Monthly Archives: February 2023

To Pray, To Fast, and To Give Alms

We all know that the three directives of Lent are 1) to pray, 2) to fast, and 3) to give alms.

On the first front, I wish to encourage everyone reading this. I assume you are all good traditional Catholics and pray the Catholic way. 15 decades of the rosary during Lent would not be a bad use of one’s time. Daily Mass throughout the 40 days would be splendid. You can do it. If you are not yet Catholic, what are you waiting for? Come on over. It’s a hell of a fight right now but we could use the manpower.

On the second front, I wish to remind everyone reading this that fasting requires some form of actual fasting – that is, reducing your overall food intake. It is not, strictly speaking, giving up something you enjoy eating. It is not, strictly speaking, giving up anything willy-nilly (that phrase always makes me laugh yet I use it often). For instance, a priest preached recently that perhaps we might “fast from the internet”. I absolutely see his point and I recommend it. However, that is more of an abstinence and not even proper abstinence at that. Fasting must be about eating less. How much less? Much less? What an odd combination of words. Look, fasting is about giving up food. Period. Try going without eating a thing until 3:00 PM, the hour of Our Lord’s Passion and Death. Try going without meat, dairy, and eggs – the proteins of our daily life. I’m not suggesting everyone adopt a bread and water approach, but for those who can, even a few days a week, why not? Imitate Our Lord. He fasted for 40 days. And fasting can effect miracles from Our Lord. I’ll write more on that later. My point is, that if you are not denying your body nutrients, you aren’t doing it right. Esto vir. Be a man about it.

On the third front, I wrote a piece yesterday about praying for our priests. I do not have a “donate” button on my blog. I have nothing against the concept. In fact, I donate as often as I can to a handful of my own favorite bloggers. I haven’t done it (despite encouragement from friends) because I am not at that point yet. The Lord is providing for me at the moment. Trust me, when the time comes, that button will be big and flashy. In the meantime, I think it might be wise to prayerfully consider giving alms directly to your priests. Could there be a better way to show our support and gratitude? Mass stipends in an envelope are one thing. A card with a bill in it for no reason than because you appreciate that a man sacrificed his right to assume his role as head of a family so that the Eternal Sacrifice would be offered and our sins forgiven? Well that’s just gold right there. And it doesn’t have to be cash in a card either. We can find ways to do this. We jump at the opportunity to make meals for our priests. And when presented with the opportunity to dine with them at a restaurant, well… as old as my mother is, she’d still beat me senseless if she knew I hadn’t picked up the tab when dining with a priest. See if there’s a retreat Father wants to make and cover his airfare. Does your sacristy need new vestments? Can you sew? See where I’m going with this? I love my priests because they represent Christ. If Christ were living in my parish rectory, I’d move heaven and earth to give all I have to Him.

May your Lent be difficult. May your Lent be fruitful.

St. Peter, pray for us!

What Paul Gladstone Saw: Spiritual Reading for Lent

I’ve decided to get a jump on my spiritual reading for Lent a few days early. About a year ago, two of my sisters had begun a little book club. When I think of book clubs I tend to think of middle-aged women drinking wine and sharing the Cliffs Notes version of whatever modern piece of garbage they supposedly “read”. These two took it in a different direction by starting Malachi Martin’s Windswept House. Somehow they knew this was my kind of reading. Sidenote: my eyes have always been bad. I went from 20/20 vision to nearsighted one day in fifth grade. It got progressively worse since then until about two or three years ago when it leveled off. I’m currently at +5.00 in my contacts (or is that -5.00? I can’t recall). Only now that I’m 45, I also have this curious prespiopic thing going on as well where I seem to need reading glasses but not really. So a 650 page novel with tiny print is just what the doctor didn’t order. Anyway, in short order they had sent me a copy of the book and I dove in. Unfortunately, life being what it is and this book being 650 pages, I made it to around page 180 before stopping a while back and I never picked it up again. Until tonight.

