Thursday, July 31, 2008

Designing a stop sign.

What would it be like if the US bishop's had to design a stop sign back in the late 1970's:

The US bishop's sign would first be released as an orange-yellow nonagone with the words "gently touch pedal" (this way it's inclusive of all pedals and doesn't focus on just the break pedal) which would still result in people running into each other. We'd have these signs for about 40 years.

Eventually, people would either just get off the road, or they would just come flying through the intersections with the claim they are just following the sign.

Then the design committee would come back with the word "stop", but it would be rejected with the excuse that nobody uses that word anymore so they wouldn't know what the word meant. Even though Rome had approved the red and octagonal parts of the new sign.

However, with word "stop" having been leaked, many people complain that: 1) it's not what they are used to. 2) the word "stop" is too archaic (nobody will know what it means). 3) the sign supposedly focuses only on one pedal. 4) the word "stop" is too demanding.


Church's teaching on religious freedom

Following on yesterday's post about the story of the process of reason which led Brian back into full communion with Rome, I found a very good link in the comments section of his blog.

One of the biggest obstacles to SSPX's return to full communion with Rome is Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Freedom "Dignitatis Humanae."

K Gurries gave a link to his blog where he has a series of posts showing a consistancy between the Church teachings of the past and Vatican II.

On Religious Freedom (Part I)
On Religious Freedom (Part II)
On Religious Freedom (Part III)
On Religious Freedom (Part IV)


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A man's return to full communion after leaving SSPX circles

I saw this over at Fr. Z.'s blog and found the full article very interesting and quite valuable.

As I say, it is hard now to retrace every step of that path but I want to give a structure to the considerations that follow, so I will organise them very much in the order which they occurred to me. My initial considerations concerned the episcopal consecrations of 1988 and so were connected to canonical issues. The second body of considerations concerned theological points of controversy, and were connected to the Church’s teachings and to Vatican II. My final considerations concerned the liturgy, and were thus connected to the Church’s worship. What horrified many of my friends and family at the time was not merely my separating from the SSPX, but my questioning the SSPX theses almost right across the board. What they did not understand was my realisation that, in each of these three areas – canonical, theological, liturgical - the SSPX had, albeit very worthily and with serious reasons, made the same false step. That at least is my opinion. I hope to make their false step clearer in due course.

Definitely worth reading the full post here:

Confessions of a Nobody or why I quit the SSPX milieu


Monday, July 28, 2008

You don't think it's become a religion?

Time for some Monday levity.

I hate politics and most of the discussion thereof, but here's a rare post on it.

As much as it is a satire, it pretty much does describe many Obamaniacs' feelings (including the the media) ...

or is it just a trip into the head of Obama himself? Probably both. The irony is that liberals whine that religion should not be a part of politics. Yet, Obama supporters are often more fanatic than most religious.

Sacristan's bow to Mom & Dad for the tip for the video.


Translation discussion

I was interested by John f h h's comments on this past Sunday's Prayer over the Gifts which got me to thinking.

Dear Christopher,
Further to my last, I have been considering the Prayer over the Gifts, particularly ". . .ut hæc sacrosancta mysteria, gratiæ tuæ operante virtute, et præsentis vitæ nos conversatione sanctificent, et ad guadia sempiterna perducant...."
I was struck by your translation of convesatione as 'conversion' [more usually conversio in Latin?].
The redoubtable Lewis & Shiort gives 'frequent use' as the primary meaning of conversatio.
Therefore, I am inclined to translate:
". . . that these most holy Mysteries, by the powerful working of your Grace, may both sanctify us in the present life by frequent use, and may lead to joys everlasting..."
Or perhaps more elegantly:
"... that these most holy Mysteries, by the powerful working of your Grace, may both sanctify us in this life by frequent use, and may lead us to joys everlasting...".
This brings out the link between this prayer and the Collect, the using of "good things of this passing life" being amplified and explained in the Prayer over the Gifts as the "most holy Mysteries" which need "frequent use", not merely limited to this particular offering of the Holy Sacrifice.
I must own up to not being a Latin scholar, my knowledge being rudimentary, so i may be barking up the wrong tree, and would be grateful for your comments.
John UK

John brings up a good point about a difficult word in Latin. This same word has had a great deal written about it in relation to what it means the monastic vows in which Benedictine's promise "de stabilitate sua et conversatione morum suorum et oboedientia."

The first and the last are pretty straightforward as "his [the monk's] stability" (to live in that monastery) and "obedience." The second one is difficult. I've seen it translated as "conversion of morals" and also as "fidelity to the monastic life."

The best understanding is that the "conversatione morum suorum" means the monk will live his life faithfully according to the monastic life, which includes virtues, obedience, chastity, poverty, etc.

