Category Archives: Pope

Ever traveled back in time?

I did, yesterday afternoon at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Weston, West Virginia.  The checs and I, along with ByzCat and her family and literally hundreds of other Catholics from all over, assisted at the Solemn High Mass for the Second Sunday after Easter, according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Tridentine Mass, for those of you who missed B16’s motu proprio).

You’re going to have to be patient and wait for pictures until I get the film developed, as the Church was too pretty to entrust images to my little cheesy camera phone.

Father Grassi, the celebrant, was richly and ornately vested in a gorgeous gold fiddleback chasuble that looked like it had been borrowed from His Holiness himself.  The servers were elegant and reverent in black cassocks and blinding white surplices.  A friend’s son was the crucifer.

The organist was imported, as were the members of the choir.  All volunteer and EXTREMELY well done.

Did I mention the Church was packed?  Practically to the rafters.  I saw room for 3 people to sit down, and that’s it.

I have to admit, when I first heard about this Mass and made plans to attend, I thought maybe 75 to 100 people would be a good turnout.  After all, if you look at where Weston is on the map, it’s not exactly in the middle of things.  And I’ve posted before about some pretty pitiful things that have gone on in NO parishes in my neck of the woods (same diocese, although a different vicariate).  From the state of affairs here locally, I thought any love for tradition had long been lost, replaced with that odd apathy that in my snarkier moments I equate with a wilful loss of Faith.

I have never been happier to have been shown to be wrong.  I think it’s entirely possible that now, after a very long (40 years…..where have we heard about people wandering for that length of time…..) winter, the Latin Rite is about to see that ‘new springtime’ that was supposed to happen way back when.


Mea culpa, mea culpa,

mea maxima culpa.  I certainly did not intend to some across as superior and arrogant about Eastern Church tradition, although it may have seemed that way.  I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone.

It will never cease to amaze me, however, how Roman Catholics who are blessed with reverent and orthodox priests, rubrically correct Masses (under either form, NO or Tridentine), and modestly attired and attentively reverent parishioners with whom to worship, can seem so taken aback by reports ‘from the field’ about liturgical dancers, Zen-friendly spirituality being preached from the pulpit, icky modern-art Stations of the Cross (where they exist at all), and parishes where the focus is on community rather than Communion.  I know there parishes and dioceses exist (the good ones) – I’ve been to Masses in them and know people who have nothing but good things to say about their priest and Bishop.  But I also know the state of affairs in the Latin diocese where I live.  It’s one reason I was able to so easily hear my call to move East.  And I readily admit that perhaps in some other Easter parishes some strange things may have gone on, and could still be going on, for all I know.

The fact is, the Latin Church is in a real mess, truly, and we all ought to be praying for the Holy Father as he does what he has discerned to be the Will of God to move the Western lung of the Catholic Church back to where it is truly “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.”

‘Nuff said.

Still Chuckling….

J S left a very nice comment on my yet-to-be-edited “about” page.  I’m glad that he realizes that I’m still a real Catholic!  Sometimes I get the feeling that not only ought we to be praying for the Catholic – Orthodox reunification and the Protestants to come back to the Faith, but we also ought to pray that Latin Church Catholics wake up and realize that they aren’t the only game in town when it comes to Catholicism.  There’s a whole ‘nother Church a lot of them know next to nothing about.  A pity, too, because JP2 himself said many times that the Church needs to ‘breathe with both lungs’ and that Catholics of the Roman Rite ought to educate themselves about the spirituality and rituals to the Byzantine Church, in order that this knowledge may enrich their own practice of the Faith.

Thanks again, J S!  Keep in touch!


First, the garden. I took the first tomato to church last weekend and gave it to my priest – I’ve been doing that since the first year I had a garden. I’ve got whitefly on the tomato plants, and just spraying with water wasn’t getting the job done, so I had to go spring for some insecticidal soap which I hope will kill the little buggers. They don’t hurt the fruits but they sure make the plants look pitiful!

I have beans. I don’t know how many because I haven’t picked yet, but as I was pulling some weeds last night I noticed at least two so I will pick this evening.

The corn is REALLY TALL! I have tassels, and ears forming, some of which have silks already!

I took a big chance this year and planted very early for my climate zone – the gardening people say the last frost date in these parts is the end of April/middle of May…..and I put the tomatoes in on May 7, and everything else got planted on the 13th of May. The corn was up to my knees shortly after June 4 – almost a month ahead of ‘schedule’!

Herbs are growing like gangbusters. I’ve made pesto several times, putting in pecans instead of pinenuts (guess that makes it southern-style pesto 😉 I use the oregano and thyme quite often, and the rosemary is unbelievably tasty on baked potatoes and pork roast. Also I’ve put in some hyssop, black peppermint, and lemon mint in the flower bed with the spearmint that ByzCat gaveme last year.

