Category Archives: writing

John’s Funeral Plans and Holy Hour

My husband, John, passed away on October 11, 2018.  This blog was his labor of love for God.  He long knew he would die an early death, and he made these funeral plans when he was facing major surgery in 2013.  Thanks to our local pastor, he will be able to have his full Requiem Mass he so long desired. However, I wanted to share what he had written and ask that if you read this, that you say at least some of the prayers he shared here.   Please pray for his soul and all of us he leaves in this vale of tears.  –Mary, his wife

Entrance antiphon and hymn:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis, te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.  Exaudi orationem meam ad te omnes caro veniet

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring


Collect (from the Carmelite Propers):
Lord, You are the glory of those who serve You.

Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters, especially John of the Little Way,

united in following Christ and his Mother,

by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel.

In Your mercy,

grant them everlasting sight of You,

their Creator and Redeemer.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


First Reading: Sirach 18:7-12
Psalm 42:2,3,5

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Gospel Acclamation: John 6:51-52

Gospel: John 19:17-18, 25-29

Offertory: Now We Remain
Communion: I Am the Bread of Life
Recessional: On Eagle’s Wings or In Paradisum or both

After Mass:

Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –

by the Divine Power of God –

cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.



Reception–secular songs and readings?



Leader: O God, come to my assistance

Response: O Lord, Make haste to help me

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament



O salutaris Hostia,

Quae caeli pandis ostium:

Bella premunt hostilia,

Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino

Sit sempiterna gloria,

Qui vitam sine termino

Nobis donet in patria.



DIES irae, dies illa,

solvet saeculum in favilla,

teste David cum Sibylla.

THAT day of wrath, that dreadful day,

shall heaven and earth in ashes lay,

as David and the Sybil say.

Quantus tremor est futurus,

quando iudex est venturus,

cuncta stricte discussurus!

What horror must invade the mind

when the approaching Judge shall find

and sift the deeds of all mankind!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum

per sepulcra regionum,

coget omnes ante thronum.

The mighty trumpet’s wondrous tone

shall rend each tomb’s sepulchral stone

and summon all before the Throne.

Mors stupebit et natura,

cum resurget creatura,

iudicanti responsura.

Now death and nature with surprise

behold the trembling sinners rise

to meet the Judge’s searching eyes.

Liber scriptus proferetur,

in quo totum continetur,

unde mundus iudicetur.

Then shall with universal dread

the Book of Consciences be read

to judge the lives of all the dead.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit,

quidquid latet apparebit:

nil inultum remanebit.

For now before the Judge severe

all hidden things must plain appear;

no crime can pass unpunished here.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?

quem patronum rogaturus?

cum vix iustus sit securus.

O what shall I, so guilty plead?

and who for me will intercede?

when even Saints shall comfort need?

Rex tremendae maiestatis,

qui salvandos salvas gratis,

salva me, fons pietatis.

O King of dreadful majesty!

grace and mercy You grant free;

as Fount of Kindness, save me!

Recordare Iesu pie,

quod sum causa tuae viae:

ne me perdas illa die.

Recall, dear Jesus, for my sake

you did our suffering nature take

then do not now my soul forsake!

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:

redemisti crucem passus:

tantus labor non sit cassus.

In weariness You sought for me,

and suffering upon the tree!

let not in vain such labor be.

Iuste iudex ultionis,

donum fac remissionis,

ante diem rationis.

O Judge of justice, hear, I pray,

for pity take my sins away

before the dreadful reckoning day.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:

culpa rubet vultus meus:

supplicanti parce Deus.

You gracious face, O Lord, I seek;

deep shame and grief are on my cheek;

in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,

et latronem exaudisti,

mihi quoque spem dedisti.

You Who did Mary’s guilt unbind,

and mercy for the robber find,

have filled with hope my anxious mind.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:

sed tu bonus fac benigne,

ne perenni cremer igne.

How worthless are my prayers I know,

yet, Lord forbid that I should go

into the fires of endless woe.

Inter oves locum praesta,

et ab haedis me sequestra,

statuens in parte dextera.

Divorced from the accursed band,

o make me with Your sheep to stand,

as child of grace, at Your right Hand.

Confutatis maledictis,

flammis acribus addictis.

voca me cum benedictis.

When the doomed can no more flee

from the fires of misery

with the chosen call me.

Oro supplex et acclinis,

cor contritum quasi cinis:

gere curam mei finis.

Before You, humbled, Lord, I lie,

my heart like ashes, crushed and dry,

assist me when I die.

Lacrimosa dies illa,

qua resurget ex favilla.

iudicandus homo reus:

huic ergo parce Deus.

Full of tears and full of dread

is that day that wakes the dead,

calling all, with solemn blast

to be judged for all their past.

Pie Iesu Domine,

dona eis requiem. Amen.

Lord, have mercy, Jesus blest,

grant them all Your Light and Rest. Amen.


O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a Sinner (100 times)


The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Six Decade Carmelite Form, Glorious Mysteries
Apostle’s Creed
Our Father
For an increase in Faith: Hail Mary . . . .
For an increase in Hope: Hail Mary . . .

For an increase in Love: Hail Mary . . .

Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit . . .

First Glorious Mystery: the Resurrection:
Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.  Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. (Jn 20:19-23)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Second Glorious Mystery: the Ascension
Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. (Matthew 28:16-20

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Third Glorious Mystery: Pentecost

[1] And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them:[4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak (Luke 2:1-4)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Fourth Glorious Mystery: Assumption
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2I say to the LORD, “You are my LORD.

My happiness lies in you alone.”

And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

even my flesh shall rest in hope.

10For you will not abandon my soul to hell,

nor let your holy one see corruption. Psalm 16 1-2,9-10

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.

Fifth Glorious Mystery: Coronation of Mary
And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.  And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:  (Revelation 11: 19-12:1)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Sixth Glorious Mystery: Patronage of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“Whosoever dies

wearing this scapular

shall not suffer

eternal fire.”

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.

Hail, Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.  To thee do we cry, poor, banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then,  O most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God.  Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers O glorious and blessed Virgin
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.



Ad Vesperas

At Vespers

Absolute incipitur: Is absolutely begun:
Ant: Placebo Domino. Ant: I will please.
Psalmus [114]:

Dilexi, quoniam exaudiet Dominus: vocem orationis meae.

Quia inclinavit aurem suam mihi: et in diebus meis invocabo.

Circumdederunt me dolores mortis: pericula inferni invenerunt me.

Tribulationem, et dolorem inveni: et nomen Domini invocavi.

O Domine, libera animam meam, misericors Dominus, et iustus: et Deus noster miseretur.

