Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he leads the Christmas night Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican December 24, 2016 (AP photo)

When children are concerned, if choosing to lead the Church in a grand symbolic gesture it is wise to consider all the angles of… shall we say interpretation?


The P.R. Consultant Calls it “Optics,” Holy Father.


Quaeritur: I recently read about the indulgences formerly attached to being touched by the ‘penitential wand’ in Rome in the Raccolta. I’ve been trying to find more information about this practice online, all to no avail. I wonder if you could write about it? Seems like something as ‘rigid’ as this could do us well these days!

Respondio: The penitential mentula or ferula, the bocchino penitenziario, wand, or rod is encountered the world over, and not merely in Rome. It varies in length and girth, and while it is not always used in a penitential capacity, it is nevertheless not uncommonly employed in such a ritual. Since not every man can be a wizard every time.

Continue reading

Be Not Afraid!


Graffiti on the security wall, Bethlehem. Israel built a wall.

“And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people.” -Luke, 2:10

“And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” -1 Corinthians, 13:10

“And the least of these and thus most delicate, in constant need of your attention, is hope.” Deaconette, 12:24

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light.” Garland, 1944



WDTMRS: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean That You Should Edition.


Carpe diem! Carpe capulus! Carpe eos cessoribus!

Deaconette was troubled by the Pleonasmic Porcelain-Peddling Priest‘s choice to co-opt the now President-elect’s campaign materials for some advocacy of his own. She wasn’t a fan of Mr Trump’s hostile and often deeply sinful behavior as he barnstormed the country in search of racists who vote. (She wasn’t a fan of his opponent, either, on the basis of her stated policies.) She doesn’t think the clergy should be directing the faithful toward any particular office-seeker but instead instructing them in values and principles with which to make their own well-informed moral choices. But it’s a free country, for now anyway, and the 4P can say what he’d like. Just because one can, though, does not mean that one should.

Still, there was something else subliminally incorrect about the mug design that seemed to whisper an objection into Deaconette’s ear without ever checking if she was wearing her hearing aid.

Continue reading