Monday, July 31, 2006


I've been memed by Argent with the One Book Meme! Wish me luck, as I'll admit to not being much of a bibliophile (sorry). But I'll do my absolute best here.

1. One book that changed your life
The Apple Pie Hubbub, which was a significant novel for me because it's when I first started using verbs (oops - that's Steve Martin's line). Well, didn't say it had to be a novel. Just a book. For me, that would be The Little Organ Book, by Flor Peeters.

2. One book that you've read more than once
The biggest offender was one I read as a kid - Peanuts Treasuries by the late Charles Schulz. For months I did not let go of that book. And it was THICK!

3. One book you'd want on a desert island
Any book of Sudoku puzzles, logic puzzles, or most anything with numbers.

4. One book that made you laugh
Hands down, that would be Brain Droppings by George Carlin

5. One book that made me cry
Glory and Praise - I was upset thinking, "I hope this isn't what Mass has been lowered to".

6. One book you wish had been written
How I Turned a Million in Real Estate into Twenty-Five Dollars in Cash by Steve Martin - he mentioned a list of "books" he wrote in one of his monologues. I now think of that title when I see a Vosko wreckovation taking place.

7. One book you wish had never been written
It's a tie between Glory and Praise and Gather.

8. One book you're currently reading
The 1925 edition of the Catholic Directory, believe it or not. This was one of those old old books left in a box on my doorstep a few months back.

9. One book you've been meaning to read
Another Thomas Day gem - Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo.

Now - I gotta find some bibliophiles to meme back. I will say Mary Jane, Domini Sumus, Rhapsody, Jack, and Tom.



As the Poncho Lady boat is now riding Pittsburgh's "Three Rivers", let me take the pleasure of emitting these blurbs:

1. Article in the Pittsburgh Catholic (hat tip to Gerald, who has me LMAO with his reference to the boat ride as the senior cruise)
2. This cartoon below by Paul Nichols (another hat tip to Gerald)

3. This article from the Diocese of Pittsburgh website (hat tip to Argent)

Poncho Ladies - they may be cruising in the Allegheny, but man, they're sinking in the Tiber.



You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (39:06/17.9 MB)
Forty shows and still going!

Today we continue with The Christus Vincit Wish List, 31 more songs, covering the entire C section of the OCP search indices.
We also talk about musical settings of the Prayer (Suscipe) of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (his feast day is today), namely Prayer of Self-Offering by Alexander Peloquin, from his tribute CD, Radiating Christ, performed by the Gregorian Concert Choir, directed by Fr. Anthony Mancini.

Music List: Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Music a-plenty:
The Church's One Foundation (tune: Aurelia)
Remember, Lord, Thy Servants (written by yours truly)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (tune: Lobe den Herren)
Allegro from the (Georg Philip) Telemann Sonata in F Minor, played by teen trombonist Josh Jacobson, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. Josh also has a podcast, called Just Joshin'.

Commercials: St. Michael RCIA, iPadre, Disciples with Microphones.
Shamus the Christus Vincit Weatherman once again makes off like he's the grand weather maker, promising thunderboomers, ka-blammies, and even a 100-degree day.

Closing notes include a brief note about Poncho Ladies, and a brainstorm for an all-Catholic version of the Mystery Worshipper.
Parody Sneak Preview: Big Sibling

Tomorrow starts a new month. Please consider giving us a vote at Podcast Alley - pretty please?

Message Board / Subscribe at iTunes

Sunday, July 30, 2006


...and good friend, Fr. Thomas Kocik.

First of all, watch soon enough for another episode from the iPadre, and very likely Catholic: Under the Hood. Both priests are in Steubenville, Ohio, for the Defending the Faith Conference. You KNOW there will be reports from there.

Meanwhile, the author of The Reform of the Reform, Fr. Kocik, came to Holy Ghost to celebrate the 7:30 and 9:00 Masses this morning. Like Fr. Finelli, the homilies are very good. Today, Fr. Kocik gave some good reasons to believe in miracles. Think of today's "loaves and fishes" Gospel reading: five loaves, two fish, FIVE THOUSAND people! WOW! A popular belief there is not so much the miracle to happen, but the idea of Jesus teaching about sharing. But think of this - the leftovers filled TWELVE BASKETS! That, to me, says miracle!

Anyways, after Mass, Fr. Kocik came up with a really cool idea - someone coming up with a blog where those parishes with really good liturgy and music can post their Mass schedules. And I'm thinking on my way home this afternoon - has anyone ever heard of a site called the Mystery Worshipper? For those who've never seen it, it's a site where people go to churches all around, and give details on the Mass/service, and even recommend/reject that church. The Mystery Worshipper site includes churches of many denominations. I was thinking a strictly Catholic version of that site, and giving the worshipper questions in a far more Catholic context, as opposed to a general/ecumenical type thing. Think of it as on steroids!



Ah yes, something that happens only once every five to six years - August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, falls on a Sunday. As a weekday, this is not a Holy Day of Obligation. However, as a Sunday, it supercedes the numbered Sunday (in this case, 18th) of Ordinary Time.

Saturday 4:30 PM / Sunday 7:30, 9, 10:30 AM

Introit: Alleluia! sing to Jesus! (741/Hyfrydol)
Penitential Rite: parrot the celebrant
Gloria: Mass of the Bells (Peloquin)
Psalm: The Lord is King, the Most High over all the earth (Proulx/Gelineau)
Alleluia: Mode VI
Offertory: Beautiful Savior (28/St. Elizabeth)
- Sanctus/Agnus: People's Mass (Vermulst)
- Memorial/Amen: Danish
- Lord's Prayer: chanted in English
Communion: This is the feast of victory for our God (597/Festival Canticle)
Recessional: Rejoice! the Lord is King (732/Darwall's 148th)



It's those Poncho Ladies™ again - and they're making news all over the place, getting all geared up for their ordination skit on a boat off Pittsburgh.

In fact, thanks to my west coast buddy Gerald, I was able to find not only a piece in the Washington Post, but our humble (ha ha) blog linked in the write-up. To it, Gerald got my attention - Yo, Brian Michael Page! Here is the paragraph in question from the paper:

The Pittsburgh ceremony is being ignored by prominent Catholic publications on the right and left, although the women are being slammed as heretics on many Catholic blogs, which tend to lean conservative. A writer on said the women were "like a bunch of young girls in a dollhouse 'playing school.' "

First off, let me congratulate the Post for not misquoting me. Yes - I did say that! Here's the post I wrote to prove it! Here's the entire sentence with the phrase in question, referring to a Pittsburgh area woman who will be known as one of the "Pittsburgh Twelve":
Instead, she's simply going to become a poncho lady in a bogus ritual on a boat, kinda like a bunch of young girls in a dollhouse "playing school".

These women have pretty much signed their own excommunication decree. Here's Gerald's closing remarks:
Well, at least they'll all be excommunicated latae sententiae, by the very act of playing "womanpriest". Since most of them had some kind of function in the church, this is, in a way, a good thing. One can only hope that it won't take them as long to figure out as in Boston, where one such "womanpriest" kept working for the diocese. Wake me when they "ordain" anyone under 40.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Argent gave the Poncho Ladies™ a trademark. Woohoo!

She writes:
"I wish there was more backbone displayed in these cases. Then there are the nutty Poncho Ladies™ planning on being ordained in international waters."


Friday, July 28, 2006

OT 17 at the Cathedral

Prelude: Aria -- Flor Peeters

Entrance: The Church's One Foundation / AURELIA

Gloria: Carroll T. Andrews

Psalm 145: Gelineau

Celtic Alleluia

Offertory: God Has Spoken by His Prophets/ RUSTINGTON

Sanctus, etc.: Creation

Agnus Dei: Isele in D

Communion: Gift of Finest Wheat / BICENTENNIAL

Sortie: Father, We Thank Thee / RENDEZ A DIEU

Postlude: Andante -- John Stanley


This is going to be the fourth Sunday for RUSTINGTON. Last Sunday they really started singing this one. I think it will be a fine addition to our repertoire.


Thursday, July 27, 2006


Shawn at NLM has posted the editorial from the Sacred Architecture Journal by Duncan Stroik, a man who really knows where it's at when it comes to building Catholic churches. Mr. Stroik is the man behind the design of the church pictured here.