(On a side note: One caveat about Lewis & Short is that it will sometimes have more of a classical Latin take and so some more ecclisastical Latin nuances may not be covered in it. That's not necessarily true in this case, but just a general note of warning when using Lewis & Short.)

As John noted, Lewis & Short shows the meanings for "conversatio" as "frequent use," "frequent abode in a place," and "conversation."

My "Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin" by Leo F. Stelten has "conversatio" meaning: conversation; conduct, manner of living."

Ultimately, I would say my preferred translation of "præséntis vitæ conversatióne" in the prayer over the gifts is the "way of living of the present life." I think I picked the word "conversion" in my translation because that implies a bit more virtuous living of our lives which will lead to our sanctification by God's grace through these Mysteries (which includes frequently participating in these Mysteries). However, I can see John's point too, in that frequenting these Mysteries in our lives will lead us to holiness. Although I have seen in other prayers the word "frequentatio" for the "frequenting" of things in this sense. "Et præséntis vitæ nos conversatióne sanctíficent," is just a difficult phrase to translate.

I think this is a good example where it is difficult to translate a word with so much meaning without doing tons of linguistic gymnastics.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comparison of Prayers - 17th Sunday "Per Annum"

aka 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Dream of Solomon" by Luca Giordano

I do apologize that in my translations I have had the audacity to use the word "ineffable." Guess the US bishops wouldn't approve my translations either. LOL.

Collect (Opening Prayer)

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Protéctor in te sperántium, Deus, sine quo nihil est válidum, nihil sanctum, multíplica super nos misericórdiam tuam, ut, te rectóre, te duce, sic bonis transeúntibus nunc utámur, ut iam possímus inhærére mansúris.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia saécula sæculórum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. God our Father and protector, without you nothing is holy, nothing has value. Guide us to everlasting life by helping us to use wisely the blessings you have given to the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. O God, Protector of those who hope in You, without Whom nothing is powerful, nothing is holy, increase Your mercy upon us, so that, with You as Ruler, with You as Leader, we may presently use the goods which pass away, so that we will indeed be able to cling to those which will last.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Prayer Over the Gifts

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Súscipe, quaésumus, Dómine, múnera, quæ tibi de tua largitáte deférimus, ut hæc sacrosáncta mystéria, grátiæ tuæ operánte virtúte, et præséntis vitæ nos conversatióne sanctíficent, et ad gáudia sempitérna perdúcant.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, receive these offerings chosen from your many gifts. May these mysteries make us holy and lead us to eternal joy.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
Receive, we beseech You, O Lord, these offerings, which we bring to You from Your bounty, so that these most sacred Mysteries, by the powerful working of Your grace, may both sanctify us by conversion of our present life, and may lead us to the everlasting joys.
Through Christ our Lord.

Post-Communion Prayer

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Súmpsimus, Dómine, divínum sacraméntum, passiónis Fílii tui memoriále perpétuum; tríbue, quaésumus, ut ad nostram salútem hoc munus profíciat, quod ineffábili nobis caritáte ipse donávit.
Qui vivit et regnat in saécula sæculórum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. Lord, we receive the sacrament which celebrates the memory of the death and resurrection of Christ your Son. May this gift bring us closer to our eternal salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. O Lord, we have taken part in this Divine Sacrament, the perpetual Memorial of the Passion of Your Son; grant, we beseech You, that this Gift, Which He Himself has given to us in His ineffable love, may aid our salvation.
He Who lives and reigns forever and ever.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Feast of Saint Christopher

OK, liturgically it's only a commemoration, but Saint Christopher is still a Saint in the eyes of the Church, no matter what some might tell you. Even if his Martyrology entry has been shortened to:

"2. In Lycia, sancti Christophori, martyris."
"2. In Lycia, Saint Christopher, Martyr."

"Saint Christopher" by Albrecht Durer

From a more lengthy haegiography:

"An ancient tradition concerning St. Christophorus relates: He was born in the land of Canaan, and was named Reprobus, that is Reprobate, for he was a barbarous heathen. In stature and strength he was a giant. Thinking no one his like in bodily vigor, he resolved to go forth in search of the mightiest master and serve him. In his wanderings, he met with a king who was praised as the most valorous man on earth. To him he offered his services and was accepted. The king was proud of his giant and kept him near his person. One day a minstrel visited the king's castle, and among the ballads he sung before the court was one on the power of Satan. At the mention of this name the king blessed himself, making the Sign of the Cross. Reprobus, wondering, asked him why he did that. The king replied: "When I make the sign, Satan has no power over me." Christophorus rejoined: "So thou fearest the power of Satan? Then he is mightier than thou, and I shall set and serve him."
Setting forth to seek Satan, he came into the wilderness. One dark night he met a band of wild fellows riding through the forest. It was Satan and his escort. Christophorus bravely accosted him, saying he wished to serve him. He was accepted. But soon he was convinced that his new master was not the mightiest on earth. For, one day, whilst approaching a crucifix by the wayside, Satan quickly took to flight, and the Saint asked him for the reason. Satan replied "That is the image of my greatest enemy, Who conquered me on the Cross. From Him I always flee." When Saint Christopher heard this, he left the devil, and went in search of Christ."

