"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"

"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"
"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ" according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider: 1. Mass versus populum. 2. Communion in the hand. 3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers. 4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form. 5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Et Verbum caro factum est

                                                 Et Verbum caro factum est 

                                              A READING FROM THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY: 

                                             IN THE 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when in 
                                  the beginning God created heaven and earth; from the flood, the 2957th 
                                  year; from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year; from Moses and the 
                                  going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th year; from the 
                                  anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year; in the 65th week according 
                                  to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; from the founding of 
                                  the city of Rome, the 752nd year; in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian 
                                  Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the 
                                  world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, 
                                  desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been 
                                  conceived by the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His 
                                  conception (A higher tone of voice is now used, and all kneel) was born 
                                  in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, having become man. 

                                  THE NATIVITY of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Father Renzo Lavatori on Angels

Angels exist but do not have wings and are more like shards of light, at least according to a top Catholic Church “angelologist” who says the heavenly beings are now back in vogue thanks to New Age religions.
“I think there is a re-discovery of angels in Christianity,” Father Renzo Lavatori told AFP on the sidelines of a conference on angels in a lavishly-frescoed Renaissance palace in Rome.
“You do not see angels so much as feel their presence,” said Lavatori, adding: “They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase.”
The clergyman was taking part in a debate on angelic art by the Fondazione Archivio Storico organised in the Vatican-owned Palazzo della Cancelleria.
He said the popularised image of angels is a necessary result of their being “back in fashion” but is dismissive of all the angel art around Christmas.
“There is space for that, but you have to understand that these are not real representations. Angels do not have wings or look like cherubs,” he said.
The widely-published Catholic clergyman is also a “demonologist” and says angels are more needed than ever because increasing secularisation and materialism in society have left an “open door” for the devil.
“There is a lot more interference from diabolical forces. That is why you see queues of people outside the exorcists’ offices in churches,” he said.
“Pope Francis talks more about the devil than about angels and I think rightly so. But it’s still early, he will get round to the angels too.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Catholic Collar And Tie: Traditional Believers: Beware!

Catholic Collar And Tie: Traditional Believers: Beware!: In a recent post I said (slightly revised here for clarity): Truly, since Tradition is a vehicle of Divine Revelation it is not Traditi...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent Confession

I recently had a conversation with a good friend regarding the practice of a holy confession. I related that I often felt a deep sense of inadequacy in making a confession. I attempt to spend some time in preparing with a proper examen and by praying the seven penitential Psalms etc. Yet I often find during confession that my mind goes blank and I often leave the confessional with rather mixed emotion (grateful for having been shriven but dissatisfied with my own sense of inadequacy).

 My friend related to me that when he went to confession, he simply allowed himself to be embraced by Jesus and to feel His love for him. He speaks directly to Jesus himself just as if He were sitting there and not the priest. He speaks directly to Jesus in his own wretchedness as his greatest love. 

  I have been watching the last few weeks a documentary series on the history of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A devotion that I have known and loved since my childhood. I have fond memories of sitting in my own parish church as a boy in the darkness which was only illuminated by the flickering of red votive lights before the image of the Sacred Heart and speaking to Him intimately heart to heart. 

Our Lord comes at crucial times to remind us of His great love for us just as he did to St Margaret Mary. Jansenism which stressed the divine justice at the expense of the divine mercy had left many hearts filled with fear or worse with feelings of hopelessness. These vestiges of Jansenistic tendencies are very much alive within the Church (especially here in America and above all among traditional Catholics).  Let us embrace Jesus in holy confession and allow Him to embrace us and to envelope us in His love and mercy in preparation for his birth.  Let us pray for one another that we might all arrive at the feast of Christmas with souls swept clean and prepared to meet our bridegroom. However, let us do this out of love for Him and not out of fear.

How to make a good Confession

1. Examine your conscience.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Confess your sins to a priest.
4. After your confession, do the penance the priest has given you.
5. Do not forget to thank God for His forgiveness, and ask Him to help you as you try to do better.
“The most precious result of the forgiveness obtained in the Sacrament of Penance is to be found in the reconciliation with God which takes place in the inmost heart of a son who was lost and is found again”.
Blessed John Paul II
Examination of Conscience

For any penitent:

Have I ignored God or excluded Him from my life?
Have I neglected my daily prayers or said them badly?
Is my daily prayer a real conversation with God in mind and heart?
Have I used the name of God, or of Our Lady, in anger or carelessly?
Did I miss Holy Mass on a Sunday or Holyday of Obligation through my own fault?
Did I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?
Do I observe the one hour fast before receiving Holy Communion?
Do I abstain from meat or perform some other act of penance on Fridays?

For spouses:

Do I pray for my husband or wife?
Am I critical of my spouse, putting them down in public or in private? What efforts have I made to demonstrate and foster the warmth of my love and affection for my spouse?
Do I try to make up whenever there has been a disagreement or do I allow things to fester beneath the surface? Am I too proud to say ‘Sorry’?
Do I mistreat my spouse verbally, emotionally or physically? Have we used artificial means of birth control in order to prevent having children?

For parents:

Have I neglected to teach my children their prayers and give them a Christian education?
Have I set my children a bad example by not bringing them to Holy Mass, or being careless about my religious duties?
Do I take care to ensure that my children do not witness arguments at home? Do I watch over the books they read and the television and videos they watch? Do I take care to ‘befriend’ my children? Am I over strict or over lax with them? Do I explain decisions to them and so help them grow to maturity?

