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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason


A Lenten Reflection on the Sequence


Dies Irae - Tuba spargens
 “Tuba mirum spargens sonum per sepulchra regionum, coget omnes ante thronum.”*

and the Deadly Sin of Presumption

Since the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council Catholics have been illicitly assured that everyone who dies goes immediately to Heaven — no matter how sinful, selfish, and miserable their evil lives. While this clearly is not true (or Christ is a liar) we encourage you during the opening of this Holy Season of Lent to recall that the Dies Irae was the ordinary Sequence for the Requiem Mass for the dead for at least 800 and very likely 1200 years. It is a beautiful and sober reminder of the imminence and inevitability of death.  While Vatican II abolished much that is good and holy, it was not able to abolish death.

The one thing most conspicuous about this magnificent Sequence is not so much what is present in its somber verses — but what is manifestly absent throughout this solemn chant — the sin of Presumption — that is to say, the unwarranted presuming that God must and will absolve us of all sin — despite the absence of any penitential act on our part or any evidence of genuine sorrow for sin. “All dogs go to Heaven”.

While this may be true of dogs, it is decidedly not true of men.

Consequently, the chant was peremptorily expunged following Vatican II in the quite sudden and eminently convenient “pastoral” realization that our now inexplicably fragile and effete sensibilities are incompatible with Holy Scripture and 2000 years of Church teaching explicated in the Dies Irae: that is further to say that the sin of Presumption was necessarily abolished together with the Dies Irae since both are construed to be inimical to “the spirit of Vatican II”, which is to say the Protestant heresy of Ecumenism first conceptualized by the “International Missionary Conference” held at Edinburgh in 1910 and subsequently institutionalized by the Protestant World Council of Churches in 1948.

In his determination to align the Catholic Church with contemporary Protestantism Pope John XXIII (“Good Pope John ...” of Vatican II infamy) appropriately established a “Catholic” replica called the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity in 1961. This, however, required a dialectic in which all competing and mutually contrary religions are reconcilable —  and the only possible way forward was to abolish religious distinctions altogether, rendering them superficial only — or failing that, to maintain that the widely divergent roads nonetheless converged in the same Heaven —  even while the manifold and conflicting conceptions of Paradise itself turn out to be both  logically and mutually irreconcilable.

Here we enter the province of Mortal Sin —  and the grave sin of Presumption which permeates all post-Vatican II liturgies and without exception pre-eminently characterizes them. Let us, then, be clear about this deadly sin, together with the reciprocal notions of responsibility and accountability inherent within it. In Catholic theology no less than in moral philosophy a distinction is understood to exist between what are construed as logical contrarieties. Some things (acts, intentions, etc.) are good and others are not. In fact, we often define the one through its contraposition to the other. Were all human acts equally commendable and reprehensible, the world would be deprived of rational order, specifically moral order understood in terms of good and evil, meritorious and culpable,  desirable and loathsome. The very notion of responsibility would be superfluous, together with any concept of accountability. Accountable to whom or what? Censurable to what standard and answerable for what? It is not simply an amoral universe of absolute indifference, but an illogical one. Such a universe would not be sustainable on earth —  why would we, a fortiori, hold it to be sustainable in Heaven?

The Mortal Sin of Presumption is the presuming of God’s forgiveness of sin and His unquestionable willingness —  even irrepressible determination —  to bring one who has led a life of unrepentant —  even vicious sin —  and who without the least compunction presumes God’s forgiveness because of God’s absolute goodness and mercy: in other words, one sacrilegiously anticipates (as the rendering of a justice due the sinner by God) salvation — having done nothing to either acquire it or to repent of the many sins that are invincible impediments to it. It is, in essence, the depriving of the free will (a perfection) of God Who somehow must (is compelled —  by some incoherent and inexplicable  agency mysteriously superior to God — to forgive every sin and all sins — despite everything His Beloved Son taught — and bring all men, Catholics, heretics, apostates, schismatics, Muslims, Shintoists, Buddhists, Animists, Scientologists, etc. to the same blessed abode where the one who despises and curses Christ on the Cross  and the one who joyfully surrenders himself in perfect love to God, equally enjoy perfect and eternal beatitude.

The Sin of Presumption Simply Explained

It is the hope to gain Heaven unaided by Grace and solely by one’s own natural faculties and abilities, together with the absolute confidence that God will forgive us even our most vicious and unrepentant sins, Mortal and Venial, because He is abundantly merciful.

