Distinctly Catholic

Pope Francis & the Washing of Feet


Last Thursday, I called attention to a comment by a young priest at one of the blogs for traditionalist Catholics. The young priest wrote he was bewildered by Pope Francis’ washing the feet of women as well as men during the Mandatum rite at the prison for young offenders where the pope celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I noted that the priest’s comment was sad, but the tone of my post was snarky. I apologize for that. The issue here is quite serious and deserves better than snark.

Ich bin der Welt


If there is a more hauntingly beautiful piece of music this side of the eschaton, I do not know it. Dame Janet Baker sings a song we do not usually associate with Good Friday, but for those of us who were blessed to know Father Joseph Kugler, the connection is obvious and intense.

More Good Friday Musical Reflections


Music takes us where words can't. As we ponder the Mystery of our redemption this day, here are some more selections I want at my funeral (alas, Lenny Bernstein, Mahalia Jackson and Nat King Cole  have already gone to God so he can't conduct and they can't sing them at my funeral!), Mozart's Ave Verum and the great spiritual "Steal Away to Jesus."




Jesus, Remember Me


Today is not a day for opining, for criticizing neo-cons or challenging the left, or any other such usual posting. It is a day in which we should all, I think, take as our model the good thief who, mindful of his sins, only turned to Jesus and begged for His mercy and companionship. Better than any words I could devise, here is one musical selection that invites us to contemplate the terribleness of the price by which our atonement was achieved, the exquisite Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem, here sung by Barbara Bonney..

Bole on Hierarchies Working and Not Working


At the Boston College magazine, William Bole has a splendid article about two researchers (one, the happily named Professor Pontiff), who looked at POW records to determine with the strict military hierarchy that works so well on the battlefield worked equally well in the changed circumstance of a POW camp. Turns out, not so much. You can read the whole, typically fascinating, story by Bole here.

Remembering Cardinal Casaroli


Cardinal Agostino Casaroli was the often controversial Secretary of State who engineered the Ostpolitik between the Holy See and various communist regimes. He also turned out to be a holy priest who spent time visiting the imprisoned at the Casal del Marmo where Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Vatican Insider has the story, a story that proves the Vatican Curia was not always filled with those who ambitioned only for their own prestige.  

And Fools Seldom Disagree


I mentioned the on-going danger of Pelagianism in my post this morning on the Triduum. Then, about an hour later, I read the Holy Father's sermon at this morning's Chrism Mass (h/t to Rocco), and, lo and behold, he mentioned Pelagianism too! The entire homily is worth reading. Very beautiful. And, I hope his description of what makes a good priest will guide his selection of new bishops!

Francis said:



Today, we commence the Triduum. Last year, I wrote essays for each of the three days and remain sufficiently pleased with them so as not to try a repeat. This year, as well, my understanding of the Triduum has been immeasurably deepened by reading the second volume of Pope Benedict’s Trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth which deals with the events of Holy Week.



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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017