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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Kneel? To Stand? To Kneel? To Stand?

We all know by now that the "norm" for reception of Holy Communion in the USA is to stand. This has been mandated by the USCCB and a number (if not all) individual bishops.

This is yet another instance in which the language causes a duplicitous and subjective answer which clearly attacks and dismantles the traditional practice.

The universal norm from the GIRM says:

160 The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.

The faithful are not permitted to take up the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice themselves, and still less hand them on to one another. The faithful may communicate either standing or kneeling, as established by the Conference of Bishops. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that they make an appropriate gesture of reverence, to be laid down in the same norms, before receiving the Sacrament.

The US GIRM says:

160. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.

The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.
When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

Clearly, this is a case of either/or as well as both/, the conservative can be correct in interpreting that the traditional practice is to be retained and therefore one should kneel, while the progressive or liberal can also be correct in interpreting that that the traditional practice should be suppressed or abolished. As with most things, the traditional practice has been de facto abolished, leading to yet another subjective and revisionist view of the liturgical action.

If we are to adore Christ, and we are to receive Christ, how does standing accomplish adoration? There can be an action of reverence BEFORE reception, such as a profound bow or a genuflection, but how is that properly adoring Christ?

If one of the principle foci of our worship is adoration (along with catechesis and reception), how is this action justified? Or is it yet another break with tradition and just one more instance of the rupture which pervades the very thought of the Catholic, in the Church after the liturgical reforms of the 1960s?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Continuing on Deficiency.....

As I continue to study the pre and post Vatican II liturgical paradigm, I am coming upon more and more information which clarifies a great many things.  I'm still developing the ideas, but the view is getting brighter...

This question was asked:
Why is it impermissible for one to adhere to the TLM and reject NOM on doctrinal grounds? I may not agree with you on the deficiency thing completely or what classifies as an abuse, but I do agree that the TLM (regardless of my preference) leads the faithful to be a better understanding of God and the Mass. Sacrifice vs meal thing. I read through most of the Ottaviani Intervention last night. (Thank Nihil for referencing that- very interesting read.) I found myself agreeing with a lot of it. Not that I am saying what I agree with makes something true, but my point is I am not doing anything wrong by believing the TLM maybe should be the preferred Mass.

The reason is that the idea of doctrine has changed, with regard to the Mass.

Here is what I mean. In 1948, Fr. Bugnini became the de facto leader of the Liturgical Movement. It was at this time there was a shift in understanding liturgical theology. Actually, there is a major move that is made and it will start to clear up some lingering issues and prolly bring out some more questions.

Bugnini and his inner circle, two of which were Fr. Josef Jungmann and Fr. Boyer of France made a striking move between 1948-50. What they did was to stop focusing on the theological aspects of the Mass and to start on the rubrical. So, in essence, from about 1948-1960, there was very little (if not, no) theological teaching on the Mass. The teaching on the Mass became almost exclusively rubrical...and it was strict.

In and of itself that is not a bad thing, because strict rubrics do lead one to a clear doctrinal understanding of the Mass, but there was no doctrinal (theological) teaching going on. By doing this, priests, bishops, and the faithful forgot the theology of the Mass. Let's not forget, during the 50s one of the major "issues" was that the "why" of the Mass wasn't there. That it was simply a rubrical machine going through the motions and nobody knew why the Mass was the way it was any longer.

This was done by design. It will bear itself out shortly.

By stopping the theological explanations, the Consilium led by Fr. Bugnini started to formulate the re-teaching of liturgical theology. Since it had been 12 years or so since any real theological materials had been advanced and the older Liturgical theological ideas had been utterly ignored, in favor of rubrics only; it only made sense that to re-teach theology, that it should be done in their image and likeness. So, there is a parenthetical shift in the theological understanding of the Mass. This shift is borne out in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Priest as presider, not celebrant.
Mass as a meal and not a sacrifice
The Consecration becomes an institution narrative (this is a heresy, btw)
The priesthood of the laity becomes the major focus
The priest's role in the Mass is vastly reduced, if not eliminated in places of the liturgical action.

By doing this, the introduction of the New Mass is easily done. The rubrics are easy to change, because we had become slaves to them over the last 12 years. So, they were accepted without any real resistance. But the real damage came in the doctrinal shift.

That shift is this.

The faithful celebrate the Mass and the priest presides over the celebration of the Mass. This has become so ingrained that most Catholics today don't even think about it. She who asked the question even said it herself when she made this statement:

You are willing to say Bishop Finn, Archbishop Naumann, Archbishop Dolan, (only mention them because I've assisted at Masses that they presided at), the Holy Father, many priests who follow the rubrics faithfully (yes they do exist) and even celebrate the TLM are all committed a liturgical abuse.

So the action of a priest is different in the Novus Ordo, than it is in the TLM. So too is the theology.

