacrifice of Christ Jesus Himself, we united with Him, upon the Altar. So. Very. Different.

The exception proving the rule in the Traditional Mass is that during a High Mass the scriptures are brought off the Altar to the “Liturgical North” – and not recited to the congregants present, but are read against the enemies, who are so often scripturally and figuratively depicted as being from “the North.” It is the Sacrifice of the Altar going all Ecclesia militans, all Church Militant, with the Holy Scriptures. The congregants are not being smashed over the head with a Bible, but are joining the Holy Spirit over against the demonic oppressors of the Church, you know, for their conversion. And this is, of course, the fullest action of being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, this solidarity with Jesus in His epic battle over against Satan and the demonic minions so as to claim us once more as His own. This is how the congregants are invited to be placed on the Altar with those inspired words as the Holy Sacrifice then proceeds.

The “Table of the Word” and the “Table of the Meal” thing emptied both the Scriptures and the Sacrament and the Sacrament’s Sacrifice in the perception of monstrous liturgical terrorists. How much we have lost. I recall that back in the bad old days at the North American College in Rome, America’s Seminary, an unveiled ciborium, apparently with the Blessed Sacrament contained therein, was placed on the Altar for adoration, and yet, with a lectionary enthroned elsewhere in the sanctuary with a superabundant explosion of flowers and fanfare and incense.

I think it is important to re-incorporate the Lectionary into the Roman Missal, lest we turn (in our own perception) the entire economy of salvation inside-out, upside-down, back-to-front. Oh, I forgot, we still have Summorum Pontificum!

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Dominus vobiscum! as priest rips his heart out of his chest before God and everyone

A priest friend visited today. He instructed me on one of those “rule and regulations” that are so unpopular in Rome right about now. It’s about one of the most commonplace rubrics directing what the priest is to do when he offers that oft-repeated blessing of those assisting with Holy Mass: Dominus vobiscum – “[May] the Lord be with you.”

When the priest says Dominus vobiscum, he (traditionally) begins with hands together at the sternum and then moves his hands outwardly only as far as either side of his rib cage, not as far as he can stretch his hands (as has done by some religious orders and in various countries with another symbolism altogether). This limited action, he said, had been very strict in the strictly Roman Latin Rite (there being some 28+- Latin Rites).

The first time in, say, a Low Mass, that the priest says Dominus vobiscum is when he is just about to ascend the steps to begin Holy Mass. He surely feels entirely unworthy, and, indeed, he has just finished reciting the confiteor, striking himself thrice for having sinned: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. And now he makes brave to ascend to the Altar of Sacrifice, to the Most Sacred Mysteries. How could he do this, freakishly unworthy sinner that he is?

Dominus vobiscum, he cries out. And in spreading his hands from the sternum to the edges of his rib cage, he is symbolically ripping open his rib cage, revealing to all that while he is inept and entirely unworthy, his heart is now that of Christ Jesus, in whose Person he will offer the Holy Sacrifice of our redemption and, please God, our salvation. Those present, horrified by his unworthiness and yet taken by the great mercies of the Most High, pray for the priest as well: Et cum spiritu tuo (and [may the Lord also be] with your spirit [because you’re certainly in need of that mercy]).

  • “I will appoint over you shepherds after my own Heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.” (Jeremiah 3:15)

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Sanctuary renovation continues

The Epistle side Communion Rail granite top is now installed. We did more logistics work on figuring out how to secure the tabernacle. There is much work to be done, some months methinks.

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Catheads n Soppins n Sanctuary Renovation

  • 6:00 am text: You got ten minutes to get to church.
  • 6:01 am text: 11
  • 6:02 am text: k

After plotting how to continue with the sanctuary renovation, specifically with security of the tabernacle, after noting how great the altar progress and Communion rail progress is going (though one rail broke but that’ll maybe be taken care of by Saturday morning), we raced off to Grandpa Charlie’s for some breakfast.

Catheads n soppins are bisquits and pepper gravy. Great omelet as well. The Mud Coffee was spectacular. [I’ve done my USCCB alternative penance for Fridays first thing this morning.] Here’s some pics of the sanctuary renovation:

We’re taking it slow. There’s much more to be done for both. The altar, for instance, needs some crosses and a sepulcher for relics, plus the marble pillars to either side (we have those) and some kind of art work for the middle, and needs the consecration rites with the Sacred Chrism. SLOWLY. We wanna do it right.