Custodiens parvulos Dominus: humiliatus sum, et liberavit me.

Convertere anima mea in requiem tuam: quia Dominus benefecit tibi.

Quia eripuit animam meam de morte: oculos meos a lacrymis, pedes meos a lapsu.

Placebo Domino: in regione vivorum.

Psalm [114]:

I have loved, because our Lord: will hear the voice of my prayer.

Because he hath inclined his ear to me: and in my days I will call upon him.

The sorrows of death have compassed me: and the pains of hell have found me.

I have found tribulation, and sorrow: and I called on the name of our Lord.

O Lord, deliver my soul, merciful Lord, and just: and our God hath mercy.

Our Lord keepeth little ones: I was humbled, and he hath delivered me.

Turn O my soul into thy rest: because our Lord hath done good to thee.

Because he hath delivered my soul from death: my eyes from tears, my feet from sliding.

I will please our Lord in the country of the living.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Placebo Domino in regione vivorum. Ant: I will please our Lord in the country of the living.
Ant: Heu mihi. Ant: Woe is me.
Psalmus [119]:

Ad Dominum cum tribularer, clamavi: et exaudivit me.

Domine libera animam meam a labiis iniquis: et a lingua dolosa.

Quid detur tibi, aut quid apponatur tibi: ad linguam dolosam?

Sagittae potentis acutae: cum carbonibus desolatoriis.

Heu mihi, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est, habitavi cum habitantibus Cedar: multum incola fuit anima mea.

Cum his, qui oderunt pacem, eram pacificus: cum loquebar illis, inpugnabant me gratis.

Psalm [119]:

When I was in tribulation I cried to our Lord: and he heard me.

O Lord Deliver my soul from unjust lips: and from a deceitful tongue.

What may be given to thee, or what may be added unto thee: to a deceitful tongue?

The sharp arrows of the mighty: with coals of desolation.

Woe is unto me, that my sojourning is prolonged, I have dwelt with the inhabitants of Cedar: my soul hath been much a sojourner.

With them, that hated peace, I was peaceable: when I spake to them, they impugned me without cause.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Heu mihi Domine, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est. Ant: Woe is me O Lord, that my abode is prolonged.
Ant: Dominus. Ant: Our Lord.
Psalmus [120]:

Levavi oculos meos in montes: unde veniet auxilium mihi.

Auxilium meum a Domino: qui fecit caelum et terram.

Non det in commotionem pedem tuum: neque dormitet, qui custodit te.

Ecce non dormitabit: neque dormiet, qui custodit Israel.

Dominus custodit te, Dominus protectio tua: super manum dexteram tuam.

Per diem sol non uret te: neque luna per noctem.

Dominus custodit te ab omni malo: custodiat animam tuam Dominus.

Dominus custodiat introitum tuum, et exitum tuum: ex hoc nunc, et usque in saeculum.

Psalm [120]:

I have lifted up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence help shall come to me.

My help is from our Lord: which made heaven and earth.

Let him not give thy foot to be moved: neither let him slumber that keepeth thee.

Lo he shall not slumber: nor sleep, that keepeth Israel.

Our Lord keepeth thee, our Lord is thy protection: upon thy right hand.

By day the sun shall not burn thee: nor the moon by night.

Our Lord doth keep thee from all evil: let our Lord keep thy soul.

Let our Lord keep thy coming in, and thy going out: from henceforth, now and forever.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Dominus custodiat te ab omni malo, custodiat animam tuam Dominus. Ant: Our Lord doth keep thee from all evil, our Lord can keep thy soul.
Ant: Si iniquitates. Ant: If thou O Lord.
Psalmus [129]:

De profundis clamavi ad te Domine: Domine exaudi vocem meam.

Fiant aures tuae intendentes: in vocem deprecationis meae.

Si iniquitates observaveris Domine: Domine quis sustinebit?

Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te Domine.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo eius: speravit anima mea in Domino.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia: et copiosa apud eum redemptio.

Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus eius.

Psalm [129]:

From the depths I have cried to thee O Lord: Lord hear my voice.

Let thine ears be attentive: unto the voice of my petition.

If thou wilt observe iniquities O Lord: Lord who shall endure it?

Because with thee there is pitifulness: and for thy law I have expected thee O Lord.

My soul hath stayed in his word: my soul hath hoped in our Lord.

From the morning watch even until night: let Israel hope in our Lord.

Because with our Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption.

And he shall redeem Israel: from all his iniquities.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Si iniquitates observaveris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit? Ant: If thou O Lord observe iniquities, O Lord who shall be able to endure it?
Ant: Opera. Ant: The works.
Psalmus [137]:

Confitebor tibi Domine in toto corde meo: quoniam audisti verba oris mei.

In conspectu angelorum psallam tibi: adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum, et confitebor nomini tuo.

Super misericordia tua, et veritate tua: quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen sanctum tuum.

In quacumque die invocavero te, exaudi me: multiplicabis in anima mea virtutem.

Confiteantur tibi Domine omnes reges terrae: quia audierunt omnia verba oris tui.

Et cantent in viis Domini: quoniam magna est gloria Domini.

Quoniam excelsus Dominus, et humilia respicit: et alta a longe cognoscit.

Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis, vivificabis me: et super iram inimicorum meorum extendisti manum tuam, et salvum me fecit dextera tua.

Dominus retribuet pro me, Domine misericordia tua in saeculum: opera manuum tuarum ne despicias.

Psalm [137]:

I will confess to thee O Lord in my whole heart: because thou hast heard the words of my mouth.

In the sight of Angels I will sing to thee: I will adore toward thy holy temple, and will confess to thy name.

Upon thy mercy and thy truth: because thou hast magnified thy holy name above all things.

In what day soever I shall call on thee, hear me: thou shalt multiply strength in my soul.

Let all the Kings of the earth O Lord confess to thee: because they have heard all the words of thy mouth.

And let them sing in the ways of our Lord: because great is the glory of our Lord.

Because our Lord is high, and he beholdeth low things: and high things he knoweth far off.

If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and upon the wrath of mine enemies thou hast extended thy hand, and thy right hand hath saved me.

Our Lord will repay for me, O Lord thy mercy is forever: despise not the works of thy hands.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Opera manuum tuarum Domine ne despicias. Ant: The works of thy hands dispise not O Lord.
V: Audivi vocem de caelo dicentem mihi. V: I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.
R: Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur. R: Blessed are the dead which die in our Lord.
Ant: Omne. Ant: All.
Canticum Beatae Mariae Virginis [Luc. 1]:

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum .

Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo .

Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes .

Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est: et sanctum nomen eius .

Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies: timentibus eum .

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui .

Deposuit potentes de sede: et exaltavit humiles .

Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes .

Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiae suae.

Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: Abraham, et semini eius in saecula .

The Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Luke 1]:

My soul: doth magnify our Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced: in God my saviour.

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

And his mercy from generation unto generations: to them that fear him.

He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath dispersed the proud in the conceit of their heart.

He hath deposed the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble.

The hungry he hath filled with good things: and the rich he hath sent away empty.

He hath received Israel his child: being mindful of his mercy.

As he spake to our fathers: to Abraham, and his seed forever.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Omne, quod dat mihi Pater, ad me veniet, et eum qui venit ad me, non eiiciam foras. Ant: All, that my Father giveth me, shall come unto me, and he that cometh unto me, I will not cast forth.
Preces infrascriptae in ferialibus diebus dicuntur flexis genibus: The prayers hereafter set down are to be said on the working days kneeling:
Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra: panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
V: Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. V: And lead us not into temptation.
R: Sed libera nos a malo. R: But deliver us from evil.
Psalmus [145]:

Lauda anima mea Dominum: laudabo Dominum in vita mea: psallam Deo meo quamdiu fuero.

Nolite confidere in principibus: in filiis hominum, in quibus non est salus.

Exibit spiritus eius, et revertetur in terram suam: in illa die peribunt omnes cogitationes eorum.

Beatus cuius Deus Iacob adiutor eius, spes eius in Domino Deo ipsius: qui fecit caelum et terram, mare et omnia quae in eis sunt.

Qui custodit veritatem in saeculum, facit iudicium iniuriam patientibus: dat escam esurientibus.

Dominus solvit conpeditos: Dominus illuminat caecos.

Dominus erigit elisos: Dominus diligit iustos.

Dominus custodit advenas, pupillum et viduam suscipiet: et vias peccatorum disperdet.

Regnabit Dominus in saecula, Deus tuus Sion: in generatione et generationem.

Psalm [145]:

My soul praise thou our Lord, I will praise our Lord in my life: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be.

Put not confidence in Princes: in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.

His spirit shall go forth, and shall return into his earth: in that day all their cogitations shall perish.

Blessed is he whose God of Jacob is his helper his hope in our Lord his God: which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.

Which keepeth truth forever, doth judgement for them that suffer wrong, giveth food to the hungry.

Our Lord looseth the fettered: our Lord lighteneth the blind.

Our Lord lifteth up the bruised: our Lord loveth the just.

Our Lord keepeth strangers, the fatherless and widow he will receive: and the ways of sinners he shall destroy.

Our Lord shall reign forever, thy God O Sion: in generation and generation.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
V: A porta inferi. V: From the gate of hell.
R: Erue Domine animas eorum. R: Deliver their souls O Lord.
V: Requiescant in pace. V: Let them rest in peace.
R: Amen. R: Amen.
V: Domine exaudi orationem meam. V: O Lord hear my prayer.
R: Et clamor meus ad te veniat. R: And let my cry come unto thee.

Deus, qui inter Apostolicos sacerdotes famulos tuos pontificali seu sacerdotali fecisti dignitate vigere: praesta quaesumus: ut eorum quoque perpetuo aggregentur consortio.

Deus veniae largitor et humanae salutis amator, quaesumus clementiam tuam: ut nostrae congregationis fratres, propinquos, et benefactores, qui ex hoc saeculo transierunt, beata Maria semper virgine intercedente cum omnibus sanctis tuis, ad perpetuae beatitudinis consortium pervenire concedas.

Fidelium Deus omnium conditor, et redemptor animabus famulorum, famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.


O God, which among the Apostolic priests hast made thy servants to have power by pontifical or priestly dignity: Grant we beseech thee: that they may also be joined unto their perpetual society.

O God the giver of pardon, and the lover of human salvation, we beseech thy clemency: that thou grant the brethren of our congregation, kinsfolk, and benefactors, which are departed out of this world, blessed Mary ever virgin making intercession with all the saints, to come to the fellowship of eternal blessedness.

O God the creator, and redeemer of all the faithful, give unto the souls of thy servants men, and women remission of all their sins: that through Godly supplications they may obtain the pardon which they have always wished for. Who livest and reignest world without end.

R: Amen. R: Amen.
V: Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine. V: Eternal rest give unto them O Lord.
R: Et lux perpetua luceat eis. R: And let perpetual light shine unto them.
V: Requiescant in pace. V: Let them rest in peace.
R: Amen. R: Amen.

Flos Carmeli

FLOWER of Carmel, Tall vine blossom laden; Splendor of heaven, Childbearing yet maiden. None equals thee.

Mother so tender, Who no man didst know, On Carmel’s children Thy favours bestow. Star of the Sea.

Strong stem of Jesse, Who bore one bright flower, Be ever near us And guard us each hour, who serve thee here.

Purest of lilies, That flowers among thorns, Bring help to the true heart That in weakness turns and trusts in thee.

Strongest of armour, We trust in thy might: Under thy mantle, Hard press’d in the fight, we call to thee.

Our way uncertain, Surrounded by foes, Unfailing counsel You give to those who turn to thee.

O gentle Mother Who in Carmel reigns, Share with your servants That gladness you gained and now enjoy.

Hail, Gate of Heaven, With glory now crowned, Bring us to safety Where thy Son is found, true joy to see. Amen. (Alleluia.)


Litany of the Carmelite Saints

Lord, Have Mercy on Us/Lord, Have Mercy on Us

Christ, Have Mercy on Us/Christ, Have Mercy on Us

Lord Have Mercy on Us/Lord Have Mercy on Us


Christ, Hear Us/Christ, Graciously Hear us


God, the Father of Heaven/Have Mercy on Us

God, the Son, Redeemer of the World/Have Mercy on Us

God, the Holy Spirit/Have Mercy on Us

Holy Trinity, one God/Have Mercy on Us


Divine Infant Jesus [of Prague]/Have Mercy on Us


Holy Mary, Mother of God/Pray for Us.

Holy, Virgin of Virgins/Pray for Us.

Mother of Divine Grace/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel/Pray for Us.

Mother and Ornament of Carmel/Have Mercy on Us

Patroness of all who wear the Scapular/Pray for Us.

Hope of all Who Die Wearing the Scapular/Pray for Us.

Mystical Rose/Pray for Us.

Star of the Sea/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Fatima/Pray for Us.

Queen of all Saints/Pray for Us.

Queen conceived without original sin/Pray for Us.

Queen assumed into heaven/Pray for Us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary/Pray for Us.