For children:

Have I been disobedient or rude to my parents or teachers? Do I treat my parents with affection and respect? Do I pray for them?
If I live away from home, do I write to my parents and other members of my family in order to keep in touch?
Do I quarrel with my brothers or sisters or other members of my family? Do I study hard at school or college? Am I grateful for the sacrifices my parents have made for me? Do I show my gratitude?

For any penitent:

Am I careful to set my friends a good example, especially in matters of behaviour, attendance at Holy Mass and moral issues? Do I realise that my support might help them live up to their Christian calling?
Have I been impatient, angry or jealous?
Have I taken part in, or encouraged, an abortion or any other means of taking human life?
Did I get drunk, use drugs, or give bad example to others?
Have I placed myself in danger of sin by reading or looking at what was indecent or pornographic?
Have I sinned against the virtue of purity by myself or with others?
Have I been dishonest by stealing or cheating?
Have I been lazy at my work or at home?
Have I been uncharitable or unkind in thought, word, or deed?
Have I told lies? Do I judge others rashly?


•    If it is a long time since your last confession you can ask the priest to help you.
•    Don’t make the mistake of putting off Confession – that never solves anything.
•    Try to go to confession frequently – at least once a month.
•    Sin is any deliberate thought, word, action or omission which would be against the Commandments of God.
•    We have to be truly sorry for our sins, and to have the sincere intention of trying to improve our lives, for our sins to be forgiven.
•    We are bound to include in our confession every serious (or mortal) sin of which we are aware.
•    The conditions for a sin to be serious (or mortal) are:
1.    The offence must be serious.
2.    We must know that we are committing a mortal sin.
3.    There must be full consent of our will to the action.

At Confession
  1. Begin by saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It is …………weeks (or months, or years) since my last confession”.
  2. Then tell the priest the sins you remember since the last confession. (If any sins are serious, you should say how many times you have committed them).
  3. When you have finished your confession, just say, “I am sorry for these sins, and all the sins of my past life”.
  4. The priest may give you some advice, then he will give you the Penance (to be said later); and then he will ask you to recite an Act of Contrition. This is a common one: O my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you, and by the help of your grace I will try not to sin again.
  5. The priest then gives you the Absolution (in these words), through which your sins are forgiven:
  6. God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,  and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
  7. The priest may add this prayer:
  8. May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with everlasting life. Amen.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Carrying Our Lady Through Advent

There exists in German-speaking Europe a very praiseworthy custom during Advent known in German as, "Frauen Tragen" or "Carrying of Our Lady". It is a custom that we would do well to introduce here in North America. Above all to introduce authentic Marian piety to Catholic families and introduce the nightly family Rosary. 

Carrying Our Lady in Advent

"Carrying Our Lady - an old custom" - what is it? 

The "Carrying of Our Lady" is an old Christian Advent custom. The festive season is all about the path of renewal and pilgrimage: Mary and Joseph are traveling to Bethlehem, the shepherds search for the child. God and man are coming toward each other. The search for shelter, the biblical account in Luke 2.7 is: "because there was no room in the inn for them."

In the period from the first Sunday of Advent until December 24 Catholic parishes in December there is the opportunity with an image of the pregnant Virgin Mary represented along the lines of "Bogensberger Madonna" to be offered a place to stay in Parish family's homes or in their apartments.
The image of the Holy Virgin is passed during the Advent season from family to family. Our Lady remains emblematic in every family one day. In the evening the image of Our Lady is brought by the family to the next family. Upon arrival There will be an Advent devotional. The next day the statue is passed on to the next family. Or if there is no place to be found, Our Lady remains longer in that household until another family is found. The image can also visit in a kindergarten or day care center for carol singing for a day or a few hours and then brought back to the family for the evening.

Those families wishing to house the image of Our Lady in their homes, place their names on a designated list in November in the parish office. For a day - or more - this gives ample time for personal conversation with Our Lady, and on the other hand, there is the possibility for the family, to invite friends and family to an Advent rosary together.

The blessing and sending of the image of Our Lady takes place on first Sunday of Advent in the parish church, and on 24 December, the Mother of God is brought in procession to be received in the Christmas midnight Mass.


It is not known in how many parishes carry on the tradition of "carrying of Our Lady" which in other areas is also known as a "search for shelter for Our Lady". There is Evidence that it is common in any case in parts of Bavaria, Austria and more recently in the Rhineland. The custom is practiced in families, day care centers and other parish houses, there are different variants. The Marian image, which corresponds to the "Bogensberger Mother of God" and the pregnant Virgin as portrayed, in the 18th and 19 Century in many "common than Pilgrimage statues" (see Lechner, p 119). But there were e.g. and representations of the "Visitation", the visit of Mary to Elizabeth carried around.


One of the customs of the early 1990s from circulating letters from Linz states that "Seeking Shelter" begins nine days before Christmas. The magazine recommends:... "It is Best when we have a reception of the Image of Our Lady on December 16 in the church. Then during the midnight Mass the image is brought in procession back to the Church on Christmas Eve, it must be ensured that artistically acceptable images are selected, the image is not picked up by the next family but brought to it by the previous one in expectation. Along the way the family prays ideally the first two decades of the Joyful mysteries Rosary (aloud or silently), or sings Advent carols. " Vienna in 1990/91 there was a poll that showed the result that 59% of Catholic parishes practiced this tradition of "seeking a shelter for Mary".