Below is the editorial. Enjoy!

By Duncan Stroik

The more the Church grew into the Eucharistic mystery, the more she understood that she could not consummate the celebration of Communion within the limited time available in the Mass.—Benedict XVI

What is it that makes a Catholic church different from other churches? I remember asking myself this question as a graduate student in architecture school. On a cold and dreary day I visited the Dominican church of St. Mary in New Haven. What is it that would draw people in to make a visit, say a prayer, or even stay for a while in this massive Gothic pile? Huge stairs challenged me to come in. “There is something important up here,” they seemed to say. Upon entry, the architecture was generous, grand, and with a sense of the beautiful. The lofty and colorful vaulted nave and side aisles with their bundled colonnettes and stained glass were complex and offered a glimpse into a shadowy mystery.

Musty smells, lingering incense, flickering candles, and imagery made me aware of the sacredness of the place. Elements such as side altars, statues, paintings, stations of the cross, wood confessionals, and pews seemed familiar even though I had never seen them before. I was moved by the beautiful and strange works of art. I felt I was in the Father’s house and I felt safe, cared for, and a bit in awe.

Later, a fellow student told me that what differentiates a Catholic church from all other churches is that God is present there at all times: in the Eucharist, reserved in the tabernacle. This was a novel thought to me, having grown up going to contemporary multipurpose churches where the reserved Eucharist was hidden away and housed in a brass box. I asked a priest I respected whether what distinguished a Catholic house of God from other churches was that God was truly present in the reserved host. He told me no. But I continued to wonder why some Catholic churches seemed so holy.

At the recent Synod on the Eucharist in Rome, the bishops expressed concern that people do not have correct faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. How much has this lack of belief been caused by the design of modern churches and the treatment of the tabernacle?

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in his book God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life writes, “During the day our churches should not be allowed to be dead houses, standing empty and seemingly useless.” Our churches are not to be used simply for an hour a day, but they are places of prayer and we should fill them. The devout Simeon, who was waiting to see the salvation of Israel, and the prophetess Anna, who worshipped in the temple night and day, rejoiced at Christ’s presentation in the Temple. They would be jealous of us who have the opportunity to be in his presence every day.

Pope Benedict sees our churches as calling us and inviting us in. Jesus Christ beckons to us through art, architecture, and material goods to enter in and worship. The oval piazza of St. Peter in Rome is one of the finest examples of how the exterior of the church building can be an invitation to the mysteries inside. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, responsible for the design, wrote that “since the church of St. Peter is the mother of nearly all the others it had to have colonnades, which would show it as if stretching out its arms maternally to receive Catholics, so as to confirm them in their faith, heretics, to reunite them to the Church, and infidels, to enlighten them in the true faith.” The house of God should beckon us, draw us in, and offer us an image of the eternal and real presence of the Lord. This should be done by employing the time tested principles of sacred architecture rather than with the profane aesthetic and commercial tricks of shopping centers, country clubs, or multiplexes.

Pope Bendedict again: “Jesus Christ’s invitation is always being proffered from [our churches]. This sacred proximity to us is always alive in them. It is always calling us and inviting us in. This is what is lovely about Catholic churches, that within them there is, as it were, always worship, because the Eucharistic presence of the Lord dwells always within them.” This worship continues outside of the liturgy, and we should participate in that worship through prayer, adoration, and by honoring Christ through noble and beautifully designed tabernacles and their surroundings. It was for this reason that St. Charles Borromeo, among others, advocated the enlargement and centrality of the holy tabernacle and its joining with the Eucharistic altar at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and in the cathedral and churches of the archdiocese of Milan. The eternal flame or sanctuary lamp hanging near the tabernacle is the sign of the fire of love that dwells within this miniature temple. The worship of Christ present is also articulated by other types of iconography: praying angels, images of the saints and martyrs who offered their bodies towards Christ’s one sacrifice. The saints and angels along with the faithful of all lands are part of that worship. The heavenly host and the heavenly banquet have historically been represented in our churches—a thesis recently articulated in Denis McNamara’s brilliant new book, Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago.

So even when the historic architecture of other Christian traditions is inspiring or even imitates the splendors of two millennia of Catholic tradition, it is the Eucharist reserved that sets apart the Catholic church or chapel as a sacred place. This is why people cross themselves as they pass a church, why they genuflect as they enter their seats, and kneel to pray in Christ’s presence. If the theological truth of God’s real presence in the tabernacle is believed by the faithful and church architecture reflects the fact that we are in the presence of the Almighty then it will cause us to rethink how we comport ourselves in church, how we relate to others and show reverence for Him who offered himself on the cross. The Lord is always there:

"When, thus, the eternal light was lit in the Church, and the tabernacle installed beside the altar, then it was as if the bud of the mystery had opened, and the Church had welcomed the fullness of the Eucharistic mystery. The Lord is always there. The church is not just a space in which something sometimes happens early in the morning, while for the rest of the day it stands empty, ‘unused’. There is always the ‘church’ in the church building, because the Lord is always giving himself, because the Eucharistic mystery remains present, and because we, in approaching it, are always included in the worship of the whole believing, praying and loving Church." (Benedict XVI [Joseph Ratzinger], God is Near)


While the Christus Vincit Network is still in the early "thinking" stages of Big Catholic Brother, we just got word from PWTN that Big Sibling, the inclusive language version of Big Brother, is under way. Here are the houseguests for Big Sibling:

1. Joan C., a Benedictine nun and columnist
2. Roger, an archbishop who thrives on celebrating Mass in his new subsidized project style Cathedral
3. Tod, a bishop who is good friends with Roger
4. Martin, a priest who is good friends with Tod (I see a potential alliance forming already)
5. Victoria, a newly ordained poncho lady
6. Joan H., a soon-to-be-ordained poncho lady
7. Thomas, a fallen auxiliary bishop
8. Rembert, a fallen archbishop
9. Barry, a priest who downplays the importance of the GIRM
10. Dick, an architect and consultant
11. Carey, a musician and former priest
12. Marty, another musician
13. David, yet another musician
and finally:
14. Donald, a bishop who prefers to be a neutered fish

This evening, they will be entering the Big Sibling peace house for the first time.



Gerald has posted this picture of the SS. Chittister, which is aiming its missles (or is it "missals") toward the next cruise ship that is ordaining poncho ladies.



Hat tip to our good friend Argent, who got the story from Off the Record.

In fact, the Church teaches that it's a very good thing, despite progressive opinions from others I've heard from on certain message boards that the post-Conciliar Church has no place for adoration. I knew there was a good reason to know that such progressive thinking was so full of bull $&!+. Let's see what the Church says here.

The Cathechism of the Catholic Church (#1418) says this:
Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration.

Pope Paul VI says in his Mysterium Fidei (#66):
To visit the Blessed Sacrament is a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord.

Therefore, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament wins! BTW, at Holy Ghost, the Adoration Schedule is thus:
Fridays following 7:30 AM Mass, ending with Rosary and Benediction at 6:30. On First Fridays, there is also a Holy Hour at 7:00 PM. On all Fridays during Lent, there is also a talk following Benediction. Also, as of just this past May, we've started Nocturnal (overnight) Adoration on First Fridays - the Blessed Sacrament remains exposed until the end of the 9 AM Mass on Saturday Morning. Here's a link to our newly formed St. Tarcisius Adoration Society.

Here's one more statement, this time from Pope John Paul II, and I'll tip my hat to my pastor for this:
Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Jesus and ready to make reparation for the great evils of the world. Let your adoration never cease.



Hat tip to the Curt Jester. His post on this includes this really cool riddle of his own:
Q. Where does Dick Vosko stay while working as a consultant for a church?
A. The "wrecktory"

In progress here is the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Has all the makings to become a minor basilica (just add umbrellina), in my opinion.

More photos here.

This was envisioned by the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, then-Bishop of LaCrosse (now Archbishop of St. Louis).

Now obviously, I'm a bit jealous, since the nearest shrine to my home just recently built this roundhouse of a church. To boot, the organ is an old toaster, probably for the sake of promoting the guitar.