I'll make one more point for now....go back and take a quick parsing of the GIRM and of Sacrosanctum will also see a bit of "tom-foolery" going on, which pits Catholic v. Catholic. (This, btw is a trap I've fallen into and I focus is now clearer and I will make it known going forward.)

When you take a look, the documents specifically make it so that both the conservative and the liberal are correct in their interpretation of the document. We've been arguing over ad orientem, correct? Well, from your point of view, you're right, based on what is written. But so am I, based upon the very same thing.

How about the use of Latin? Sacrosanctum Concilium says that the Latin language is to be preserved and that all are to know the responses, but in the very same paragraph it says that "wider use of the vernacular" can be enacted. If a liberal gets a hold of that (which they did, btw), wider use can mean anyplace a Latin word is used. And that is precisely what happens. So, who is right? The liberal or the conservative? The answer, both. But now the theology doesn't support the conservative, it has been re-imagined into a liberal bias and so it is easier for the liberal to justify.

You asked at one point if all of this was a conspiracy? The answer is; Yes it was. Ottaviani caught it and spoke up. It was leaked a month early (it was supposed to go the Pope first, but the media got it) and all of the bishops who were going to affix their name to it backed off, except one. Cardinal Bacci. So, now the credibility was gone.

As a DIRECT response to this, we see an amazing thing happen. There appears in the 1970 Sacramentary, a forward, which refutes the Ottaviani Intervention, almost word for word. I wonder why? A new theology, one not based upon tradition, but rather on innovation. And it has been imposed.

Benedict is trying to undo some of it, but it is like trying to get a knot out of a chain. And the biggest problem is this...he has loosened the TLM, which is a good thing...but the liturgical theology which is being taught doesn't line up. It literally is putting a square peg in a round hole (look at your own language). So, how effective can the TLM be? At most all that can happen is a wave of nostalgia....also, you see that those who understand and apply the proper liturgical theology (which the Church taught for 1600 years) doesn't line up with the modern understanding of liturgical theology....which is why you and I bump heads on it.

So, back to my original point. Is the Novus Ordo deficient? Yes. Why? Well, the argument is pretty compelling, isn't it? Relativism and subjectivity have been introduced into doctrinal theology with regard to the liturgy. Those are the two main tools of Modernism. Read Pope St. Pius X's document on Modernism. He says as much. A both/and and this-or-that theology cannot work in the Church.

I will continue to develop this idea, but a clearer path is now showing itself.  Again, I'm not questioning the validity, I am questioning the motive behind the parenthetical shift in theology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Altar Boys....and a Clarification About Girl Altar Boys....

From my friend Father Zuhlsdorf:

For those of you out there who seem to think that girls have the right to serve or that priests should be compelled to have service at the altar by girls, I will share the following from Notitiae (421-422) 37 (2001/8-9) pp. 397-399.