Now for other things…..

I’m delighted with both B16’s motu proprio and his statement that all the confusion about the statements in the documents of V2 about the ‘Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church ‘ being just that – confusion, and that we Catholics really do, after all, belong to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But honestly I don’t think either of those things are going to make much difference to the average LR Catholic, and probably not to the NO Catholics who need these documents the most. It seems to me that many Catholics have gotten very used to having their faith on their own terms, and what do they care that now any priest can celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum?

The thing is, you can’t have faith on your own terms, because then it’s not faith, it’s pride at the very least, and idolatry of self at the worst. The 6th Chapter of St. John’s Gospel makes that clear. Faith on one’s own terms is why there are Protestants. It’s worse than a cafeteria, in my mind….it’s more like going to Texas Roadhouse (a casual steak-and-fixins restaurant) and loudly proclaiming that you are vegan and you’re going to start a boycott of all Texas Roadhouse restaurants everywhere because there are no real vegan choices on their menu. Or going to a Byzantine Divine Liturgy, where the entire service is chanted without instrumental accompaniment (and you’ll never hear Amazing Grace and its like), then complaining about the music. (Some readers will know I didn’t make that example up).

Back to the motu proprio – what do I think it will mean for Catholics in my neck of the woods? Well, first of all, there is only one parish church left in town with a high altar intact – the university parish. And it’s a stronghold of several very liberal and ‘progressive’ groups of lay Catholics. So I don’t think there will be a Tridentine Mass there any time soon, although there is a newly-ordained priest there who might be receptive to the idea if properly approached…..and the other three parish churches, having been constructed during the heyday of ‘modern’ church architecture, render even a Low Mass nearly impossible because of the floor plan and other details:

St. Luke the Evangelist – no altar rail, chairs on 3 sides with the Sanctuary the 4th side of the square, choir at the front of the nave. However, there is enough room between the top step and the front of the altar for a priest to celebrate ad orientem if desired.

St. Francis de Sales – no altar rail, Tabernacle not even in the nave but in a separate chapel, seating in the round so that 25% of the parishioners at any given Mass have their backs to the Tabernacle, no altar steps (in fact the nave is rather like a bowl with the Sanctuary at the bottom 😦 ).

St. Mary’s – no altar rail. but the Sanctuary steps are wide enough for parishioners to kneel upon them to receive, and there’s room in front of the altar here as well, for celebrating ad orientem. Tabernacle is in a separate chapel, but at least it’s at the east end of the nave, next to the Sanctuary. There’s a picture in a previous post, from Advent 2006….…

Fr. De Cacqueray is pretty upset. Papa Ben is ‘the Pope who took off his shoes in a mosque’.

Hey Fr. de Cacqueray, I lived right outside Istanbul for a year…I saw many of the historic sites of the entire country of Turkey, both religious (Christian and Islam) and secular. I visited both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. When I entered the outer porch of the Blue Mosque, there are placards there for all to see, in English and Turkish (and with pictures also) directing EVERYONE to remove their shoes, for women to cover their heads, shoulders and knees, and to not engage in loud conversation in case there is anyone praying.

It’s a rule. The Holy Father was just following the rules.

I wonder if Fr. de Cacqueray was this upset by JPII praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem? After all, that’s not a Christian holy site either, by the strict definition of the term. It’s a Jewish site, and while we as Catholics are ‘completed Jews’ as I like to call myself to my Jewish friends, the vast majority of Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Incarnate Word of God.

Yes, yes, yes, I know that there are MUCH BIGGER differences between Islam and Christianity than between Judaism and Christianity, but here’s what the Holy Father said himself about his visit to the Blue Mosque:

“In the ambit of interreligious dialogue, Divine Providence allowed me to carry out, almost at the end of my trip, a gesture that initially was not foreseen and which revealed itself extremely significant: the visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Remaining recollected for a few minutes in that place of prayer, I turned to the only Lord of Heaven and earth, merciful Father of the whole of humanity, and implored that all believers might recognize themselves as creatures and give witness of authentic fraternity!” (tr. by ZENIT, printed in the Wanderer of December 14, 2006 – the address Benedict XVI gave at the general audience 12/6/06 – emphases mine).

Show some authentic fraternity, Fr. de Cacqueray. My son has attended services in his friend’s synagogue, and while there wears a kippah out of respect for Jewish custom. It doesn’t in any way mean he is denying the truth of the Catholic faith, any more than my occasional wearing of a saree is denying the fact that I am Irish as shamrocks!

And besides which, the Pope didn’t tell us we must all go to a mosque to pray. If this makes for more open dialogue between the Holy See and Islam, well fine. Give him the benefit of the doubt.