Fr. Rutler’s parish in Manhattan

What’s going on, special attn. to final sentence:


Due to the current pandemic, the Archdiocese has directed that there be no public Liturgies. The Masses of Holy Week will be offered in abbreviated form by Father Rutler.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, there will be no distribution of palms, but they will be blessed for possible future use. While Masses of the Triduum cannot be transferred, the Chrism Mass, normally celebrated in the Cathedral, will be translated to later in the year.

The last sentence/notation:

In these days, we pray especially for the soldiers, staff and patients in the emergency field hospital at the Javits Center, which is in our parish, and which Father Rutler is serving as chaplain.

Let us pray for him and his people.

Pseudo-literary salute to liturgy for the sake of God continued . . .

The liturgy under discussion is spelled out, encapsulated, here, in passages from “The Priority of Religion and Adoration over Communion,” by Peter Kwasniewski:

Whenever the Mass is celebrated more like a meal, versus populum [facing the people], without silence, without serious elevations and double genuflections, with a memorial acclamation breaking in on our acts of adoring faith, and an overall informal ars celebrandi [mode of celebrating], such things undermine the aforementioned Tridentine [16th-century Council of Trent] dogmas and weaken the sensus fidelium [what people believe].

In such circumstances, it is not surprising that holy communion becomes the high point of the service, indeed the only point; and if one does not receive, one is “left out.” Why go to Mass otherwise?

On the other hand:

But if the focus is the priestly offering of the holy sacrifice as an act of the virtue of religion – giving to God, in justice, the right worship that is His due, which every human being owes to Him perpetually, regardless of his state or condition – then anyone and everyone has a profound, compelling, inescapable reason to go to Mass.

In fact, Mass is the only way we can fulfill our debt to God of paying Him a worship with which He is perfectly pleased, and this even apart from whether or not we receive spiritual food in Holy Communion.

He says this, having quoted the Council of Trent on what the mass is about, much more than a ceremony in which we can receive Communion, as privileged and valuable as that is.

Bad, bad pseudo-literary salute to liturgy for the sake of God — with mucho benefits for men, women, and children but not pandering to their momentary interests . . .

Should we fit worship to the worshipers? (Bunch of worshipers coming, what do we have for them? Something special, please.)

Or worshipers to the worship? (Solid stuff here, take it or leave it, trust us, you will not regret it, even in this life.)

Consider the first. It’s the Protestant way and successful to a degree, here and there, now and then. And it’s better than flip-floppy nothing.

But for the really serious, you’ve gotta have more. You gotta have substance, not tailored to these and those, who in the grand scheme of things are here today, gone tomorrow. (Even the cleanest-living leave sooner or later.)

Give me men to match those mountains, said Sam Walter Foss, “Poet, Librarian and Friend to Man,” in 1894.

Give us worshipers to match this worship. Ask them, Are you up to the challenge? Can you stand the truth of the matter?

— to be continued . . . 



Communion in the hand(s) no safer than on the tongue? Attending mass without communion may be your best choice.

Noodling an issue . . .

Blithe Spirit

From UK’s Latin Mass Society’s spokesman, analyzing the situation with admirable sang froid:

  In [“extraordinary form,” Latin mass] celebrations, Holy Communion . . . may not be distributed in the hand, according to the universal liturgical law applicable to them.

Should the spread of COVID-19 necessitate suspension of distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, this would mean suspension of distribution of Holy Communion to the Faithful in these celebrations.

You might call it a rock-and-hard-place situation. However:

The Communion of the Faithful is in no way necessary to the validity or [legitimacy] (in such circumstances) of the Mass.

Should prudence dictate the necessity for such a step, the Faithful should be encouraged to make a ‘Spiritual Communion’. One form of words for making such a Spiritual Communion is given below.

Standard solution, as if (in pre-Vatican 2 days) you ate or drank before (morning) mass and could not…

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WHEN A FRIEND CROSSES THE BAR . . . A Jesuit funeral sermon, February, 2000

Pat preached. He had two points to make, he said, “before I get to Peter.” Peter was the deceased, his friend of 49 ½ years, since the two of them entered the Jesuits. Pat’s two points were that he stood on “holy ground” there in the retirement center for Jesuits of eight upper Midwestern states and that their suffering (as sick, invalided, dying) was “salvific.”

