Interested in attending a regular Traditional Latin Mass at the Ateneo de Manila University with Fr. Timoteo “Tim” Ofrasio, S.J.? Sign-up here

Fr. Timoteo “Tim” Ofrasio, S.J. is a professor of Liturgy at the Loyola House of Studies in Ateneo de Manila University.  He celebrates both the Ordinary and Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

The ordinary form or the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI is what we normally see in the college chapel: the mass is in vernacular, the priest faces the congregation, and there are four options for the Eucharistic prayer.

On the other hand, the extraordinary form or the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) is something new to us who were not yet born in the 1970’s.  This form of the mass uses the 1962 missal of Pope John XXIII, the Pope who convened Vatican II.  This mass, which was codified in the 16th century by Pope Pius V in the Coucil of Trent, is in Latin and all actions and words of the priests are explicitly specified: how many times he makes the sign of the cross, what special times he faces the congregation (i.e. he turns his back most of the time), and even what fingers of his are used to turn the pages.  If you have attended a military silent drill and admired its coordination and precision, this mass is something like it.  This is the mass that the great Ateneans heard, from Jose Rizal to Ninoy Aquino.  This is the mass of our fathers.  This is the mass of the saints.  This is mass celebrated by St. Ignatius himself.

(If you want to know more about the TLM, check out the brochure of Baguio City Cathedral here.)

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, S.J. celebrates the TLM privately everyday in the Jesuit Residence.  Last 31 July 2009, on the Feast of St. Ignatius, he said a TLM at the Divine Mercy Church in Sikatuna, Quezon City, upon the invitation of Fr. Jojo Zerrudo.  After the mass, I asked for a copy of his homily and he e-mailed it to me.  He told me that he is willing to celebrate a regular TLM in public if there is a stable group of faithful who will hear the mass.

So if you are a student, teacher, staff, or alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University and you would like to be part of this stable group, please sign up here by using the comment form of this blog post.  Please write the following:

  1. Name
  2. Course/Batch
  3. Department or Office
  4. Preferred day (weekday or Sunday)

(Your e-mails are visible to me.) Once we form the stable group, we can then institute training for the acolytes (their job is to respond to the priest and their actions are also prescribed by rubrics) and choir (they sing only in Gregorian chant and only the organ may accompany them).

The high mass in TLM is similar to a Greek Tragedy, as noted by Oscar Wilde, an Anglican homosexual writer who converted to the Catholic Church on his deathbed (he also unsuccessfully tried to ask the Jesuits to give him a retreat before):

When one contemplates all of this from the point of view of art alone, one cannot but be grateful that the supreme office of the church should be the playing of the tragedy without the shedding of the blood: the mystical presentation by means of dialogue and custom and gesture even, of the Passion of her Lord; and it is always a source of pleasure and awe to me to remember that the ultimate survival of the Greek Chorus, lost elsewhere to art, is to be found in the servitor answering the priest at mass. (De Profundis, pp. 69-70)

Here is Fr. Tim Ofrasio’s address:

Fr. Timoteo JM. Ofrasio, S.J.

Email Address:

Professor of Liturgy and Sacraments at Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Pre-Renovation Survey of the Manila Observatory Chapel and Sacristy

A Survey of the Chapel

At the third floor of the Manila Observatory is a chapel, located near the stairs.  From the outside, all you see is a series of vertical planks designed in such a way that you won’t see what is inside directly.  The air flows past these the spaces between the planks and the screen wall near the ceiling.

There are two doors, left and right.  If you open one of the doors, the first thing that you will see is a series of tall windows allowing a good view of the Observatory’s green fields, which stretches out to the Ionosphere building towards the East, the Solar Building on the South West, and the Grade school building beyond it.  And then you see the heavens.  “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

But the chapel is empty.  There are no pews.  But this is where we hold our First Friday masses.  Instead of pews we use chairs, ideal for office use, but not for a chapel.  We sit, we stand, but we never kneel, even during consecration.  Sitting masses is becoming very common here at the Ateneo de Manila University. I’ve attended one in the Jesuit Infirmary. And I saw another one in the Theology Department, even though it is not a chapel.  As long as there is a table to serve as the altar and people have chairs to sit down, we can have a mass.