Queen of families/Pray for Us.

Queen of peace/Pray for Us.


All holy angels/Pray for Us.


Holy Father Elijah/Pray for Us.

St. Elisha/Pray for Us.

St. John the Baptist/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, chaste spouse of Mary/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, our patron/Pray for Us.

All holy Patriarchs and Prophets/Pray for Us.


St. Peter/Pray for Us.

St. Paul/Pray for Us.

St. John [the Evangelist]/Pray for Us.

All holy Apostles and Disciples of Our Lord/Pray for Us.


St. Angelus/Pray for Us.

Bl. Denis and Redemptus/Pray for Us.

Bl. Jean-Baptiste [Duverneuil]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Michael-Aloysius [Brulard]/Pray for Us.

Bl. James [Gagnot]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa [of St. Augustine] and Companions [of Compiegne]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Isidore [Bakanja]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Mercedes [Prat]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Pilar [of St. Francis Borgia]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa [of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Angeles [of St. Joseph]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Sagrario [of St. Aloysius Gonzaga]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Titus Brandsma/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa Benedicta [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Alphonsus Mary [Mazurek] and Companions/Pray for Us.

All Holy Martyrs/Pray for Us.


St. Albert of Jerusalem/Pray for Us.

St. Peter [Thomas]/Pray for Us.

St. Andrew [Corsini]/Pray for Us.

Bl. John Paul [II]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Bishops and Doctors of the Church/Pray for Us.


Holy Mother Teresa [of Jesus, of Avila]/Pray for Us.

St. John [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

St. Therese [of the Child Jesus, of Lisieux]/Pray for Us.


St. Simon [Stock]/Pray for Us.

St. Albert [of Trapani]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Nuno [Alvares Pereira]/Pray for Us.

Bl. John [Soreth]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Baptist [Spagnoli]/Pray for Us.

St. Peter [of Alcantara]/Pray for Us.

St. Francis [Borgia, SJ]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Francis [Palau y Quer]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Kuriakos Elias [Chavara]/Pray for Us.

St. Henry [de Osso y Cervello]/Pray for Us.

St. Raphael [Kalinowski]/Pray for Us.

St. George [Preca]/Pray for Us.


St. Mary Magdalene [de Pazzi]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary of the Incarnation/Pray for Us.

Bl. Anne [of St. Bartholomew]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of the Angels]/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa Margaret [Redi of the Sacred Heart]/Pray for Us.

St. Joachina [de Vedruna]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of Jesus Crucified]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Josepha [Naval Girbes]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa Maria [Manetti of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa of Jesus [of the Andes]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Elia [of St. Clement]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Elizabeth [of the Trinity]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Candida [of the Eucharist]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Maravillas [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Priests and Religious/Pray for Us.


Bl. Louis and Zelie [Martin]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Men and Women/Pray for Us.


All you Saints of Carmel, intercede for us

All you Saints of God, intercede for us


We sinners/We beseech You to hear us

That You would spare us/We beseech You to hear us

That You would pardon us/We beseech You to hear us

That You would bring us to true penance/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to govern and preserve your holy Church/We beseech You to hear us

That You will guide and protect Our Order/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to grant peace and unity to all Christian people/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel/We beseech You to hear us

That You will bring many vocations to the Carmelite Orders/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to confirm and preserve us in your holy service/We beseech You to hear us

That You would lift up our minds to heavenly desires/We beseech You to hear us

That You would render eternal blessings to all our benefactors/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren in Carmel, relations and benefactors, from eternal damnation/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth/We beseech You to hear us

That you would deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, particularly from the Order of Carmel/We beseech You to hear us

That you would deign graciously to hear us/We beseech You to hear us

Son of God/We beseech You to hear us


Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ spare us, O Lord.</em>


Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ graciously hear us, O Lord.</em>


Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ have mercy on us.</em>


V/ Christ, hear us.

R/ Christ, graciously hear us.</em>


V/ Lord, have mercy.

R/ Christ, have mercy.</em>


Lord, have mercy.</em>


Our Father . . .


Lord, You are the glory of those who serve You.

Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters, especially John of the Little Way,

united in following Christ and his Mother,

by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel.

In Your mercy,

grant them everlasting sight of You,

their Creator and Redeemer.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!</em>


Tantum ergo Sacramentum

Veneremur cernui:

Et antiquum documentum

Novo cedat ritui:

Praestet fides supplementum

Sensuum defectui.


Genitori, Genitoque

Laus et jubilatio,

Salus, honor, virtus quoque

Sit et benedictio:

Procedenti ab utroque

Compar sit laudatio.



  1. Panem de caelis[4] praestitisti eis (in Paschaltide, ‘Alleluia’ is added).
  2. Omne delectamentum in se habentem[Wis 16:20] (in Paschaltide, ‘Alleluia’ is added).

Let us pray.


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

left us a memorial of your Passion:

grant, we implore you,

that we may so venerate

the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood,

as always to be conscious of the fruit of your Redemption.

You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.


The Divine Praises

Blessed be God.

Blessed be His Holy Name.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

Blessed be the name of Jesus.

Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.

Blessed be her glorious Assumption.

Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.


May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

Except during Lent:

You are God; we praise You.

You are the Lord; we acclaim You.

You are the eternal Father; all creation worships You.

To You all angels, all the pow’rs of heaven,

cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of pow’r and might,

heaven and earth are full of Your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise You.

The noble fellowship of prophets praise You.

The white-robed army of martyrs praise You.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims You:

Father, of majesty unbounded;

Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship;

and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father.

When You became man to set us free,

You did not spurn the virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death

and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.

We believe that You will come and be our judge.

Come, then, Lord, and help Your people,

bought with the price of Your own blood,

and bring us with Your saints to glory everlasting.


Today is the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Which also happens to be the subject of one of my best lessons, a lesson on critical analysis, showing the elements that make it a great speech and explaining different possible essay outlines for a critical essay on the speech.

This is probably the last recording of my voice before I lost my left vocal cord.

Audience and Purpose and the Popes

One of the ways having a literature degree has made me a better Catholic is understanding the concept of “audience and purpose.” We too often think of text as something absolute and immutable. When we’re told as students to consider “audience and purpose” in our reading and writing we tend to think of it as something very superficial. Teacher: “Who’s your audience in your essay?” Student: “You are.” Teacher: “No, your audience is a group of people who have a problem you’re trying to address.”

