Feast of the Ascension


In recent years it has been fashionable for the USCCB to transfer feasts to the next Sunday. The thinking behind this should be obvious, we don’t want people to feel guilty because they don’t bother to come to Mass, so we will move the feast to Sunday so people can still celebrate it without guilt.

The truth is, the only people so busy they can’t feasibly get to Mass on Holy Days during the week are those who are excused from the obligation anyway, such as doctors, law enforcement and firefighters, or those disabled or without transportation. Everyone else has the ability. The Churches could offer Mass in the evening or early in the morning, and it is not such a sacrifice that it can’t be done. The issue is, Mass attendance has dropped off sharply since Vatican II, and gets worse, thus Holy Days only sharpen the reality of the problem.

But we know that people can go, and if the Ascension Mass remained on Thursday in the Novus Ordo, or its obligation remained in the Traditional Mass which retains the feast on Thursday, people could go without difficulty. The Novus Ordo makes it superbly easy, since they have the vigil Mass the night before (which in my opinion is a mistake to offer carte blanche, because it is an occasion for abuse and degradation of Sunday, but that is for another day, the point is, they make it extremely easy). How do we know that everyone can go?


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F.S.S.P. Priestly Ordinations 2009


FSSP Ordination North America 2008

FSSP Ordination North America 2008

May 30, 10:00 A.M.

by His Excellency Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz


Cathedral of the Risen Christ

Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Rev. Mr. Brian Austin, F.S.S.P.
  • Rev. Mr. Matthew Goddard, F.S.S.P.
  • Rev. Mr. Michael Stinson, F.S.S.P.

Please keep these men in your prayers as they ascend to the altar of Our Lord.

Conclusions regarding the Laws that Regulate the TLM

missale-romanum-white-bgProblems of interpretation

The opinion has been advanced that all the laws of the Church that regulated the use of the Missal and the Sacraments in 1962 have been derogated and the revival of the 1962 Missal does not automatically revive those legal norms. The shocking consequence of this interpretation is that altar girls and the reception of Communion in the hand would be a legal possibility in using this Missal. This is clearly erroneous for at least six reasons.

  1. First, in the Motu Propio we do not have a revival of a previous rite which had been derogated, but to the contrary, due to the explicit legally binding declaration contained in Article 1 of this law, we have the very strong affirmation that the Missal of 1962 had never been abrogated. As a consequence, all the norms that regulate the way in which it should be used, are now in force. The contrary opinion is not reasonable because it would mean that the Missal would be in existence without the necessary support of all the norms that regulate its use; it is tantamount to affirming that this Missal exists in a legal vacuum. It is abhorrent to any sane legal interpretation of any law to postulate that something should live in a legal vacuum.
  2. Second, we have to consider the basic principle of legal interpretation that states that whoever wishes the principal also desires what is accessory. So if the Supreme Legislator of the Church has decreed that the Missal of 1962 has never been derogated, he is also stating explicitly that all the norms that regulated that Missal were not derogated either. It is evident that the normative corpus that regulates the use of this Missal is an integral accessory to the Missal.
  3. Third, this law like any other law of the Church has to be interpreted in accordance with the hermeneutic of continuity; in accordance with this interpretative criterion, it is evident that the laws that accompanied the Missal of 1962 at its promulgation, should guide its way now in the present. To propose that it is legally possible to have female altar servers or to give Communion in the hand when using the Missal of 1962 would be a clear case of the hermeneutic of discontinuity which, as I stated earlier, the Holy Father denounced in his address to the Roman Curia.
  4. Fourth, we have to interpret this law like any other law with a spirit of coherence. It is co-natural with the Missal of 1962 that it is highly regulated in such a way that the celebrant of this Mass is always guided by precise and concrete norms and that nothing is left to the spirit of invention of the celebrant. So it is co-natural with the Motu Proprio that all the legal norms that regulated the 1962 Missal when it was issued, still regulate it now the use of this Missal has been declared to be the right of the faithful.
  5. Fifth, the view that the legal apparatus that supported the 1962 Missal has been derogated is against the spirit of the Motu Proprio, which wishes to preserve the style that governed the celebration of the liturgy in accordance with the Missal of St Pius V and to restore a sense of respectful reverence to divine worship. It is evident that practices such as girl altar servers or Communion in the hand are alien to the spirit and style that preside over the celebration of the liturgy in accordance with the Missal of St Pius V.
  6. Sixth, the erroneous interpretations I have outlined above would be detrimental to one of the purposes of this law, which is to obtain a healing in the divisions that sadly affect the Church in our times. It is evident that such interpretations would not be accepted by different persons or groups (such as the Society of St Pius X) who are currently not in due canonical union with the Church.

As I have shown, we are faced with various problems in the application of the Motu Proprio, but the common denominator is a desire not to fully implement this law for ideological reasons. In accordance with Summorum Pontificum it will be up to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to establish ways and means to correct these problems. As a consequence, I can confirm that the Commission is now drafting an important document that will solve in an authoritative fashion these difficulties. I sincerely hope that this document will be promulgated soon and that those who oppose the application of the Motu Proprio will be brought to full compliance.


