Rorate Caeli

The CDF plays while the Church burns
The Poodle Mass

While the members of the venerable Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (including great luminaries of orthopraxis and orthodoxy) are pondering over the grave consequences of a 2-page PDF file leaked by some agitated cleric in an online forum, this is the state of the Church today.

Fr. William Holtzinger plays the "Good Shepherd" during an ordinary masswith his poodle Benny (Apr. 29, 2012).
St. Anne's Parish, Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon) - Tip and source: reader

Let us get real.


  1. I am suspicious of any priest who owns a poodle, much less brings it into church.

  2. It is sad that the liberal influence of Germany even extends to those with German names in a country which is naturally much more orthodox, such as the United States.

  3. JTLiuzza7:55 PM

    That picture takes me back to my childhood in the modernist fog of the 70's. There's even an "Alleluia" banner in the upper left. I wonder if it's made from felt?

  4. Michael C.7:55 PM

    No worries. Fed up of Poodle Masses? Join the SSPX - it was set up so people didn't have to suffer rubbish like this.

  5. The Rev. M. Forbes7:58 PM

    Bery cute! How about confining this sort of thing to Religion class with small kids. The Homily is not the time for this. Did this man explain about breaiing the shin bones to keep the sheep in line. I wonder


  6. This puts the concerns of the three SSPX Bishops into perspective.

  7. Don't be surprised if one day Father will be named a bishop in this country. He fits the term "pastoral" to a T.

  8. Jason C.8:05 PM

    Well, I'm sure lots of hokey-ness goes on there at this parish, but here's what I see:

    (1) a church full, filled of all sorts of people;
    (2) little girls getting Confirmed or first Holy Communion who were not discouraged from wearing nice, pretty, little-girl dresses by a nice-pretty-little-girl-hating priest;
    (3) a priest who wears his clerical garb in public (even if it remains visible under his vestments--somebody get this man an amice!);
    (4) a younger priest whose dog and likely constant companion is named, most probably, after our Holy Father, meaning that he loves THIS pope excessively and not some other; and
    (5) a younger priest with zeal, even if misplaced, trying to teach kids something, who is not likely just mixing things up because he's bored.

    All in all, I can think of a whole lot of parishes where they'd kill to have this guy instead of their bored, old, effeminate priest.

    But I concur with the broader point you're making, NC: there's a certain point at which one simply marvels at the CDF's priorities.

  9. Most churches are quite full for the days of First Communions, irrespective of anything else.

  10. C. Omidian8:13 PM

    To steal a line from the "You know you're a redneck if..." comedy routine:

    You know you're a trad if...your very first reaction to this photo was " amice!"

    In any event I do appreciate Father's role-play demonstration of the good shepherd retrieving a sheep. Historically, when shepherds retrieve wayward sheep, they break or disclocate its leg so as to train it not to run off again. I am sure the girls will want a front row view of Father doing that as well, in the interest if historical accuracy....

  11. Pray for all priests.8:13 PM

    If someday this priest wakes up to what the priesthood is and what the Mass is really meant to accomplish, he is going to need serious prayers. And therapy.

    Thank you, Archbishop Lefebvre for responding many, many years ago to the pleas of a young seminarian named Bernard Tissier de Mallerais to save the priesthood.

  12. This is not a Catholic Mass.

  13. Francis8:20 PM

    I have two cats who I adore, but I don't bring them to Church with me (especially if I were a priest). It's too bad that this priest's "zeal" isn't with promoting Catholic orthodoxy and tradition and dumping the felt banners and the modernist, man centered Vatican II inspired carnival atmosphere that this church and many others have adopted for the last fifty years. Who do you think Satan and many modernists at the CDF and in the conciliar church fear more; the FSSPX or people like this priest and his dog act?

  14. Anonymous8:20 PM

    But we have to be concerned about SSPX ?

  15. A picture paints a thousand words. Silliness of this sort is why I no longer attend the Novus Ordo. Here in the diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, we have no Latin Mass, so I went Byzantine about 15 years ago. If there is any liturgical nonsense in the Eastern Rite, I have never seen it.

