Crazy? Angry? You decide and I couldn’t care less!

THIS is What America Mag Thinks We Need to Survive Quarantine

I know many of you are looking for tips on the spiritual life during our time of lockdown. This isn’t it. Sorry. It is from America Magazine, afterall. Did you really expect that?

Before I begin, I would just like to qualify that this blog post has really nothing to do with Fiona Apple or her music. To tell you the truth, I actually think she’s got a great voice. Not a huge fan of Fetch the Bolt Cutters (actually, not a fan at all) and I don’t spend a lot of time listening to her other tunes, but if I had to rate her voice, I’d say it’s pretty good.

So, what is this blog post about? The complete lameness of America Magazine. What else? I mean, this title is the stupidest thing I might have seen from them yet. I’m snipping a lot of this because, again, it’s not really about Apple.

Fiona Apple’s ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ is the album we need to survive quarantine

Rob Weinert-Kendt

April 28, 2020

Really? I thought we might need God and his infinite mercy but, oh, OK. I mean, he might as well have said “We need the soundtrack of Hamilton to survive!” It makes every bit as much sense as what a supposedly Catholic magazine actually did post.

<snipping a lot>

It also never quite relaxes from that tense, coiled, rackety head space. If Apple’s music has never been exactly easy to put on in the background—as with Broadway cast albums or a lot of hip-hop, I find I need to listen closely to fully enjoy it—it amply rewards the trouble. And now that we’re all in an indefinite pandemic lockdown, all-or-nothing music like this may have arrived at precisely the right moment.

Oh, sorry. I guess Hamilton wouldn’t do after all. All or nothing music? It ain’t Les Miserables, dude. It’s Fiona Apple. The usual angsty rebel music. Not exactly good for the soul. Not exactly “help your fellow American” music either. It’s pretty much “me, myself and I” music.

Apple has never shied from sonic or formal ambition before, but here she has broken her songcraft down to its molecular level. Many of the songs here sound like schoolyard chants or nursery rhymes that have grown into homemade chorales, like the devilishly catchy “Relay,” which contains this uncomfortable pearl of insight: “Evil is a relay sport/ Where the one who’s burnt turns to pass the torch.” Though we hear some of her distinctively chiming or churning piano figures, “Fetch” is dominated, almost to a fault, by percussion and vocals.

And this little paragraph pretty much shows how much America Magazine authors like to hear themselves talk. How again is this what we need to make it through the economy being trashed, people dying, and most of us being traumatized? Oh yeah, it doesn’t.

What comes across, as ever but more than ever, is Apple’s unbiddable individuality—the kind that often gets dismissively coded in women as “feisty” (or worse), but which is usually admired in men as principled stubbornness, an inability to suffer fools. When she defiantly intones, in “Under the Table,” “Kick me under the table all you want/ I won’t shut up,” she is both conjuring a recognizable dinner-party awkwardness and laying down a marker, a line she won’t cross—and that we had better not either. Lest this all sound impossibly earnest, she also utters a priceless line that could have been written by Mae West: “Cookie, don’t push me.”

Hey, I’m feisty. I wouldn’t dismiss this stupid review for that. But don’t you love a guy who’s giving a review from a very Mae West point of view? Again, quite typical of America.

Elsewhere her lyrics reach beyond her usual frankness to new levels of concision and narrative bite. The traffic-stopping “For Her” is in many ways the album’s showpiece; in a Broadway musical it would be the 11 o’clock number. Using a swarm of sing-songy multitracked vocals, Apple outlines the perfidy of a Weinstein-like Hollywood rake who has been “treating his wife like less than a guest” and who is known for “never showing weakness unless it’s awards season.” Then she unnervingly shifts gears from third-person sympathy for his other victims to a blistering confrontation over her own assault. It’s a #MeToo testimony with a vengeance, and it is as bracing, enraging and sad as it sounds.

To clarify his point, in case you didn’t know, Fiona Apple was raped on her way home from school when she was 12, long before aspirations of fame. She’s got some issues and really is a child of the 90s. She’s broken, she’s damaged, and quite frankly, nobody has shown her the way to God. She’s not what we need now. We’re the kind of people she needs, the kind who can show the way, because she hasn’t really found it yet.