The entire article can be read here




Communion in the hand? The tradition speaks


By: Matthew Schultz

In an interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta on Good Friday of 1989, Father George Rutler asked, “Mother, what do you think is the worst problem today?”  Without any hesitation, Mother Teresa said, “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”  For most of us, Mother Teresa’s comment is startling-why does she not name one of the more obvious candidates: famine, disease, abortion?  And, if Mother Teresa is right to identify communion in the hand as “the worst problem today,” why does holy mother Church permit it?  Perhaps our surprise at Mother Teresa’s intense dislike for communion in the hand is becuase of our own ignorance on this issue.

Communion in the hand was never a universal custom or practice in the history of the Church.  Popes St. Sixtus (115-165 A.D.) and St. Euchtyian (275-283 A.D.) both forbade the faithful from receiving communion in the hand; St. Basil (330-379 A.D.) permitted this practice only in times of persecution; St Leo the Great teaches, “one receives in the mouth what one believes by faith.” Eventually, communion in the hand was forbidden universally because, as Pope Paul VI states, “with the passage of time as the truth of the eucharistic mystery, its power, and Christ’s presence in it were more deeply understood the usage adopted was that the minister himself placed the particle of the consecrated bread on the tongue of the communicant” [Memoriale Domini, 8].  If Catholics did not believe in the Real Presence, then to argue over which mode was more reverent would be superfluous and ridiculous.  

In 1965, Cardinal Suenans, Archbishop of Belgium, introduced the practice of receiving communion in the hand to his diocese. Pope Paul VI addressed this flagrant act of disobedience in 1969 with the release of his encyclical Memoriale Domini. Pope Paul VI explains in his encyclical why communion on the tongue is the norm of the Church and enumerates the many dangers attached to receiving communion in the hand. Communion on the tongue is the preferred norm of the Church because it “more effectively ensures that communion is distributed with the required reverence, decorum, and dignity; that there is less danger of disrespect for the Eucharistic elements…[and so] caution is exercised which the Church has always counseled regarding the particles of the consecrated bread”[11].

In addition to Pope Paul VI’s concern for the safety of the Eucharistic elements, by receiving communion directly on the tongue one also recognizes and gives reverence to the consecrated hands of the priests (“because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated”[Aquinas, S.T.,VIII,Q.82, Art.13]).

Pope Paul VI’s abundant praise for communion on the tongue is withheld when he turns to speak of communion on the hand; his tone changes to one of caution and worry: “A change in so important a matter that has its basis in an ancient and honored tradition does not simply affect discipline, but can also bring with it dangers that, it is feared, may arise from the new way of administering communion.

In particular, these dangers are both the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist“[12, emphasis mine].  Paul VI is concerned that the changing of this discipline will cause a weakening of faith. So great was his concern over the question that he polled his entire episcopate.  The results were overwhelming: 1,233 bishops opposed such a measure compared to 567 in favor.  Having examined the issue at length and having consulted the counsel of the bishops, the pontiff decided “not to change the long-accepted manner of administering communion to the faithful”[18].  He then urges the faithful “to obey conscientiously the prevailing law, now reconfirmed” [19].  Paul VI closes his encyclical by permitting communion in the hand not as a preferred practice but only in “special circumstances”[20].  The widespread extension of this practice, then, attests to the failure of the clergy and laity to heed the counsels and intentions of the Church on this matter.

Let us return once more to Mother Teresa. Can we now perhaps begin to understand why the most remarkable woman of the 20th century could declare that communion in the hand gave her the greatest sadness?  What is implicit in her sadness is made explicit by Father John Hardon, S.J., who writes, “Behind Communion in the hand-I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can-is a weakening, a conscious, a deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence.”

Communion in the hand, even though it is permitted, departs from the tradition as it is expressed in the teachings of the popes, the writings of the saints, and the councils of the Church.

H.E. Bishop D’Arcy Opposes Terry’s ‘Circus’


NCRegister.com – Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort-Wayne, South Bend, Ind., is not supportive of the protests organized by Randall Terry against the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama.

“Bishop John D’Arcy has urged Catholics ‘to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations,’ such as those advocated by Randall Terry and others who have pledged to create a ‘circus-like atmosphere’ surrounding Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony,” Vince LaBarbera, director of the Catholic Communications Office of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, told the Register yesterday. 

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CDW Letter on Altar Servers


With all the recent flurry concerning girl altar servers, please consider the following which has popped up on several blogs.  Below and through the hyperlink this controversy is answered.  

In July 2001, the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship issued a response to a bishop’s question (dubium) concerning the possible admission of girls and women as altar servers.  The response, a further explanation of the Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conference, March 15, 1994, no. 2, that granted permission for bishops to admit female altar servers, made it clear that only a diocesan bishop may decide whether to permit female servers in his diocese; furthermore, that no priest is obliged to have female servers, even in dioceses where this is permitted.  The letter stressed that no one has a “right” to serve at the altar, and also strongly reaffirmed that altar boys should be encouraged

The Letter, signed by Cardinal Jorge A. Medina Estévez, prefect of the CDW, was published in the August/September issue of the official publication of the CDW, Notitiae.  The text of the Letter is presented below in its entirety. 

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No regrets from His Excellency Bishop D’Arcy on Notre Dame