On the bright side, this beautiful shrine church of Saint Anne is just minutes from my parish, 45 minutes away from home. Home to a three-manual, 84-rank Casavant Freres organ.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The new episode is finally up.
Get thee to The Ox Files to watch it, in color!
You'll wanna watch these liturgist-wannabes!

In the meantime, plans at the Christus Vincit Network are underway to create a new exciting reality show:

On the other hand, the Progressive Word Television Network (PWTN) (H/T Curt Jester) is working on a new inclusive language version of the show, simply called:

Big Sibling - fourteen yuppies, all in one big happy peace-filled house, all worshipping themselves while smoking a peace pipe and singing Kumbaya and other similar ilk.

Television will never be the same!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Argent has some cool posts to check out:

1. Some quotes from some ICEL Bishops on the word consubstantial.
2. Excerpts from the grand meeting with Fish Person and Pals.
3. The CDWS has this message on kneeling. The Orange County Odd Couple (Brown/Tran) should pay heed.
4. Check out this new church in West Virginia.

I'm impressed! Really impressed. Obviously not a Vosko build.

I'm not going to steal this show from Argent, nor her great detail. Check this all out at her place.

UPDATE at 7:39 PM: Just minutes later, I read the link to Argent's new church article, found that it's St. James the Greater Church in Charles Town, WV. St. James also has the bragging rights of having none other than CanticaNOVA's Gary Penkala as their music director! Gary, if you're reading this, how is the organ there?



Protecting the Eucharist from Distortion - A Sacred Duty for All

Excerpts in red italic.
My responses in black normal.

Abuses of liturgical prayers:
• Eucharistic prayers are recited by a lay person or a deacon (RS 52).
• Eucharistic prayers are said which are not found in the Roman missal or approved by the Apostolic See (RS 51).
This second one reminds me so much of a couple of priests I've seen make the visiting rounds that have pretty much either paraphrased one of the Eucharistic Prayers already given to us by Holy Mother Church, or simply making one up on the fly.
• The text of the Sacred Liturgy is altered (RS 59).
An unfortunate common practice by a few I've run into.

Abuses by lay people:
• A lay person proclaims the Gospel (RS 63).
• A lay person gives a homily (RS 64).
• For no serious reason, and as a regular practice, the preferred time for a lay person to give instruction or a testimony is within the Mass (RS 74).
Examples would include the couple who is running a mission out in some third world country pulpit-pounding for money, another couple who is chairing the Catholic Charities drive, another guy proclaiming the "good news" of the parish carnival and beer fest, and the largest offender: EULOGIES!!!

Abuses during distribution of Communion:
• Extraordinary ministers of Communion are called upon when a priest is able to distribute Communion (RS 158).
Way too common almost everywhere I go!
• A brief prolongation of Mass is used as a reason to call upon extraordinary ministers of Communion (RS 158).
One of many excuses, I'm sure.
• The Communion plate is omitted (RS 93).
My boss is an exception. He brought the Paten back to the parish, and catechized on it.
• People are denied Communion because they are kneeling (RS 91).
Sounds like Mean Tod Brown and similar ilk have some reading to do.

Miscellaneous abuses:
• The sign of peace is given to people other than those “who are nearest” and in a non-sober fashion (RS 72).
Some of the worst offenders are priests. I've worked with many who go halfway up the nave like a politician.
• Sacred Ministers celebrate Mass without sacred vestments (RS 126).
• Children are given first Communion without first penances (RS 87).
I can recall making my First Communion at one parish in the city. Of course, we made our First Penance the day before. That was in first grade. The parish school closed down after that year. I landed up going to another parish school in the city for second grade. Many were making First Communion in second grade. However, many never even heard of confession until fourth grade (major OUCH!). So, when I got into the confessional, the priest was in a bit of shock because while the vast majority of the class (30 students) waltzed into the confessional saying, Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; this is MY FIRST Confession, I walked in, knelt, and said, Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been TWO WEEKS SINCE MY LAST Confession. Of course, when praying the Hail Mary, it suddenly became The Lord is with YOU, blessed are YOU. Poor Mary!
• The Sunday celebration customarily excludes “true and…sacred music” (RS 57).
And in some parishes, sacred music seems to be forbidden. Sad but true.

The Mass is not the property of any person (RS 18). It belongs to the Church. No one has the right to meddle with it or make it his own property by deviating from what liturgical laws have prescribed. There is room for “creativity” in the Mass. But this is a controlled creativity within the confines of the options outlined by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) and the norms of the Magisterium.
BAM! I've been trying to say that for eons. We're given plenty of options. But for some reason many still think that they have to go beyond those options. They're so mistaken. Even Anglicans and Lutherans have fixed liturgies (with their options in place). But yet a good chunk of Catholics still prefer a completely made-up "service" like (for example) the Baptists and the UCC. Now, this isn't to knock the Baptists and the UCC. I know many. They're good people. The made-up service is how it's done in that denomination, which I respect in their denomination. What goes up my behind is when Catholics try to bring that style of worship to a Church that has had two thousand years of fixed liturgies. Sure they've evolved over the years, but still fixed.

Hat tip to Sandy at Cantare Amantis Est (and welcome to the Christus Vincit Definitive Blogroll).



This is one of several brand spankin' new warning signs you might just see in your parish.

For many more, give The Ox Files a visit. He's got eight signs just like this, courtesy of the Catholic Sign Company. One of them just might hit home.



I'm still trying to recapture where I had seen this, but for those who remember the clip with Steve Colbert dancing around what appears to be a classroom (Nick's original post here) while singing The King of Glory Comes, someone had come up with a good point (someone please come clean and I'll gladly update this post with a proper hat tip) - that Steve Colbert is actually Catholic, and he did the dance to prove just how foolish liturgical dance really looks.

But still, just imagine that classroom that he did the dance in being full of elementary Catholic school students? Aye-aye-aye!

UPDATE 7/26/06: I found the hat tip recipient! It's Gerald! This is actually what he wrote (ok I was somewhat close):
Stephen Colbert has obviously suffered through liturgical dance and "contemporary" church music...


Monday, July 24, 2006


My first day of checking out the Catholic Caveman blog and I run into this sugarless product:

Because Novus Ordo, as many parishes celebrate it, is too sweet.


DOUBLE HAT TIP... the Crescat!

Thanks to her I have two way cool new links for you:
1) On the Christus Vincit Definitive Blogroll: The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen
2) On the Christus Vincit Definitive Linkroll: The Catacombers - all sorts of Catholic potpurri, including a message board.



HAPPY FOURTH ANNIVERSARY... the Curt Jester! May we readers (and fellow bloggers) get to enjoy another four years of the best of comic blogging by Jeff!



You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (29:16/13.4 MB)
Today we start a new series: The Christus Vincit Wish List, where we explore music available via search in the OCP (Oregon Catholic Press) Website that should have hit the famous (or infamous) Music Issue. In today's show, we cover the first 24 pieces, covering the A and B sections of the search indices.

Music List: Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Here's a link to the Gregorian Concert Choir's rendition of Alexander Peloquin's Gloria of the Bells, conducted by Father Anthony Mancini.
Commercials: SaintCast, iPadre, Disciples with Microphones.
Shamus the Christus Vincit Weatherman reports the weather in Christus Vincit Land

Andante Cantabile from the (Georg Philip) Telemann Sonata in F Minor, played by Josh Jacobson, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network
Berceuse, written by Louis Vierne, played on the organ by yours truly.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Spinal Tap Edition, courtesy of Lee PressOn Spine

Vote at Podcast Alley / Message Board / Subscribe at iTunes


The new series of podcast episodes starts today - The Christus Vincit Wish List.
Click here to see what it's about, and enjoy the show (#39)!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


SUNDAY XVII - July 30, 2006

Introit: The Church's one foundation (400/Aurelia)
Penitential Rite: parrot the celebrant
Gloria: Mass of the Bells (Peloquin)
Psalm: The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs (Kelly/Gelineau)
Alleluia: Mode VI
Offertory: You satisfy the hungry heart (337/Bicentennial)
- Sanctus, Anamnesis, Amen, Agnus Dei: Jubilate Deo
- Lord's Prayer: chant, English
Communion: Remember, Lord, thy servants (Page)
Recessional: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (25/Lobe den Herren)


Friday, July 21, 2006


Hat tip to Argent, who got it from Rocco.

left to right, seated:
Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Cardinal George Pell (chairman), Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Cardinal Justin Rigali
left to right, standing:
Reverend Anthony Ward, Bishop Philip Boyce, Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Monsignor James Moroney, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Archbishop Peter Sarpong, Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, Father Dennis McManus

Cool! No Fish Person!