A bishop wrote to the CDW in Rome asking for a clarification about a dubium concerning altar girls.
Litterae Congregationis
Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
On possible admission of girls, adult women and women religious to serve alongside boys as servers in the Liturgy
Prot. No. 2451/00/L
July 27, 2001
Your Excellency,
Further to recent correspondence, this Congregation resolved to undertake a renewed study of the questions concerning the possible admission of girls, adult women and women religious to serve alongside boys as servers in the Liturgy.
As part of this examination, the Dicastery consulted the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts which replied with a letter of July 23, 2001. The reply of the Pontifical Council was helpful in reaffirming that the questions raised by this Congregation, including the question of whether particular legislation could oblige individual priests in their celebration of the Holy Mass to make use of women to serve at the altar, do not concern the interpretation of the law, but rather are questions of the correct application of the law. The reply of the aforementioned Pontifical Council, therefore, confirms the understanding of this Dicastery that the matter falls within the competence of this Congregation as delineated by the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, § 62. Bearing in mind this authoritative response, this Dicastery, having resolved outstanding questions, was able to conclude its own study. At the present time, therefore, the Congregation would wish to make the following observations.
As is clear from the Responsio ad propositum dubium concerning can. 230, § 2, and its authentic interpretation (cf. Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, Prot. n. 2482/93 March 15, 1994, see Notitiae 30 [1994] 333-335), the Diocesan Bishop, in his role as moderator of the liturgical life in the diocese entrusted to his care, has the authority to permit service at the altar by women within the boundaries of the territory entrusted to his care. Moreover his liberty in this question cannot be conditioned by claims in favor of a uniformity between his diocese and other dioceses which would logically lead to the removal of the necessary freedom of action from the individual Diocesan Bishop. Rather, after having heard the opinion of the Episcopal Conference, he is to base his prudential judgment upon what he considers to accord more closely with the local pastoral need for an ordered development of the liturgical life in the diocese entrusted to his care, bearing in mind, among other things, the sensibilities of the faithful, the reasons which would motivate such a permission, and the different liturgical settings and congregations which gather for the Holy Mass (cf. Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, March 15, 1994, no. 1).
In accord with the above cited instructions of the Holy See such an authorization may not, in any way, exclude men or, in particular, boys from service at the altar, nor require that priests of the diocese would make use of female altar servers, since “it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar” (Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conference, March 15, 1994, no. 2). Indeed, the obligation to support groups of altar boys will always remain, not least of all due to the well known assistance that such programs have provided since time immemorial in encouraging future priestly vocations (cf. ibid.)
With respect to whether the practice of women serving at the altar would truly be of pastoral advantage in the local pastoral situation, it is perhaps helpful to recall that the non-ordained faithful do not have a right to service at the altar, rather they are capable of being admitted to such service by the Sacred Pastors (cf. Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, March 15, 1994, no. 4, cf. also can 228, §1, Interdicasterial Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio, August 15, 1997, no. 4, see Notitiae 34 [1998] 9-42). Therefore, in the event that Your Excellency found it opportune to authorize service of women at the altar, it would remain important to explain clearly to the faithful the nature of this innovation, lest confusion might be introduced, thereby hampering the development of priestly vocations.
Having thus confirmed and further clarified the contents of its previous response to Your Excellency, this Dicastery wishes to assure you of its gratitude for the opportunity to elaborate further upon this question and that it considers this present letter to be normative.
With every good wish and kind regard, I am, Sincerely yours in Christ,
Jorge A. Card. Medina Estévez
Mons. Mario Marini
Under Secretary
Leaving aside the issue of this having been a bad decision in the first place, these are the salient points.
  • Diocesan Bishops can choose to authorize, or not, service at the altar by females.
  • Just because another diocese has service by women, that doesn’t mean any other diocese has to have it.
  • Priests cannot be forced to have females serve their Masses.
  • Pastors cannot be forced by bishops to have female servers.
  • There is an obligation to support the service at the altar by boys.
  • There is a connection between service at the altar by boys and vocations to the priesthood.
  • No lay person has the right to serve at the altar for Mass or any other liturgical worship.
And that, folks, is how you do that.

So, I think that it is time that laymen and pastors and curates all take this to heart...there is definitnely a dubium with regard to females serving at the altar.  As long as a dubium exists, it is prudent to forgo the practice, until there is clear legislation, which solves the dubium.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cardinal DiNardo (former Ordinary of the Diocese of Sioux City) Erects TLM Parish

From our friends at Rorate Caeli:

Wonderful news for the faithful of the largest city in the great state: a full Parish, exclusively dedicated to the Traditional Roman Liturgy (the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite), is to be established by the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal DiNardo, as foreseen by Summorum Pontificum, art. 10.
The future Parish will be staffed with priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), who begin celebrating daily Mass in the diocese already on September 4; their page adds: “A beautiful 40 acres parcel of land has been donated for this new Traditional Latin Mass Parish [near Breen and Fairbanks N. Houston - see Google Maps for surroundings] which will eventually have a full parish complex including a traditional style church, rectory, parish hall with room for a retirement facility, retreat house, and possibly a parish school.”
Thanks be to God, and congratulations to Cardinal DiNardo, to the faithful of Houston and surrounding areas, and to the state of Texas, which will now host three personal parishes dedicated to the Traditional Mass (the first one being Mater Dei, in the Diocese of Dallas, and the second one St. Joseph the Worker, in the Diocese of Tyler).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Protestantism, Communism and Socialism....What Do They Have in Common?

A thought....with regard to why things are the way they are with the Western liturgy.

It is a clear communist goal to strip religion from the people, so they can better understand the socialist ideal.  However, I think that looking into this a little more we can see a clarification of just what secularism and humanism (ie. horizontal theology) actually does...

Protestantism is at it's core a humanist ideologue.  It is subjective at it's heart and it strips away all authentic religiosity from the human person.  But in looking at this, we can truly see how the human person is being duped by Socialists by accepting Protestant ideals, this includes the errors of the Consilium and their actions.

To strip religion from a society, the easiest way is to not simply impose Socialism, but rather to first allow for and promote human secularism.  For with that, what do we have?  We have indifference.  When the human person becomes indifferent to religion, it is then easy to shift that society to Socialist behaviors and re-invent said society.

This is exactly what has been happening in Europe for the last 250 years.  Look at it this way....the Reformation took place as a way to "level the playing field."  It was to make all things even again.  At it's heart, that is exactly what Martin Luther wanted.  He wanted to restore the Church to it's earlier glory.  How to do this?  The best way was to take that which was Catholic, strip it to it's base and then worship, according to Luther.  What he didn't expect was the outcome he got.  What happened was that the human person took this to a socialist ideologue with the Enlightenment and applied a Socialist agenda.  The agenda wasn't to directly eliminate religion, but rather to Protestantize it.  The Protestant simply became apathetic toward what the Church taught and allowed secularism to move in.