A good example of this I heard came from Barry Manilow, on the _Tavis Smiley_ show, to promote _15 Minutes_. He said that he was a celebrity coach for _American Idol_ 3 times: one of them behind the scenes. One of the times he was a celebrity judge, a contestant wanted to sing “I Made it Through the Rain.”
He asked, “Who are you singing for?”
“The judges and the audience.”
“No, who are you singing *for*? You can’t just perform to the audience. You have to be singing to somebody. Are you singing to God? Grandma? Your best friend?”
“God, I guess.”
So he guided her performance to that, and she did a fantastic job.

In teaching writing, I often found that one of the key failures of bad writing was having an unclear audience and purpose, being “all over the map,” as they say. One example I often refer to is a student in a “writing for IT majors” class who wrote her term paper on video game consoles. She did the typical “beginning research paper” practice of getting the first few sources she could find (in the old days, it was library books; today, it’s web sites) and throwing together what she could get from them. Part of her paper explained what console games are, like its audience was people who know nothing about them. Then it shifted to talking about them like it was addressing grandmas trying to buy games for their grandkids. Then it shifted to the latest models, like it was addressing people who wanted to upgrade. Then it started talking about customer service issues, like it was addressing current users. It read this way because it was essentially summarizing four articles written with these basic audiences in mind.

I would always tell my students to think about magazine headlines: ‘Lose 10 lbs. by [upcoming holiday].’ Obviously, the headline is targeting people who want to lose weight in a short amount of time. It doesn’t mean those are the only people who will read it. It just means its message is targeted to those readers. Think about a medical student doing some kind of research. He is called for various reasons to present to a group of high school students, college students, professors and other med students in a class or defense setting, and to other researchers at a conference. To each audience he’s going to give a different talk, even if the “topic” in a broad sense is the same, because each audience has different levels of experience and different things they want to know.

So, when we’re reading, we need to think of who the intended audience is when we’re interpreting. This is especially true of Popes. When Pope Pius IX was addressing bishops in countries where Communist revolutions were taking place, and he condemned “a kind of religious liberty” that said people’s consciences were free from the Church, then we can be pretty sure he wasn’t condemning *all* religious liberty but a certain kind that met a certain description. When the Popes have spoken of “immigration reform,” and talked about how countries need to be more generous in welcoming immigrants, often their descriptions of what countries *should* do is much like what the US already *does*.

So, when we look at what Pope Francis has been saying, we need to consider his intended audience. While the Scalfari interview has basically been repudiated by the Vatican, the much-(mis)quoted Jesuit interview is a good example: much has been made of the Holy Father’s words about “obsession” with certain moral issues, but he’s very clearly, in the context of the interview, answering a question about homiletics and confession. He’s not speaking of political activism or even evangelization. He’s just talking about what priests say from the pulpit and how they treat people in the confessional (as for the content, I’ve addressed that already).

Forget Harry Potter: Let’s Talk about Madame Bovary

Not a lot of fiction works were on the _Index of Forbidden Books_, but one that *was* on the list was Gustave Flaubert’s _Madame Bovary_. Another was Victor Hugo’s _Les Miserables_ (and I know a lot of Catholics, including a lot of Traditionalists, who think very highly of Les Miz). The books on the Index, such as the King James translation of the Bible (not, as Jack Chick types try to say, the Bible in general, just that one horribly biased translation), were not completely banned or forbidden by the Church. The Index just meant that those books could not be read without proper credentials or supervision.

Flannery O’Connor speaks somewhere of how the Church is far more generous in Her own limited censorship than the laity are, how a large percentage of Catholic laity seem to want a literature so closely censored as to be what Plato describes in _The Republic_: only good and wholesome stories about people who do only good and wholesome things. O’Connor argues that this is a kind of inverse pornography, and equally evil: where pornography distorts human nature to exaggerate and glorify evil, the kind of overly moral literature many people expect is such a falsely good picture of human nature that it will lead its readers to a view of life that is as delusional as that of the pornography addict. Authentic literature needs to depict both the flaws and the strengths of human nature, to show realistic actions with realistic consequences.

O’Connor regarded _Madame Bovary_ as her favorite novel, and no less an Evangelical than Phil Vischer regards it as a clear-cut fable about the wages of sin (so much so that he based a _VeggieTale_, _Madame Blueberry_, on it). Nevertheless, _Madame Bovary_ *was* on the Index, and its author, Gustave Flaubert, was definitely a libertine and a pervert. It makes a great example because, like the _Harry Potter_ books, it can go either way. If the Index still existed, Rowling’s books might very well be on it, but only because the point of the Index was to say, “Read these books with caution,” and I’m the first to admit Rowling’s books should be read with caution.

However, to say that it’s wrong for a Catholic to ever read these books, or to say that merely owning copies of them is going to get one’s home infested with demons, is to engage in a level of censorship that the Church Herself does not support, and did not even support *before* Vatican II (maybe under the Spanish Inquisition, yes, but to that end, see St. Teresa of Avila).

We can go back and forth on the merits-and-demerits debate, or about the chess game of “whose expert trumps whose”. It would be nice if Tom Howard would have come out with something one way or the other about the books. He’s retired now, and in poor health last I spoke with him, so I doubt he has the strength to mount any kind of significant critique, if he hasn’t yet read them. However, he would be the one person whose views on literature I respect enough to assent if he said, “These are clearly evil.” Somehow, though, I’d imagine he wouldn’he t.
A few years ago on his blog, Phil Vischer noted that many of those who criticize Harry Potter today would probably have denounced Lewis and Tolkein *if they were writing today* rather than having them handed down as “good Christian literature.” I asked Vischer if that meant he approved of the books, and I shared some of my wife’s observations about the under-emphasized Christian references in them. He said he was still generally inclined to be against them too (though those were interesting points), but that he disagreed with many of the arguments raised by the anti-HP crowd, since they really could just as easily apply to all fiction. Even more so, Mark Shea pointed out when I referenced Tom Howard in a recent discussion, that many of J. K. Rowling’s critics would probably be aghast at Charles Williams!

In related news, I’ve been quoted by Mark Shea on his blog, though not by name (he was quoting something I said on Facebook):
“A Reader Observes:”

It strikes me that the same people who
a) criticize Harry Potter for “lying for a good cause” are generally the same people who praise Lila Rose for “lying for a good cause”.
b) criticize Harry Potter for his disobedience to authority are generally the same people who support Fr. Corapi’s disobedience to authority.
c) say that condemnations of Harry Potter by Fr. Amorth and Fr. Euteneuer are dogmatic because “they’re exorcists,” but if you tell the same people that Bishop Andrea Gemma, who used to teach Exorcism at Pontifical Gregorian, says Medjugorje is Satanic and a door to the occult, they’ll tell you he’s not an authority and he’s just an evil Satanist himself, trying to undermine the Church.