Background Info

Web Links
Report on women wearing, introduced in a Catholic parish in Schäftlarn 2003, see

Documents, literature
Lechner, Gregory M.: The Bogensberger miraculous image of "Mary in the hope". In: Mary Everywhere. Landshut 1999, pp. 113-122.
Wolf, Helga Maria: The custom book. Old traditions, new traditions, customs, anti. Vienna 1992

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Venerable Bernhard Lehner of Herrngiersdorf (1930 - 1944)

Venerable Bernhard Lehner of Herrngiersdorf (1930 - 1944)

"Little Bernhard," as he is called by his many admirers affectionately, was born on the 4th of January 1930, the son of a carpenter in the Lower Bavarian village of Herrngiersdorf, near Regensburg. In baptism he received the name of the great mystic, St.. Bernard of Clairvaux. Even before his birth, he had been consecrated by his pious mother, Anna, to the Mother of God in Altötting. The large family lived in modest, but quite harmonious proportions. Even in primary school, he attended Holy Mass almost daily in the neighboring parish church in Semerskirchen. He made His first Confession and First Communion on the 16th of  April 1939 which were for him an important experience. This Probably germinated in him already the deeply felt desire: "I want to be something in order to get to heaven." To achieve this lofty goal, the little boy strove daily. So grew in Bernhard the desire to become a priest. His pastor was able to write in good conscience in his application for admission for the episcopal boy's seminary in Obermünster in Regensburg: ". Bernhard Lehner has the inclination and aptitude for the priesthood" After overcoming time-related difficulties - the wretched Nazi regime indeed which held Bavaria firm in its grip - the boy came on the 21st of September 1941 to Regensburg to visit as a seminarian the old school of the cathedral city. In his aspiration, he lived according to the principle: in the praying to be the most pious, the most diligent in studying and in recreation the most cheerful. The pious, fresh boy was loved by all. When he was allowed to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in 1942, he recorded in his diary a yellow star - the day meant to him the pinnacle of his short earthly life. Beginning in December 1943 Bernhard  fell ill of septic diphtheria. Hurriedly he was admitted to the urban children's hospital. Around Christmas, his condition deteriorated rapidly. The soft palate paralysis followed diaphragmatic paralysis.

Bravely, patiently, even cheerfully he endured all the pain. After a bout of weakness on the 16th of January 1944 he seemed to have come to an end. He asked for the last sacraments, and said to his family: "., Let me die: Who will cry when they get to heaven!" Finally, he died on 24 January 1944 to the last fully conscious. All who witnessed his death, had the impression that he had gone home like a saint. Even then his seminary director said: "Now we have an advocate in heaven" when he learned of the death of Bernard; Years later he said: "He was the best seminarian, I had in my 35-year seminary time" On 27 January 1944, a harsh winter day,many of the faithful came including countless children and young people, for burial in the small cemetery of Herrngiersdorf. This was not, of course, apart from the weather, because at that time in 1944 the Bavarian population had truly other problems. The sufferings of the war, Nazi harassment, bombings, food crisis and an uncertain future occupied the people. But at the funeral was a touching feeling of emotion. The participants, relatives, villagers, classmates, seminarians, teachers and seminary directors, they all felt, here's a little 14-year-old boy, whose only desire was to become a priest, was found ready for eternity before God: he was perfected early, he was spared the arduous earthly pilgrimage. In the life of Bernard no striking or even outstanding achievements of holiness stand out. Rather, his holiness came from a conscientious, persevering faithfulness in everyday duties: a "little way" ie, similar to the little St Therese of the Child Jesus.

Also Bernhard had a healthy, natural, fresh, happy and pious presence. But above all, his fine and compassionate, always helpful childlike quality is attractive, who sincerely took an interest in all suffering of those he encountered. The source of this is to be found in his generous love towards God's will and His commandments. Also noteworthy was his ardent devotion to the dear Mother of God, which was expressed in devout faithfulness to the rosary among other things. So he was in his lifetime and even after his death a silent role model for children and adolescents. The boy was, however, only during his serious illness, and on his death bed able to grow beyond himself. "Holy," he seemed to everyone who knew him and were allowed to visit him. His life, suffering and death, especially his love for God and neighbor left a strong and lasting impression. After the war the reputation of Bernhard spread by leaps and bounds as an intercessor at the throne of God, first in his immediate homeland, then in Bavaria and far beyond. The Regensburg Bishop Michael Buchberger (1927 - 1961) was prompted by that fact to initiate the process of beatification from 1950 to 1951. On 14 September 1952 the mortal remains were carried in a solemn transfer and burial of the Servant of God in a tomb of the Herrngiersdorf parish church. About 20,000 of the faithful attended. Since then, the beatification process in Rome is pending and in the meantime was also the basic question of whether one can already speak of heroic virtue in children, has been positively resolved. Thus the conditions for the continuation of the process are present .1994/95, also a necessary addition process has been performed.

There continues to be amazingly great devotion among the Catholic people in continually trust in his intercession. Thousands of answers to prayer are not to be overlooked. During the audience granted by the Prefect of the Congregation of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, of 2 April 2011 authorized Pope Benedict XVI. the Congregation to promulgate the decree on the heroic virtues of Bernhard Lehner. The church confirmed that: Bernhard lived the Christian virtues of his age and level in  an exceeding manner. He can now be referred to as "venerable servant of God." It is hoped, assuming a detectable miracle that the venerable servant of God Bernhard Lehner will be given the honors of the altar.  Therefore, all the faithful are invited to bear their petitions through his intercession before God in prayer alongside their own concerns. A help and inspiration to offer the following prayer. 

prayer for the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Bernhard Lehner 

Triune God, the crown of all holiness! You always awaken new saints in your church. We ask that you let your servant Bernhard Lehner, who has to you and neighbor out of love all his duties conscientiously fulfilled, will soon be raised to the honors of the altar, that he may be to all the faithful, especially the children and young people, a model of Christian life and so that you, almighty God, are glorified by him all the more so where you live and reign for ever. Amen.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism

Is this directed at traditionalists (from Evangelii Gaudium)?