"Saint Christopher" by Dieric Bouts the Younger

"In his wanderings, he one day came to a hut hidden in the forest. At its door sat a venerable old man. The Saint addressed him, and in the course of the conversation that ensued the old man told him that he was a hermit, and had left the world to serve Christ, the Lord of Heaven and earth.
"Thou art my man," cried the Saint! "Christ is He Whom I seek, for He is the strongest and the mightiest. Tell me where I can find Him."
The hermit then began instructing the giant about God and the Redeemer, and concluded by saying: "He who would serve Christ must offer himself entirely to Him, and do and suffer everything for His sake. His reward for this will be immense and will last forever." Christophorus now asked the hermit to allow him to remain, and to continue to instruct him. The hermit consented. When he was fully instructed, the hermit Baptized him. After his Baptism, a great change came over the giant. No longer proud of his great size and strength, he became meek and humble, and asked the hermit to assign to him some task by which he might serve God, his master. "For," said he, "I can not pray and fast; therefore I must serve God in some other way."

"Saint Christopher" by Jusepe de Ribera

"The hermit led him to a broad and swift river nearby, and said: "Here build thyself a hut, and when wanderers wish to cross the river, carry them over for the love of Christ." For there was no bridge across the river. Henceforth, day and night, whenever he was called, Reprobus faithfully performed the task assigned to him. One night he heard a child calling to be carried across the river. Quickly he rose, placed the child on his stout shoulder, took his staff and walked into the mighty current.
Arrived in midstream, the water rose higher and higher, and the child became heavier and heavier. "O child," he cried, "how heavy thou art! It seems I bear the weight of the world on my shoulder." And the child replied, "Right thou art. Thou bearest not only the world, but the Creator of Heaven and earth. I am Jesus Christ, thy King and Lord, and henceforth thou shalt be called Christophorus, that is, Christ-bearer. Arrived on yonder shore, plant thy staff in the ground, and in token of My power and might tomorrow it shall bear leaves and blossoms."

"Saint Christopher" by Orazio Borgianni

"And the child disappeared. On reaching the other shore, Christophorus stuck his staff into the ground, and behold, it budded forth leaves and blossoms. Then, kneeling, he promised the Lord to serve Him ever faithfully. He kept his promise, and thenceforth became a zealous preacher of the Gospel, converting many to the Faith. On his missionary peregrinations he came also to Lycia, where, after his first sermon, eighteen thousand heathens requested Baptism.
When Emperor Decius heard of this, he sent a company of four hundred soldiers to capture Christophorus. To these he preached so convincingly, that they all asked for Baptism. Decius became enraged thereat and had him cast into prison. There he first treated him with great kindness, and surrounded him with every luxury to tempt him to sin, but in vain. Then he ordered him to be tortured in the most cruel manner, until he should deny the Faith. He was scourged, placed on plates of hot iron, boiling oil was poured over and fire was lighted under him. When all these torments did not accomplish their purpose, the soldiers were ordered to shoot him with arrows. This, too, having no effect, he was beheaded, on July 25, 254."

"Saint Christopher" by Peter Paul Rubens

"Two great Saints refer to the wonderful achievements of St. Christophorus. St. Ambrose mentions that this Saint converted forty-eight thousand souls to Christ. St. Vincent Ferrer declares that when the plague devastated Valencia, its destructive course was stayed through the intercession of St. Christophorus."

"Saint Christopher" by Titian


Saint James the Greater

"Saint James the Greater" by Carlo Maratti

Although today is my name's day (Christopher), the main Saint who's feast is celebrated is Saint James the Greater.

He is associated with Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where his relics are. There is a great tradition of making pilgrimage. I actually met a priest from the next diocese over, who made the pilgrimage himself. He said it was an awesome experience which really is analagous to the spiritual life.

One of the things you learn about is Providence and tradition. Apparently, pilgrims have left signs for other pilgrims on routes and places to stay. He said that most people would never notice these signs, but eventually you know what to look for. He said it was very profound that those who have gone before you have left signs and passed down their knowledge to you.

He also told me it is a test of perseverance. You do have to walk quite a ways depending on your itenerary. He also said that after the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, you can do the "hardcore" thing and actually make the final trek of the pilgrimage to the coast which is the Western-most point of continental Europe, and you can there pick up a real shell, rather than some thing you bought.

He mentioned a website about the pilgrimages, but I can't remember it exactly. But I did find this one (which may be it).