<snip a bunch more attempts at existential babble>

And there you have it, ladies and gents. The usual hollow drivel wrapped up in an artsy bow from America Magazine. It’s not the example of the ever trusting, ever determined saints of old who should be our examples of how to get through this. It’s not St. Catherine of Siena or St. Charles Borromeo. It’s not God’s Mercy. It’s not our guardian angels. It’s just Fiona Apple’s music.

So let’s do what Catholics do, let’s be the body of Christ. Let’s pray for each other and Fiona, and let’s embrace the way to truly survive this world.


Pandemic Faux Pas

I’ve spent the last week looking for anything non-COVID-19 to write about, but the only other hot topic at the moment is the SSPX and that’s also been done to death this week by much more capable hands. (Or at least a girl can hope the topic is now dead!) So, I guess we’re left with pandemic hoopla. It’s pretty much all COVID all the time.

As we moved into the land of “Open/Don’t Open” last week, I saw the continued lambasting of good Catholics on both sides of the issue. Honestly, I’ve never seen “stupid” thrown around so much since I was in kindergarten. Can I ask a question? What if you are wrong? What if the stupid one is you for calling Catholics you agreed with two seconds ago stupid? It’s been uber annoying watching this. It’s like many turned into liberals in the last two months with an utter desire to have everyone fall in line behind whatever they think at the moment. I think the underlying cause is that they’re probably not too confident in their own opinion. Please, just form an opinion based on your well-formed conscience and stop flogging everyone who doesn’t share that idea. Even if you are wrong, the only way you can really go wrong is by trying to ensure you feel good about it.

So, let’s go over this again. The decision to open the country or to keep it closed – and in the Catholic world this very much includes public Masses and sacraments – is what’s called a prudential judgment. Can you say that with me? And prudential judgments very often bring on the principle of double effect.

1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.” “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

And the principle of double effect?

In Catholic moral theology, a principle called “double effect” states that an action that has two effects (one good, one bad) is permissible if:

The act itself is not intrinsically wrong.

The person acting intends only the good effect and would act otherwise if possible to avoid the bad effect.

The bad effect does not cause the good effect .

The good effect “outweighs” the bad effect.

So, we’ve got two camps in the faithful Catholicland (there’s actually one more camp where I and many others live): you’ve got the “Allowing public Masses is going to kill somebody’s grandma or a healthcare worker!”, then you have the “Disallowing public Masses is going to kill souls and cause loss of life when the economy collapses and people starve to death and/or kill themselves!”  It seems like neither side realizes that both could be at least a little bit right. Where I live, the third camp, prudential judgment and Primacy of Conscience are the order of the day with this pandemic. And no, I’m not talking about the ridiculous ideas put forth by James Martin, SJ. I’m talking about Catholics who try their hardest to form their will around doctrine and the teachings of the Church.

In my Catholic hood, we are looking at the rest and thinking, “What the heck is wrong with you people?!” I don’t have a problem with people debating whether whatever business should open or close, but accusations of “You’re evil!”, “You’re anti-life!”, “You’re anti-freedom!”, etc., is crazy. This is a very, very prudential situation. Let’s look one more time at the primacy of conscience – especially the part in bold.



1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”


1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:

Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise. . . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.

1779 It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience. This requirement of interiority is all the more necessary as life often distracts us from any reflection, self-examination or introspection:

Return to your conscience, question it. . . . Turn inward, brethren, and in everything you do, see God as your witness.

1780 The dignity of the human person implies and requires uprightness of moral conscience. Conscience includes the perception of the principles of morality (synderesis); their application in the given circumstances by practical discernment of reasons and goods; and finally judgment about concrete acts yet to be performed or already performed. The truth about the moral good, stated in the law of reason, is recognized practically and concretely by the prudent judgment of conscience. We call that man prudent who chooses in conformity with this judgment.

1781 Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same time as the evil of his particular choice. The verdict of the judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly cultivated with the grace of God:

We shall . . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”


1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.


1786 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.

1788 To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

1789 Some rules apply in every case:

– One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

– the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”

– charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.” Therefore “it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”


1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.”