  16. Again I don't like posting on here usually cause some of the commenters express very rigid views, I must at this post. My bigger concern are those poor little girls and boys for their first communions being exposed to this "jesus loves everyone"/misapplication of Vatican II approach to the liturgy.

    How disgusting of that priest to deprive those kids seriously of the sacredness and seriousness of the Mass with a "Dog and pony" show, sans pony.

    And how many of those kids won't show up again in Church till Confirmation and the necessary, watered down faith classes, or retreats where some Lonergan theology loving youth minister has activities where you have to "create a world" you want to envision where the Kingdom of God is here on earth and you are to use your Confirmatiory gifts to bring it about, or some stupid poverty lunch exercise.

    I don't care Novus Ordo or EF, my one pet peeve I won't accept guff from priests nor laity, is when you screw with the Liturgy, especially the homily!!! It's not bloddy Me time.

    BTW, if any of you comment on my blog, I monitor all posts and I have blog rules in my first post in August 2011. Read the rules, pray, then comment. I will delete anything that violates that red flag rules, or seems too ultra-trad/liberalish.

  17. Anonymous8:29 PM

    Could someone familiar with the current liturgical norms check whether perhaps, in some obscure clause, they allow, for pastoral reasons and with the permission of the local ordinary, the use of a poodle in place of an amice? Especially if the poodle is really cute.


  18. Jack O'Malley8:29 PM

    Estne Domini canis? (Scilicet catulus iste non praeses).

    At least the pooch is in liturgical colors. Of course, don't they wear white for everything today? Or maybe he dyes the dog pink for Gaudete?

  19. Teevor8:33 PM

    Fr. Holtzinger's blog is here:
    I think that Jason C's observations are borne out by the Father's writings which suggest an intelligent, energetic priest who is doing his best to live out his priestly vocation.

    Perhaps the good father is liturgically tone deaf, but many priests cannot be blamed given the state of priestly formation in most plcaes.

    It is priests like Fr. Holtziner who provide the best opportunity to "evangelize" on the importance of the sacred liturgy, and offer the best chance of growth for the traditionalist movement.
    Singling out and branding those who commit minor acts of liturgical abuse out of what may be mere ignorance is disgraceful behavior and unworthy of the traditionalist movement and the Church as a whole.

    On behalf of traditionalists, I apologize to you Fr. Holtzinger, and invite you to rediscover the traditional worship of or Church.

  20. In regards to Lefebvre and the SSPX, one of my former teachers (the great John Senior) used to say: "If Rembert Weakland is in the Catholic Church, no one can be judged outside of it." To paraphrase this hyperbole, I would say: "If this tompoodlery is an authentic Catholic Mass, no one need be worried about the status of Holy Mass in an SSPX chapel. Oremus!

  21. I think he confused the image of "The Lamb of God" with an image of "The Poodle of God".

    He can be easily forgiven for making such a visual mistake, as both are white and fluffy.

  22. Anonymous commentator,

    Sorry, you had to be blocked; post again with a chosen name.

    Regarding your point: no, the members of the CDF are not "accomplishing" anything; the Holy Father is attempting to, let us see what pretexts those opposed to his initiative will use to upset his roadmap.

    Naturally, what is portrayed here is much more concerning, in perspective, than the leaked letter: perhaps we, Traditional Catholics, are at fault when we have more respect and veneration for what is going on in a Novus Ordo mass than those who are actually present there, but if this is the Most Holy Sacrifice, then what is portrayed here is the most serious matter for how Catholics act and believe, how they act upon their faith, the faith of simple Catholics, which the CDF was created to protect.

  23. Polo Chile8:45 PM

    We are Building a SSPX Chapel in Chile,South America , it's almoust done... but we dont have an organ.... we want those pipes on the picture!!!

    Please Father ... and you can keep your doggy

  24. Jason C has some good points. However, given the Pope's animal preferences, only cats should be named after Papa Ben, not dogs. Unless it's a Bavarian dog, such as the Bayerischer Gebirgsschweißhund.