I have resolved to read 50 pages a day for the next ten days and be done with it. It really is a fascinating story. Martin was a fascinating storyteller. Just tonight, though, I came across a passage I want to share for your intellectual exercise and edification. The female protagonist, Cessi Gladstone, has sent her older son to a seminary in Spain at the direction of a priest who had been recommended to her by Archbishop LeFebvre. She wanted to insure he was properly formed as a priest. Her younger son, Paul, however, attended the minor seminary in New Orleans where he encountered all manner of post-conciliar evil. The following is his exit speech to the rector upon his decision to leave the seminary.

“In the end, his brief intimacy with the “Conciliar Church” took an awful toll on Paul Gladstone. Unable to stomach the bawdy, ramschakle atmosphere of the once orderly Seminary, he had announced his departure to the Rector one morning with a candor so brutal, even Cessi would have been hard pressed to match it. “I am not being trained as any kind of Sacrifice-offering, sin-forgiving priest.” Paul’s eyes were blazing. “If I remain, I’ll come out as a disheveled dispenser of useless trinkets in the Great American Roman Catholic Potlatch.

“…I don’t know how to be a priest,” Paul had countered with an iciness that froze the very atmosphere of the room. “I don’t even know what it means to be a priest in a church where the centerpiece is nothing more than a ‘Supper Table.’ Oh, I know. I’ve heard over and again how this new ‘Conciliar Church’ of yours will present a more human face to the world. But I tell you this: I will not preach to ‘the people of God’ that when they gather together, they not only ‘become church’ but themselves ‘form Christ.’ I don’t begin to understand such meaningless jargon.”

Boy, if only Martin had found a way to work in the phrase “sing a new church into being” he would have captured the essence of my own seminary training.

And like all spiritual reading, this has spurred me to prayer. I hope you will join me in praying for our priests. Even the poorly-formed priests and the mal-formed priests are still men configured to Christ Jesus. They alone can forgive our sins and offer the Sacrifice. We may never bring the majority of them back to their senses but we can pray for their souls.

Our Lady, Mother of Priests, pray for us!

The Option Some Will Choose

In my last post, I hinted at what some priests will do when the document drops (assuming it does, which seems highly likely).

It’s been a long day so I will be brief.

I spoke with a friend who attends Mass at a parish run by a former Ecclesia Dei organization. He spoke with his pastor recently where he asked him that very question. The pastor’s response?

“Absolutely nothing different.”

So it seems at least some trad priests are willing to risk quite a bit to keep the Latin Mass going.

Pray for the priests.

Why Can’t I Be a Good Trad?

The rumors swirling – nearly certainly true at this point – of the realization of a demonic plot, long in the making, to completely kill the Latin Mass and bury those who worship according to her rites have reached a dizzying fever pitch. Just today, the Remnant ran a piece by Diane Montagna claiming that the forthcoming document to be shat out by whatever Roman dicastery is currently jockeying to be the antipope’s sphincter of the month will include a prohibition of ever celebrating the vetus ordo on any Sunday of the year. That’s right, they will try to kill our spirit. They will also apparently try to enshrine the Novus Ordo Mass as “henceforth, the only official rite of the Latin Church.”

I’m sorry, what?

I couldn’t quite follow as I was sopping up the gin from the front of my shirt.

Seems to me another pope wrote something similar (yet even more forceful) a few hundred years ago in a little document called Quo Primum. Here it is again for those who’ve forgotten:

“We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us.”

I’m through with trying to figure out why they hate us. It’s obvious. The question I ask instead is this.

Why can’t I simply be a good trad?

If I had a nickel for every time Bergoglio has stumbled before a microphone or spoken with an atheist editor and stated that one needn’t be Catholic in any way, shape, or form to get to heaven… He has proclaimed that if one is Pentecostal (or Lutheran, Muslim, whatever) he should remain outside the Church because God apparently wanted him that way. Remember his late friend, “Bishop” Tony Palmer? What about the Lutheran woman he told should not convert but should instead receive Holy Communion with her Catholic husband? These people apparently need to remain as good whatever-the-hell-they-are’s and need never consider entering into the Mystical Body of Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Why them and not me?

Why can’t I be a good trad?

Isn’t that what God wants of me? Can’t I be what I desire to be and be good for the Church?