Below is the Rocco Report on the Vox Clara Meeting that was held this week. Looking forward to their next meeting in October. Enjoy.

The Vox Clara Committee met for the tenth time from July 17-21, 2006 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome.

Established by the Congregation five years ago, on July 19, 2001, this Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed to give advice to the Congregation regarding the translation of Latin liturgical texts into the English-language, and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Agra (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer; Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Halifax (Canada); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Castries (Saint Lucia), and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland). Other members of the Committee, though not present at the meeting, are; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); and Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., Infanta (Philippines). The members were assisted in their work by the following Advisors: Monsignor Gerard McKay (Rome), Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Reverend Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA).

The members of the Committee welcomed the news that several Episcopal Conferences had recently approved the “Gray Book” of the Order of Mass I. The success achieved in the completion of this foundational segment of the Roman Missal, including the parts assigned to the people at Mass, is the fruit of the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and its collaboration with member Conferences and the Holy See over the past several years. Observing the fifth anniversary of its establishment as an advisory body to the Holy See, the Vox Clara Committee was grateful for the privilege of contributing to this important work.

At the request of the Congregation, the members of the Vox Clara Committee examined at length the “White Book” of the Order of Mass I, including amendments submitted in the course of the confirmation of this segment. Recommendations regarding the granting of the recognitio were formulated.

The major work of the Vox Clara Committee at this meeting consisted of a review of the “Green Book” translation of the Order of Mass II, consisting of the Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and Various Needs, as well as Prefaces, Solemn Blessings and Prayers Over the People. The members were gratified by the quality of this segment of the Roman Missal and, over the course of four days of discussions, made numerous suggestions for improvements to the text.

On the next to last day of its meeting, the Committee appreciated the visit with the Secretary to the Congregation, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith. The Secretary met with the members and advisors and thanked them for their work, reminding them of the calls by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to do everything possible to assure the expeditious completion of an English-language edition of the Roman Missal. The importance of keeping to the timelines for the completion of the Roman Missal was discussed with the Secretary, noting that with the publication of the “Gray Book” of Order of Mass I, and of the “Green Book” of the Order of Mass II and the Proper of the Seasons, twenty-nine percent of the Missale Romanum has been approved or reviewed by the Bishops of ICEL’s members Conferences. It is the hope of the Vox Clara Committee that all involved in this important work will continue to devote all necessary resources to its expeditious and effective completion.

The next meeting of the Vox Clara Committee is scheduled for October, 2006.

Interview with Msgr. Bartolucci

Long, but worth it!

Courtesy of Sandro Magister, full article here: I Had a Dream: The
Music of Palestrina and Gregory the Great Had Come Back

Bartolucci, for those who don't recall, was the director of the
papal choir for decades, going back to Pius XII; he was "dismissed"
(a seemingly harsh thing to do to a venerable old servant) under the
pontificate of John Paul II in favor of a more "hip" and "modern"
director who could incorporate modern music into the papal Masses.

When the cantor was like a priest

An interview with Domenico Bartolucci

Q: Maestro Bartolucci, no fewer than six popes have attended your
concerts. In which of them did you see the most musical expertise?

A: In the most recent one, Benedict XVI. He plays the piano, has a
profound understanding of Mozart, loves the Church's liturgy, and in
consequence he places great emphasis on music. Pius XII also greatly
loved music, and played the violin frequently. The Sistine Chapel
owes a great deal to John XXIII. In 1959 he gave me permission to
restore the Sistine which, unfortunately, was in bad shape, partly
because of the illness of its previous director, Lorenzo Perosi. It
no longer had a stable membership, a musical archive, or an office.
So an office was obtained, the falsettos were dismissed, and the
composition of the choir and the compensation for its members were
determined, and finally it was possible to form the children's choir
as well. Then came Paul VI, but he was tone deaf, and I don't know
how much of an appreciation he had for music.

Q: Was Perosi the so-called restorer of the Italian oratorio?

A: Perosi was an authentic musician, a man utterly consumed by
music. He had the good fortune of directing the Sistine at the time
of the motu proprio on sacred music, which rightly wanted to purify
it from the theatrics with which it was imbued. He could have given
a new impulse to Church music, but unfortunately he didn't have an
adequate understanding of polyphony in the tradition of Palestrina
and of the traditions of the Sistine. He also entrusted the
direction of the Gregorian chant to his vice-maestro! His liturgical
compositions were frequently noteworthy for their superficial
Cecilian style, far from the perfect fusion of text and music.

Q: Perosi imitated Puccini...

A: But Puccini was an intelligent man. And his fugues are greatly
superior to those of Perosi.

Q: Was Perosi in some sense the harbinger of the current
vulgarization of sacred music?

A: Not exactly. Today the fashion in the churches is for pop-
inspired songs and the strumming of guitars, but the fault lies
above all with the pseudo-intellectuals who have engineered this
degeneration of the liturgy, and thus of music, overthrowing and
despising the heritage of the past with the idea of obtaining who
knows what advantage for the people. If the art of music does not
return to its greatness, rather than representing an accommodation
or a byproduct, there is no sense in asking about its function in
the Church. I am against guitars, but I am also against the
superficiality of the Cecilian movement in music – it's more or less
the same thing. Our motto must be: let us return to Gregorian chant
and to polyphony in the tradition of Palestrina, and let us continue
down this road!

Q: What are the initiatives that Benedict XVI should take to realize
this plan in a world of discotheques and iPods?

A: The great repertoire of sacred music that has been handed down to
us from the past is made up of Masses, offertories, responsories:
formerly there was no such thing as a liturgy without music. Today
there is no place for this repertoire in the new liturgy, which is a
discordant commotion – and it's useless to pretend that it's not. It
is as if Michelangelo had been asked to paint the general judgment
on a postage stamp! You tell me, please, how it is possible today to
perform a Credo, or even a Gloria. First we would need to return, at
least for the solemn or feast day Masses, to a liturgy that gives
music its proper place and expresses itself in the universal
language of the Church, Latin. In the Sistine, after the liturgical
reform, I was able to keep alive the traditional repertoire of the
Chapel only in the concerts. Just think – the Missa Papae Marcelli
by Palestrina has not been sung in St. Peter's since the time of
Pope John XXIII! We were graciously granted the permission to
perform it during a commemoration of Palestrina, and they wanted it
without the Credo, but that time I would not budge, and the entire
work was performed.

Q: Do you think that the assembly of the faithful should participate
in singing the Gregorian chant during liturgical celebrations?

A: We must make distinctions in the performance of Gregorian chant.
Part of the repertoire, for example the Introits or the Offertories,
requires an extremely refined level of artistry and can be
interpreted properly only by real artists. Then there is a part of
the repertoire that is sung by the people: I think of the Mass "of
the Angels," the processional music, the hymns. It was once very
moving to hear the assembly sing the Te Deum, the Magnificat, the
litanies, music that the people had assimilated and made their own –
but today very little is left even of this. And furthermore,
Gregorian chant has been distorted by the rhythmic and aesthetic
theories of the Benedictines of Solesmes. Gregorian chant was born
in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like
the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day.

Q: Do you think that the musical traditions of the past are

A: It stands to reason: if there is not the continuity that keeps
them alive, they are destined to oblivion, and the current liturgy
certainly does not favor it... I am an optimist by nature, but I
judge the current situation realistically, and I believe that a
Napoleon without generals can do little. Today the motto is "go to
the people, look them in the eyes," but it's all a bunch of empty
talk! By doing this we end up celebrating ourselves, and the mystery
and beauty of God are hidden from us. In reality, we are witnessing
the decline of the West. An African bishop once told me, "We hope
that the council doesn't take Latin out of the liturgy, otherwise in
my country a Babel of dialects will assert itself."