God’s mercy is abundant, but God’s mercy is not infinite: were it so, no sin or offense would be sufficient in itself to separate one from God and to merit eternal separation from God in Hell. The notion of infinite mercy also precludes the possibility of rejecting God, even understood as all-forgiving-of-every-sin-and-every-kind-of-sin. Were God infinitely merciful and all-forgiving, He would gather together the sinner and the Saint alike in perfect and eternal beatitude. Furthermore, there would be no admonition against sin, for sin would not incur penalty. Moreover, it would equally preclude an Eschatological Judgment — but Holy Writ clearly states otherwise. One could commit idolatry, murder, adultery, theft, etc. with impunity and — apart from the first instance — only be answerable to, and punishable by, secular authorities and mutable civil laws. In other words, Law — and Punishment incurred by the breach of Law — is only secular in nature and temporal in duration.

Such a conception, however, deprives God of the divine perfection of Justice.
We may argue that such a conception of Heaven is tantamount to a Mental “Field Hospital” (as Francis understands the Bride of Christ, the Church) or we may simply resign ourselves to the flatus of Vatican II ... observing nothing distinguishable between them.

Indeed, in the end we find that the Mental Hospital and the “Field Hospital” are one and the same.


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

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by Father Thomas de Celano, OFM,  (1185-1260) Translated by William J. Irons, (1812-1883)


Dies Irae - Tuba spargens

 Tuba mirum spargens sonum per sepulchra regionum, coget omnes ante thronum.



1. Day of wrath, O day of mourning!
see fulfilled the Prophet
s warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning.

2. Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth ,When from Heav’n the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth!

3. Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth, thro
earth's * sepulchers it ringeth, all before the throne it bringeth.


4. Death is struck and nature quaking; all creation is awaking, to its Judge an answer making.

5. Lo, the book, exactly worded,
wherein all hath been recorded;
Thence shall judgment be awarded.

6. When the Judge His seat attaineth
and each hidden deed arraigneth,
nothing unavenged remaineth.

7. What shall I, frail man, be pleading? Who for me be interceding when the just are mercy needing?

8. King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.

9. Think, good Jesus, my salvation
caused Thy wondrous incarnation;
leave me not to reprobation!

10. Faint and weary Thou hast sought me, on the Cross of suffering bought me; shall such grace be vainly brought me?

11. Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution grant Thy gift of absolution
ere that day of retribution!

12. Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
all my shame with anguish owning:
spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!

13. From that sinful woman shriven,
from the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.

14. Worthless are my prayers and sighing; yet, good Lord, in grace complying, rescue me from fires undying.

15. With Thy favored sheep, oh, place me!
nor among the goats abase me, but to Thy right hand upraise me.

16. While the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
call me, with Thy saints surrounded.

17. Low I kneel with heart-submission,
see, like ashes, my contrition;
help me in my last condition!

18. Day of sorrow, day of weeping,
when, in dust no longer sleeping,
man awakes in Thy dread keeping!

19. O, God, to judgment called are guilty men:

Merciful Jesus, grant rest unto them!
 (Alt. Spare, Lord Jesus — in mercy spare them!




Day of Wrath














1. Dies iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla

2. Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando Judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

3.Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulchra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

 4. Mors stupebit et natura
cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

5. Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

6. Judex ergo cum sedebit
quidquid latet apparebit:
nil inultum remanebit.

 7. Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
quem patronum rogaturus
cum vix justus sit securus?

 8. Rex tremendæ majestatis
Qui salvandos salvas gratis
salva me, fons pietatis.

 9. Recordare, Jesu pie
quod sum causa Tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.

10. Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
redemisti Crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.

 11. Juste Judex ultionis
donum fac remissionis
ante diem rationis.

12. Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.

13. Qui Mariam absolvisti
et latronem exaudisti
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

 14. Preces meæ non sunt dignæ;
sed tu bonus fac benigne
ne perenni cremer igne.
15. Inter oves locum præsta
et ab hædis me sequestra
statuens in parte dextra.

16. Confutatis maledictis
flammis acribus addictis
voca me cum benedictis

17. Oro supplex et acclinis
cor contritum quasi cinis
gere curam mei finis

18. Lacrimosa dies illa
qua resurget ex favilla

19. Judicandus homo reus
 huic ergo parce, Deus:

20. Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.





Boston Catholic Journal

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Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. (Apocalypse 3.8)


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