Please read that again slowly. It’s a pretty much a Catholic flow chart like this:


This way of thinking doesn’t get suspended in times of pandemics. I have a “Twitter friend” who disagrees with me on public Masses, but we don’t call each other stupid, evil, naïve, etc. because we understand this. I know he’s making the best decision he can, and he understands that of me. Same goes for the bishops, priests, etc. I would argue that some made decisions a little too quickly, perhaps, but I wouldn’t call them stupid or evil for that. There are a few who seem a little bit giddy about keeping all sacraments shut down, but I think no matter what well-formed conscience decision you’ve made, you’d agree that’s not the attitude to have. I mean, really, they’re acting like it would just be fine and dandy to never have Mass again. But back to those striving to live the good Catholic life. Do you really, honestly think that those who have made the decision one way or the other are simply doing it out of fear, or on the flip side, for love of money? Or could both sides be doing it out of a desire to prevent human suffering? Something to ponder.

One other thing this week deserves a mention. While I find Cardinal Cupich to be lacking in many moral and theological areas on most days, kudos to him for putting together a team to give Last Rites! Yes, I realize he essentially said “Prayer doesn’t work” a few days later, but can we just relish the one shred of sanity left in him? I’m hoping more will find creative ways to bring back the sacraments sooner than later, but yay for him at least trying to get the last ones possible to those who need it.

Prayers this all ends soon!



Foedus: The War Against Dissenting Aggression

I took a little mini-staycation from social media over the Triduum. Spent little time reading it. So, today, I get back on, see all sorts of talk of the “Catholic Civil War,” and I just had to chuckle. My first thought is, “Where have you been?!” I guess the infighters are now fighting with the infighters or something like that. Let me be clear: I don’t mind duking it out with people attacking, misrepresenting, skewing, or distorting the Faith, but I generally take the “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” attitude towards most of the Catholic world.  I also hardly consider most of them to be an enemy of anyone. Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes they are their own worst enemies, so I don’t need to pile on.

A while back, I was invited to join a new endeavor, a site for Catholic bloggers. The name? Foedus: The League of Catholic Bloggers.  I’m still surprised anyone knows who the heck I am, and then when I saw the other invitees, I gave an emphatic, “Uh, heck yeah!” (Actually, I probably would have said that anyway.) Who wouldn’t want to virtually “hang” with that crowd? And when I say hang, I mean I’m listed with all of them. That whole anonymous thing makes it hard to socialize, but now, whenever I need some clout with the offspring, I can read off the blogroll. You know, “Mom might not be as crazy as you think she is!” So, I thank them for the invite.

I’m excited about Foedus. I’ve been reading most of these blogs for a long time and discovered a lot of great educational info out there. One of the things I’m especially fond of is that there is no real “Civil War” there. Each blogger seems to just write what they write and don’t lose sleep about the response. They care deeply about the Faith and they point dissent towards the door. They don’t get distracted from those goals. Unlike the Fr. Martins of the world, though, these bloggers have a grasp on Primacy of Conscience. Well-formed consciences may still disagree from time to time. I would say they’re the adults in the Catholic room.


Judgmental Much, Fr. Martin? (And Hypocritical Too.)

Surprise, surprise, Fr. Martin is still yammering away. His most recent issue is to tell everyone who is and who is not pro-life. Unfortunately for him, he has a wee bit of trouble understanding the difference between the direct, intentional killing of the unborn and someone catching Covid-19 by going to Mass. Isn’t it interesting that, when people want to worship Our Lord at Mass, suddenly “primacy of conscience” goes out the window? That’s where I went with his tweet.

My response:

One thing also missing from Fr. James Martin’s tweet is the rest of the sacraments. People aren’t simply pushing for a restoration of Mass and distribution of Communion, they are pushing for restoration of ALL of the sacraments, especially those being denied to the dying who need them most. Of course, people are all for taking precautions, just like we’re asked to do at the laundromat, pot dispensary, grocery store, liquor store, and a whole host of other places deemed “essential.” Ultimately, though, it’s up to our bishops. That’s who we are appealing to, unlike him and his ilk who just do whatever the hell they want. So if you want to appeal to your bishop to restore the sacraments as is your right, please see these sites:


Back to primacy of conscience…Fr. Martin has suggested on many occasions that people must exercise primacy of conscience whenever it comes to things that go against Church teaching (and I’ve already done a piece that focuses on his common errors in this area . Last time I checked, Mass and the sacraments don’t go against Church teaching and we’ve certainly seen many saints do exactly what he says is “anti-life” in times of pestilence. Instead, for him this is a proper exercise of the primacy of conscience:

This is not:

Also, for the man who has spilt much ink against being judgmental (AKA James Martin, SJ) doesn’t this tweet seem a little judgmental?