Q: Was John Paul II somewhat accommodating in these matters?

A: In spite of a number of appeals, the liturgical crisis became
more deeply entrenched during his pontificate. Sometimes it was the
papal celebrations themselves that contributed to this new tendency
with dancing and drums. Once I left, saying, "Call me back when the
show is over!" You understand well that if these are the examples
coming from St. Peter's, appeals and complaints aren't of any use. I
have always objected to these things. And even though they kicked me
out, ostensibly because I had turned 80, I don't regret what I did.

Q: What did it once mean to sing in the Sistine Chapel?

A: The place and the choir formed a unity, just as music and the
liturgy formed a unity. Music was not a mere ornament, but it
brought the liturgical text to life, and the cantor was something
like a priest.

Q: But is it possible, today, to compose in the Gregorian style?

A: For one thing, we would need to recover that spirit of solidity.
But the Church has done the opposite, favoring simplistic, pop-
inspired melodies that are easy on the ears. It thought this would
make people happy, and this is the road it took. But that's not art.
Great art is density.

Q: Don't you say any composers today who are capable of reviving
such a tradition?

A: It's not a question of aptitude; the atmosphere just isn't there.
The fault is not that of the musicians, but of what is asked of

Q: And yet the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos have sold millions of
CD's of Gregorian chant. There's also the Third Symphony of Henryk
Gorecki, with its medieval references...

A: These are consumer phenomena that hold little interest for me.

Q: But there are authoritative composers who have put the faith at
center stage, like Pärt or Penderecki...

A: They don't have a sense of the liturgy. Mozart was also great,
but I doubt that his sacred music is very much at its ease in a
cathedral. But Gregorian chant and Palestrina match seamlessly with
the liturgy.

Q: In effect, Mozart's letters don't convey any great religious
sentiment. And yet, in the "et incarnatus est" of his Mass in C
minor, that soprano phrase from the wind instruments perfectly
explains to us the mystery of the incarnation...

A: Don't forget that Mozart's father was a Chapel Master. And so,
whether he wanted to or not, he breathed deeply of the air of the
Church. There is always something very concrete, especially in a
man's childhood, that explains such spiritual depth. Think of Verdi,
who as a child had a priest as his first music instructor, and
played the organ at Mass.

Q: Do you feel a bit lonely, with no heirs?

A: There's no one left. I think I'm the last Chapel Master.

Q: But in Leipzig, at the church of Saint Thomas, there is the
sixteenth Kantor since the time of Bach...

A: In Germany, in the Protestant arena, the children of the composer
of the Brandenburg concerti jealously safeguard their identity.
Verdi rightly said that the Germans are the faithful children of
Bach, while we Italians are the degenerate children of Palestrina.

Q: Speaking of Verdi, great sacred music isn't always compatible
with the liturgy....

A: Certainly. Verdi's Requiem Mass cannot be called a Mass suitable
for the liturgy, but think of the power with which the meaning of
the text comes through! Beethoven, too: listen to the opening of the
Credo. It's entirely different for the Cecilian movement. These are
the masterpieces of sacred music that have a rightful place in
concert performances.

Q: Bruckner was also very inspired...

A: He has the defect of being longwinded. His Mass for wind
instruments, the one in E minor, is rather tedious.

Q: Was Mahler correct in saying that he was "half god and half

A: That's right. He had some extraordinary moments, such as his
masterful treatments of the arch. But then he began to exaggerate,
and then...

Q: And do you like Mahler?

A: He's like Bruckner – some beautiful moments, but rather
repetitive. One would like to shout at him at a certain point: knock
it off, we get it!

Q: According to Ratzinger, there is music as a mass phenomenon, pop
music, which is measured by the values of the market. And then there
is the educated, cerebral music that is destined for a small

A: This is the music of the moderns, from Schönberg on, but sacred
music must follow the spirit of Gregorian chant and respect the
liturgy. The cantor in the church is not there as an artist, but as
a preacher, or as one who preaches by singing.

Q: Do you envy the Eastern Churches at all?

A: They have not changed anything, and rightly so. The Catholic
Church has renounced itself and its particular makeup, like those
women who have plastic surgery: they become unrecognizable, and
sometimes there are serious consequences.

Q: Was it your father who brought you close to music?

A: He was a workman at a brick factory in Borgo San Lorenzo, in the
province of Florence. He loved to sing in church. And he loved the
romanze of Verdi and Donizetti. But at that time, everybody sang:
the farmers while they were dressing the vines, the shoemakers while
they were working a sole. There were bands in the piazza, during the
holidays music directors came from Florence, and the area theatre
had two opera seasons each year. It's all gone now.

Q: In Italy, the authorities have cut off financing for the
orchestras and theatres...

A: They were right to do so. Those organizations have too many
people who are just dead weight. Take, for example, the
administrative offices: at first there were four or five persons,
now there are twenty or twenty-five.

Q: In what sense can Palestrina, Lasso, or Victoria be considered

A: For their musical density. Palestrina is the founding father who
first understood what it means to make music; he intuited the
necessity for contrapuntal composition linked to the text, unlike
the complexity and the rules of Flemish composition.

Q: For the philosopher Schopenhauer, music is the summit of all the
arts, the immediate objectification of the Will. For Catholics, can
it be defined as the direct _expression of God, as the Word?

A: Music is Art with a capital "A." Sculpture has marble, and
architecture has the edifice. You see music only with the eyes of
the spirit; it enters within you. And the Church has the merit of
having cultivated it in its cantories, of having given it its
grammar and syntax. Music is the soul of the word that becomes art.
It most definitely disposes you to discovering and welcoming the
beauty of God. For this reason, now more than ever the Church must
learn to recover it.

Sings Like an Angel...Acts Like a Devil

From Gerald.

Denise sent me this outrageous account of Charlotte Church's behavior. I never cared for her music, classical crossover crap and I don't like her voice. But, I had no idea she was a pretty much the devil's own. What's next? Head-spinning and green vomit? From Lifesite News:

The latest blasphemous antics of Welsh pop-star Charlotte Church have convinced a Catholic publishing company to drop all the products of the girl with “the voice of a angel.”

In a notice to all the customers of Ignatius Press, the company informed its customers that Charlotte Church’s recent statement and antics in the pilot for a new Channel 4 Television entertainment show, have forced Ignatius Press to discontinue carrying her products.

The pilot for The Charlotte Church Show was recorded before a live audience on July 12 in London. During the show, the hostess Charlotte Church, dressed as drug-using nun, smashed open a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary revealing a hidden can of cider, and spoke about worshipping “St. Fortified Wine.” Along the same vein of comic blasphemy, the pop diva pretended to hallucinate while consuming communion wafers branded with Ecstasy smiley faces, and denigrated Pope Benedict XVI as a “Nazi”, even though she had performed for the late Holy Father, John Paul II, when she was a 12 year-old girl.

In an official statement, Ignatius Press stated, “It is with regret that we do this; Miss Church possesses a great gift from God, and in the past she has used her talent often to offer praise and glory to our Lord.” While Ignatius Press praised the sacred music Charlotte had done in the past, they said, “We cannot stand by a young woman who uses her stature in the media to mock the Eucharist, slander the Holy Father, and denigrate the vows of religious women. Therefore, our catalogs and website will immediately withdraw all compact discs, cassette tapes, DVDs and VHS tapes that feature Miss Church. Please join us in praying for this troubled young woman.”

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Hat tip to Gerald

Article from James K. Fitzpatrick at Catholic Exchange

Have you seen the latest attempt to provide cover for “personally opposed but” Catholic politicians and those who vote for them? No surprise: Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, who has made a career out of championing “progressive” Catholic causes, came up with it. In a recent appearance on Meet the Press, she made the case that it would make more sense to call pro-life Catholics “pro-birth.” (Brian calls in his cat - Here, Princess!)

Pro-birth??? I've heard my share of oxymorons by Sr. Schittstirrer, er, Chittister, but that one takes the cake - with high stress on the last two syllables of the word "oxymoron".

Her point was that most pro-life Catholics tend to oppose the government programs promoted by liberal Democrats to care for human life after birth, and so are undeserving of the title “pro-life.”