  25. Francis8:55 PM

    There's a time and a place where Father could have done this. I don't think in a Catholic church during the homily was that place and time.

  26. Andreas asks whether "current liturgical norms" ever permit "the use of a poodle in place of an amice?"

    After exhaustive (or at least exhausting) research, I have concluded that the indulted amiceless poodle usus is authorized solely in the Diocese of Green Bay and solely in conjunction with the wearing of the pontifical liturgical cheesehead.

  27. Anonymous9:11 PM

    Many, many years ago I attended a neighbor NO parish where the priest would occasionally bring a teddy bear into the pulpit and hug it and tell us we should all be kind and loving to each other. This is the same priest who refused to talk about sin or hell but we very quick to inform me that I would be "excommunicated" because I had begun to assist at SSPX masses at the local mission.

  28. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Let's not fall for the "full church" nonsense. Most of the time it's because they've closed the majority of churches in the area and it's the only one left.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. A wolf in sheep's clothing. How appropriate.

  31. I think he must not have thought this through very well. The poodle could have peed down his neck!

  32. The New Theologians have so completely razed the bastions and left us with an almost completely destroyed Catholic Civilisation that this poor Priest has no clue that what he did was wrong.

    I am the same age as Israel and the idea that a Priest would have done something similar before the revolutionary Mass was crammed down our collective throats would have been a miraculous intellectual conception for it would never have naturally occurred for any Priest to do such a thing during the Real Mass.

    Well, the GIRM does not expressly forbid it

    True enough; and the New Testament does not expressly forbid cannibalism so I don't think I'll be coming over to your house for the cookout.

  33. This priest must read my blog! I always write about poodles.

  34. I wonder if he dislocated the dogs hind legs, like the good shepherds in Jesus' day did with sheep who strayed from the flock.

  35. Kevin B.12:17 AM

    I've been known to get blisteringly furious over liturgical abuse. Cases like these, however, just make me shake my head. I believe Father Holtzinger's heart is in the right place, but for some reason he feels compelled to introduce hokey gimmicks like these. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the kids went away from it thinking, "Maybe this religious stuff isn't so serious after all."

    For the next time, I would invite Father to give a solid doctrinal sermon on the Real Presence instead, one aimed at the parents as much as the kids. I'm confident that would stick in their minds far longer than cutesy play acting.

  36. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Let's hope the bloody dog bit him.

  37. Poodles should not play such a role in the Mass. Period.

    His dictis, so as to supply a more complete picture of the priest in question, I would like to note that he has repeatedly written at length against the HHS stuff and in favour of pro-life activities etc., supported the corrected translation of the Novus Ordo, encourages his parishioners to go to Confession, has at least once publicly asked for forgiveness for his failings, writes publicly in support of true marriage and the necessity of baptism for salvation, has working to bring fallen away Catholics back to the Church, and maintains a Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

    Truly, here is a priest who is well-meaning and who - outside of Mass - is working to do a lot of good. He is not our enemy. We must be very careful in writing or speaking about him.

  38. Jack O'Malley1:42 AM

    Can you imagine Archbishop (even Fr.) Fulton J. Sheen with anything around his neck but a liturgical vestment or clerical collar?

    What's next, Presbyter Holtzinger, muppets reenacting the Resurrection next Easter?

    Where is your amice? Your maniple? Are you wearing a stole?

    Why are you strutting about with all the attention on you, you and your pet, you, rather than on God, the Trinity, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist which these children are about to receive? It has been said here that your heart is in the right place. So be it. Your mind however is askew.

    And the novus ordinarians sit sheepishly in the pews and smile, smile and applaud. Sic transit Gloria Caeli. Facilis descensus Averno.

    Does anyone care what the CDF and Levada think?

  39. David L Alexander said, "I am suspicious of any priest who owns a poodle, much less brings it into church."

    L O L Thank you, David!

    Notice something. No one in that shot seems a bit outraged.

    Andres said, "Could someone familiar with the current liturgical norms check whether perhaps, in some obscure clause, they allow, for pastoral reasons and with the permission of the local ordinary, the use of a poodle in place of an amice? Especially if the poodle is really cute."