Mark: “Yes, it is striking the amount of gnat-straining and camel swallowing that goes on in accordance with the Ox Gore Principle. ”

Dean Koontz

There has been a lot trickling around recently about Dean Koontz, the best selling novelist, and his Catholicism. Posts come up on message boards or Facebook asking about Koontz, and his purported Catholicism, and the obligatory curiosity of “how good a Catholic is he” (in the vein of “can we expect him to show up on The World Over or speak at March for Life or something?”)

One of the reasons for this is that, apparently, his more recent books have some overtly Catholic themes.

Well, a brief Google search this evening turned up two interesting hits.

One is a very fascinating 2007 interview with Koontz by Tim Drake at National Catholic Register where Koontz could be paraphrasing Flannery O’Connor with his views on Catholic fiction, including his emphasis on maintaining his own privacy and distance from the public so that the public doesn’t confuse artist with work.

(Interesting note: both Koontz and I have been interviewed by Tim Drake at the _Register_!)

A particularly moving passage:

I grew up in Bedford, Pa. My dad was a very difficult man. He drank heavily and chased women. He was a gambler, and violent. He held 44 jobs in 24 years and was sometimes fired because he punched out a boss. We never knew if we would be able to keep a roof over our heads. I used his behavior as a guide: Each time I was in a quandary about a decision with moral implications, I did exactly the opposite from what I believed he would have done in the same situation.

My mother was far different from my father — a good, honest, very dear person with a lot of health problems. Considering the hell he put her through, I don’t know why she stayed with him. Sometimes at 2 a.m., we got calls from barrooms where my father was unconscious on the floor. So we walked two or three miles to load him in his car and bring him home.

My mother gave me shelter in the midst of poverty and violence. Without her inner strength, my father would have done great harm to her and me.

My cousin told me that once my mother, having found 20 cents in a pay phone return slot, agonized for a couple of days before deciding what to do with it. She put it in the church collection plate.

He goes on to discuss his conversion and his admiration for Chesterton.

A fairly recent interview posted on Catholic Exchange, points out that Koontz’s books are not only filled with Catholic themes about good and evil, but are explicitly pro-life:

CC: Dean, in your books like Brother Odd and One Door Away from Heaven, you talk about the dignity of special needs children and you talk about modern bioethics. How and why did these life issues become so important to you?

Dean Koontz: My wife and I have long worked with a charity for people with disabilities – Canine Companions for Independence. They train service dogs for all kinds of people with disabilities. People who are paraplegic or quadriplegic, with one of these dogs, can live on their own when they couldn’t before. They have great effect on autistic children. Working with that and being a part of that, I saw that a lot of these people were shunted aside. There’s a lot of people who think they shouldn’t be given medical care. People like Peter Singer think a disabled child should be allowed to die or should not be given antibiotics because they have nothing to contribute to the world. [Singer’s] an idiot. If you bring these [disabled] people into your life, I’ve discovered – I’ve never found one who whined or complained like average people do. I’ve never found one who wasn’t grateful for every good thing that comes their way. And I haven’t found one that wasn’t an inspiration to people. If you can inspire other people by your own courage and your own stoicism, you’ve had a very valuable and important life. So they bring a great deal to the world… I’ve featured Down Syndrome kids in books at times and I’ve gotten literally thousands of letters from people who have Down’s children. Every single one of them says, “This was the best thing that happened to me.” They’re not pretending; they’re not trying to make the best of a bad situation. They’re saying it really was a tremendous benefit to their lives. That’s why I wish people would stop thinking that you have to be the perfect physical specimen in order to be worth living. That is far from the truth.

(emphasis added)

I like this guy!!!

Thinking of writing a term paper on abortion?

I strongly discourage my students from writing papers on “big issues” because students don’t understand how to properly narrow a topic . I try to get them to pick something as specific as possible.  To illustrate my point, I’ve composed a hand-out outlining all the issues to be considered under the topic of “abortion,” and, while I’m at it, the issues to be considered when thinking of using the Bible as a reference.

Thought I’d go ahead and put it out here.


Students often want to write about “big issues” like abortion.  I discourage it because these issues are so complicated.  I am providing this hand-out as an example of all the different things you’d need to consider if you wanted to write a paper “on abortion.”  These are just a list of issues that come to mind when thinking of the issue of abortion, as well as common arguments made about it on either side.  The idea here is to demonstrate the real complexity of the issue.  As you examine these questions, you will likely discover how you could easily do a paper on one of the subtopics.  For example, V.a.i.1.a lists a number of Bible verses that frequently come up in the abortion debate: some used by pro-lifers and some used by pro-choice people.  Simply analyzing all the verses I listed could be at least the topic of a research paper, if not a book—some of the specific verses have such a detailed history that one verse could be the topic of a research paper or at least a five paragraph essay.

  1. Topic Basics
    1. Definition of Abortion
    2. History of Abortion Procedures
    3. History of Abortion Laws
    4. Kinds of Abortions

                                                              i.      Chemical

                                                            ii.      Surgical

                                                          iii.      Other

  1. Human Development

                                                              i.      Trimesters

                                                            ii.      What constitutes conception?

                                                          iii.      What is an embryo?  A fetus?  A “pre-embryo”?

                                                          iv.      Viability

                                                            v.      “Quickening”

                                                          vi.      When does “human life” begin?

                                                        vii.      When do “human rights” begin?

  1. How do different cultures and religions today view abortion?
  2. How have different cultures and religions in the past viewed abortion?
  3. Abortion and contraception
  4. Reasons women have abortions
    1. Risks to their Health—what are the risks?  Alternatives?
    2. Possibilities of baby having genetic defect?  Accuracy of prenatal testing?
    3. Financial concerns
    4. Rape or incest
    5. Lack of support from the biological father
    6. Lack of support from parents, husband, family or whomever
    7. Familial and/or social pressure
  5. Risks of abortion
    1. Damage to woman’s reproductive system?
    2. Risks of death?
    3. Long term side effects?
    4. Emotional problems?  Does “post abortion syndrome” exist?
  6. Alternatives and other considerations
    1. Adoption
    2. Abstinence or Chastity?
    3. Does the father have a say?
    4. Counseling?  Charities?
    5. Does abortion after rape really help the woman? 
  7. “Pro-Life”
    1. Different reasons people oppose abortions

                                                              i.      Religious reasons (see also I.f and I.g above and “Arguing from the Bible” below)

  1. Does the Bible condemn abortion?
    1. Verses commonly cited on either side:
      Genesis 2:7, Genesis 25:21-23, Genesis 38:8-10, Genesis 38:24, Exodus 13:1-2, Exodus 20:13, Exodus 21:22-25, Numbers 5:11-31, Deuteronomy 30:19, Judges 11:29-40, 1 Kings 16:34, 2Kings 8:2, 2 Kings 16:3, 2 Kings 15:16, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, Isaiah 57:5, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 7:31, Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 127:3, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Isaiah 66:9, Amos 1:13, Hosea 13:16, Luke 1:15, Luke 1:44, Luke 2:5
    2. Does the Bible also condemn contraception?  If the references to life or motherhood above are “anti-abortion,” then aren’t the references promoting large families also anti-contraception? 
    3. Is the Old Testament consistent about “Thou Shalt Not Kill”?
    4. Is the Old Testament a reliable source for Christian morals?
    5. Should Biblical morals be used as the basis for secular laws in a country with freedom of religion?
    6. What are other reasons Christians condemn abortion?
    7. What are other religions that oppose abortion?  Why?