And who is this poor excuse for a nun (who, if you ask me, gives Benedictines a very bad name) to make that decision? And to even make such a general statement? How does she even know?
Sure - never mind the rest of one's life! Yah! OK - I'm going to reveal something I don't reveal to too many people: I was adopted at five months old, OK. I cannot be more thankful that this was 1964 and not 1973, the year abortion became "legal". I'd hate to imagine what would have happened then. I am the whole package - anti-abortion, pro-birth, and most important, pro-life.

Pro-birth! HA!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Hat tip to Argent

From Catholic News Agency - US Catholic clergy encouraged by bishops’ liturgy decisions

If this Confraternity of the Catholic Clergy includes a good majority of North American clergy, this is a really good sign.



Hat tip to Gerald.

Cartoon from Paul Nichols.

BTW, I agree with Linus here.



Hat tip to the Curt Jester and Ward Wide Web.

Apparently a couple of rich yuppies moved into townhouses directly across from the great Church of St. John Cantius in Chicago a year ago. Until now, St. John Cantius never had a problem with ringing their bells every 15 minutes until 11 PM - since 12/11/1898. Thanks to a complaint the rich yuppies filed with the Illinois EPA, St. John Cantius agreed to stop ringing at 9 PM.

"It's the first time in the history of the church this has ever happened," (Rev. Al) Tremari said. "No one's ever complained before."

Gotta have one in every crowd, eh? Anyways, just to prove that the folk at St. John Cantius continue to be the "good guys":

Amos Miller, a longtime parishioner and volunteer, said the church's compromise speaks to the church's desire to be a good neighbor. "The spirit of compromise is important. We try to get along with everyone."

Source: Chicago Sun Times

Cathy Ward (of WardWideWeb) calls the yuppies "dunderheads". I simply call them "killjoys". Because it's people like that that take the joy right out of living.


ANGLICANISM AT CROSSROADS: Changes Put Future in Doubt

Couldn't find a way to direct-link to ZENIT's article, so I've reproduced it in its entirety below. (Sorry, Zenit!)



NEW YORK, JULY 15, 2006 ( Recent decisions by the Anglican Church in Britain and the United States have raised the specter of further splits. Last weekend, the Church of England's Synod voted in favor of allowing women to be ordained bishops.

Already 14 out of the 38 autonomous Anglican churches in other countries have approved women bishops, reported the BBC on Monday. The British decision, however, was important given the status of England as the home of Anglicanism.

During the Synod debate the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, told participants that bishops had a special leadership role in the Church, and that just because it had women priests, it did not mean that women bishops were legitimate, the BBC reported. In the end the vote was 288 in favor of women bishops and 119 against.

The vote in favor of women bishops came shortly after data revealed the increasing presence of women clergy. Fourteen years after the go-ahead for women priests in the U.K., 283 women were recommended for the seminary last year, compared with 295 men, reported the London-based Times newspaper, June 24.

The experience of the Anglican Church in Britain was recently analyzed by Hilary De Lyon, chief executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She contributed a chapter to the study "Production Values: futures for professionalism," published June 22 by the U.K. think-tank Demos.

The first women deacons were ordained in 1987, and women were permitted to enter the full priesthood in 1994, explained De Lyon. Although it has been only 12 years since women were first ordained, they already make up over 20% of clergy, and hold 50% of the unpaid posts held by priests. In addition, they hold only one in six of the paid posts and one in five of the chaplaincy posts.

Two-tier church

The latest vote comes after a long period of tensions in the Anglican church. Shortly before the Synod meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury announced that all the national churches would be asked to sign a covenant declaring they believed in the basic biblical tenets of Anglican doctrine, reported the Times newspaper, June 28.

Williams threatened that those who refuse to sign the declaration would be excluded from full membership of the Church and would instead become "associates." The proposal will be discussed by the Anglicans at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Anglican disunity is not the only threat; ecumenical relations are also in doubt. Before last weekend's vote Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, warned that allowing women to be ordained bishops would further complicate attempts to achieve unity.

In comments reported by the Times, June 7, the cardinal said that as it was, the ordination of women as priests had led to a "cooling off" in the relations between the two churches. The advent of women bishops would cause a "serious and long-lasting chill." He also warned that: "Without identity, no society, least of all a church, can continue to survive."

American divisions

On the other side of the Atlantic, the American branch of the Anglican Church, the Episcopalians, continues to be riven by disputes. In May, Episcopalians in San Francisco did avoid electing a homosexual as local bishop, reported the Washington Post, May 7. Instead they chose Mark Handley Andrus, currently the bishop suffragan from the diocese of Alabama.
Andrus ran against six other candidates, three of whom live openly with same-sex partners, according to the Post article.

But the following month controversy arose over the election by the Episcopal General Convention of Nevada bishop, Jefferts Schori, as its leader in America. She is the first woman to head a national grouping of the Anglican Communion, reported the Washington Post, June 19.

Her election immediately raised concerns. Schori had backed the election of a declared homosexual, V. Gene Robertson, as a bishop in 2003. Before this, no openly homosexual bishop had ever been consecrated in the history of the Anglican Church. Moreover, the same meeting of American Episcopalians that elected Schori refused to impose a moratorium on the election of additional homosexual bishops, reported Reuters, June 20.

Reacting to the election of Schori, the Bishop of Rochester, England, Michael Nazir-Ali, said that divisions between liberals and conservatives were so profound that a compromise was no longer possible. His comments came in an interview published June 19 by the British newspaper, the Telegraph.

"Anglicans are used to fudging things sometimes, but I think this is a matter of such seriousness that fudge won't do," said Bishop Nazir-Ali.

Nigeria's Anglican bishops had even stronger words, saying that the U.S. branch is "a cancerous lump" that should be "excised," reported the BBC on July 4.

Doubts over where Schori will lead Episcopalians were raised by her statements in the days following the election. In a sermon shortly after her election she referred to "our mother Jesus," reported the Times, June 22.

Then, in an interview published in the July 17 issue of Time magazine, Schori was asked: "What will be your focus as head of the U.S. church?" She replied saying: "Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to bed hungry, on providing primary education to girls and boys, on healing people with AIDS, on addressing tuberculosis and malaria, on sustainable development. That ought to be the primary focus."


The sort of priorities outlined by Shori were strongly criticized by Charlotte Allen, Catholicism editor for Beliefnet, in an opinion article published July 9 by the Los Angeles Times. The fragmentation of Anglicanism, she explained, is not just due to doctrinal disputes. "It also is about the meltdown of liberal Christianity," she said.

Liberal Christianity was hailed as the future of the Christian Church, but Allen observed, all the churches and movements within churches that have "blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are demographically declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating."

"When a church doesn't take itself seriously, neither do its members" argued Allen. As recently as 1960 churches such as the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans accounted for 40% of all American Protestants. Today the number has plummeted to around 12%.

Allen cited data from the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, showing that in 1965 there were 3.4 million Episcopalians; now, there are 2.3 million.

Her comments echoed the thesis of the book, "Exodus: Why Americans are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity," (Sentinel) published last year. According to author Dave Shiflett, Americans are leaving liberal denominations for churches that preach strict moral norms and uphold traditional beliefs.

Liberal theologians and bishops get plenty of media coverage, observes Shiflett. But the average churchgoer wants to attend a church where they can get something not obtainable elsewhere, which doesn't include trendy opinions on current topics. "They want the Good News, not the minister's political views or intellectual coaching."

Shiflett explained that data from the Glenmary Research Center on church membership showed that conservative congregations are growing fastest. This includes the Southern Baptist Convention, up 5% in the decade 1990-2000; and Pentecostal groups such as the Assemblies of God, and the Church of God, up 18.5% and 40% respectively, in the same period.

As a general observation, churches that adhere to traditional teaching, offer transcendent truth and demand a high commitment from their members are those that enjoy growth. Following the latest liberal trends, on the other hand, leads to decline. Something for all Christians to consider.

Monday, July 17, 2006


You can listen below, or save the file by clicking here. (35:27/16.2 MB)

Today we will be featuring organs in Tiverton, Providence, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Cumberland, RI, and Fall River MA, that I think are fun to play and/or hear. Here they are, pictured above.