    No. Period.

    C. Omidian said, "In any event I do appreciate Father's role-play demonstration of the good shepherd retrieving a sheep."

    Wonder if anyone would appreciate Father's role-play demonstration of the sacrifice in the Temple...


    Young Canadian RC Male said, "BTW, if any of you comment on my blog, I monitor all posts and I have blog rules in my first post in August 2011. Read the rules, pray, then comment. I will delete anything that violates that red flag rules, or seems too ultra-trad/liberalish."

    Well, evidently no one's posting on your blog then as it seems why you have enough free time to be over here.


  40. Peterman2:02 AM

    "Blogger David L Alexander said...
    I am suspicious of any priest who owns a poodle, much less brings it into church."

    Ha! Good one. Today I was at the Church and a big, new Jeep wrangler soft top pulled in as I was leaving and out jumped the priest. I thought good for him, driving a nice rugged, offroadin' Jeep.

  41. Fidus et Audax.2:04 AM

    When the sheep would runoff the shepherd would break a leg or legs of the sheep and carry it around for a while so it would know not to runoff. I can just imagine the poodle yelping.

  42. Peterman2:13 AM

    "Can you imagine Archbishop (even Fr.) Fulton J. Sheen"

    Well Jack I hate to say it but lets not use Bishop Fulton Sheen as our example here. I personally think he got a bit attached to the fame and when his show's popularity waned he seemed perma depressed and not to mention he was not a friend to Arch Bishop LeFebvre. Then again Sheen was under Cardinal Franny so that in itself would drive a man to drink.

    I'm also seriously opposed to the effort to canonize Bishop Sheen as the first American born male saint. If Father Solonus Casey doesn't get that honor than there is no justice.

  43. The guys at the CDF are unbelievable!

    I thought this whole thing was about the preamble, not the leaked letter from the other three bishops who aren't even a part of the SSPX government!

    They are coming up with every single excuse to perpetuate this that they can! This is outrageous.

    Confound that individual who, in some rare fit of black madness, posted that letter on the internet. But the CDF is showing an identical capacity for shallowness by taking so much interest in the thing...

    Doesn't the pope see just how infantile these people really are?!

    "A fool gets excited by every report," says Scripture.


  44. Peterman said, "Today I was at the Church and a big, new Jeep Wrangler soft top pulled in as I was leaving and out jumped the priest. I thought good for him, driving a nice rugged, off-roadin' Jeep."

    It's best affectations of personality should be avoided always.


  45. I am His Majesty's dog at Kew.
    Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

  46. Peterman said, "I'm also seriously opposed to the effort to canonize Bishop Sheen as the first American born male saint. If Father Solonus Casey doesn't get that honor than there is no justice."

    In reality it comes down to whose intercessory prayers the Eternal Father answers first.

    Personally, I haven't heard much of Fr Casey, so it depends on how much effort supporters for his Cause are out there keeping the matter in the public eye. At the moment, I believe Sheen has the greater publicity as he has had the greater exposure and impact on public life.


  47. Peterman4:26 AM

    He had exposure for sure Matt, that was his big problem in many ways. TV stardom and priests don't mix too well and haven't led to sanctity and saintliness. I'm also curious how many miracles are or have been attributed to Bishop Sheen.

    I'm not sure how many have been attributed to Fr Solonus either because they've stopped counting.

  48. Gratias4:28 AM

    This drama is getting interestinger and interstinger. Soon we can expect that the Liberals will sound off to block the TLM. We have a long time of intrigue ahead until the canonical structure is established. Being under the guidance of Benedict XVI the Great should give us peace and serenity. Vielen Dank Heilige Vater!

  49. Well, our frustration with the abundance of facts like these, help very little. We can talk as much as we can, yet it won't help to resolve the one simple question – canonical status of FSSPX. Without it we cannot proceed further. Without it cardinal Ranjith cannot to entrust his seminary for FSSPX. We can talk a lot about the modernists providing thousands of pictures like these, however, it leads to nowhere. Rather, we should continue to concentrate on our Rosaries and new novena (starting tomorrow), for the same principal intention. THe objective remains the same, that FSSPX would really and fully come inside the Bark of Peter and no interior and exterior enemies of the Church should stop this genuine Crusade. Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto. Memorare, o piissima Virgo Maria. Amen.