"The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those

 who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to 

others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently 

faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed 

soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic 

and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one 

analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to 

grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.

 In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others.

These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is 

impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge

 from these adulterated forms of Christianity."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Posted in Apostolates on November 26, 2013


Since 2007, the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago has embraced a devotion to the Infant King, including a monthly novena. The devotion is gaining more and more adherents, both locally and nationally. In response to some queries about this devotion, Canons of the Shrine answer questions posed to them by the faithful in an interview format.
The questions generally fall into three separate categories: 1) about the Infant King Statue, 2) about the Infant King devotion in general, and 3) about the practice of the novena at the Shrine, including the Children’s Blessing
Infant King

Part I - About this particular statue of the Infant King

How did this image come to be chosen as the symbol of, and the object of, devotion at the Shrine of Christ the King? A. The mission of the Institute is to draw people closer to our Lord and to spread the splendors of His Kingdom. The Divine Infant, being adorable and approachable, is an ideal representation of Christ's perfections that everyone can relate to; He is attractive and imitable.
Is there a special history behind this 18th century statue? A. Devotion to the Divine Infant is old. The devotion’s true origin appears already in Sacred Scripture with the example of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the Shepherds, and, who could forget the Adoration of the Magi. The popular devotion as we know it has been particularly strong in Spain since the 15th Century. This statue at the Shrine was crafted in Spain, as part of that wave of devotion. It was gifted to the Shrine by a benefactor. Its craftsmanship, construction, and artistic merits suggest its age to be the 18th Century, if not earlier.
When the statute came into the Shrine’s possession, did it need a lot of restoration work? A. It was well-preserved and in very good condition; all it needed was some touching up and a new set of liturgical garments. You’ll notice that He wears a stole as well. This is to remind us that the Infant King is also Sovereign Priest.
Was it important that it be crowned and formally installed at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL by Cardinal George? A. "The more you honor Me the more I will bless you" is the promise of the Infant King. The coronation ceremony is a beautiful public display of honor. Having the Ecclesiastical authority do the crowning shows that the Cardinal grants full approval of this devotion and designates the Shrine to be a particular place of honor for the Infant King. This statue is a very special sacramental. Sacramentals are one of the means through which grace is conferred. The blessing and installation of relics and statues in a church, for example, are important because they can inflame our hearts to devotion and open our hearts to grace.
Infant King

Infant King
What is the significance or connection of the Infant King to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest? A. The devotion to the Infant King is a wonderful expression of Salesian Spirituality in the service of our Divine King. St. Francis de Sales, our spiritual father, had a very special devotion to the Christ Child and Christmas was his favorite feast day. It is in the Christ Child that we see majesty and sweetness; divinity and accessibility; holiness and attraction. This is the very message the members of the Institute preach: that our Faith is inviting; the practice of our Faith is joyful and sanctity awaits us.

Part II - About the novena to the Infant King

Why a novena from 17th-25th of each month? A. The 25th follows a widespread tradition of honoring the day in which the Christ Child was born.
Since the crowning ceremony by Cardinal George in 2007, have the Canons noticed the number of devotion to the Infant King increase? A. Definitely, both locally and nationally. As more people learn about the devotion to the Divine Infant, the more they grow attached to the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, and His love for mankind.
To your knowledge, is there another regular novena which commemorates the Nativity on the 25th of each month? A. We were not aware of any when we started this devotion; however, it is our fervent hope that the effort at the Shrine will inspire deep devotions to the Infant King in many hearts – locally as well as nationally.
Why is it important to conclude the monthly novena with a High Mass? A. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of prayer we can offer God. There is a profound harmony that binds faith, liturgy, life, and beauty in our lives as Catholics. Thus it is fitting that at the summit of our devotion to the Infant King, we give glory to God as much as we can through the sacred liturgy. Visitors to the Shrine will find a High Mass offered with glorious music on the 25th of each month in honor of the Infant King.
From your observation of the faithful, what would you say is the chief benefit of having a devotion to the Divine Infant? A. It may sound redundant, butthe chief benefit of this devotion is that we all grow in devotion, in devotedness. The Infant King devotion makes us become more devout. The adorably attractive charism of the Christ Child, not only increases the faithful’s desire for holiness, but also shows that we can get there by "baby steps"; little by little. His warm smile instantly conquers our temptations to discouragement.
Infant King
What's your favourite part of the novena and why? A. (Canon Stein) my answer is two-fold. As the celebrant offering the Mass, I love having the Infant King statue so close to the Altar and I love literally taking Him into my arms for the procession. I feel a great union of heart with Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua, and so many others who truly carried the Christ Child during their lives. As the Vice-Rector of the Shrine, I love seeing the children gather and offer their young hearts every month to the Infant King. In this moment their dignity and innocence shine as an example for others and they themselves feel called to a more profound imitation of Christ’s virtues at home.
Who composed the Infant King Novena prayer? A. Venerable Cyril, a Carmelite from Prague and great devotee to the Infant Jesus, composed this prayer to the famous Infant of Prague, which, like our statute, also had its origin in Spain, but earlier, from the 15th Century.