The Confraternity of Saint James

And of course, if you want to see a thurible so big, they have to put incense in with shovels ... and they actually swing the turible throughout the whole church, which takes four men, then I have to include the post from last year about the


I just regret the congregation has to clap afterwards. Oh well.

"Saint James the Greater"
[saying there should be no applause in Church]
by Alonso Cano


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saint Charbel Makhlouf

Today is the feast of Saint Charbel. A note is that a friend of mine who was born and raised in Lebanon said it is pronounced SHAR-bel with the emphasis on the first syllable.

Anyway, from a Latin Church perspective, Saint Charbel is probably the best known Saint of the Maronite Church. This is the Church around the area of Lebanon, whose rite comes from Saint Maron. It is the only Eastern Church that did not go into schism in all the conflicts between the East and West, and remained in union with Rome. It should be noted that his feast day was added to universal calendar as an optional memorial in the 2002 Missale Romanum.

Saint Charbel was Maronite monk who lived in the early to mid 19th century. I think what draws me to him is the fact that he led a simple monastic and heremetical life. He lived in community for about 19 years, then as a hermit for 23 years. Prayer, penance, and work were what made him a Saint.

His monastery now has a website (if the music gets to be too much, go to the lower left corner of the page and click on the moving vertical bars):

Saint Maron-Annaya Monastery



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

RS Movie Review - The Dark Knight (first impressions)

I just got back from watching the new Batman flick "The Dark Knight."

First impression?


Pretty darn cool!

One caveat I will give is that I am pretty surprised it was only rated PG-13. I think R would have been more appropriate. It had some pretty disturbing scenes and situations. And the body count was very high. I also think one character (other than the Joker) could easily freak out the kiddies (and even some adults).

The reason I specify "first impressions" is that I really want to see this movie again. Not just because I enjoyed it, but also because there were a lot of deeper topics thrown at you, that might be hard to absorb in the first sitting.

I will say that the movie is long (another reason not to bring the younger ones), but I'm not saying that's bad, you DO get your money's worth. About half way through the movie, I began to notice this movie was pretty long, but I immediately realized I was just enjoying it too much to want it to end.

Heath Ledger's Joker is getting most of the focus. First off, I have to say, I have not seen ANY of the other Batman movies (aside from one of the old Adam West and Burt Ward movies). I did want to see Batman Begins based on several friends' advice, but since I am not much of a comic book/superhero fan, I just never got around to it). And I have to admit that in looking at the trailer, I was only interested in seeing how the Joker would be portrayed. The character was written extremely well, and Heath Ledger carried it out with frightening execution (no pun intended). However, what really surprised me was how much I enjoyed all the other characters in the movie. Even the "lesser" characters, like the henchmen, the other mafiosos, and even the people on the ferrys were well played.

Good soundtrack too.

Even if you're like me and not into comic book/superhero movies, I will say that if you like action movies that make you think, you'll love this movie. I really would count it up there with the Bourne series (which I really liked). Just leave the kiddies at home.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

I am actually a bit surprised at how difficult it is to find pictures of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi on the web. Aside from a few small thumbnails, I really found nothing. I tried Lawrence, Laurentius, Lorenzo, Russo (his last name), anything with Brindisi, and just found hardly anything.

My best lead was a picture I found in a book which is apparently an authentic portrait of Saint Lawrence by Pietro Labruzzi (assuming my internet translator translated the German correctly). Unfortunately, the best I could find was a cropped black and white version of the painting. I think it is somewhere in Tuscany.

color version

Anyway, you can read about his life at Catholic Encyclopedia

St Lorenzo da Brindisi

A quick anecdote from his entry in the book "The 33 Doctors of the Church." (Don't you wish some priests would follow Saint Lawrence's example?)

When preaching, he [Saint Lawrence] had a [religious] Brother sit behind the pulpit to watch the time and warn him with a pin when he was going too long. Sometimes the Brother had to draw blood to catch his attention.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Comparison of Prayers - 16th Sunday "Per Annum"

aka 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"The Parable of the Weeds" by Jerome Nadal


Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Propitiáre, Dómine, fámulis tuis, et clémenter grátiæ tuæ super eos dona multíplica, ut, spe, fide et caritáte fervéntes, semper in mandátis tuis vígili custódia persevérent
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia saécula sæculórum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. Lord be merciful to your people. Fill us with your gifts and make us always eager to serve you in faith, hope, and love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

My own Literal Translation
Let us pray. Look favorably upon Your servants, O Lord, and lovingly multiply the gifts of Your grace upon them, so that, burning with hope, faith, and charity, they may always persevere with vigilance in the keeping of Your commandments.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Prayer Over the Gifts

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Deus, qui legálium differéntiam hostiárum uníus sacrifícii perfectióne, sanxísti, áccipe sacrifícium a devótis tibi fámulis, et pari benedictióne, sicut múnera Abel, sanctífica, ut, quod sínguli obtulérunt ad maiestátis tuæ honórem, cunctis profíciat ad salútem.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, bring us closer to salvation through these gifts which we bring in your honor. Accept the perfect sacrifice you have given us, bless it as you blessed the gifts of Abel.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

My own Literal Translation
O God, Who by the perfection of one Sacrifice consecrated the various offerings of the Law, accept this sacrifice from the servants devoted to You, and sanctify it with an equal blessing, as You did the gifts of Abel, so that, that which each have offered to the honor of Your majesty, may accomplish the salvation of all.
Through Christ our Lord.