We will surely have appropriate pictures for the diocesan newspaper (they’ve been chomping at the bit) when we do the consecration. That’ll take time. SLOWLY.

By the way, about the Catheads n Soppins above. Here’s the deal: plotting out progress on such projects is an ongoing process necessitating lots of sit-downs, and can’t be put in architectural drawings forced onto unknown situations regarding the structure of the building, especially considering limited funds in the tiniest parish in North America. It has to be done detail by detail over months and months, and months and months…

There are those with unlimited resources who can force restructuring of entire buildings and don’t understand this SLOWLY-method at all. They are the kind who buy a new vehicle when a hubcap pops off. They can afford it, and they don’t care. But when you have shoestring budgets, this is how you do things.

I remember a church project somewhere in the world that we got done for 10,000 thousand dollars when the recommendations by the those with unlimited resources wanted to spend 600,000.00 bucks. Yep. And we did it ten times better. But the way which involves the parishioners as a parish family – always the way to go – involves Catheads and Soppins. I love that. Parishes are about Jesus and parishioners, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to more Catheads n Soppins. :-)

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Altar Rails aka Communion Rails installation has begun! How to:

Our craftsmen arrived from Brevard before lunch. Let’s see some progress. A threaded pipe… Interesting. How’ll that work?

The end posts of the altar rails slide over the pipes and are then capped on their threaded tops:

The we placed the cap across the lengths of the rails:

But that picture is unfair, as we do not yet have the granite inserts, 4 inches by 10 feet each. They are due to be delivered later this evening. The design boasts of bevelled pillars thinner at the top than the bottom as one might find in ancient Rome. The simplicity, strength, appropriateness is stunning. I’m very pleased altogether.

The actual altar top is also set to be delivered this evening. It will be less deep front to back, but longer side to side. , which itself will be less “deep” but longer side to side. It may not look like it in this picture but a priest will be able to offer Holy Mass from either side of the altar as per diocesan regulations. No problem. The altar is also far from finished. It will take quite a bit of logistical arranging to engrave the crosses and the “sepulcher” for relics and get ready for the consecration. We’ll have to get some hand made altar linins from Connecticut for the first waxed cloth, another to protect that (both of those the same size as the top of the altar only) and then other fuller cloths that will drape slightly over the edges and can be changed out for the liturgical seasons. To either side of the two pillars on the front of the altar there will solid marble stones with engraved crosses (those have a story about which I now have more details). That will frame the center of the altar. I’m thinking about perhaps putting a mosaic or a carving of the Last Supper. We will see.

The granite for the “altar of repose” as it is somehow called, will also be delivered later this evening. Obviously, we’re not ready to install that yet, so we still have no tabernacle in place. That will take quite a while, as security is paramount.

All the granite for all the pieces was cut from the same slab from Brazil.

We’re going to be creating two lecturns and a credenza.

Some notes:

  • None of the monies for this project came from the parish. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There were plenty of anonymous donations. Most of the money came from out-of-state. All of it was in the form of restricted donations. It all just started pouring in. The angels were at work.
  • Some will immediately notice the candle sticks on the altar, that they are the “wrong side.” Whatever. If someone comes to the parish and wants to offer Holy Mass against the people (versus populum!) the candlesticks take seconds to more from one side to the other. Easy.
  • Some will immediately notice the crucifix on the altar besides the crucifix that will top the tabernacle. Yes, well, that crucifix on the altar of Sacrifice (by the way) is actually hidden by altar cards when we’re offering the Sacred Mysteries by making use of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

The diocesan newspaper has been chomping at the bit to put up some pictures. These are not them. I want to wait until the fullness of the work has been wrought. Sorry! This is just a progress report.

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The Joy of Unboxing Mantillas

That picture is from some time in Lent. It’s just to show what a mantilla is. I saw these in the early to mid 1960s when I grew up in Minnesota. But they are making a comeback in no small measure due to our more devout Latino community. Mantillas are catching on with our “Anglo” community.

Before Holy Mass the other day one such “Anglo” lady was opening up a box she had received, opening it up in church. She was so excited that she couldn’t help herself. Her order of mantillas had arrived. Black and white and gold, simple and ornate. She wants to start a business making mantillas. Cries of joy. Meanwhile, other ladies coming in for Holy Mass shared her joy and got to wear one of the mantillas and declared their enthusiasm to start wearing the ones they had once again.