Part III - About the practice of the devotion at the Shrine

How are the submitted intentions presented? A. All intentions are printed out and placed at the foot of the Offering stand, and they remain there for the duration of the novena.
Why flowers and candles? A. The flowers and the candles are a wonderful, visible display of the faithful’s love, devotion and petitions.
Have specific prayers been answered by those who recite this novena each month? A. God’s magnanimity is immeasurable. However, by means of a modern form of Ex votos we have provided on the web, some faithful have chosen to share special favors and blessings they have received from praying this novena. You may read them here.
What is the tradition of Ex Votos? A. Ex votos are simply a Catholic custom of giving thanks for blessings received by means of visual representations. For over 500 years people have expressed thanksgiving by making images which have become known by the name ex voto (from the Latin "in fulfillment of a vow".) On the Infant King website, we provide an opportunity for the faithful to express their gratitude via a contemporary version of the old custom; i.e. electronically.
What is the significance of a monthly virtue meditation on your website? A. The monthly virtues are baby steps that help us imitate the virtues of the Divine Infant, which are the perfections of Christ.
At the end of the novena, a special Children’s Blessing is given. Why a blessing specifically for children? A. Our Lord in the Gospel invited the little children to come to Him. They are a special source of joy for His Sacred Heart. They are pure. In contemporary culture where purity is constantly attacked, what better way to protect the innocence of children than by placing them directly under Our Lord's care and bestowing His blessing upon them.
How many children normally come to the Infant King High Mass and blessing? A. Depends. Usually we get around 40 children on weekdays, but when the High Mass is offered on a Saturday or Sunday, those numbers can double. This number is consistently on the rise and as more people become aware of this devotion they will flock to the Infant King.
How do the children like the Infant King? Have they commented on the liturgical colors of his garment? A. The children are drawn to the Infant King. They see in the beauty of His eyes and in the graciousness of His smile a warm welcome. They remark that He is usually "dressed up" in the same colored vestments as the priest, but on the 25th they see that He "puts on His best clothes" (to use their exact words).
What kinds of questions have the children asked about the Infant King? A. Children are remarkably simple and at the same time astute. They naturally accept that the Infant King be dressed (like a doll, say the little girls), but they also remark that He is dressed in a way that makes them think of a king (crown & globe) and of a priest (cope & stole). They have asked why He can’t stay "closer" to them more often [He is placed at a side-Altar after the procession where they can come very close to say their prayers.] What a wonderful desire: "Lord, remain with us." May that innocent desire of the children echo in our own heart as well.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

'The Council' and the Liturgy: an alternative narrative

One of my favorite bloggers Fr Hunwicke is back after some absence and for this I am most grateful:

25 November 2013

'The Council' and the Liturgy: an alternative narrative
I suppose a common analysis of what happened in the 1960s might be: The Council mandated a fairly light revision of the Liturgy; however, particular interests subsequently gained control of the levers of liturgical power and pressed things to extremes. I suggest that something really quite different happened, realisation of which might have its embarrassments both for Trendies and Traddies.

The fontal point is this: The process of change was already firmly in place. I do not think that the Council, in fact, made any real difference whatsoever. My train of thought was started by reading some words which Annibale Bugnini wrote in the Preface to his 1956 Commentary on the new Holy Week liturgy. I give my own translation of his Latin:
"When the Easter Vigil had been restored, a certain keen liturgist did not hesitate to assert: Pope Pius XII, in the history of Liturgy through the ages, will be 'The Restorer of the Easter Vigil'. Now, indeed, by the help of God's grace he is to be called 'The Restorer of Holy Week'; while in the secret of our hearts we do not doubt that still greater things await this indefatigable Labourer, and it is very likely (nec veritatis specie caret) that He will be 'The Restorer of the entire Sacred Liturgy'".

Remember, also, the extremely radical nature of the 'restored' Holy Week. I venture to say that it is, if anything, more radical than the post-Conciliar changes to the Ordo Missae itself. 1951 and 1955 were simply two stages of which 1969 was the logically coherent third stage. The changes to Holy Week were only less radical than the later changes in that they affected merely one week of the year ... and services which were not of obligation ... and services which, in fact, for the most part, comparatively few people attended.

Now let me bring in Cardinal Ratzinger's famous words of 1999: "After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. ... In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the Liturgy. It is not manufactured by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity"*.

I think these are admirable sentiments. My only qualification would be is this: Pius XII had initiated the process of radical alteration, using the same people who were to be prominent after the Council, such as Annibale Bugnini, before and without the mandate of an ecumenical Council. We had come a long way since that admirable and erudite Pontiff Benedict XIV concluded that the disposition of the Psalter in the Roman Breviary could not be changed because there was no evidence that the Roman Church had ever used a different one. I suggest the Twentieth Century liturgical changes would most appropriately be called the Pian-Pauline Reforms. They are changes based on exactly that notion of papal power which Benedict XVI so acutely criticises: that the Pope can do anything. The process of liturgical 'reform' has, from the beginning, been the product of the maximalising Papacy of Pius XII. The 'Council' has only been an episode in that process. I never ceased to be amazed by this central paradox of mid-twentieth century Catholic history: that the 'Progressives' and 'Liberals'were able to transform the Latin Church pretty well overnight by manipulating an absolutist model of Papal power.

I think it will be very interesting to see, over the medium term, how Pope Francis understands his Ministry. It can be easy for a good man with admirable motives and who is facing real problems to use the power which his position gives him to take short cuts. It takes a very learned and a very truly humble Pontiff - such as a Benedict XIV or a Benedict XVI - to understand, and to internalise his perception of, what  he ought not to do (and I'm not only talking about Liturgy). Pope Francis's two recent utterances which bear upon the Hermeneutic of Continuity make me cautiously optimistic. If this man can consolidate the gains made by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI and at the same time prudently develop the teaching of the Magisterium about the Preferential Option for the Poor, he could turn out to be a great Pontiff.

*Fr Aidan Nichols reports that Fr Adrian Fortescue, nearly a century ago, wrote "The Pope is not an irresponsible tyrant who can do anything with the Church that he likes. He is bound on every side ..."

Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 09:00

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Death and the 'Land of everlasting youth'.......

We as Americans live in the land of "everlasting youth" or we like to think we do. We have become a people obsessed with retaining or regaining youth: wrinkle creams, hair colour, weight loss pills, diets etc. We usually spend our entire lives chasing the phantom of youth until death catches us unaware......... We have a great fear of death as a people. 

We would rather not talk about it. It is considered morbid to talk about death. Children are kept from funerals for fear of damaging them psychologically ... I believe our fascination with Halloween is a actually an attempt to make it (our mortality) something fun. We like things to be fun. So All Hallow's Eve becomes a time to go from house to house getting candy for youngsters or getting drunk at Halloween Parties for adults.......

 Even in death when we must face our mortality we want the dead to appear as though they are sleeping. We went them embalmed pumped full of formaldehyde with lipstick and rouge. We have a great difficulty accepting death for what it actually is: a rather somber affair. We dont even want to wear dark clothing to funerals. We want to don something "bright" or "Cheerful". Few of us have grown up knowing how natural death actually is. We let funeral parlors handle our dead. We even want our funerals to be "up beat" in order to "cheer up" those present. So we choose songs to make us feel good.

 I remember when I first moved to Germany in the 1980s, I saw a coloring book for children with images of graves and placing flowers on graves. I thought to myself, how strange that is. I then learned that at the time few dead were embalmed outside of the United States as it is indeed superfluous (not to mention environmentally hazardous). Who wants carcinogens in their water table? not me. 

When we visit cemeteries on memorial day it's to bring artificial flowers and leave (I remember relating in Germany that we take artificial silk or plastic flowers to our graves and I was met with disbelief)....... Our cemeteries are mostly cared for by landscapers. Cemeteries prefer flat stones so that rider mowers can ride over the top more easily. In the days when I used to run, I ran through cemeteries in Germany. They were always busy places. I remember very old men and women (some in their 90s) riding their bikes there and bringing flowers and plants to decorate graves. They would sit and visit on benches. It was a social place. The German word for cemetery is "Friedhof" literally a "Peace Yard" and they truly are peaceful places. I was most amazed one night walking with a friend when to my right I saw hundreds of flickering lights through the trees.........I was stunned! "What is that?!!" I asked incredulously? She said, "Oh that's a Catholic cemetery". I later learned that each grave had a lantern and contained a 7 day candle. Traditionally, people there go to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. A beautiful tradition one worthy of emulation.

 My elderly neighbor who in 1991 was in his early 90s every day would don a tie and jacket and attach a wagon to his motorbike filled with flowers, plants or evergreens in winter. One day I asked him where he went every day. He said, "I go to see my wife!" I assumed he went to see her in a home. He said, "she has been dead since 1963".....................

Let us remember our dead today and all through November....

Every year, fifty million people die.

Remember during November to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. We are asked by holy mother church in the spiritual works of mercy to 'pray for the living and the dead'.  


"Every year, fifty million people die. That comes to about one million per week or about 150,000 every day. Every day, 150,000 people die. Many, if not most, of the people who die or will die have not prepared themselves for death. Many will go to hell. Many will go to purgatory. If we prepare ourselves well now by prayer, by receiving the sacraments, by living a holy life, and by having a strong devotion to the Holy Souls in purgatory, we will not only dramatically increase our chances for avoiding purgatory altogether, but we will also relieve the sufferings of the Holy Souls and help them to enter into the joys of heaven."


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Vatican II

A translation of a posting from the Italian Catholic blog, 'MUNIAT INTRANTES'







"I saw a strange church that was built against every rule ... There were no angels to supervise the construction operations. In that church there was nothing that came from above ... [...] This is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion [...] there was nothing holy in it ": Blessed Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) makes use of few but eloquent words to describe a disastrous and worrying situation for the Church of Peter. A new church, of human origin, is constructed as an alternative to the true Church, represented by the "Holy Father, distressed, distressed and hidden" mentioned by the same Emmerich in another vision.

No doubt they are revelations of a destabilizing of the faith of each of us and being thrown into confusion. What is more, apparently it causes a deep wound to the glorious Catholic Tradition, which has the doctrinal infallibility of the Church as the central hub. 

"That the Roman church has never erred, nor, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, can ever err in all eternity": wrote the Holy Pontiff Gregory VII in 1075 preparing his "Dictatus Papae" on the rights of the Pope But for a Catholic "traditional" like me it is certainly nothing new. The voice of Ildebrando Aldobrandeschi of Soana is certainly not the only one: we can not forget that of St. Irenaeus or St Cyprian!

Yet how to reconcile the visions of the Holy German woman with these teachings of the Church Fathers? Or even how they these same would react, in this year of the Faith, in this fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, if they saw the majority of priests celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pro gay flag stoles (for the uninitiated, I refer to  those "nice" ones with the multi-colored flag) or receive of the Blood of Christ in non-precious goblets or give the Holy Eucharist to the people of God in plastic cups? Maybe tacerebbero. Is not this the "false church" mentioned by Emmerich? And who is at fault for such abominations? Is it John XXIII or Paul VI? Or, more generally, the Second Vatican Council? 

None of these is the correct answer. So what is the truth?

The then Cardinal Ratzinger, in "The Ratzinger Report," gives us the answer to our doubts: "I am convinced that the damage we have incurred in these twenty years (1965-1985) are not due to the true Second Vatican Council"  "but to the unleashing, within the Church, latent polemical and centrifugal forces, and perhaps an irresponsible or simply naivety, easy optimism, an emphasis on modernity that has exchanged technical progress today with genuine integral progress,. And outside the Church, the impact with the ideology of liberal-radical individualistic, rationalistic, hedonistic mold. " Oh yes your emmience, a counter or anti-Vatican II ("The false church") has developed which, thanks to the support of modernist trends, has gone on supplanting the authentic Council. 

