Holy resolve

“Having then, brethren, asked the Lord who it is that shall dwell in His tabernacle, we have heard what He commands to those who wish to dwell there; and if we fulfill those commands, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, our hearts and our bodies must be prepared to fight under holy obedience to His commands; and let us beg of God to supply by the help of His grace that which by nature is lacking to us. And if we desire to escape the pains of hell and to attain to life everlasting, let us, whilst there is yet time, and we abide in this body, and are able to fulfill all these things by this way of light, let us, I say, do with speed now that which will profit us for all eternity.”

Prologue, Rule of Saint Benedict

What to do with the Second Vatican Council?

When it comes to the Second Vatican Council, traditional Catholics are of three minds:

1. “Hermeneutic of continuity”: i.e., twist yourself into a pretzel in a never-ending effort to interpret Vatican-II as harmonious with tradition. This is often accompanied by the hope that, one day, a pope will issue a document clarifying the Council’s ambiguities and (real or apparent) discontinuities.

2. Repudiate the Council entirely. It is permeated with Modernism throughout, even in its expressions of orthodoxy.

3. Forget the Council. It has too many problems to be useful, but none of them rise to the level of needing an embarrassing public repudiation. So, just ignore it and move on. Fr. John Hunwicke makes a strong case for this approach in his latest post:

“When an elderly ball has been kicked around for long enough, sensible schoolboys leave it to settle quietly into the nutrients at the bottom of the ditch, unobserved except by the water voles, and agree to move on together to newer games. Whatever was of permanent value in Vienne … and Vatican II … has merged and disappeared gradually into what one might call the Church’s general background noise (dogmatic decrees and anathemas of dogmatic councils are, of course, a different matter). What was unhelpful in the Conciliar texts or their consequences … and when the Templars were led out to be burned, they probably thought that was unhelpful … Time has purged away; or will purge. Why cannot Roman dicasteries, and the SSPX, be content with that?”

I must say that this strikes me as culturally a very English solution, and I mean that as a compliment. Option #3 also has the advantage of allowing many good Catholics to save a little face.

By the way, if you aren’t reading Fr. John Hunwicke – a priest of the Anglican Ordinariate in England – you need to be. His last four posts are important enough that I will link each of them here –

SSPX: Is it ecumenism or is it not? (1)

SSPX: Is it ecumenism or is it not? (2)

(Crypto) Lefevrianism (1)

Lefebvrianism (2)

Chico Latin Mass update – St. Therese Chapel

We received some good news at Mass this morning: the Society of Saint Pius X has formally agreed to assume responsibility for St. Therese Chapel in Chico. The chapel, located at 367 E. 8th Avenue, had been operating independently for many years. Holy Mass is presently celebrated on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at 10:00am.

This is a highly significant development in my opinion. The traditional Latin Mass now has a degree of stability and permanence in the north valley.

Postures for the laity at the TLM

The Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco has posted an extremely detailed and informative booklet by Richard Friend titled “Understanding When to Kneel, Sit, and Stand at a Traditional Latin Mass: A Short Essay on Mass Postures”.  The essay is available in a PDF file here. After reviewing much history and scholarship on the subject, the author concludes:

“Whether the Mass is Low or Sung, ideally people in the U.S. should (i) stand for the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Collects; (ii) sit for the Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia (tract, sequence); (iii) stand for the Gospel; (iv) sit for the homily; (v) stand for the Credo, and Oremus; (vi) sit during the Offertory; (vii) stand at Orate Fratres; (viii) kneel after the Sanctus; (ix) stand at Per omnia sæcula sæculorum at the end of the canon just before the Pater Noster; (x) kneel after the Agnus Dei and throughout Communion; (xi) sit for the ablutions; (xii) stand at Dominus vobiscum before the Post-communion prayers; (xiii) stand during Post-communion prayer and the dismissal (Ite Missa est); (xiv) kneel for the final blessing; (xv) stand for the Last Gospel; (xvi) and stand for the recessional.”

Quite honestly, this seems much more intuitive to me than the current practices for Low Mass as proscribed in the ubiquitous red missalettes published by Coalition Ecclesia Dei (a group which should be thanked profusely for its immense contribution to the traditionalist movement in the United States). I’d be delighted to see this implemented in TLM communities, but I think it will take the leadership of priests to make this happen. It definitely won’t do to have individual worshipers taking this up on their own while everyone else follows the red missalettes!

“… that the nations may know they are but men.”

From Psalm 9, Tuesday’s reading at the office of Prime:

“Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail; let the nations be judged in Thy sight.
Appoint, O Lord, a ruler over them, that the nations may know they are but men.”

This seems pertinent to a recent discussion at W4. I think it’s safe to say that the desire to be governed – in this world – by a just man, a monarch, is deeply rooted in the Christian soul. That’s not to say that other non-monarchial systems are illegitimate, but ultimately we want to be ruled by God’s vicar. The psalmist describes the unhappy alternative: man prevails on earth, assigning to himself god-like powers and usurping God’s prerogatives.

Loma Rica, California

This morning I drove out to one of California’s most beautiful spots in the Sierra foothills, a place called Loma Rica. The area is characterized by gently rolling oak-studded hills, dotted with ranches and homesteads. The land is suitable for olives and irrigated pasture, but apparently not much else. Most of the population lives outside the town itself, but there are a couple of streets in town that make for a small and humble neighborhood.








The name Loma Rica means “Rich Hill” in Spanish. According to one source, the place is nicknamed “Wild Hog Glory” due its wild hog population. I didn’t see any wild hogs up there, but I did see a huge flock of wild turkeys up toward the end of Wolf Trail Road:




Liturgical History and the Novus Ordo

Most Catholics today are unaware of the degree to which the Novus Ordo Missae departs from Catholic tradition. This relatively brief but thorough analysis, written by a college freshman I happen to know with a keen mind for all things liturgical, demonstrates how the Novus Ordo represents a profound rupture with our liturgical heritage. This jarring discontinuity pertains to virtually every aspect of Catholic liturgical tradition, extending even to the once untouchable canon itself, and involves significant departures from the spiritual and doctrinal emphases long conveyed by the liturgies of the Church. Do give it a read.

Holy Communion, Jansenism, and Scruples

New Sherwood

There is nothing greater on this poor earth. To receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ – and with Him all the graces that God can bestow upon the soul – is the most sublime and significant thing one can do in this life.

Such a magnificent gift is not to be trifled with.

All Catholics know that one should not receive the Eucharist when in a state of mortal sin. But many a Catholic would not know a mortal sin if it bit him on the arse. This is not a new problem. Saint Teresa of Avila, in her autobiography, describes some of her earliest priest-confessors who were themselves confused on the point and led her astray:

“What was venial they said was no sin at all, and what was serious mortal sin they said was venial. This did me so much harm…

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