I declared again that I think I have the best parish in the world and we proceeded to the Holy Sacrifice.

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*Ad orientem* joy for Southern Baptist, and – oh yes – Catholics too!

While preaching on ad orientem logistics for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, taking emphasis off the knucklehead priest and pointing everyone to the One High Priest, our Eucharistic King, Christ Jesus, a southern Baptist lady in the back of the church cried out: “Praise Jesus!” She later told me that she wanted to everything she could about the Catholic Church and Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass, she wanted that lively reverence before Him who gave Himself to redeem us and save us. So, just to say it:

Ad orientem is the best evangelization tool we now have. And in its proper setting.

Stats are now plummeting for Catholics. I thought it was that 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus. Father Altman just mentioned that this is edging toward 80%.

Are we sick of failure yet? Are we sick of the loss of souls yet? Do we have the fortitude to point to Jesus yet?

The Catholics in the parish to this point for weeks have been 100% positive, recounting profound soul-felt devotion and reverence once again that they haven’t experienced for some fifty+ years.

So, what are we to conclude from that?

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Ad orientem: conscience & memory. “Are you finally sick of it, bishop?” “Yep.”

Cardinal Ratzinger vintage 1991 in Dallas addressing the U.S. Bishops Conference had it that we cannot begin to have any kind of viably working conscience such as we have with the grace of enmity over against Satan as promised in Genesis 3:15 if we do not have an inkling of the Sacrifice outlined in that verse, whereby the Redeemer and, please God, our Savior, takes the initiative to reach out His heel to crush Satan, knowing that He Himself would be crushed, that He would lay down His life for us, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to provide us with forgiveness and eternal life through, with and in Him.

In other words, we tend to want to congratulate ourselves that we are “nice people”, you know, that because of whatever nice thing we think we are doing we are now back more or less to the pristine Garden of Eden, so that we can do no wrong, giving ourselves a license to sin, ignoring that those were the conditions in which original sin took place. We cannot begin to know, to live in the least way what it is to be in the grace of God analogous to what it was like before original sin – that anamnesis, that living memory if you will – if we we do not first of all have the anamnesis, the living memory if you will – of the Sacrifice promised in Genesis 3:15 and accomplished by Christ our God, who Himself said: “When you do this, do this in memory of me.” We cannot live the grace of redemption without first accepting redemption in salvation.

https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/conscience-and-truth-2468

As has always been the great liturgical tradition, we look to the East, the pristineness, the early morning rising – to go waaay back in the etymology of the Scriptural vocabulary involved – to meet with our Redeemer, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son. As we are reminded in the book of Revelation, we will all look upon Him whom we have all pierced, men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, together, priest and laity, for Christ Jesus is our One High Priest.

How can a priest dare to shove his own face versus populum, toward “the people”, instead of being with them ad orientem, looking toward the One High Priest who is Himself the Altar and the Lamb of Sacrifice. How can the laity not get sick of looking at the face of a mere human being, a merely ordained priest.

(1) Anecdote time: In my own parish, I remember one day the other year when my congregation literally shoved the altar back and changed the candles around to the correct side of the altar so that we would all be facing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together. They did this without me asking. It is to rejoice.

(2) Anecdote time: In this account don’t be thinking that you know who I’m talking about since I’ve been in a zillion cathedrals in a zillion [arch]dioceses right around the world. I’ve been friends with a multitude of bishops, archbishops and cardinals.

The back story of this account is that, traditionally, a bishop’s cathedra, a bishop’s chair in the sanctuary of a cathedral, his teaching chair, is off to the side, a symbol that he is NOT the teacher, but that Christ Jesus is the One Teacher, the One Magister.

Traditionally (and not speaking of exceptions such as massive basilicas), the tabernacle is most diocesan cathedrals has been situated in the high altar, front and center, that to which the entire architecture of the sanctuary and church pointed, as it should be. More recently, we have seen most tabernacles in cathedrals cast to the side while the bishop’s chair is moved up front and center where the tabernacle had been. This paradigmatically changed perspectives of people: the bishop is god and he is alone the teacher.