I sat on one of the three white monoblock chairs.  My friend brought it there, because she loves to stay there to read her Liturgy of the Hours.  Actually, I bought the book for myself a year ago to teach myself how to pray like medieval monks, but after reading for a week, I get lost.  When she saw my book, she asked if she can have it; so I gave it to her.

I gazed at the altar wall.  On the left side is the Tabernacle.  The front face is plated with gold (probably brass).  The other faces are painted gray-green.  A red lamp is burning beside it, which means that Jesus is there.  Mrs.  Tony Gonzaga, the Director of the Manila Observatory, told me that the Father Provincial, Fr. Jose Cecilio “Jojo” Magadia, S.J., was surprised that we keep consecrated hosts there.

Above the tabernacle is  a white bas relief of Mary carrying the Infant Jesus, probably made of resin.  The bas relief of St. Joseph the Worker is on the right corner.

At the center of the altar wall is a crucifix.  I am glad that it was a traditional sculpture and not that of the mummified Christ I saw at the Church of Our Lady of Pentecost along Katipunan Avenue.  Jesus Christ hangs on the cross, eyes downcast. I like this better than the highly stylized, clean-shaven Christ at the altar of the Church of the Gesu.

The altar is simply a four-legged table with mantle.  I don’t think there is a relic embedded on the table.  Relics of saints are usually placed in little boxes and embedded on church altars.  The priest kisses this relic before saying the Holy Mass.  In the olden days, when a church is about to be destroyed, one of the first things the priest will get is the relic on the altar (and the blessed hosts, of course, lest they be trampled underfoot by the enemies of the church).

Mrs. Loyzaga gave me a task.  She wants have the chapel renovated to make it as a permanent chapel of the Manila Observatory.  My job is to make suggestions on what needs to be done.

I measured the chapel area: it is 15.5 ft x 27 ft.  The raised altar area is 8 ft x 7 ft.  Thus the space for the pews is only about 15.5 ft x 20 ft, which is 310 sq. ft.  If the aisle is about 5 ft x 20 ft or 80 sq. ft, then the remaining floor area for benches is 230 sq. ft.  If each person requires a 1.5 ft x 3 ft space or 4.5 sq. ft, then the number of persons that can fit in a 230 sq. ft area is about 50.

A Survey of the Sacristy

On the right side of the altar wall is a door.  I opened it.  There are two cabinets attached to the right wall.  The first cabinet contains sacred vessels, linens, and albs–many of them are starched, though spotted with little yellow marks.  I guess it has been a long time since these were used.  Maybe decades ago.  I saw about twenty Mompo wine bottles.  They have to be thrown away.

The second cabinet contains chasubles.  They are new and well kept.  It is common for priests to just wear the chasuble on top of their ordinary clothes, then don the stole.  I know Fr. Tim Ofrasio, S.J. will not be content at this.  Fr. Tim is a professor in liturgy at the Loyola House of Studies.  He was invited to say mass there several times, but he refused: he will only agree provided he is completely vested.  I saw him took off his priestly clothes weeks ago when he said a Traditional Latin Mass in Sikatuna in the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola: he was wrapped in layers of sheets and tied with cords before he donned his chasuble.  Fr. Ofrasio, S.J. celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass everyday in his private chapel in LHS.  Fr. Tim asked me to form a stable group for TLM so that he can celebrate it publicly in Ateneo.  So far, I have only blogged about it.  But I shall form this group soon.

There are three little rooms on the right side, each of them a third of the size of the chapel.  These are probably dressing area for priests.  I think a a priest can say his mass private mass there, in the days when the priest faces the altar.  If I am not mistaken, all priests are required to say mass everyday.  A recent option is to concelebrate.  In large masses at the Church of the Gesu, it is common to see ten priest concelebrants.