This “salvific” is related to “terrific” in its ending. The s-a-l-v part is related to “salvation,” as of souls. If something is salvific, it makes for, contributes to salvation of souls. It’s a Latin-word-turned-English, a staple of the course on divine grace – God’s gift to people that brings them around to (a) straight-and-narrow-path behavior and (b) everlasting life.

If you knew the vocabulary, as the Colombiere Center congregation did, you got Pat’s message: Pete, stricken with polio 45 years earlier, had not wasted his life. Pat was telling Colombiere regulars and visitors that there was no waste in putting up uncomplainingly, as Pete did, with the nonsense and worse that comes with incapacity.

He compared Pete favorably to men he had known “in the war” in Viet Nam, where he’d been a chaplain, men who had died so others could live. Peter, he said, had shown heroism every day. He commended some in the congregation, contemporaries of Peter in the Jesuits, for overnighting with him at the Louisville hospital where he was recuperating, in the weeks after he was removed from the iron lung.

I was one of them. Pete set the course for the rest of his life in those days. He was easy to be with. Months earlier, he had been a superb athlete. Now he was hoping to walk again – and did, though shakily, for many years, teaching high school, then working as a counselor for college students and couples, before becoming wheelchair-bound some 15 years ago. Life would never be the same after the Louisville hospital stay. But he never complained.

Hot title here from Fr. Rutler: Meditations from a man on whom his erudition hangs lightly . . .

Sample bon mot from chapter about what to do with your imagination.

Narcissus [a] moral idiot. He became enamored of his reflection in the water. He wanted to discover, in the jargon of our day, his “inner child.”

But anyone who wants to find his inner child without locating the source of life in God is condemned to a perpetual infancy, an arrested development of the soul. The autonomous self ignores the voice of the other, all others.

And so it was with Narcissus, for Echo called to him, bidding him to come and be her lover. Narcissus was so involved with himself that her voice fell, literally, on morally deaf ears. She dissolved into nothing but her voice, which is how we get the word “echo.” Narcissus ended up dissolving into a plant that is named for him.

Wit, gentle humor, pointed, memorable, from pages of this book:

Rutler, George W. . Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization (Kindle Locations 377-382). EWTN Publishing, Inc. Kindle Edition.

Also in paperback, of course.

Pope at Angelus: May our whole life be a “yes” to God – Vatican News

Says Pope Francis today:

“Openness to God is found in the openness to take on the needs of one’s neighbor”.

The wise Francis here. Now if he would do away with his inveterate ambiguity in matters of doctrine. You don’t have to trash the brand to urge its application.

Decline and fall of a sermon-time doze

From a dissident pulpit . . .

Blithe Spirit

I was neither flummoxed nor gobsmacked when the preacher tossed off a reference to “Captain Grimes in Decline and Fall” this morning.  I was, however, wakened from that pious semi-slumber that too often attends sermonizing.

Of the Roman empire? I wondered, distracted from my fascination with the family of mother, father, and seven kids aged an estimated six months to 10 years old in the pew in front of me.

No, I quickly decided.  Decline and Fall as by Evelyn Waugh.  Said and done.  Without explaining, as in saying, “I was reading a novel the other day called Decline and Fall, by the English Catholic writer Evelyn Waugh, and in it he said . . .”   Blah, blah, and blah.  What you hear in your average parish.

So it goes.  Point he was making would not have been lost, however, on the listeners who got not the reference: Captain…

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Memento Mori: Facing Death as a Fount of Life

An Advent thought . . .

Blithe Spirit

Anne (of Green Gables) meditates on her friend’s facing death with fear at its being nothing she’s used to:

How often do we fail to long for Heaven and instead fear that it will be unfamiliar? Do we consider the beatific vision and worry that eternal worship may be boring rather than glorious? If we are living for this world, the next world cannot attract us. If we build our lives around the temporal, the eternal will not be, as poor Ruby explained, what we are used to.

She clings to the lesser thing.

via Church Life Journal | University of Notre Dame

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