In our present anecdote, a bishop of my acquaintance was sitting in his cathedral, empty at that time of day, except for the rector of the cathedral who was in the pew behind him. At a certain point the rector learned forward to start a quiet conversation with the bishop along the lines of the Prophet Nathan with King David:

  • Rector: “Are you finally sick of it, bishop?”
  • Bishop: “Sick of what?”
  • Rector: “Look up in the sanctuary. Aren’t you finally sick of sitting where Jesus should be?”
  • Bishop: “Do what you have in mind.”

And so it happened that the rector of that cathedral forthwith placed the cathedra, the seat of the bishop, off to the side of the sanctuary, demonstrating that the bishop is submitting to the teaching of Jesus, the Son of God, so that then the tabernacle could once again find its rightful place front and center, enthroned as King, as it should be. It is to rejoice.

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♬ Latin ♬ Mass ♬Monday ♬ Wish ♬ It ♬ Were ♬ Sunday ♬

Some 7,000+ pilgrims, facing liturgical and actual East, were jammed into the eastern side of the Lower Basilica of Saint Pius X in the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes in France on the National Feast Day of France, the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God to heaven, soul and body, for a Solemn High Mass with yours truly being the “permanent chaplain” who, however unworthy, having once again kick-started after decades of dormition the official offering of the Traditional Mass starting in 2007, had the privilege of offering this Mass on this day in 2008, during the 150th anniversary jubilee of the apparitions in Lourdes.

Our dear Lord called me to be a priest during the offering of the Traditional Mass on the feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1962. I was born in February of 1960. So, just two and half years old. But I remember pretty much everything in my early years – always have – in fine detail, in color, with smells and bells, as it were. So, just to say, yes, I have a very deep seated, entrenched, and ever living “attachment” to the “Old Mass” (a misnomer on so very many levels). And it’s not just about entitlement of emotional attachment, you know, a weakness to be pitied. No. The Traditional Mass is who I am as a priest, who I am before God, quite literally and in every way, on every level.

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it has been celebrated throughout the life history of Holy Mother Church has for a long time been and is still today denigrated, held to be criminal, opening a priest up to persecution, bullying, brow-beating, suspension, removal from ministry, so that his salary is stripped from him, and all that he has to live on, including a place to say, something to eat, and then his insurance is removed, then his faculties, so that he is then held to be a mere liability and is dismissed from the clerical state. Just like that. Yep. Not infrequently either. This is the history of so many priests of my own acquaintance through the decades and still today.

After some eight years of catechesis of the parish, I have started to offer Holy Mass ad orientem, with “the people”, toward the East, toward Jesus, toward the Holy Sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

On Monday, I offered the Holy Sacrifice in what has been called the Extraordinary Form, the Old Rite, the Latin Mass, the Traditional Mass, the Gregorian Mass, etc. A crime? Surely, in the eyes of some. Pope Benedict ensured that priests could do this at their own discretion.

  • “But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! You’re divisory! You’re not pastórial or pastóral or however you say it! You’re not appreciative of the Novus Pontifex, the New Scriptures, the New Liturgy, the New Morality, the New Doctrine! We worship Pachamama! We’re clever and sophisticated and up to date! Follow us, not that outdated not-divine Jesus! There are no sacraments! Come with us, for friendship!”

Mind you, none of that straw-man rubbish above is reflective of my parish. Only positive to date, 100%.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis and many of his favorite cardinals and his favorite bishops and his favorite priests and his favorite laity have been pushing for a localization of pachamama style liturgies as he himself has wrought on the central altar of Saint Peter’s, meaning anything even demonic is all good. The Novus Ordo Misae? I’m about done. It’s the boiling the frog so slowly that it’s dead before it knows it. I’m wanting out.

And yes, it’s true, with the “Old Mass” comes all that is ever ancient, ever new, all the goodness and kindness of Jesus, and the Living Truth that He is, all the doctrine, all the morality, all the sacraments. I’m for Jesus. How about you?

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Ad orientem! No compromise!

This was drawn by a nine-year-old. Such wisdom. Very close to Jesus. He was suffering terribly and throughout his life at that time. As far as I know, he’s still alive. God bless him.

This is called: “No compromise!” We’re the ones who are expendable. We are to be crucified to ourselves to live for Jesus.