There is another little room straight ahead.  To my dismay, all the kneelers are stacked there.  Each kneeler, which can accomodate only one person, is attached to a stand where a priest can put his breviary or rest his elbows as he prays in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  I once saw Pope John Paul II praying in a similar kneeler.  I wiped the dust from one of the kneelers with my bare palm.  It turned black.

I looked around and saw a Saint Andrew Bible missal.  which was published in 1962.  So this must still be the missal of Pope John XXIII, the one used in the present Traditional Latin masses.  I did not take it at first, because it looked all English to me.  But my friend took it later and showed to me the Order of the Mass in Latin.  And I said, “Ah” and “Oh”.  She had bought her Baronius missal last week in Our Lady of Victories Church.  That was P 2,000.  Since I do not have money, I shall content myself with St. Andrew’s.  I don’t think anybody else in the Observatory will use it.  The Manila Observatory once gave away lots of its books to have more room for research.  So I shall consider this missal as part of this give away.  I shall bring this missal every mass, even in the present Novus Ordo Masses (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite).  The text of the 1962 Roman Rite (extraordinary form) is very conducive to full and active participation in the mass, by helping me meditate on the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  In this rite, the priest becomes filled with holy fear in approaching the altar to offer the Most Holy Trinity the most perfect Sacrifice of Christ in Calvary.  Fr. Roque Ferriols, S.J. may describe this as Mysterium Tremendum and Mysterium Fascinosum.  Unbelievable.  It is only now I truly learnt what the mass is.

“One New Man” of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and the “Mystical Body of Christ” of the Catholic Church

The essay that Iglesia ni  Cristo is the One New Man in Ephesians (2:15) is indiscriminately scattered throughout the blogosphere in comments to posts, and even this blog was not spared.  Someone posted it as a comment (dated 13 Aug 2009) to my post entitled, “Is Iglesia ni Cristo the Church of Christ?” The essay starts with the following paragraph:

I don’t know if you already heard about the onenewman created in Christ Himself from two. Actually, I heard of it for the first time when I attended a Bible Exposition held in Cebu City by the Church of Christ (Filipino: Iglesia Ni Cristo). I never heard about it during my days in the Roman Catholic Church eventhough I actively performed my duties as the Sacristan Mayor of the Parish of San Agustin, Diocese of Surigao Del Sur. And this teaching is not just a teaching of the Ministers of the Church of Christ but it is the teaching of the Apostles as written on the Holy Bible.

Here is my reply:


The One New Man, I hope you won’t mind if I shall call you Sacristan Mayor. For three reasons: (1) We shall be talking about the One New Man, and we do not wish to confuse it with you, (2) the name Sacristan Mayor adds more weight to your testimony because it conveys that you were indeed a former Sacristan Mayor in the Roman Catholic church, and (3) a person who was baptized by a Roman Catholic priest “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19) becomes truly an adopted son of God, true heir of God’s Kingdom, and this sonship can never be removed even if, like in the story of Prodigal Son, you squandered your properties and left your Father’s house for the allurements of novel teachings of INC and have yourself rebaptized.

1. Sacristan Mayor, in order to understand the meaning of the “two” in “one new man from the two” in Ephesians (2:15), you don’t have to go to Colossians (1:18). You just look at the verses before what you quoted and you will see that what Paul refers by “two” are Gentiles and Jews:

“Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13)

Through Baptism we became neither Gentiles nor Jews but Christians:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:27-29)

2. Christians form the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ with Christ as its head (c.f. Col 1:18) Christ said to Paul in his conversion, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Thus, when Paul persecutes the Christians, he is persecuting Christ himself. Similarly, Christ said: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” This is the Catholic doctrine of the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body. So what INC calls as One New Man is actually Christ’s Mystical Body in the Catholic sense. What INC teaches is not new; it is an old Catholic doctrine that sadly you were not taught, even if you were serving as sacristan mayor.