Lastly, one of my Twitter friends hit the nail on the head with this one, and I’m not too proud to say I am sad I missed pointing this out first.

Fr. Martin NEVER condemns homosexual acts. He NEVER points out how dangerous they are to the lives of those engaging in them. His omission may have cost the lives of many. So, is he really the person to point fingers at, well, anyone? His stance is clear: You can never condemn anyone’s acts that contradict the teaching of the Church, but condemning those who believe they should be worshiping Our Lord in Mass? Go right ahead.

Bonkers in Boise!

Well here’s an interesting update:

You know, we have a lot going on right now. People are scared. People are hoarding food and needs. There are few to no sacraments to be had. Public Mass is gone. We desperately need spiritual help. But this bishop? He’s chosen to do this instead. Granted, he did this way back at the end of February, but he had it published this week in the diocesan paper because, well, his preferences (and they are  preferences) are oh so important right now.

BOISE, Idaho, April 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ―  An Idaho bishop has prohibited priests in his diocese from saying the Mass facing toward the tabernacle (ad orientem) and from using communion rails for Catholics who prefer to kneel to receive the Eucharist. In addition, the bishop wants to be informed of every traditional Latin Mass that takes place in his diocese.

Bishop Peter Christensen, 67, of the Diocese of Boise, issued a memo to the priests of his diocese to enforce his liturgical preferences on February 28. It was subsequently published in the Idaho Catholic Register in late March.

In the memo, Christensen underscored that priests are not to “imply a particular superiority or greater holiness of approach amongst the valid forms of worship in the Roman Catholic Church” before aiming at priests’ worship ad orientem.

That’s fine. I think he’s wrong, but I can see the reasoning behind the idea of stopping the “I’m more Catholic than you.” Squabbling like that sometimes happens, but then he goes on to do just that! I could have given him a pass for trying to prevent something I don’t really think happens all that much but not now.

“Priests in the Diocese of Boise will face the people when presiding at the Ordinary Form of the Mass,” he instructed and cited 1970’s General Instruction to the Roman Missal, saying that Paragraph 299 “makes it plain that the universal Church envisions the priest presiding at Mass facing the people.”

OK, this will be addressed later on in this article but I’m going to ask the bishop – makes it plain to whom? Not to Pope Benedict, not to Pope Francis, not to Cardinal Sarah, nor to bishops and priests throughout the world. Bishop Christensen might want to remember that his preferences don’t make fact.

“This is unambivalent, and I am instructing priests in the diocese to preside facing the people at every celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Mass,” Christensen wrote.

It’s so clear cut that the head of the Congregation for Divine Liturgy invited all priests to celebrate ad orientem? I’m reasonably sure the bishop knows about that, so I’m not sure how he justifies that statement.

However, author Dr. Peter Kwasniewski told LifeSIteNews that the bishop is “factually wrong” about what GIRM Paragraph 299 says about facing the people.

“And he should know better as this has been discussed extensively,” the scholar added.

I agree. He should know because it’s sorta done to death.

But Bishop Christensen also believes that the priest celebrating Mass facing the people has contributed to their “sanctification.”

“There are priests who prefer ad orientem,” he acknowledged.

“I am convinced that they mean well and find it a devout way to pray. But the overwhelming experience worldwide after Vatican II is that the priest faces the people for the Mass and that this has contributed to the sanctification of the people.”

Wait! What??? I have noooooo idea what he means by this. Does he know that Mass attendance and belief in the Real Presence have plummeted while birth control among people in the pews has gone up? I grew up after Vatican II. I went to 12 years of Catholic school. I can count on one hand the kids I grew up with who fulfill their Sunday obligation and believe in the Real Presence. ONE HAND! Yup, they go from time to time when the “spirit” moves them. I can’t blame them, though. They went to the same schools and churches I did. They’re certainly not hearing about Truth at too many of the churches, and they’re not “sanctified” simply because a priests faces them during the Mass. “They’re sanctified because the priest faces them!” Poof. Really??? I mean, did he even read this? Did it not sound at all a little lame?

Christensen rejected “attempts to justify” priests facing the east with their people, saying it was “clearly in the mind of the Council that the priest should face the people.”