This is why, getting back from Los Angeles, similarly encouraged about all that which is Catholic, Holy Mass in my parish was offered ad orientem, towards the Liturgical East, towards the Sacrifice on the Altar, Jesus, who is the Priest, Altar and Lamb of Sacrifice. These logistics are what the Church has for us in the rubrics, the liturgical law as provided and supported by the General Institution of the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo, mind you), which I’m guessing is obligatory for the New Order of Mass right across the New Roman Rite rite around the world, you know, unless there is some indult to force priests NOT to offer Mass the way standing liturgical law indicates. Anyone?

Personally, I’m sick of compromising with the freakishly anti-Christ Cromwell from back in the day and resurrected in our own times to corrupt our Divine Worship. Ask any Irish born priest about Cromwell, and if they are in any way faithful, they will tell you how angry they still are with him. It might take you a few years to get this out of them, so angry are they with the compromisers, but they will tell you eventually. And then… you… will… know…

I’m about at that point. I would die before worshipping Pachamama or going along anymore with the B as in B, S as in S that the inverted narcissist homosexualists have for us or are planning for us. Ain’t gonna happen. They have it that this most important thing to do is to smack down those who want to follow liturgical law, the most important thing is to pander to brow-beating and bullying by the really nice elites or “lets look good to the mass media fame.” I’m sick of it. I want to go to heaven. I want to be more childlike in my faith, with the good example of that little boy above. And if we all don’t do the same, says Jesus, we will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

But again, if there is contrary legislation, let me know. I’m happy to dialogue, but only as clever as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. God help me with both of those.

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Homily: Ad orientem – Getting the priest out of the way of Jesus! Finally!

Gotta tell you, only super positive, thankful, enthusiastic responses not only to the homily, but to the Holy Mass offered ad orientem (toward the liturgical East, toward Christ our God. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

What think you? Was I too rough on the versus populum (towards the people) thing?

This isn’t being “reactionary”, “rigid”, “conservative”… whatever. No. This is about making all things new with Him who is ever ancient, ever new.

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Burning the altar: dragons, lions, the Last One Standing after the battle

This is the old base of the old altar. Obviously it was one those tippy altars, almost tumbling over any number of times. It had to be done in. But I didn’t want to just use it for something else. What to do? That’s an easy question for me to answer, seeing what’s I have a backyard and matches. But the flames are rather… suggestive… Yikes!

Some might ask – and some have – going along with the looks of things for the sake of conversation: “But why would that happen like that?” … you know, ignoring how the box was made and the updrafts dependent on the logistics of the drafts and positioning of the wood, etc.

Here’s a thought: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is (1) the Last Supper united with (2) Jesus’ Passion and Death for our Redemption and Salvation on Calvary. Satan had already possessed Judas when the Last Supper took place on that Holy Thursday evening. Satan was present in Judas at the Last Supper. And, obviously, hell was entirely broken out on Calvary. When Satan thought he was being victorious over the God-Man Jesus, this is when the greatest glory of God’s love for us was being most manifest, glory upon glory. People think that Holy Mass is so holy that Satan couldn’t possibly be there. Instead, this is where he is, now trying to pervert the doctrine and morality of the priests, now trying to turn people away from Jesus.

The vast majority of Catholics no longer believe in our Eucharistic King, Jesus, who is, in fact, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. They are not doubting because of any scientific doubt. I’ve never once seen that. Instead, any doubt about our Eucharistic King stems from immoral lives and unconfessed sin. If the backsliders actually love Jesus they will keep His commandments. They will go to Confession. They will have the great joy of receiving Him in Holy Communion. And they will absolutely believe in the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. They will be humbly thankful.

Newly converted once again, they will be situationally aware as never before, knowing that Satan is prowling about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but they will remain steadfast, fearless, with Jesus. The Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is The Warrior with His mother over against Satan. Jesus is Himself the true Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Last One Standing, full of scars. Yes, He received those scars on Calvary, the Sacrifice of the Sacrifice of the Mass, but He has killed off the power of Satan, that fake-lion, and stands victorious.

  • I’m with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, not because I’m good, but because I’m forgiven. Jesus is good and kind.
  • I have no fear, not because I’m good, but because the One who is the Last One Standing wants me with Him. Jesus is good and kind.

The look on that Face is not threatening in the least. Rather, it’s a Face which says, “You see how I’ve loved you, fighting for you, unto death, and now I bring you to Life: Let’s go! And we are enthusiastic with His saying: “As the Master, so the Disciple.”