Post-Communion Prayer

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Pópulo tuo, quaésumus, Dómine, adésto propítius, et, quem mystériis cæléstibus imbuísti, fac ad novitátem vitæ de vetustáte transíre.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Merciful Father, may these mysteries give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in you.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

My own Literal Translation
Let us pray. Graciously assist Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, and, make those, whom You have imbued with these Heavenly Mysteries, to cross over from their old way to newness of life.
Through Christ our Lord.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pope Saint Leo IV

"A quite incredible story has reached our ears ... It is alleged that you have such an aversion from the sweet chant of St Gregory ... that you are at variance in this matter not only with this see, which is near to you, but with almost every other church in the West, in fact, with all those who use the Latin tounge to pay their tribute of praise to the King of Heaven..." - Pope Saint Leo IV writing to an abbot who lacked enthusiasm for Gregorian chant.

Pope Saint Leo IV (+ A.D. 855)

Wow, you learn something new everyday. Although I've been to Rome multiple times for pilgrimages, I am always frustrated to find out that I was right by Saints whom I didn't even know were there.

Take, for instance, one of the Saints we celebrate today, Pope Saint Leo IV. (Today is also the feast of Saint Alesseo (aka Saint Alexis) whom I mentioned 2 years ago.)

I only happend to find out about Pope Saint Leo IV because he is in my Monastic diurnal since he was a Benedictine.

In trying to find out where he was buried, I found that there's litereally a corner in Saint Peter's which is a cornucopia of holy Leos! I knew about Pope Saint Leo the Great's tomb in the far back left corner. But what I didn't know was that to the left of Pope Saint Leo the Great's altar is the altar of Our Lady of the Column.

Altar of Our Lady of the Column in Saint Peter's Basilica where Pope Saint Leo IV is buried

It not only contains the relics of Pope Saint Leo the IV, but also of Pope Saint Leo II and Pope Saint Leo III! And I've been to Mass at the altar of Pope Saint Leo the Great, and here were three other Saints named Leo to my right. Add some more to the list of Saints to visit on my next trip.

You can read about his life at Catholic Encyclopedia:

Pope Saint Leo IV

Papa Sancte Leo IV, ora pro nobis.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RS Movie Review - The Matrix Revolutions

***(WARNING: Probable spoiler alerts)***
Just skip to the bottom if you really plan on seeing this movie.

The Matrix series has been an odd thing for me. When I went to see the first movie, "The Matrix" the theater was having technical problems and the sound channels were going out every so often. Needless to say, that made a highly confusing movie, even more incomprehensible. The effects were great, but it was just confusing (due to lack of sound).

After talking with friends, I gave it another chance and watched it when it came out on DVD. Once I figured out what was going this time, I began to enjoy it and found it pretty creative, and ended up buying the DVD and watching it many times. I still really enjoy "The Matrix."

So when the sequel, "The Matrix Reloaded," was announced, and I saw the trailer, I was stoked. A friend and I went to see it opening weekend. There were technical problems again (different theater). The center sound channel would fade out occasionally, but not as bad as when I saw the first film. Still, the second one had to be one of the most disappointing sequels I have ever seen.* It was like they took the Matrix, stripped it of any decent plot, and then made it sleazy. For instance, Zion is just a big, sweaty rave party full of rastafarians and geeky white folk. The first time I saw Zion I realized I would have actually wanted to stay in the Matrix if I had the choice. Guess you can kiss any of that Christian/gnostic symbolism of the first movie out the door. It was clear the Wachowski Brothers were just milking a sucessful first movie (especially because the second one ended with a cliffhanger).

I hated "The Matrix Reloaded" so much I have not even been curious to see the final movie of the trilogy, "The Matrix Revolutions." Well, I did have one reason I wanted to see it: I heard that Neo dies. Yes, I hated the second movie so much I wanted to see the protagonist get his just desserts for putting me through the sequel. However, that reason has still never really prompted me to want to watch the movie.

So why am I reviewing the third movie? Well, I finally came across a form that I figured I would watch. When cruising around the web last night, I came across a movie "review" that was more of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 viewing. It was the entire movie with two guys making humorous comments throughout the whole thing. You may think the "commentary" is annoying, but I have to say, it was the only thing that got me through the movie. And sadly, as loud as they were compared to the movie volume, I really didn't miss anything important.