                                                            ii.      Scientific reasons?

                                                          iii.      Ethical reasons without reference to religion?

                                                          iv.      Negative consequences for women?

  1. Different “pro-life” or “anti-Abortion” positions

                                                              i.      Ban all abortions and contraception, no exceptions

                                                            ii.      Ban all abortions, no exceptions

                                                          iii.      Ban abortion after a certain point in pregnancy

                                                          iv.      Exception for Life of mother?

                                                            v.      Exception for rape or incest?

                                                          vi.      Exception for health of mother?

                                                        vii.      Does the desire to overturn Roe v. Wade necessarily mean “anti-abortion?”  Pro-Life versus Pro-Constitution

                                                      viii.      Should abortion be outlawed at the federal level?

                                                          ix.      Should states have the choice free of federal interference?

                                                            x.      Parental notification, informed consent, regulation of abortion clinics, etc.

  1. “Pro-Choice”
    1. Reasons people are pro-choice or pro-abortion

                                                              i.      Greater freedom for women

                                                            ii.      Protection of women from “unsafe” abortions

                                                          iii.      Concerns about health of mother or child

                                                          iv.      Concerns about mental health of mother

                                                            v.      Does a fetus have any rights? What entitles people to basic human rights?

  1. Different “pro-choice” or “pro-abortion” positions

                                                              i.      “Personally opposed to abortion”

                                                            ii.      Freedom to choose

                                                          iii.      Abortion is a right or entitlement

                                                          iv.      Abortion is sometimes necessary

                                                            v.      “Pro-Choice” Libertarians? 

                                                          vi.      Should states decide or federal government?

                                                        vii.      Should government pay for abortions?  Or only in some circumstances?


I’ve touched on this subject above, but I wanted to give a list of considerations regarding “arguing from the Bible,” regardless of the issue is.  There is nothing wrong with using the Bible as a source, but there must be a clear reason for doing so.  This ties into the crucial concepts of audience and purpose.  For example, writing to a general audience and appealing to the Bible is probably not always the best way to go, but a paper addressed to Christians about a debate among Christians may use the Bible.

So, if you want to use the Bible as a source, consider:

  1. Does your audience accept the Bible as an authoritative source?
  2. What are the different ways the passage in question has been interpreted by Jewish and Christian scholars throughout the centuries?
  3. Is your usage or interpretation of the passage consistent with those established interpretations?
  4. What is the context of the passage?
  5. The Bible has many speakers and authors.  Whose opinion is being given in that particular passage?  Who wrote it?  For example, the Bible often quotes Satan.  
  6. Old or New Testament?  If it’s from the Hebrew Scriptures, does it necessarily apply to Christians?  If it’s from the New Testament, why should it apply to non-Christians?
  7. Does the Biblical principle reflect a wider cultural context, or a believe in other cultures?  (For example, “an eye for an eye” is also found in the Code of Hammurabi; the “Golden Rule” is taught by many moral codes, including that of Confucius).
  8. Is there another part of the Bible that offers a different viewpoint?
  9. What was the original application of the passage in question?  Its historical and cultural context?
  10. What translation are you using?  Have you compared other translations? 

It’s Coming . . .

Simon Cowell says, “What’s your dream, John?  Who do you want to be?”
I say, “George Lucas,  Andrew Lloyd Webber or Jim Henson.”

In the midst of my various “careers” I’ve imagined myself getting into since I was 5 — detective, elementary teacher, high school teacher, medical researcher, priest, college teacher, writer, artist, musician — there has been one thing that I’ve always really wanted.

And that is embodied in the Sydmonton Festival, Skywalker Ranch and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, like Richard Wagner before him, is as much a financial genius as a creative genius.  Early in his career, he founded his own production company–the Really Useful Group (named for his lifelong love for the _Thomas The Tank Engine_ books and his hopes of getting involved in the then-planned cartoon series).  He bought a renaissance estate called Sydmonton and began renovating it.  Starting in the late 1970s, he began hosting an annual arts festival there.  At Sydmonton, he produces sample productions of the musicals he’s currently working on. 

At Sydmonton in 1980, Andrew Lloyd Webber played the piano and sang to a previously unpublished T. S. Eliot poem, “Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats”–the melody based upon the poem, and a few of its lines, would make it into Cats, but the song itself would be rewritten and never heard until the Now and Forever box set over 20 years later.  At Sydmonton, Colm Wilkinson was the second “Phantom” opposite Sarah Brightman (following rocker Steve Harley in the single and music video of the title song), six months before Michael Crawford officially created the role in London.  At Sydmonton in 1993, Patti Lupone wowed the select audience as Norma Desmond months before audiences saw her in the West End.

At the Sydmonton Festival, Andrew Lloyd Webber showcases his works-in-progress, his art collection and other promising artistic, musical and theatrical works that interest him. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber once made a bet with his brother over the Soccer finals and wrote Variations as a result.  He planned an opera in tribute to Puccini and played the melody he wrote for that opera for his father.  His father said of that melody, “It sounds like a million dollars.” 

William Lloyd Webber was wrong on that one.  “Memory” has probably been a billion-dollar industry unto itself.  They say there was a point in the mid-80s when it could statistically be heard playing at every minute on the radio at some point in the United States. 

And what did Lloyd Webber due with his success from Cats?  He said, “I’m rich enough to do whatever I want.  I think I’ll write a Requiem Mass.”

Now he’s a reknowned food and architecture critic, theatrical producer, theater and real estate magnate and, film producer, television producer and reality host, and even the license holder to a number of classic musicals he didn’t write. 