We're also reminiscing a "lost 45" - The Spirit of God by Lucien Deiss, C.S.Sp.
Music List: Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

O God, Our Help in Ages Past (tune: St. Anne)
Lord, Let Us See Your Kindness (music written by yours truly)
Alleluia for the day (Mode VI, with Psalm Tone by yours truly)
Rejoice in the Lord Always, sung by the Holy Ghost Choir, directed by the composer (yours truly), and accompanied by friend and mentor Reuel Gifford

Shamus, the Christus Vincit Weatherman: Is Shamus inventing the thunderboomers?
Commercials: True Knights, iPadre, Disciples with Microphones
Top Ten List: Top Ten Funniest Instruments Used at Mass, brought to you by Where in the World Is Archbishop Milingo
We read some listener comments on the air, and closing by Shamus.

Vote at Podcast Alley / Message Board / Subscribe at iTunes

Sunday, July 16, 2006


SUNDAY XVI - JULY 23, 2006

Introit: O God, our help in ages past (457/St. Anne)
Penitential: parrot Father
Gloria: Mass of the Bells (Peloquin)
Psalm: My shepherd is the Lord, nothing indeed shall I want (750/Gelineau)
Alleluia: Mode VI
Offertory: Seek ye first the kingdom of God (454/Lafferty)
Eucharist: People's (Sanctus and Agnus) /Danish (Memorial and Amen)
Lord's Prayer: chant, English
Communion: You satisfy the hungry heart (337/Bicentennial)
Recessional: All people that on earth do dwell (312/Old Hundredth)


Saturday, July 15, 2006


...and getting slapped in the face for it by the neighbors. Shame to say - it's in my diocese. Hat tip to Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia. (Hey, whatever happened to that parody blog, Lispers in the Woggia, btw?)

Two Italian-American parishes not far from each other at all - St. Bartholemew's in Providence's Silver Lake neighborhood, and St. Rocco's in Johnston. Both parishes are staffed by the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians). St. Rocco's was gracious enough to help out St. Bart's by running a joint carnival on the St. Rocco's grounds. Of course, leave it to the neighbors and Johnston town officials to do the bickoring. I obviously applaud the pastors of both parishes for their efforts. And the nasty letters are anonymous, meaning that they come from people with no backbone.

It's a shame! I personally think it's a racism thing, but of course people will deny it (St. Bart's does have a sizeable Hispanic population in addition to their Italian population).

Here's the article from the Providence Journal. Read it and weep!


Thursday, July 13, 2006


I've seen this article from CWN on the blogs of Gerald, Anthony, and The New Liturgical Movement. Here it is:

Jul. 13 ( - The Vatican is planning to restore some disciplinary control of the liturgy, according the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in response to widespread abuses.

Speaking to the I Media news agency in Rome, Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don will soon take steps to indicate the importance of following the Church's liturgical guidelines. Asked whether Pope Benedict XVI is preparing a document on the liturgy, Archbishop Ranjith answered indirectly, noting that the Holy Father has written and spoken extensively on liturgical issues in past years. Pope Benedict is keenly aware of today's challenges, he said, and determined to restore a proper sense of reverence to the liturgy. The Sri Lankan prelate said that some of his thoughts had been taken out of context after a previous interview with the French newspaper La Croix. He had not intended to suggest that the liturgical reforms of Vatican II had failed, he stressed; rather, he meant that some liturgical changes had produced an overreaction, and a loss of appreciation for Church traditions. As a result, he said, "the reforms of the Council did not bear the expected fruit, because of the way in which they were interpreted and put into practice." Now, he continued, the great challenge for the Church is to promote a deeper understanding of the liturgical reforms: one in keeping with the constant traditions of Catholicism. Archbishop Ranjith said that two extremes must be avoided: a liturgical free-for-all in which "every priest of bishop does what he wants, which creates confusion;" or a complete abandonment of liturgical reforms, leading to a vision that is "closed up in the past." Today, he said, those two extremes are becoming more prominent, and the Church needs to establish a middle ground.

Every day, the archbishop disclosed, the Congregation for Divine Worship receives new complaints about serious liturgical abuses, and complaints that local bishops have failed to correct them. If the Church fails to curb these abuses, he said, "people will attend the Tridentine Mass, and our churches will be empty." Liturgical guidelines are set forth clearly, he observed, in the Roman Missal and in Church documents. Now "some discipline is necessary regarding what we do at the altar."

Archbishop Ranjith spoke to I Media after returning from Kumasi, Ghana, where he participated in a workshop about the liturgy in Africa. He reported that Church officials from 23 different African countries took part in the discussions, which centered on questions of translation and inculturation.

Shawn at the NLM also adds an interview with Archbishop Ranjith (translated to English) from a French source. It's a really good read.

Gerald at the Closed Cafeteria adds this:
Apart from music, liturgical discipline has been a big problem for decades, but it seems to be getting a lot better with younger priests coming in. They don't usually have the hippie monkey on their back and are interested in being authentically Catholic. The mere fact that progressives are getting defensive (and extra-ecclesial reactionaries trying to downplay improvements) shows that we're on the right path. Thirty years ago, many of the things in discussion now would have had no chance at all.

My own pastor and direct supervisor, mid 40's, is living proof of that. A visiting priest, I'll say 60's, maybe 70's, and a former curate at my parish, once called my pastor "conservative". I wanted to say, "no, he's Catholic". Needless to say, the visiting priest, in a later visit, allowed a eulogy to take place at my parish, against the pastor's wishes. As for defensiveness by progressives, I can testify to that via my own horrendous experiences in the main Yahoo group that is run by none other than the NPM.

Anthony at Jumping without a Chute says this:
In my Diocese we went to at least 4 parishes before finally finding one where the Liturgy was in keeping with what is appropriate. The TLM looks better and better every day.

Been in that boat before, as, I'm sure, many others. It's like trying to work out of Gather Comprehensive or a Music Issue of any year, or like a typical radio station in southern New England. Ya gotta sift through the garbage to get to the good stuff.


BLASPHEMY IS ILLEGAL... Massachusetts. Hat tip to Domini Sumus, who is music director at a parish just minutes from my parish. She also researched the year it was passed in reply to a comment I left on her post.

Chapter 272: Section 36. Blasphemy
Section 36. Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.

Of course, in 1648, the year the law was passed, $300 was a lot of bucks. Now it's hardly a week's pay. But, believe it or not, it's still in the books, despite some of the most liberal of politicians in Massachusetts (like a couple of certain U.S. Senators, both supposedly Catholic, both pro-abortion). Someone should gather up little ultimatums with a copy of this law, send them in big batches to both Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry with a little sticky note saying, "Remember, you owe the Lord $300". Now I'll have to see if Rhode Island has any such law. Hmmmmmmmmm! Who can we bag?


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


OK - not exactly the fruit. My favorite secular band since I was eight - Raspberries. This was their first hit, from 1972 (this live recording in 1974). Sound familiar?

Lead singer: another familiar name - Eric Carmen
Lead guitar: Wally Bryson
Bass guitar: Scott McCarl (who replaced Dave Smalley in 1974)
Drums: Michael McBride (who replaced Jim Bonfanti in 1974)



(You will be subject to excommunication!)

Argent took some really cool pot shots on this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Now it's my turn to take some pot shots. (BTW, nice work Argent!)

In the three weeks since Joan Clark Houk's plans to be ordained as a Catholic priest became public, the McCandless woman's media baptism has involved six interviews and one letter writer's claim that she was well educated in witchcraft.

That letter writer might just be right. Further, let's clarify the part up to the first comma. Mrs. Houk (pictured left, in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul Offices in Pittsburgh) claims she's going to be ordained as a Catholic priest. Instead, she's simply going to become a poncho lady in a bogus ritual on a boat, kinda like a bunch of young girls in a dollhouse "playing school".

But Mrs. Houk, who celebrated her 66th birthday last weekend, remains resolute. On July 31, the cradle Catholic will join 11 other female candidates in an ordination ceremony aboard a rented boat here -- the first ceremony of its kind in the United States. Eight are seeking to become women priests and the other four, deacons.