Except it’s not. Honestly, let’s just think about this and the words of the Mass. It doesn’t even make sense. I went into this in detail here: And what does he say to the liturgical scholars who disagree with this, including Cardinal Sarah who’s kind of the expert?

This statement was contradicted by expert Gregory Di Pippo, editor of The New Liturgical Movement online magazine, who pointed out that the Council Fathers had no explicit plans to radically transform the Mass.

“Dietrich von Hildebrand once joked that in the case of Vatican II, it is the spirit that killeth, and the letter that giveth life.” Di Pippo told LifeSiteNews from Rome.

“Bishop Christensen is entirely wrong to say ‘It was clearly the mind of the Council that the priest should face the people,’” he continued.


“The Council’s declaration on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, mentions ‘the people’ more than 40 times, and not once does it suggest in any way that the altars should be turned around, or that celebrant of the Mass should be looking at them while addressing God.”

Oops.  There’s an inconvenient truth.

Boise’s Ordinary also took aim at the practise of receiving Holy Communion while kneeling. While acknowledging that the faithful have the right to receive the Eucharist in this way and may not be refused Communion because they kneel, he ordered that they not be assisted in doing so.”

“While it is the right of the faithful to kneel to receive, nor may any communicant be denied Communion based on posture, given that the established norm in this country is standing, I am instructing that priests do not use furniture or such items as prie dieus or communion rails, as these may seem to undermine the norm or to imply a preference for kneeling to receive,” he wrote.

So, let’s remember where we started:

In the memo, Christensen underscored that priests are not to “imply a particular superiority or greater holiness of approach amongst the valid forms of worship in the Roman Catholic Church”

So, let me get this straight, one cannot “imply a particular superiority or greater holiness of approach amongst the valid forms of worship,” BUT it’s totally fine to say that the priests and laity who are exercising valid ways of facing and receiving are undermining the norms? Come on.

Peter Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews that “it is always a bad sign for a bishop to want to discourage the faithful from kneeling before their Lord and God.”

In an article he prepared for the Remnant newspaper, Kwasniewski stated that the ban on prie dieus is “vindictive.”

“It amounts to saying: ‘You knuckleheads can get down on your knees if you really want to—but not if you’re elderly. Tough luck for you cronies. No help from the church,’” he wrote.

That’s EXACTLY how this looks. Honestly, who is hurt by the person who prefers to kneel? Nobody. I’ve never been able to figure this out. My Ordinary Form Mass employs the kneeling rail. Nobody looks at those who don’t kneel and judges them. Some can’t kneel, some don’t prefer it and simply stand. And you know what? Most of us are focused on Christ in the Eucharist. I don’t even notice unless they’re right next to me and, you know what? I DON’T CARE! So why discourage a lawful practice? Does the bishop somehow think that God’s upset with those who kneel? Maybe the bishop might want to be happy that people still come to his churches. And the priests he’s quashing right now? They’re probably the ones with the biggest attendance. Is it jealousy? Is it because the bishop doesn’t want to hear people complain when people don’t do exactly what they want? I mean, what can possibly be the reason for this?

“Isn’t it surprising, too, just how rigidly some bishops want to exclude kneeling before the SON OF GOD? ‘Hey you—cut it out—no kneeling around here to the Word made flesh! We don’t do that anymore. It’s okay for the three kings and medieval peasants and what not, but not in this democratic age. Besides, the USCCB has spoken, and it has more authority than a millennium of Catholic practice’.”

It is kind of an obsession. Must. Stop. Kneeling. Kneeling bad.

Christensen’s focus on traditional elements was not confined to the Mass of Paul VI, however. In his memo he also indicated that he wants to be informed “as a matter of courtesy” when the Mass of John XXIII, otherwise known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, or the Traditional Latin Mass, is celebrated in his diocese.

OK, I’m not going to quibble over this. He has the right to know about what’s going on in his diocese. Still, it’s kind of weird statement. Does he feel like his priests are hiding something from him?

While acknowledging that Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum pontificum freed priests from the obligation of seeking episcopal permission to celebrate the ancient rite, Christensen wrote “I request that you report the practise to me, along with frequency and attendance.” He explained that this was for “accurate record-keeping” as the Holy See demands such information during ad limina visits.

File that under “I didn’t know.” Again, not quibbling with that, but what happens if the numbers are low? Or what if attendance is booming? Is he going to tell them to stop?