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The Chrism Mass children

All the placemats at the meal for the priests and seminarians after the Chrism Mass were created by the children of the parish school. This is a yearly consolation. They are as different one to another as are the kids themselves. I’m always eager to see what the placemat will be where I sit. I was very happy to see that Jesus’ good mom was accompanied by a Star of David. There are many hearts – Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart, and the hearts of those who are martyrs for the faith with all their churches throughout the world.

Here’s are those words in the middle with slightly greater context:

  • “All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In justice shall you be established, far from the fear of oppression, where destruction cannot come near you. Should there be any attack, it shall not be of my making; whoever attacks you shall fall before you.” (Isaiah 54:13-15)

Mind you, that’s not at all to say that we will not join Jesus on the Cross, that we will not join Mary on Calvary. We will have great peace in heaven from the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

You’ll also notice a number of three-leafed clovers in the placemat. Not only did we just have Saint Patrick’s Day, who used the clover as a way to teach about the Most Holy Trinity, but also the Cathedral Parish is named after Saint Patrick.

Hmmm… I didn’t eat the non-Keto carrot cake. The rector of the Cathedral sat the Bishop at our table. The table banter was good. Seated in front of me below is the Vicar Forane of my vicariate. There were two other priests and a seminarian, the latter of whom I had a great chat about the vocation to which our Lord calls us priests, that is, to get out of His way so that He shines forth as the High Priest for His little flock even through us.

In the end, all the priests of the diocese were invited for the Chrism Mass. Last year there were only a representative number. But I think we’re all quite sick of the politics of Covid-19.

As it is, I had been contacted by the Bishop’s secretary, making sure I would be at the Chrism Mass, since there were requests to the end that I pick up the sacred oils blessed and consecrated at that Holy Mass for a number of other priests who were not going to be in attendance. I did that. Now comes the delivery part, which is less easy. That will be an adventure.

Lots of friends were greeted. I had a great chat with the Vicar General afterward, and got lots of really sharp canon law advice on the Traditional Latin Mass, as it is called, that is, on the rubrical-sacramental law of 1917 still being in effect for that liturgy, even while the adjunct personal law regarding that liturgy now comes from the 1983 code. Thus:

  • Holy Communion can only be given on the tongue in the Traditional Latin Mass, since that is the rubrical-sacramental law of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.
  • The much lengthier fasting the priest was required to accomplish under the 1917 law is abrogated unto the law promulgated in 1983, as this is instead adjunct law regarding merely the very person of the priest himself.

Many readers have been praying for me, perhaps especially recently. I thank you. The sense of a profound peace and calm that I was in yesterday – and still today – immediately brought to mind those praying for me. That peace is all their “fault” so to speak. Thank you for that. It did me good. All in all, a great day on so many levels.

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Chrism Mass…

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Altar baldacchino secret of our sanctuary renovation

Underneath the canopy of pretty much any baldacchino anywhere in the world – where any still exist – you are likely to see an image of the Holy Spirit. In this case of Saint Peter’s Basilica on Vatican hill, you can also see the amber window of the Holy Spirit.

Below you see some progress being made with the base of our new mostly solid oak altar, which will have a near half-ton granite top. There is, however, for evenly flat and super strong support a maple topped sheet of plywood which will lie immediately underneath the granite which will itself overhang all sides. I insisted that this particular bit of maple plywood be used up top. It is from a 4’x8′ case housing protecting the delivery of a hand painted canvas that was intended to be used and was used for many years as a baldacchino over the ad orientem altar of Holy Souls Hermitage of yore.

Here’s a detail of that hand-painted baldacchino:

We can’t have a baldacchino in our little church since the ceiling is so low that, at the Consecrations at Holy Mass, the chalice almost bumps into that ceiling.

Now that the hermitage is gone forever, I was momentarily tempted to extract this detail of the Holy Spirit from that hand-painted baldacchino, reframe it, and place it front and center of our new altar. Even a detail would be too large.

But, since the beginning of the project, we’re hoping to find some kind of art-work typical of any ad orientem Altar of Sacrifice one might see in days more of tradition more so than our own, such as a mosaic or bas-relief sculpture of, say, the Last Supper. But that’s for the finishing touches. We continue the work.

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Santuary renovation: ad orientem?