3. Since the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ and Christ said that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6), then it follows that

Outside the Church there is no salvation.” (Extra Ecclessiam nulla salus)

This is a Catholic doctrine which INC also misappropriates to itself. Concerning this doctrine the Catechism says:

“Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 846)

But unlike INC, the Church also teaches that some of those outside the Church may be saved:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 847)

“God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments” (Catechism Art. 1257). But this does not prevent the Church from preaching the Good News:

“Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 848)

Monk’s Hobbit Welcomes Questions from Members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC)

For a week I have’nt blogged nor read blogs, as I meditated on the questions of St. Ignatius: what I have done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ, and what more can I do for Christ?  But during these times, comments on my post “Is Iglesia ni Cristo the Church of Christ” from members of Iglesia ni Cristo kept on popping up and I have to answer them.  Maybe this is God’s way of saying that I should turn my gaze on the teachings of INC.  My only problem is that INC has no official website, so I could never really know what the INC official teaching is, a sort of Catechism of Iglesia ni Cristo.  But there is an unofficial INC Pasugo website.   I can start from there.  Or better yet, INC members visit this blog and ask me what the Catholic Church really teaches about particular topics.  Then I shall quote passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is available online.  The Bible that I shall use is the New American Bible.  Majority of the members of INC are former Catholics.  That would make my job easier for we would have similar Catholic background.

I am not a professional theologian but a physicist.  But I have read some apologetics books lent to me by Dr. Rey Entila, my colleague in University of St. La Salle where I taught before.  I don’t have them now.  But there is Catholic Answers online.  I shall seek the answers there.  Google helps.  I still wish to read St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae.  There is a copy available online, but I prefer to have my own copy where I can underline important passages in red and write some notes on the sides.  If someone can donate to me a Summa, I shall pray a rosary for him everyday for a year.  I still have much to learn about our Catholic Faith.

Baronius Roman Missal (1962) sold at the Our Lady of Victories Church (SSPX)

Baronius missal is sold at Our Lady of Victories Church (SSPX).  The price is P 2000, but without a cover. The book is hardbound.

To go to Our Lady of  Victories Church, you can ride the LRT purple line and drop off at Betty Go Belmonte Station and walk along Betty Go Belmonte street.  If you are coming from Santolan, Marikina, walk to the right.  If you are coming from Recto, walk to the left.  After five blocks, you should arrive at the Church at the corner of Betty Go Belmonte St. and Cannon St.

Another way is to go to Cubao.  Ride a jeep that passes along E. Rodriguez avenue and drop off at Betty Go Belmonte St.  Turn left and walk along Betty Go Belmonte.  The church is two blocks away.

The Our Lady of Victories Church is on the upper floor.  The bookstore is on the lower floor.  My friend bought the Baronius missal.  I bought the Pope Paul’s New Mass for P 200; a more glossy print costs P 450.  There are still lots of good books there.  My friends and I went there on the Feast of Pope St. Pius X on the New Calendar.

I shall talk about my experience of the SSPX mass and my conversations with SSPX priests and bishop in another post.

Pope Paul’s New Mass: Part III of Liturgical Revolution by Michael Davies

“Most of the research for this book was carried out during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, and the only possible conclusion which can be drawn from the evidence I have assembled is that Archbishop Lefebvre stands on sure ground in concurring with the judgment of the two Cardinals.  The Eucharistic teaching of the Council of Trent is indeed  compromised by the Novus Ordo Missae itself, and not simply by the abuses which have accompanied its celebration  in most countries (though not in Poland).  I feel bound to adhere to this judgment even after reading Dominicae Cenae and Inaestimabile Donum with greatest possible care.  I do not consider that in doing so I am lacking in respect for the Holy Father, still less being disobedient.  Despite the fact that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini stated recently that I am a calumniator, and work with colleagues who are calumniators by profession, to the best of my knowledge everything contained in this book is true: there can be no conflict betwen the truth and true respect and true obedience.  A truly loyal subordinate will tell his superior not what he thinks most likely to please himm but what he believes to be true, and most likely to benefit the organization to which they belong.  The empereror in the fairy tale was best served by the boy who told him that he had no clothes, not by the sycophants who expressed so much admiration for the beautiful suit he believed himself to be wearing.  King Lear had one loyal daughter who remained faithful to him although he had repudiated her.  Pope John Paul II has adopted his present position on the basis of advice given to him and his own assessment of the situation.  We are entitled tohope and pray that, after further reflection, he will revise his judgment.”–Author’s Introduction p. xxiv-xxv