Yes, "The Matrix Revolutions" was actually as bad as "The Matrix Reloaded. Really on it's own it was worse. Take "The Matrix Reloaded" which had already stripped the decent storyline out of the "The Matrix" and now strip away all the cool fight choreography and cinematography, and for the most part, the Matrix itself, and you have "The Matrix Revolutions." But there are two reasons it wasn't worse: 1) The ending of "The Matrix Revolutions" meant that the trilogy was over and 2) Neo did die (Yea! \o/ ) ... actually we're not totally sure about that by the end. Anyway ...

It was horrid though. Most of the movie didn't even take place in the Matrix, which is what made the first one great and the second one tolerable. Instead it took place in the boring, drab "real world." The other thing that annoyed me was that everyone was so darn serious. Everyone was so sober, tense, and stiff that I thought they all had been given an atomic wedgie before shooting the scenes. They could rarely even squeeze out more than one sentence at a time.

Enjoy you wedgie, Mr. Anderson?

Then you have three story lines going on at once that take forever to cycle through.

1) You have Neo and Trinity going off to save the world.

2) You have Morpheus on another ship, and he practically plays a bit part in this movie (actually the movie is so long and bounces around so much, you really don't feel like anyone really starred in the movie). As the commenters noted, Morpheus becomes the Chewbacca to the Han Solo-like female pilot and the male captain who has to say the "GD word" every other sentence.

Morpheus in "The Matrix Revolutions"

3) Then you finally have Zion about to get attacked by the machines (as you find out at the end of the second movie). By the time the machines get to Zion, you are cheering for them to just kill everyone and get the movie over with.

The Morpheus storyline has them trying to get back to Zion to save it, and when they actually do make it and save the day, you realize you still have another FORTY FIVE FREAKIN' MINUTES LEFT IN THE MOVIE!!! Of course you still have the Neo storyline, but you also find out that after that excruciating battle for Zion that that was just the FIRST WAVE of machines!

I'm not even going to go into the acid trip that was the Neo and Trinity storyline. All I can say is that at one point, when they went above the clouds and saw the sun, it reminded me of the only worse movie (and sequel) I have ever seen: *"Highlander 2: The Director's Cut." That is not a good thing, and just re-enforces how bad this movie was. In fact, the whole trilogy is much like the first three Highlander movies. Just watch the first movie of the series and pretend the other two don't exist.

And then I really am not sure what happened at the end. I'm not sure Neo really totally saved the day. I almost saw a crack in the door of the plot that would allow more movies to be made if someone were actually evil and twisted enough to try and do that. (I can see it now "The Matrix Regurgitated.")

Oh, wow, there actually is something like that.


So for those of you who skipped down to this part ... you might as well just read my review with spoilers, the movie just stinks. "The Matrix Revolutions" is an appropriate name because it is just revolting. The only reason to see it is to see how bad it is. If you really insist on seeing it, probably the best way is to watch the video I saw. The commentary is rated R, but then, so is the movie, so don't think the commentary makes it any more appropriate for children. It's in 7 parts, and here's a link to the first part (you can see the other parts from this one):

Hem Haw 1

Here's a pictorial summary of the trilogy:

click picture to embiggen

[This has been a public service announcement from your friendly Roman Sacristan]


Bonus Amusement: Notice how Agent Smith and Carl Sagan sound exactly alike:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saint Bonaventure

"Saint Bonaventure and Saint Leandro" by Murillo

Info on Saint Bonaventure at Catholic Encyclopedia


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Can Solemn Masses make you happier than Low Masses?

Got a letter from my friend, the brewmeister, about a recent Johns Hopkins study on a chemical in incense.

"...the report was saying that frankincense—the incense traditionally burned in religious ceremonies—can act on the brain to lower anxiety and diminish depression.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Hebrew University administered incensole acetate, a component of frankincense, to lab mice and learned that it lit up areas of their little mouse brains that control emotion, including nerve circuits affecting anxiety and depression."


Their observation that frankincense smoke “augments the euphoric feeling produced during religious functions” is likely to resonate with many among the faithful.

“There was a strong visual and olfactory effect, and I liked being around it,” says Vince Corso, a New Jersey-based priest with a degree in divinity. “I don’t know if it aligned those parts of my brain to the magic and mystery of the experience, but I was entranced by it.”

Whole article here:

Frankincense and Mirt: Is that psychoactive smoke wafting through the pews?

Ah, so that's why the aging hippy set who threw out the incense are so bitter and hateful towards tradition.