We all know the answer to this one too. You can’t be a good trad because tradition is at odds with the ape-ish freakshow they’re running out of Rome these days. Notice, they never go after anyone but the trads. Trads must be crushed. So if I simply didn’t call myself a Catholic, they wouldn’t care if I followed the heretical whims of my heart (providing I was “nice” to people and/or a sodomite). Well duh. That’s because they aren’t in the business of saving souls. But the ones who are serious about saving their own souls and the souls of their families are those for whom he/they reserve their greatest invective.

An Apostolic Constitution to break the spirit of an admittedly miniscule percentage of the Catholic populace…

Tomorrow I will be presenting a little bit more about how this document will be received.

St. Rita statue, St. Edward Catholic Church, Palm Beach, FL (submitted by reader B. Y.). I suspect we all have many thorns coming our way. Embrace His Crown.

An Important Note on Fasting: Lent is Almost Here

The never-shy Ann Barnhardt recently posted a piece of reader mail on the question of fasting. I am linking to that post here and I encourage all to check it out if they have not already seen it. She lays it out there in pretty clear terms. Fasting is necessary and fasting should be strict. This is in stark contrast to the V2 Novie crowd who want us all “fat and happy”. Think about it. Our Lord explicitly instructed His followers to fast telling them that some demons can only be driven out by this practice. He set the example by fasting in the desert for 40 days. Catholics fasted for almost two millennia until we were inexplicably told that what constituted fasting was now three meals a day, two days a year, if you’re between 18 and 59, and if your poor wittle body can handle the wigor.

Look, obviously there are people who are going to have go about fasting slightly differently than everyone else. In a similar manner, though, there are always people who will be excused from the Sunday obligation if there is an outbreak of flu and their immune systems are compromised. But the Church never cancelled the Sunday obligation and locked all the churches because of them. Oh wait…

The point is, as I mentioned recently borrowing from a sermon I heard, we are under assault from many sides right now. We need to be the soldiers of Christ we were confirmed to be, pick up our armor and every weapon at our disposal (including and especially fasting), and fight to defend His bride, the Church.s

My we all have a fruitful (and difficult) Lent.

God bless us and the Virgin protect us!

Another Night with Rita

In the novena prayers we read:

“St. Rita, persevering in prayer, pray for us!”

Sometimes it seems like Our Lord is asking us to keep praying, to keep pestering as it were. I think of the parable of the woman who’s case was decided favorably because she wouldn’t leave the judge alone. (Lk. 18: 1-8)

Whatever your prayers – be they for something in your marriage, for your children, or for the particular grace of always being within walking distance of a Latin Mass, persevere. Be persistent.

The novena to St. Rita continues.

Happily taking intentions. Just email me.

The Disciplines of Lent

My son absconded with my laptop tonight to write a book analysis of Steven Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. I tried to make it easy for him. “Civil War. Coward. Runs from battle. Man vs. self.” That’s all I had for him except that the author was from my hometown of Newark, NJ and everyone there knew of him. Just like we all knew about Seth Boyden – the inventor of patent leather, celluloid film, and malleable iron. But you knew that, right? Sidenote: bit Crane and Boyden (along with Christopher Columbus and Archbishop Thomas Walsh) had housing projects named after them)

Anyway, where was I? Yes, disciplines. Our priests have been preaching extensively for the past few weeks about the need to go beyond our normal penances this Lent. As one priest said, “We are literally under attack from about twelve different fronts. Giving up candies isn’t going to cut it this time.”

If you read yesterday’s post you know about the Prince Albert. I went the whole day today without a cigarette. I only hit the pipe about a dozen times but believe it or not, that’s still much less than I would have smoked otherwise. Keep me in your prayers that this goes well. I’m asking my guardian angel to help make this easier. Otherwise the really big disciplines pertaining to food and drink aren’t going to be so easy.

Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!

*Correction: After writing and publishing this, I have been informed that I inadvertently combined Seth Boyden and yet another famous Newarker, Hannibal Goodwin. It is he (Goodwin) and not Boyden who invented celluloid film.