On the other hand the same John XXIII, in his inaugural speech at the Council, said, "the twenty-first Ecumenical Council wants to convey Catholic doctrine pure and integral without any attenuation or distortion" For the same Pope Bergamo, it was necessary only to "teach more effectively" to usher in a new Pentecost for the Bride of Christ. So much so that almost all of the conciliar documents are pastoral in character. Still, "it is indisputable that the last twenty years (1965-1985) were decidedly unfavorable for the Catholic Church. The results that followed the council seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of all thus the now Pope Emeritus was able to confess, and recommended,  for Catholics to return" to the authentic texts of Vatican II. "

It is the same thought of Pope John Paul II, as indicated by the number 11 of "Pastores Dabo Vobis" about the crisis of the priesthood.

What happened then? It is Simple: someone is operating a modern re-reading of Vatican II, building the False Catholic Church.

Do you remain unconvinced? Well, let's look at some examples together. 

 "Sacrosanctum Concilium," which marks the 50th anniversary, reaffirms the value of the Mass as the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ (No. 47), however in the meantime, no care given to these texts of the session, The attempt has been made to reduce the religious liturgy to a Protestant supper instead.  It took John Paul II to restore life to the true conciliar document with his encyclical on the Eucharist. In the constitution, we find also written: "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as her own, so in the liturgical actions, on equal terms, it should be given pride of place" (n. 116). This has not been done: we witness daily to "strimpellature" ignoble music during the celebrations. As regards, however, the language to be used during the Mass  the Council wrote: ", in Masses celebrated with a congregation, a fair share of the vernacular may be used, especially in the readings and " the common prayers, "and, according to the conditions of the various places, even in the parts belonging to the people. Care should be taken so that the faithful be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them "(n. 54). And again: "The use of the Latin language, is to be preserved in the Latin rites. [...] It can be granted to a larger use of the vernacular, especially in readings and admonitions, in some prayers and songs "(38). And instead there is no trace of Latin except in the celebrations in the extraordinary form and a celebration of the Roman Pontiff. And what about the nomination of men "defrocked" in the communist and socialist lists, even though the Council had recommended Catholics to follow the Church's social doctrine in the political arena? These are just a few of the many examples of the contradiction between the true Vatican Council and, "pastorally reformist" and categorized perfectly in the wake of Tradition, and as such does not exist, but now that modernist  interpretation is so widely practiced by most priests. The Council has blown out its fifty candles, it is true, but no one wants to hear more talk about the implementation, despite the Popes having called the Church to the authentic message of Vatican II.

The modernists are appropriate and if they read it at their leisure: this is the new cunning of Satan to destroy the Holy Church.

In the words of the good old Leo X: Exsurge, Domine, et Judica causam Tuam! 

Gianluca Di Pietro

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fr. Michel-Marie, a Cassock in Deep Marseille

Fr. Michel-Marie, a Cassock in Deep Marseille

The life, works, and miracles of a priest in a city of France. Who has made the faith blossom again where it had withered 

by Sandro Magister

ROME, December 4, 2012 – The title of this article is the same one that "Avvenire” gave to a feature report from Marseille by its correspondent Marina Corradi, in the footsteps of the pastor of a quarter behind the old port.

A pastor whose Masses are crowded with people. Who hears confessions every evening until late at night. Who has baptized many converts. Who always wears the cassock so that everyone may recognize him as a priest even from far away.

Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine was born in 1959 in Nice, to a family a bit Russian and a bit Corsican. As a young man he sang in the nightclubs in Paris, but then over the years there emerged the vocation to the priesthood he had had since his childhood. His guides were Fr. Joseph-Marie Perrin, who was Simone Weil's spiritual director, and Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, founder of the congregation of Saint John. He studied in Rome at the Angelicum, the theological faculty of the Dominicans. He was ordained a priest in 2004 by Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, the archbishop of Marseille at the time. He writes books, the latest of which is entitled "Au diable la tiédeur," to the devil with lukewarmness, and is dedicated to priests. He is pastor at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

And in this parish on Rue Canabière, which leads from the old port through ramshackle houses and shops, with many homeless, immigrants, Rom, where tourists do not venture to go, in a Marseille and in a France where religious practice is almost everywhere at the lowest levels, Fr. Michel-Marie has made the Catholic faith blossom again.

How? Marina Corradi went and saw. And she tells what she found.

The feature was published in "Avvenire,” the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, on November 29. It is the first in a series that will present witnesses of the faith, known and less well-known, capable of generating evangelical astonishment in those who meet them.



by Marina Corradi

That black tunic fluttering along Rue Canabière, among a crowd more Maghrebi than French, makes you turn around. Check it out, a priest, and dressed like once upon a time, on the streets of Marseille. A dark-haired man, smiling, and yet with something reserved and monastic about him. And what a story behind him: he sang in the nightclubs in Paris, was ordained only eight years ago and since then has been pastor here, at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

But in reality the story is even more complicated: Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine, 53, is descended from a Russian Jewish grandfather who immigrated into France and had his daughters baptized before the war. One of these daughters, who escaped from the Holocaust, brought into the world Fr. Michel-Marie, who on his father's side is half Corsican and half Italian. (What a bizarre mix, you think: and you look with amazement at his face, trying to understand what a man is like who has such a tangle of roots behind him). But if one Sunday you enter his packed church and listen to how he speaks of Christ with simple everyday words, and if you observe the religious slowness of the elevation of the host, in an absolute silence, you ask yourself who this priest is, and what it is in him that draws people, bringing back those who are far away.