Kwasniewski found the bishop’s tone here “sinister.”

“It’s almost like he’s asking for a confession of mortal sins in kind and number,” he wrote.

It’s probably because he lumped a bunch of traditional practices (and I am using a little “T” since they don’t all apply simply to the Extraordinary Form) into one set of norms. I will say this, if you look at the original here,, he does point out some actual liturgical abuses. Sadly, mentioning the actual abuses seemed like an afterthought. He certainly didn’t spill the ink on those real abuses that he could. How about the holding hands during the Our Father or the orans posture reserved for the priest? Maybe he was aiming at what his priests? Who knows? I’m not in that diocese, but I’d be shocked and amazed if they didn’t have a few more actual abuses. Might be nice if he chastised and told people “No!” for those instead of for valid liturgical preferences.

“And as for his barb that the TLM should not be anything other than extraordinary in its occurrence—one wonders when he will issue the next memo stating that extraordinary ministers should also be of rare occurrence, since the priests and deacons are the ordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist. It’ll be a long time before that buskin drops.”

OK, the bishop didn’t quite phrase it that way (see link above to his statement in Idaho Catholic), but I can see why they get that impression.

Christensen cited “confusion” among Catholics as his reason for vetoing the traditional elements.

“In order to reduce the confusion among the faithful and the increasing disinformation regarding liturgical matters in the Diocese, and to promote harmony and unity that is strengthened in our Eucharistic celebrations, I am promulgating this Instruction,” he wrote.

Oh, I’m sooooooo confused and I’m soooo worried about harmony. Not. And, really, disinformation? Mmmmm, I think he’s the one who provided that.

Subsequently the bishop suspended all public masses in his diocese as a response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Christensen’s approach is contrary to that of the Prefect for the Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, who in 2016 asked priests to pray with their people towards the east, which represents Christ’s return.

In an interview earlier that year, Sarah, now 74, said that one way to return God to the center of divine worship would be for priests and people “to turn together in the same direction.”

“To convert is to turn towards God. I am profoundly convinced that our bodies must participate in this conversion,” the cardinal said.

“The best way is certainly to celebrate — priests and faithful — turned together in the same direction: toward the Lord who comes. It isn’t, as one hears sometimes, to celebrate with the back turned toward the faithful or facing them. That isn’t the problem. It’s to turn together toward the apse, which symbolizes the East, where the cross of the risen Lord is enthroned,” he continued.

“By this manner of celebrating, we experience, even in our bodies, the primacy of God and of adoration. We understand that the liturgy is first our participation at the perfect sacrifice of the cross. I have personally had this experience: In celebrating thus, with the priest at its head, the assembly is almost physically drawn up by the mystery of the cross at the moment of the elevation.”

Maybe Bishop Christensen should tell this guy what Vatican II is all about because, quite clearly, he’s wrong! Seriously, might I remind the bishop that this really confused man is the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments?!?! 

How do people think they can get away with this in the age of the internet? Does he think people in his diocese have never heard Cardinal Sarah or Pope Benedict’s take on this? Does he think people don’t know that even Pope Francis does Mass ad orientem, all while there’s a free standing altar nearby, all in the Sistine Chapel? Does he want to tell Pope Francis what confusion he’s causing by doing that?

Sarah also asked the faithful to kneel to receive Holy Communion.

Oooh! And don’t forget Communion on the tongue. Kind of surprised that Bishop Christensen didn’t go there too.

The “Complicit Clergy” website has offered a means to Catholics to voice their disapproval of Christensen’s prohibitions here.

You might want to drop the bishop a line.
Bishop Peter Christensen

1501 S Federal Way Ste 400
Boise, Idaho 83705


Who Are You Going to Be?

This is going to be short and to the point. After watching what’s transpired in the last few weeks-,–or-not–in-your-diocese-61864,

and now this

– I am left with this thought.

After the victorious entrance on Palm Sunday and the blessed Last Supper, of the Twelve Apostles, one made a deal and subsequently betrayed Him, eight disappeared completely from the narrative, and three fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Of the three at Gethsemane, one disappeared after Jesus’ arrest, leaving Peter and John. Peter, scared he would suffer the same fate, finally denied Jesus three times. Out of the original twelve, John alone was at the foot of the Cross.

Be John!

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