The rule in the diocese here is that any sanctuary renovation must situate the altar to that the priest might be able to offer Holy Mass versus populum and also possibly ad orientem. Only with the most extreme difficulty could Holy Mass be offered ad orientem with the previous situation of a necessarily altogether too small platform raising the altar above the rest of the sanctuary floor.

What we were looking for is a real altar. Accomplishing that provided the opportunity to remove the platform. Doing that meant that the altar could now boast of possibilities for both the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” Roman Rite(s) of the Holy Sacrifice.

We’re preparing for the sake of charity and reverence altar rails or more accurately Communion rails. We’re is discussion stages for the construction and security of the logistics for the Tabernacle. The lecturn, the credence table, what we call the Mary table are also in the works. This is being done with donations, not from the parish funds.

You’ll notice that the altar beginnings pictured above with one of our parishioners seems to lack depth, and even length. But you’ll have to use your imagination coupled with a knowledge of how this altar is going to be used, possibly from both sides. When the granite altar top, the mensa is installed, it will over overhang a few inches both sides lengthwise and about six inches depthwise both in front and back. And, not to worry, we’re making sure this will not be tippy as was the other altar. The previous altar could literally be pushed over with one finger, and that’s been that way for some 55 +- years.

We’re aiming for high quality. The porcelain floor is from India, the granite from Brazil (that being in mockery of Pachamama).

We want the best for our dear Lord, next to whose Sacrifice His good mom stands.

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Old church sanctuary up in flames with two bonfires in rectory backyard

After about 1/8″ of drizzle fell during the other night, conditions were perfect for a bit of pyromania. All is safe, but I had a fire extinguisher and a water hose at the ready anyway. Also, both neighbors are at the top of their game in the town’s fire department.

The picture above shows the platform which was added to the step-up sanctuary floor. The rule in the diocese is that Holy Mass must be able to offered from either side of the Altar. Our sanctuary is so small that ad orientem was extremely difficult with the platform that had been added in post-Conciliar times. That platform had to go. That meant that we were able to rip up the cardboard Pergo flooring or whatever it’s called. Above is bonfire number one. Below is number two.

You gotta do what’cha gotta do. Soon to meet this fate a few late-1960s vestments, you know the kind, gaudy polyester and such. A very generous couple has provided us with extremely beautiful vestments that would be a joy for any church in Rome say, in 1962, or 1955, or during the time of Pope Pius X… More on that later.

Also, just to say, no puppy dogs were injured in these fires. They were locked out of the main-back-yard so that they wouldn’t step on any hot coals. :-)

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Sanctuary Renovation continues

The cement is down. The cement board is down, The mortar is down. The porcelain tile is down. The grouting still needs to be pushed in and the floor washed.

Meanwhile, logistics are being prepared for the Tabernacle. We’re getting closer to the construction of Communion Rails. The Granite Altar top will be cut, as will the pieces to be used with the Tabernacle and the Communion Rails.

Here’s the beginnings of the “box” upon which the Altar top will be laid. The plywood on the floor is simply providing a flat surface for now.

The front of the Altar will be oak boards. It will look good on it’s own, but we’re looking into seeing about getting a mosaic or bas relief to install on the front. That’s the least of our worries right now. We’re trying to get back into church as soon as possible.

In these days of chaos, Holy Mass is being offered in the social hall. Grrr… But my thoughts at this time have gone to the chaos on Calvary and to those who are suffering terrible persecution right now, likely with no possibility of Holy Mass or only in very compromised situations. Holy Mass has been offered in concentration camps. We’re doing well.

Just in case anyone is wondering, we have not provided any quarter for any pagan idol Pachamama statue. Instead, the granite for the Altar top comes to us from Brazil. This is our way of doing reparation for the sins against the first commandment.

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Mistakes or a nod to the demonic in 1960s church sanctuary renovation?

The above picture depicts Easter Sunday at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in 1962, the opening of the church after having finished construction by the Glenmarys, who are responsible for opening most parishes in WNC Appalachia. Even in 1962, it was a fad to do up minimalist references to the divine. But at least they still had ad orientem and the Communion Rail and proper cassocks and surplices for the altar boys.

But by the end of the Second Vatican Council (1965), an ironing board freestanding moveable altar (super-tippable) was hacked together from dozens of scraps of plywood and placed versus populum on the one-step elevation, all the way to the front of that step. sigh… At the same time, the Communion Rail (Altar Rail) was ripped out and the back altar was ripped out. I’m just as happy that the original ad orientem altar was destroyed as it couldn’t haven’t been uglier, couldn’t have been more weird, or so I thought, until now.

