Note to self:

 “… let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how [his neighbor] means it; and if [his neighbor] means it badly, let him correct [his neighbor] with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring [his neighbor] to mean it well, and save himself. (St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, ‘Presupposition’)”

Courtesy of LumenGentleman.

Homestead report

I picked our first cantaloupe of the season on Saturday. I think it was the sweetest cantaloupe I’ve ever tasted: cool and delicious! But the crop isn’t as vigorous this year and the pest infestation is worse. It probably has something to do with my failure to rotate.

We’ve had a few peaches and nectarines mature in the last few days. The fruit is good but the crop is suffering from borer worms. I need to hit the dormant spray this winter.

Milk is overflowing and we are constantly giving away the surplus. We have two goats in production, and it looks like we may have four in September since two of our new does appear to be pregnant. LeXuan just ordered a cheesemaking kit, so we’ll be ready.

Last month we artificially bred our three Dexter mamas. The breeder says his method has an 80% success rate. We have one steer that is just about ready for the freezer.

We’ve been letting the hens roam quite a bit lately since it is easier for them to cool down outside when the temperatures are hot. They usually find a nice cool spot with a breeze or hunker down in the mud around a leaky faucet. Unfortunately we lost one of our hens last month and are now down to 12. Don’t know what happened to her. Egg production is still high and we are slowly gaining customers.

We’ve got lots of okra. My wife doesn’t know what to do with it.

And, as usual, we’ve got tomatoes and zucchini piling up everywhere. We’ve had zucchini bread for breakfast every morning for the last three weeks. LeXuan has made tons of salsa from our tomatoes. We had a good crop of peas and beans this season, but the vines are now withering. Our watermelon crop is about a month away.

Dinner tonight included zucchini and goat cheese (zucchini casserole), wild blackberries from the pasture (blackberry pie), and fresh goat milk.


Revival in California?

With over 10 million Catholics living in the state, California has the largest Catholic population in the union. What is more, the Catholic population in California is rapidly growing at a rate of 13% annually.

According to this directory, California has 19 authorized locations for the Latin Mass – second only to New York, which has 20. However, if we include unauthorized Latin Masses, California tops the list at 50 locations while New York has only 38. With the arrival of the Motu Proprio liberating the traditional Latin Mass, I think we may reasonably conclude that California is poised for a Catholic renaissance. The prayers of Blessed Junipero Serra are about to be answered.

We can draw a parallel with France, I think. A friend of mine once told me that when he visited France, the French were very cold to him – until they discovered he was a Californian. It isn’t just the wine and cheese. Like France, California has a rich Catholic heritage. Also like France, California has been in the process of rejecting that heritage and has become a leader in decadence and secularization.

Just as Flannery O’Connor could say that the American South was “Christ-haunted”, there is a sense in which California is haunted by the Catholic Faith. Millions of Californians live in the shadows of the great missions, in cities with Catholic names and identities – in places where saints have trod and the Gospel has been preached and souls have been converted – but most are barely cognizant of this precious heritage.

France, being the most “advanced” secular state in Europe, is also home to the most vibrant and fastest growing movements of Catholic orthodoxy. The same may be true for California in the context of the United States. Ahead of the curve is ahead of the curve, whether in matters of decay or restoration.

Summorum Pontificum Contact Database

The generous host of LumenGentleman has launched a contact database for all Catholics interested in having the TLM – now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – celebrated at their local parish. This could be a very effective means of organizing the “stable group of faithful” that is required before exercising your rights under the Motu Proprio. Even if you are already attending an indult Mass, placing your name in this database will help bring the traditional rite to those who would not otherwise have the exposure or the ability to drive to an existing TLM location. Please go here and sign up!

The Triduum and the Jews

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus recently chastised Abe Foxman for misreading Summorum Pontificum with respect to the Good Friday prayers for the conversion of the Jews in the 1962 Missal:

“The 1962 Missal does not say what Mr. Foxman says it says. And, if he had read Benedict’s apostolic letter before attacking it, he would know that it explicitly says that the Missal of 1970 will be used exclusively in the Triduum of Holy Week, which of course includes Good Friday.”

Unfortunately it is Fr. Neuhaus who appears not to have read Benedict’s apostolic letter before defending it. Mr. Foxman is actually correct: the document does not say that “the Missal of 1970 will be used exclusively in the Triduum of Holy Week”.

Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut repeats the error here:

“Concerns were also voiced in the media about the effect the Motu Proprio might have on Roman Catholic-Jewish relations. Prior to the Missal of 1962, the Good Friday Liturgy contained prayers which, lamentably, were indeed anti-Semitic. ‘Are we returning to such forms?’ it was asked.

As just indicated, such references were already removed in the Missal of 1962; furthermore the older usage cannot be used at all during the Triduum, that is, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday”

Bishop Lori’s letter is otherwise very encouraging, but it is disappointing to see prominent churchmen make public statements about a fairly simple document without comprehending its contents. Here’s what Summorum Pontificum actually says:

“Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum …

“Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or ‘community’ celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.”

“Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.”

The only restrictions on the 1962 Triduum pertain to “masses celebrated without the people”. It is worth noting that there are no masses on Good Friday in either missal. Neither is this some kind of censure for the 1962 rite alone: the same restriction pertains to masses celebrated without the people according to the 1970 missal. All private masses cease during the Triduum.

Article 3 permits religious orders to adopt the 1962 missal for their own use. Many such religious orders are already established. There is no mention of a new rule imposing the 1970 missal on these orders during the Triduum.

Article 10 allows for the establishment of personal parishes using the 1962 books, and indeed, we find that these too have existed for years. I belong to one such parish, and the Good Friday prayers are never omitted. There is nothing in this Motu Proprio requiring these prayers to be replaced with those of the 1970 missal.

In short, the Triduum restriction in this Motu Proprio pertains exclusively to private masses celebrated where the 1962 missal is not established for public use. In such places, all private Masses cease, and the public liturgy is offered according to the Ordinary Form.

I’ve been very encouraged by some of the bishops’ responses to the Holy Father’s initiative. But it would be even more encouraging to find a bishop who, instead of side-stepping the issue, would actually defend the holy prayers in the 1962 missal for the conversion of the Jews. It is simply right that the Church pray for the conversion of the Jews along with everyone else. Indeed it is scandalous that the prayers of the Pauline Missal are now widely interpreted to mean that the Church does not desire their conversion!

Bishop Trautman on Summorum Pontificum

Bishop Donald W. Trautman of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania has responded tartly to the Motu Proprio with the following:

“Pope Benedict, sensitive to those still clinging to the Tridentine Latin Mass … now grants a more generous application of that former liturgy.”

Oh, this is precious. I love the “still clinging” image: still clinging after 7 years in my case! And “former liturgy”? Well, the whole point of the Motu Proprio is to emphasize that the TLM isn’t “former” any longer.

“Priests who might want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass will be given a rubrical and Latin exam to comply with the Pope’s own statement, ‘The use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language.’

I think we all know what to expect from the likes of Bishop Trautman in this regard. There is little doubt that he plans to make this “rubrical and Latin exam” (not a bad idea itself) intimidating enough to prevent any of his priests from celebrating the TLM. Let’s hope the Ecclesia Dei Commission deals swiftly and justly with roadblocks like this.

Diocese of Las Cruces

I met a fine gentleman from the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the FSSP summer camp last month. He told me a little about the problems there. The diocesan “mission statement” below is a good indication that they’re not going to be too excited about implementing Summorum Pontificum.

“The Diocese of Las Cruces is the fruit of our unique and traditional experiences. In the past four hundred-plus years, our identity has been a blend of inheritance and creativity. How we envision ourselves will determine what we become as a part of the Church universal. Situated in the northern region of the Chihuahuan desert and the southern heights of the Rocky Mountains, the character of the Diocese of Las Cruces has been shaped by the charm of the desert, the majesty of the mountain terrain, and the immense variety of its multi-cultural riches. These elements, together, provide us with an ambience supporting a spirituality of deep faith and piety. As people of the desert, we long for the cool waters that bring birth and refreshment. As people of an arid climate, we learn to respect nature in its burning heat and winds. As agrarian people, we trust that God will provide for all our needs. As people of land and river, we respect the rhythms of the earth. As people of the mountains, we go to the summit to seek God.”

To summarize:

1. This diocese is all about “who we are”.

2. We create our own identity.

3. The desert, the mountains, and “multicultural riches” are the sources of our “deep faith and piety”.

No mention of the Triune God, Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Saints and Martyrs, the Holy Father, the Holy Eucharist, salvation of souls, repentance, forgiveness of sins, faith and morals, or anything at all recognizably Catholic.

Where women rule

Women are in charge in most marriages, according to a new study:

“Wives were more demanding—asking for changes in the relationship or in their partner—and were more likely to get their way than the husbands. This held regardless of who had chosen the issue.

The women were not just talking more than their husbands.

‘It wasn’t just that the women were bringing up issues that weren’t being responded to, but that the men were actually going along with what they said,’ Vogel explained. ‘[Women] were communicating more powerful messages, and men were responding to those messages by agreeing or giving in.’”

I find this even more intriguing in light of the fact that women initiate 70% of all divorces. Apparently modern women really aren’t too happy with this newfound marital power.

Another bishop taking the lead

According to this article in the National Catholic Register, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, will celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite himself:

“I am the only bishop in Wisconsin who does not now give permission for the Mass of Blessed John XXIII, as I did not feel the adequate catechesis was in place,” Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison told the Register. “But now that the Holy Father has indicated his desire for this extraordinary form to be more widely used, not only will the decree be implemented, but I intend to take the lead. I hope myself to celebrate this Mass, through which I found my own vocation.”