Finally you have him in front of you, in his white, monastic rectory. He seems younger than his years; he does not have those wrinkles of bitterness which mark the face of a man with time. There is a peace upon him, a joy that is astonishing. But who are you?, you would like to ask him immediately.

In front of a frugal meal, the highlights of an entire life. Two splendid parents. The mother, baptized but only formally Catholic, allows her son to go to church. The faith is imparted to him "by an elderly priest, a Salesian in a black cassock, a man of generous and boundless faith.” The desire, at the age of eight, to be a priest. At thirteen he loses his mother: "The pain devastated me. And yet I never doubted God.” Adolescence, music, and that beautiful voice. The piano bars of Paris, which may seem little suited to discerning a religious vocation. And yet, while the decision slowly ripens, the spiritual fathers of Michel-Marie tell him to keep to the nightlife of Paris: because there as well a sign is needed. Finally the vocation pays off. In 1999, at the age of 40, his childhood wish comes true: a priest, and in a cassock, like that elderly Salesian.

Why the cassock? "For me" – he smiles – "It is a work uniform. It is intended to be a sign for those who meet me, and above all for those who do not believe. In this way I am recognizable as a priest, always. In this way on the streets I take advantage of every opportunity to make friends. Father, someone asks me, where is the post office? Come on, I'll go with you, I reply, and meanwhile we talk, and I discover that the children of that man are not baptized. Bring them to me, I say in the end; and I often baptize them later. I seek in every way to show with my face a good humanity. Just the other day" – he laughs – "in a cafe an old man asked me which horses he should bet on. I gave him the horses. I asked the Blessed Mother for forgiveness: but you know, I said to her, it is to befriend this man. As a priest who was one of my teachers used to tell those who asked him how to convert the Marxists: 'One has to become their friend,' he would reply."

Then, in church, the Mass is stark and beautiful. The affable priest of Canabière is a rigorous priest. Why take so much care with the liturgy? "I want everything to be splendid around the Eucharist. I want that at the elevation, the people should understand that He is here, truly. It is not theater, it is not superfluous pomp: it is inhabiting the Mystery. The heart too needs to feel."

He insists a great deal on the responsibility of the priest, and in one of his books – he has written many books, and still writes songs sometimes – he affirms that a priest who has an empty church must examine himself and say: "It is we who lack fire." He explains: "The priest is 'alter Christus,' he is called to reflect Christ in himself. This does not mean asking perfection of ourselves; but being conscious of our sins, of our misery, in order to be able to understand and pardon anyone who comes to the confessional."

Fr. Michel-Marie goes to the confessional every evening, with absolute punctuality, at five o'clock, without fail. (The people, he says, must know that the priest is there, in any case). Then he remains in the sacristy until eleven o'clock, for anyone who might want to go to him: "I want to give the sign of an unlimited availability." Judging by the constant pilgrimage of the faithful, in the evening, one would say that it works. Like a deep demand that emerges from this city, apparently far removed. What do they want? "The first thing is to hear someone say: you are loved. The second: God has a plan for you. One must not make them feel judged, but welcomed. They must be made to understand that the only one who can change their lives is Christ. And Mary. There are two things that, in my view, permit a return to the faith: the Marian embrace, and impassioned apologetics, which touches the heart."

"Those who seek me out," he continues, "are asking first of all for human assistance, and I try to give all the help possible. Not forgetting that the beggar needs to eat, but also has a soul. To the offended woman I say: send me your husband, I will talk to him. But then, how many come to say that they are sad, that their lives are no good . . . Then I ask them: how long has it been since you went to confession? Because I know that sin is a burden, and the sadness of sin is a torment. I am convinced that what makes many people suffer is the lack of the sacraments. The sacrament is the divine within the reach of man: and without this nourishment we cannot live. I see grace at work, and that people change."

Days given in their entirety, on the streets or in the confessional, until nighttime. Where does he get the energy? He – almost shyly, as one speaks of a love – talks of a deep relationship with Mary, of an absolute confidence with her: "Mary is the act of total faith, in the abandonment beneath the Cross. Mary is absolute compassion. She is pure beauty offered to man." And he loves the rosary, the humility of the rosary, the priest of Canabière: "When I hear confessions, I often say the rosary, which does not prevent me from listening; when I give communion, I pray." You listen to him, intimidated. But then, should all priests have an absolute dedication, almost like saints? "I am not a saint, and I do not believe that all priests must be saints. But they can be good men. The people will be attracted by their good face."

Are there any problems, in streets with such a strong presence of Muslim immigrants? No, he says simply: "They respect me and this garment." In church, he welcomes everyone with joy: "Even the prostitutes. I give them communion. What should I say? Become honest, before you enter here? Christ came for sinners, and I have the anxiety, in withholding a sacrament, that he could bring me to account for it one day. But do we still know the power of the sacraments? I have the misgiving that we have excessively bureaucratized the admission to baptism. I think of the baptism of my Jewish mother, which in terms of the request of my grandfather was merely a formal act: and yet, even from this baptism there came a priest."

And the new evangelization? "Look," he says as we say goodbye in his rectory, "the older I get, the more I understand what Benedict XVI says: everything truly starts afresh from Christ. We can only return to the source."

Later, I glimpse him at a distance, on the street, with that black garment ruffled by his rapid stride. "I wear it," he told you, "so that I may be recognized by someone I might never meet otherwise. That stranger, who is very dear to me."