Friday, July 11, 2008

15th Sunday "Per Annum" - Comparison of Prayers

aka 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Collect (Opening Prayer)

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Deus, qui errántibus, ut in viam possint redíre, veritátis tuæ lumen osténdis, da cunctis qui christiána professióne censéntur, et illa respúere, quæ huic inimíca sunt nómini, et ea quæ sunt apta sectári.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia saécula sæculórum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. God our Father, your light of truth guides us to the way of Christ. May all who follow him reject what is contrary to the gospel.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. O God, You Who have shown forth the light of Your Truth to the straying, that they may be able to return to Your way, grant to all who are distinguished by the Christian profession, to cast away those things, which are contrary to the Christian name, and to follow those things which are appropriate to it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Prayer Over the Gifts

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Réspice, Dómine, múnera supplicántis Ecclésiæ, et pro credéntium sanctificatiónis increménto suménda concéde.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, accept the gifts of your Church. May this eucharist help us grow in holiness and faith.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
O Lord, look upon these gifts of Your humbly supplicating Church, and grant that this Sacrifice Which is about to be undertaken should be for the increasing of the sanctification of believers.
Through Christ our Lord.

Post-Communion Prayer

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Sumptis munéribus, quaésumus, Dómine, ut, cum frequentatióne mystérii, crescat nostræ salútis efféctus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. Lord, by our sharing in the mystery of this eucharist, let your saving love grow within us.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. By these gracious Gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, that, with the frequenting of this Mystery, the accomplishment of our salvation may come forth.
Through Christ our Lord.


Happy Feast of St Benedict

Statue of Saint Benedict in the piazza in Norcia, (aka Nursia) Italy


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pray for unity.

I haven't commented on the recent Anglican church's situation because I am rather ignorant of the entire Church of England/Anglican/Episcopalian/etc ordering.

So, I'm referring to Fr. Dwight Longnecker's blog since he has a great deal of knowledge and experience in Anglicanism, Catholicism, and the conversion from the former to the latter.

But seeing the Providential situation within the Church of England, let us pray that those who still hold the Christian faith will leave the continually self-destructing situation they are in and seek unity with Rome.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bishops' rejection of translations helps Latin more.

Don Quixote

As at least a third of the US bishops keep behaving like Don Quixote in their delusions of helping the Church through bad ideas, I got to thinking about the positive side of all this.

By delaying the translations again, I see several things happening. The biggest is that more and more people will gain interest in Latin. I know one reason many look to the Latin is because they are so tired of the embarrassing translations we are currently stuck with. Delaying approval for the translations will just lead that many more who are seeking the truth and are just growing up to turn to the Latin for more authenticity.

I think if we had had good translations back in the '60's, most people would have been satisfied with what they had and Latin would have probably been much less practiced as it is now.

Another thing is that most likely most of the bishops who rejected these translations are aging. Meaning, everyday they are a day closer to retiring ... and being replaced with better bishops under our current pope.

I think maybe, since the dragging out of the new translations is getting so ridiculous, I'm wondering if they are about to step over the line to where Rome will take some action. We're coming close to half a century of bad translations. There's enough of us on the web who have shown how poor these translations are.

But even with better translations, remember:


Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Summorum Pontificum

Well it's been one year since the Pope released the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum." It's interesting that it was released on 07/07/07. "777" is sometimes referred to as "God's Number."

Alas, in my diocese, there has been no implimentation of it. A year ago I had heard of a few probabilites where this would be implemented, but none of them have come about to my knowledge. Overall the liturgical situation of my diocese appears to be pretty neglected by those in authority. The only extraordinary form of the Mass is done by the Fraternity of Saint Peter. Their Low Sunday Mass is completely full, and their High Sunday Mass is overflowing. They really do need their own parish.

Thankfully, the response in other diocese and countries has been greater. Fr. Z. and The New Liturgical Movement have been keeping track of many of the positive responses priests and bishops are making to the motu proprio. Some diocese are even getting permanent parishes for the special use of the Traditional Mass. The most notable example is that Rome now has one.

I now just wait for His Holiness to offer the extraordinary form. He and Msgr. Guido Marini have done a lot for getting the papal liturgies back on track, at least in the ordinary form. I think they are just building up to eventually saying the extraordinary form and saying it more often.

So, say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for this gift from Pope Benedict, and say a prayer for an increase in priests and bishops making the extraordinary form more available.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Explanation of the current SSPX situation

I found this post at Fr. Z's blog What Does The Prayer Really Say to be very detailed, clear, (and most importantly) authoritative, regarding the CURRENT status (as of the date of this post) and situation of the Society of Saint Pius X and those who affiliate themselves with it. However, this is important for all Catholics to read so they understand the situation, as it is has not been explained well not only by the media, but also by many priests and bishops within the Church.

Full post:

GUEST CONTRIBUTION: Q&A with the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei about SSPX, schism and sacraments

An important point from the article:

[Response from the Pontificial Commission of Ecclesia Dei]: “The bishops of the Society of St. Pius X are excommunicated according to the prescription of canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law which states that “A bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.” Archbishop Lefebvre was duly reminded of this before his conferral of Episcopal ordination on 30 June 1988 and the Holy Father confirmed that this penalty had been incurred in his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, #3 [cf. AAS 80 (1988) 1495-1498; English translation in L’Osservatore Romano English edition of 11 July 1988, p. 1].