  50. Benedict Ambrose10:52 AM

    Truly, NC, I think this post is unworthy of you and your excellent blog. It seems to me simply unfair to the priest depicted. I'm afraid it will just confirm the worst suspicions of those already inimical to tradition - and at a very sensitive time.

    Would you in charity consider taking it down?

  51. Manfred11:50 AM

    One of the questions asked of the 2008 presidential election was: Why did the majority of Catholics vote for Obama? I suspect it was the cretins in the pews who tolerate inanity such as this who comprised the core of those voters.

  52. From what I consider, this incident was just a lapse in judgment. If what is said is true, that this priest blogs and is quite solid in other ways (adoration, confession, the dignity of marriage, etc.) then I would give him the benefit of a doubt and mark this one as just a misstep that any priest could make.

  53. Jason C.2:43 PM

    Jonvilas said: "THe objective remains the same, that FSSPX would really and fully come inside the Bark of Peter and no interior and exterior enemies of the Church should stop this genuine Crusade."

    Dude, how many times do they have to say the dog's name is Benny, not Peter?

  54. In France, from the 11th to the 15th centuries, 14 January was the Festum Asinorum. A flavour of it might be had from this example (from Bauvais). A girl with a child, mounted on a suitably caparisoned donkey processed through the town and entered St Stephen's church, stationing themselves on the right of the altar. After the Introit a Latin hymn with a French refrain in praise of the donkey was sung. The best bit came at the end: In fine Missae sacerdos, versus ad populum, vice Ite Missa Est ter hinhannabit; populus vero, vice Deo Gratias ter respondebit hinham, hinham, hinham. (At the end of Mass the priest, turning towards the people, instead of Ite Missa Est, brays thrice; and the people, instead of Deo Gratias, will respond thrice 'he-haw, he-haw, he-haw') And no-one thought it in the least inappropriate.

  55. John, did the vested Priest play around with the donkey? Because if not, your example and the repeated mentions of St. Francis are irrelevant.

  56. Anonymous6:26 PM

    John, while playing with the donkey, did he leave the sanctuary during the sermon like Oprah walking around her audience and break every rubric in the book? If not, as NC said, it's irrelevant.

  57. This post has been quite a hit: it made a good point, plus it also made others feel "good about themselves", or at least feel "better" than us (thank you for your links and for helping our stats). Ah, the self-righteousness, the condescension, and the sanctimony - they can be quite inducive to sin as well! Yes, even for some of our dear neo-Conservative clerics... (See, we can use labels as well!)

    Thankfully, we have not changed (they would say we have not "improved" or "evolved"), as our "Vatican II Moment" series shows: our position on this kind of liturgical shenanigans, merely reflecting how the Latin Church always treated the Most Holy Sacrifice before the mid-1960s, remains exactly the same as it was when we first started this web log.


    In two days, two posts in the "tradition" of our posts since our foundation caused different people to ask us to "take them down".

    Sorry, but that is impossible. We are not official representatives of anything. And, if we WERE, what message does this bowing to the "enemies of tradition", even in the name of a distorted notion of charity, send to those who are afraid they may be stifled in their criticisms of certain ongoing Church praxis and apparent teachings?


  58. No, Benedict Ambrose, the last comment was in response to someone else.

  59. Benedict Ambrose10:35 PM

    Fair enough, NC. Pax.

  60. Anonymous3:51 AM

    St. Anne's in Grants Pass, OR has had it's share of liberal fiascos. What is interesting though is that in spite of JPII & Benedict's motu proprios..... there is no traditional mass available at all within a 5 hour drive! In spite of repeated requests at local Southern Oregon churches; it's anathema apparently.

  61. In Goethe's Faust, the devil first appears in the form of a poodle.


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