It'll be another year or so before the last four can get that poncho. It's such a shame how someone can just flush 66 years of Catholicism down the twah-lette!

The event, a public challenge to the Roman Catholic church's teaching that only baptized men can be priests, will disturb traditional believers.

The traditional believers, I believe, will know better. The "cafeteria Catholics" may fall for it, causing a disturbance on their souls. As for these twelve women, they are already disturbed, as Argent rightfully points out.

Last month, the Rev. Ron Lengwin, a spokesman for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the women are walking away from the church. If Mrs. Houk holds herself out as a priest after the ceremony, she risks excommunication. Mrs. Houk believes the best way to spur the church to ordain women is to violate what she believes is an unjust law.

Father Lengwin is absolutely right. Again, 66 years of Catholicism simply gone to waste. Too bad! So sad! Sorry. Holy Mother Church does not just waver on two thousand years of what they (and we) believe is a just law.

"The church has to take a stand for women ... that they are the image of God and are to be respected and treated on an equal, human level. This is really why I have to do what I am doing," she said in a recent interview.

Well, they are treated on an equal, human level. Guys can't be nuns now, can they? No. Not even after a sex change! So, don't even go there!

Since the 1980s, tens of thousands of American Catholics have consistently told the National Opinion Research Center in Chicago that they favor ordaining women as well as married priests.

HA! What a crock! One - who paid these "tens of thousands" to satisfy their little agenda? And, two - how about the remaining "hundreds of thousands" who make up the remainder of America's Catholics. Oh, and, uh, three - were these "tens of thousands" really Catholic, or were they never Cathoic, or former Catholic, either by excommunication or by their own will? Wait - excommunication really is by one's own will.

"A majority of American Catholics for quite some time have supported those changes in church doctrine. The public has been open to more innovation in the church than the church itself has been," said Tom Smith, director of the center's general social survey.

Well, these so-called "American Catholics" that were so surveyed are supporting a lost cause.

"I believe the ordination will be valid and part of the apostolic succession," said Mrs. Houk, who earned her master's in divinity on a full scholarship at the University of Notre Dame in 1996.

Sure. Just as much as Elvis Presley will rise from the dead.

About 400 invited family members and friends will observe as three female bishops from Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an international group of Catholics who support women's ordination, will lay hands on the candidates' heads and anoint their hands with oil. Unlike priests, the women, some of whom are married, will not take a vow of celibacy.

Ah yes, four hundred people will witness these twelve people as they are made into poncho ladies. And as an added bonus, they will check you for lice, just like in this picture on the left. "Bishop in the middle" seeks the advice of "Bishop on the left" - Bad news. She checked positive, followed by a reply of Pass her for now. We'll deal with the lice later. "Bishop on the right" also does a thorough check.

"We do not promise obedience to our bishop. We promise obedience to Jesus and the Gospel," Mrs. Houk said, adding that each candidate will receive a glass chalice engraved with her name and the date.

The first sentence is another reason why there's no such thing as a Roman Catholic woman priest. And the glass chalice makes for many a great prom souvenir. Why not a good strong ceramic stein to hold the excessive amount of liquor she's been drinking that led her to her decision to stray from the Church?

During a meeting last week, officials of the Gateway Clipper Fleet assured Mrs. Houk that despite some negative comments, they will honor their contract because they do not discriminate when they rent boats to groups. "They have been really wonderful to work with," Mrs. Houk said.

Of course. The boat company ain't gonna give a rat's behind who they rent their boats to, as long as there's a licensed, responsible captain on board who will bring the boat back in one piece, and as long as they're getting paid.

Two-thirds of the 35 e-mails that Mrs. Houk has received since the announcement have been supportive. "I am very uplifted by all the support I am getting from everyone," she said.

Those who haven't sent an e-mail have better things to do, most likely, than to waste their verbage on a lost cause.

At the ceremony, presiders will be Patricia Fresen, Gisela Forster and Ida Raming, who live in Germany and are bishops in RC Womenpriests. The three women believe they are part of the church's valid apostolic succession because Roman Catholic bishops in good standing ordained them secretly.

Man, were they ever deceived. And this "RC Womenpriests" - wow! Sounds official! Sounds important! It isn't. RC could really stand for Royal Crown, like the soda, or Royal Caribbean, like the cruise line. Or it could be a more honest acronymn, like Royally Crocked.

Ms. Raming joined the "Danube Seven," a group of women ordained on the Danube River near Austria in August 2002. In January 2003, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, excommunicated members of the Danube Seven.

Next in line for excommunication: the "Pittsburgh Twelve".

Mrs. Houk believes her life's work has prepared her for this step on her pilgrimage. The eldest of four children, she grew up on the North Side where her father, Bill Clark, worked as an optician and her mother, Dorothy, was a beautician and a seamstress.

Mrs. Houk graduated from St. Peter High School on Arch Street in 1958. For 50 years, her maternal grandfather ushered the faithful into 6 a.m. Mass at St. Francis Xavier, where he helped stoke the church furnace.

And a Catholic education, too. Even more reason to repeat that strain - Sixty-six years of a Catholic life down the drain.

"Church was our life," Mrs. Houk recalled, adding that she recited the rosary with her grandmother Mary Halligan while they waited for bread to bake.

Note my emphasis on the word was. Well, still is. Just not the true Holy Mother Church anymore.

Mrs. Houk and her husband, John, a retired civil engineer who worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in June. The couple have lived in Alaska, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Washington and Kentucky. Three of their six children are adopted, including a grown daughter from South Korea who teaches English and lives in California.

In 1997, the Houks moved to Jackson, Ky., where Mrs. Houk served as pastoral director at Holy Cross Parish, which had never had a resident priest.

I'll bet it did at one time. What stopped it?

"Personally, I have a lot of respect for Joan and John. I like them as individuals," said the Rev. Michael Chowning, a Franciscan who is based at Mother of Good Counsel in Hazard, Ky., and who knew the couple. "They were just neat people. They cared a lot about the church and about the people in general."

I used to work for a pastor who used the line "They're good Catholic people" as an excuse to give them what they want, even if the Church doesn't agree. I was sacked by same pastor after only a year - the only pastor to ever sack me in my 25 years as an organist.

In July 2000, the Houks moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., where Mrs. Houk served as pastoral director at St. Patrick while living in the church rectory with her husband. St. Patrick, founded in 1862, had always had a resident pastor, but Mrs. Houk assumed those duties. "I did do funerals. I led Communion services when the priest couldn't come. When a priest was not available, I led Sunday celebration, and I did preach," Mrs. Houk said.

Bad on all counts! Now, I had always understood that Communion services were lead by a deacon (permanent or transitional). In fact, I had learned, from a good permanent deacon friend of mine, that the Communion Service was often nicknamed the "Deacon's Mass". Preaching: reserved for deacon or priest. Not laity. Lay men can't even preach.

Besides her service in Kentucky, she has worked on a marriage tribunal; (mis-)taught catechism as well as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults; and worked with her husband to prepare engaged couples for marriage.

"Brrrr, I can just imagine what heterodoxy she spewed," says Argent. Amen to that, Argent! I can just imagine the shrinking of the parish size once she got established.

In December 2002, the couple returned to Pittsburgh and settled in McCandless, where they are members of St. Alexis parish.

Mrs. Houk is deeply concerned about the lack of an open forum for Catholics who are struggling with their consciences and want to discuss abortion, women's ordination and the need to minister to people who feel estranged from or abandoned by the church. If primacy of conscience leads to dissent against the Church, then it is false. "I know that we have that right because it's in canon law," Mrs. Houk said, citing section three of Canon 212. The canon provides that the Christian faithful "... have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the church ... ."

And the pastors have the right to tell such dissenters why they are wrong.

The current atmosphere within the Diocese of Pittsburgh does not foster open discussion, Mrs. Houk said. "The church is saying that we need to be able to speak to our pastors and to other Catholics about matters of conscience and concern, and yet we don't have a forum, especially in this diocese. We're closed out. We're not allowed to talk," she said.

Talk all you want, but in the end, the Church will not waver. Period. Here. Talk to my cat, Mrs. Houk. BTW, she's very ticklish.