“The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but suspended, that is prohibited from exercising their priestly functions because they are not properly incardinated in a diocese of religious institute in full communion with the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 265) and also because those ordained after the schismatic Episcopal ordinations were ordained by an excommunicated bishop.

“Concretely, this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit, i.e., contrary to Canon Law. The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony, however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid.

Please do read the whole article, with Fr. Z.'s commentary which further clarifies some points and shows some important subtilties in the practice of this.

And also please pray for the SSPX (and other traditional groups who are not enjoying full communion with the Church). This is a great time of grace having a pope who is so actively seeking their full return to the fold. We are already seeing some grace filled results with the lifting of the sensures on the Transalpine Redemptorists' priests. However, keep praying for them as they seek to canonically regularize their status in the Church.

EDIT - Since I made an error in one of my comments at Fr. Z.'s blog, but he closed the comments before I could admit my mistake, I'll just post it here.

I had said that "marriage is not valid until consummation." However, I was incorrect. Discussion about marriage needs precision, so I'll just quote Canon Law and correct my error:

Can. 1061 §1. A valid marriage between the baptized is called ratum tantum if it has not been consummated; it is called ratum et consummatum if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.

The reason for this comment was that several people were in a tizzy about the statement that SSPX marriages are being declared invalid by the PCED. I think it boils down to a priest needing legal faculties from the local ordinary.

Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144, 1112, §1, 1116, and 1127, §§1-2.

SSPX have no legal faculties for confession and marriage. None of their priests are under a local ordinary bishop. Legally the SSPX priests cannot represent the Church, (except in danger of death). Thus the form is not valid, invalidating the marriage.

I wish Dr. Ed Peters would comment on this. I respect his opinion more than anonymous posts of people claiming to be canon lawyers in an internet blog commments section. It probably doesn't help that I have only dabbled in canon law myself.

Marriage is a very complex Sacrament theologically and even more so legally.


Friday, July 04, 2008

14th Sunday "Per Annum" - Comparison of Prayers

(aka 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time.)

"Come Unto Me" by Carl Heinrich Bloch
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”

Collect (Opening Prayer)

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Deus, qui in Fílii tui humilitáte iacéntem mundum erexísti, fidélibus tuis sanctam concéde lætítiam, ut, quos eripuísti a servitúte peccáti, gáudiis fácias pérfrui sempitérnis.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia saécula sæculórum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. Father, through the obedience of Jesus, your servant and your Son, you raised a fallen world. Free us from sin and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. O God, Who in the humility of Your Son lifted up this fallen world, grant a holy rejoicing to Your faithful, so that, You might make those, whom You have snatched from the bondage of sin, to enjoy fully the eternal joys.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Prayer Over the Gifts

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Oblátio nos, Dómine, tuo nómini dicáta puríficet, et de die in diem ad cæléstis vitæ tránsferat actiónem.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, let this offering to the glory of your name purify us and bring us closer to eternal life.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
May this oblation, consecrated to Your Name, purify us, O Lord, and may it from day to day direct us to the duties of a heavenly life.
Through Christ our Lord.

Post-Communion Prayer

Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Tantis, Dómine, repléti munéribus, præsta, quaésumus, ut et salutária dona capiámus, et a tua numquam laude cessémus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, may we never fail to praise you for the fullness of life and salvation you give us in this eucharist.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

My Own Literal Translation
Let us pray. O Lord, having been replenished with these Offerings so great, grant, we beseech You, that we may acquire the gifts of salvation, and never cease from praising You.
Through Christ our Lord.


Happy Independence Day

Because everyone needs something patriotic:

And because after last year's post, simple fireworks just aren't enough:


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Novena to Saint Benedict

Statue of Saint Benedict in the piazza in Norcia

It's a simple yet beautiful little novena:

I would also ask your prayers for a "brother" of mine, (we were novices together), Brother Benedict, a deacon and monk of Norcia, who is preparing for priestly ordination this Fall.

Novena to Saint Benedict

Glorious Saint Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God.
To you I have recourse in the dangers that daily surround me. Shield me against my selfishness and my indifference to God and to my neighbor.
Inspire me to imitate you in all things.
May your blessing be with me always, so that I may see and serve Christ in others and work for His Kingdom.

Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces which I need so much in the trials, miseries, and afflictions of life.
Your heart was always full of love, compassion, and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. You never dismissed without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to you.
I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore.
[mention your petition]

Help me, great Saint Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving Will, and to attain the eternal happiness of Heaven.

"Saint Benedict Writing His Rule" by Hermann Nigg