Then there’s George Lucas, whose talent as a visionary lies more in his understanding of business and technology than his talent as a director.  A successful college film turned into a mildly successful and critically acclaimed theatrical film (the THX thing), then a successful and critically acclaimed film (American Graffiti), and then a multi-film contract that gave us the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.   And, while making Star Wars, Lucas had two brilliant ideas:

1.  No one in Hollywood could make the special effects he envisioned, so he started his own special effects firm.  And no one can doubt the influence of Industrial Light and Magic, which makes the special effects for like every blockbuster out there.  And then there’s that uppity little spin-off of ILM, later bought by Steve Jobs, called Pixar.

2.  Lucas had his studio contract.  And movie licensing existed.  But it was, at the time, not that big a deal.  Lucas, the visionary, negotiated with Fox to give him the rights to the sales of licensed products and the soundtrack.  Fox, thinking “ha, that’s chicken feed” gave him those rights, around the same time as Xerox and IBM and HP and AT&T were laughing at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Of course, we all know that a big part of Star Wars is its tremendous soundtrack and the vast toy merchandising.  Star Wars redefined movie marketing, soundtracks, sequels, and even the entire toy industry.  There would be no G I Joe, Transformers or Masters of the Universe, Ninja Turtles, Batman (toys), etc., without Star Wars. 

Years later, Lucas bought a big ranch and named it Skywalker Ranch.  I’ve always loved the description of it in articles: a dusty “dude ranch” on the outside, with old-fashoined western buildings and such.  Then, on the inside, the most state-of-the-art technological facilities you could imagine, housing the LucasArts video game company, the Skywalker Sound recording studio, the THX surround sound headquarters, and the ILM offices, decorated with works of fine art all around.

One of my dreams is to one day own my own Catholic version of Skywalker Ranch: a place where technology, nature, creativity and faith meet.

One of my dreams is to someday host my own variation on the Sydmonton festival. 

My dream is to be like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jim Henson and George Lucas: free to just create what I want to create, and not necessarily to be pigeonholed to one particular genre or medium or style.

The trick has always been, of course, to generate the income to get that cycle going, to get that “big break.”  The Internet has provided vast opportunities for self-publishing and self-marketing.  As I’ve learned more and more about these, I’ve prayed for the opportunity to finally realize my dream. 

Then, in January, I lost both my teaching jobs, but I was eligible for unemployment benefits.  I had the money to pay the bills, no job to do, and no classes to take.  So I threw myself into writing, and into trying to up the quality and readership of this blog, while I looked for the right moment.  I submitted articles to various places, getting one successfully published.

Then I thought about self-published recordings.  I discovered’s CreateSpace service. I did a bit of research on home recording and equipment.  I bought myself a digital USB microphone.  And I recorded a 72 minute audio book.

C. S. Lewis said he wrote the books he always wanted to read, and I recorded the audiobook I’ve always wanted to listen to–or at least since I used to drive a minimal 45 minute commute every day from Fredericksburg to Springfield, VA, and wished I could pray all those daily devotions I liked from diverse prayer books while I drove. 

The more I’ve gotten into MP3s, and have downloaded various free MP3s online, and purchased various Rosary and Divine Mercy CDs, Fr. Corapi DVDs, etc., I’ve wished I could find a collection of short prayers that I could intermix with music: like when you’re driving a long trip, and you want to pray, but the rosary or the reflection CD is too relaxing and makes you fall asleep, but you don’t want to just listen to music either.  Something I could intermix with a music playlist.

Well, I’ve made that CD.  It’s called Hide Me in Your Wounds, and, very shortly, it will be availalbe for sale on and Create Space.  You can purchase it as a direct download, or you can order the CD from my page.  I will be placing an ad on the side bar of this blog very soon. 

I’m waitng for Amazon to ship me my “proof copy”, and, as soon as I approve it, it will be live for sale on, and my personal store (note: I get a better royalty if you purchase it from my store, but I also recommend you just purchase the MP3 format).

Here is the direct link

Please consider purchasing a copy.  I will be sharing more details as the release date gets closer.  I have both mild and wild expectations for this CD, but if even the mild expectations are met, it will provide me with sufficient income to focus more on creating my next work for self-publication. 🙂

What is a logical fallacy?

I often wonder if we need to revise the way we treat logical fallacies. Fallacy is reallly a matter of function more than content.

For example, the fallacy of redirection. It is not uncommon to see any given topic in Catholicism have the issue of sex abuse by priests come up. Depending upon *why* the issue is raised, it may be “redirection,” it may be “getting off topic,” or it may be a valid question to raise.

For example, if, in a discussion of some social issue, the issue is raised to question the credibility of the Church’s teachings, it *may* be very relevant, or if the issue is raised to illustrate a parallel error. On the other hand, the issue must be discussed only in that context in which it is raised, if that is the case.

One “fallacy” thats fallaciousness has always seemed suspect to me is “slippery slope.” If “slippery slope” is always a fallacy, then Humanae Vitae is fallacious.

Very often, however, slippery slope is exactly how things work. One man’s slippery slope is another man’s incrementalism.

Or ad hominem. When I teach critical thikning, I call on my students to carefully analyze who the writer is, who the publishers and sponsors are, and what ulterior motives they may have. If there’s researched involved, who paid for the research?

To examine such questions is not to engage in ad hominem but to examine the credibility of the source.

Also, when I teach writing, I tell my students to be careful about audience, to consider exactly who they are (indirectly) addressing their piece to. What are the needs of the audience? Their interests, agendas, existing knowledge, questions, etc.?

Mary has a friend who is now a professor at a Catholic college, who got banned from campus retreats when they were in college because of a discussion with a homosexual man.

Now, the conversation was, from the perpsective of Mary’s friend and his interlocutor, a mildly heated but fruitful intellectual dialogue. However, the interlocutor did not disclose that he, personally, was struggling with the sin of homosexuality. Mary’s friend, in retrospect, said that his argument would have been different if he’d known his audience was an actual homosexual, rather than thinking it was purely a discussion of principle.

In any case, some third party overheard the conversation and complained to the directors of the retreat ministry. So her friend was banned from leadership in that retreat ministry because of upholding the Church’s teachings.

In any case, the incident raises the question of self-explanation. If critical readers are to evaluate the writer’s possible motives and agendas, and if a good writer considers his audience’s motives and agendas, then shouldn’t writers be required in principle to offer some self-explanation?

The tradition of Western formal academic writing has grown that writers are not supposed to self-reference, but this is intellectually dishonest. It is really important that a writer express why the subject is important to him or her personally, what personal experience he or she has in that field, etc. What metaphorical axes is the writer trying to grind?

To do otherwise creates a huge impediment to actual dialogue.