The ironing-board altar had a rock face made from scraps of the back of the chimney seen behind the altar above. The hearth faced into the residence in back of the church. Here’s a picture of the scraps making a design:

If you can’t see the only possible design that can be picked out, here’s some help:

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The ladies in the parish hated this and had gone out of their way to cover it up with upholstery cloth, etc. It could have been turned around so that it would be an upright cross, not upside down. I wasn’t much bothered by it because I had once been an assistant priest at a parish named after Saint Peter Apostle. You’ll recall that he was crucified upside down out of an abundance of humility, not presuming to be crucified as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, the presumption of that motivation for installing the rock insert upside down, as it were, disappeared entirely, when, in the prep work for installing a new porcelain floor previous to installing a new Altar, Altar Rails, and some new logistics for the Tabernacle, something unexpected was discovered.

The ad orientem Altar had been replaced already around 1965 with a kind of Tabernacle stand (which was at least in the center of the sanctuary). That also had a rock face incorporating two vertical pieces of stone, each with a tall cross etched in and plated with gold.

Fine. But, two crosses there along with a third in the ironing board versus populum altar recalls the crucifixion of Our Lord on Calvary, not that of Saint Peter. So, surely the upside down bit in the new altar was a mistake by a drunk and disorderly workman. But, as far as I know, all the workmen were Glenmary priests and brothers, as that’s what they do, constructing churches and opening up parishes on a shoestring budget in counties where there are not any Catholic churches and only a few Catholics. Kudos to them for such evangelization. It is what it is, or is there something worse?

Those two stones under the mid-1960s Tabernacle stand with the two tall crosses in them were faced backwards and were unseen for the last 45+- years. When we ripped apart that Tabernacle stand, it was noticed that the crosses were also installed upside down. That would be three crosses installed upside down. What the hell? (That using proper theological terminology in that question.)

I got a call from a parishioner spearheading the work with all this: “Have you seen these big stones up at the church? You gotta come up here and see this?” Here’s a picture of them right-side-up, because leaving them upside down was too offensive to him, even for another couple of minutes of my travel time up to the church.

It’s kinda hard not to notice that those tall crosses would be upside down. I don’t know the story here, who was who in doing the work, but I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I’ll do an exorcism over these stones and they will be incorporated again into a new construction. After all, the “third” cross, that of our Lord, is between them, up high. All will be good again. And they will be right side up.

STORY TIME: In yet another parish in upstate New York, the fiasco of building the church was related to me. There is an analogy with what happened here in Andrews, NC.

Up in New York, the daily construction work of the field stone church was destroyed nightly, for weeks by a nefariously lodged-up group. Parishioners were resilient in construction, but were getting frustrated. The railroaders back in the day heard of the anti-Catholic attacks and stood guard at night. The church was successfully constructed. But the Catholics didn’t have the last laugh. Not at all.

That church had a basement, which sported a rectangular cement support from the floor of the basement up to the flooring of the sanctuary just the size of the heavy stone altar in order to support it’s great weight. But, of course, that was ripped out in order to put in, yet again, an ironing board altar. As the old altar was removed, parishioners were able to see down the rectangular cement support structure, and they saw a box just begging to be opened. Was it a time-capsule? No, no.

It contained a note to future generations the nefarious intent of those who had been destroying the daily construction of the church building, and an entirely credible claim as to who the perpetrators of the hate crime were, namely, a very specific lodged-up group. Sigh. Of course, all those perps by this time have gone on to their eternal “reward”, as have, I’m quite sure, those who had done up the installation of the three upside down crosses.

Mind you, at my own parish church, back in the 1960s, the liberal Catholic culture was to have as little as possible refer to anything about God. I bet while these three crosses were being installed properly, the workman (not a Glenmary) was instructed to hide the two crosses as just the simple rock face would do just fine. It’s a lot of work to gouge out stone like this and paint it up all good. What a blow it would be to be told just to hide it all. I bet that’s when the guy lost whatever faith he had, and in retaliation, did reverse the stones, but them installed them upside down, and then did the same for stonework in the ironing board altar. I bet he’s repented since then. Prayers for them all.

Right now, we’re trying to be careful not to let any such malice or resentment make for that which is inappropriate.

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