Author’s Introduction

  1. The Development of the Roman Rite
  2. Revolutionary Legislation
  3. Reform or Revolution
  4. A Successful Revolution
  5. A Pastoral Failure
  6. Destruction of Popular Catholicism
  7. The Cult of Man
  8. The President as Actor
  9. The Children’s Directory
  10. Send in the Clowns
  11. Bring on the Dancing Girls
  12. An Ecumenical Liturgy
  13. The General Instruction
  14. The Problem of the Offertory
  15. New Eucharistic Prayers
  16. Quod Bonum Est Tenete
  17. A Sacred Stillness Reigns
  18. Introibo Ad Altare Dei
  19. Mass Facing the People
  20. The Tabernacle
  21. Communion Under Both Kinds
  22. Communion in the Hand
  23. The Ottaviani Intervention
  24. Archbishop Bugnini: Great Architect of the Revolution
  25. An Ingenious Essay in Ambiguity

Appendix I  List of Official Documents Cited

Appendix II  Documents Relating to the Reform

Appendix III  The Participation of the Protestant Observers

Appendix IV The Right to Resist an Abuse of Power

Appendix V The ICEL Betrayal

Appendix VI  The American Scandal

Bibliographical Abbreviations




Michael Davies, Pope Paul’s New Mass: Part III of Liturgical Revolution (Angelus, Dickinson, Texas, 1980), 673 pages.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on the Reproductive Health Bill: Responsible Sex not Safe Sex; Contraception Leads to Abortion

MANILA, August 19, 200— Saying that it could loosen morals among minors, a Senator has rejected the use of the term ‘safe sex’ in the Reproductive Health bill being deliberated in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said using such term could also send the wrong message that the Senate is promoting “promiscuity” among adults.

Safe sex implies that copulation by anyone with anyone at anytime is alright – a terribly blighted view of what sex is meant to be,” he said.

According to the senator, the State should promote “responsible sex instead of safe sex”, as an activity that is exclusively engaged in by married couple.

“In short, the law should promote responsible sex, not safe sex; procreation, instead of reproduction and equal relations of women and men – not between or among artificially created genders – in matters of sex,” said Pimentel.

Safe sex, he added, may now be said to include, among its many evils, “adulterous communications free from the discovery by suspicious spouses.”

Pimentel criticized the RH bill, as crafted in a Senate committee report, for suggesting that pregnancy is like a plague that should be avoided at all costs by the use of artificial contraceptives.

“If the contraceptives fail to prevent pregnancy and a baby results from a couple’s sex acts, the child is then tagged as ‘unwanted,’ a most painful label ever devised by man,” he said.

“If the baby is unwanted, the next ‘logical’ step for the parents to take is get rid of it. The dreaded ‘A’ word follows in the mind even if it is not done. But if thought is father to the act, abortion cannot be far behind.”

Pimentel added the inventor of the birth control pill, Carl Djerassi, recently criticized in an Austrian paper, Der Standard, the attitude of young people wanting to have sex but not children.

“Without mentioning it, Djerassi knows that from his pills all sorts of illnesses have sprung, including high blood pressure, decreased libido, thrombosis, cancer and other sexually transmitted diseases: the inevitable adverse results of sex separated from procreation.”

Pimentel is one of the legislators supporting the Church’s stand against the bill that seeks to control the country’s growing population through the use of contraceptives.

The Church is staunchly opposed to artificial birth control which is against both natural and divine law.

According to the teachings of the Church, married couples should practice only natural family planning methods, which require sexual abstinence when the woman is ovulating.

Some bishops warned politicians supporting the bill, particularly senators considering running for the presidency in 2010, that their “anti-life” stance will be remembered. (Roy Lagarde)

Source: CBCP News