Once secularism moved in, what we had was a pure stripping of religion in Europe.  The Catholic Church fought this for several centuries, but with the coming of Vatican Council I and eventually Vatican Council II, this movement became the norm within the Church.  It first found it's root in the most public of actions, the liturgy, but eventually it has invaded all aspects of Catholic thought.

The goal now is that the liturgy, which is the most visible sign of the Church, has been stripped of it's vertical (Godly) nature, the indifference will lead to the abandonment of religion all together.  For it was the Church which fought the good fight for the longest time.

What the secularists didn't account for, was the current Pope.  They expected that with the pontificate of John Paul II taking the amount of time it would, that it would be one of his cardinals who would be elected to the Pontificate.  They never thought that it would still be a "Paul VI" cardinal who would be elected.  As it turns out, Pope Benedict doesn't share in the same world view as a number of the "leadership" of the Church.  From the moment of his election, Ratzinger has been fighting against the rising tide secularism.  First, by opening up authentic dialogue with the SSPX.  Then by freeing the TLM.  Then by clarifying Summorum Pontificum.  Thereby opening the doors to a more authentic understanding of Catholic thought.  Couple the authentic restoration of the Mass, with his encyclicals and one can easily see the movement toward a more vertical understanding of Catholic theology.  Much to the chagrin of the Socialist liberals.

We know that the Church will not fail, but we don't know how it will be saved.  It is my contention that the only way the Church can be saved is through her liturgy and through her priests.  For without priests, you have no liturgy and without authentic liturgical actions, you have no Church.  The Mass must be an authentic extension of the Church, it must be.  There can be no rupture.  The TLM brings no rupture.  The Novus Ordo is replete with it.  This is why the TLM has gained so much ground so quickly and why the Novus Ordo is still mired in all of it's 1970s glory.

Lest anyone think that the East has been spared all of this, I would point him to the Islamic conquest of Turkey.  I would also point him to the Communist conquest of Russia.  The East has also been affected by the same issues as the West.  To a certain degree, this is a much larger issue, because the East has limited itself to a much more ancient practice and theology.  While this is certainly a valid expression of the Church, it does limit how they can combat the modern world and it has devastated their numbers through the years.  That is why so many Eastern Churches eventually reconciled with Rome, because they understood that while they have their own traditions, they needed the support of the constant development.  Rome has been providential in it's handling of the East, by allowing it's traditions to continue unencumbered, while recognizing that without the barque of Peter, there can be no Salvation.

What we as Catholics must do, is to combat the indifference.  We must combat the horizontal view.  We cannot allow for the ideas of Martin Luther to continue.  While those thoughts don't necessarily invalidate the Mass, those thoughts certainly do rupture the mentality which leads to indifference.  And it is precisely that indifference which is the largest threat to the Church today, as it has been since it's founding.  Socialism cannot work with the Church.  Humanism cannot work with the Church.  Horizontal theology embraces both and all Catholics, those from the West and those from the East must work together to understand that horizontal theology must always be subjugated to the vertical.

The first way to stop this is to restore the Mass.  For the TLM is not horizontal in nature, it is vertical; the Novus Ordo is the exact opposite.  Subjugate the horizontal and promote the vertical.  That is the key.  Socialism cannot exist where there is little horizontal growth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From My Friend, Fr. Christopher Smith

Personal Reflections

I had just entered the seminary when Cardinal Ratzinger’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, came out. I had an English copy expressed to me and brought it with me into the chapel as my spiritual reading during our daily community Holy Hour. One of the older men knelt next to me as I was engrossed in Ratzinger’s chapter on Rite and whispered, “Do you want to get kicked out of the seminary? Change the book cover now.” All of my attempts to not publicise the fact that I actually knew the Old Latin Mass had apparently been blown out of the water by this defiant act of wanton schism. Suddenly seminarians began to knock on my door and counsel me how to survive the seminary, and so I exchanged Ignatius Press’ book cover for one entitled “The Pastoral Letters of Paul VI.”

Apparently it was too late. I was a marked man. Not surprisingly, the superiors were made aware of my “problem,” but for the most part, they left me alone. I refused to be duplicitous about my love for the Latin Mass, and I also went along with the liturgical customs of the house without trying to reform or denounce them. I did from to time steal away from the house to go to a Latin Mass, carefully folding my cassock up into my overcoat and hiding my collar with a scarf, feeling all the while a little bit like Superman waiting for a small cubiculum where I could transform into my true self. Only once was I ever “discovered” as I was serving a Low Mass for a Curial prelate in the private chapel of a Roman noble family that was having an annual open house, as it were. Nothing was ever said.

My deacon year, however, I had a very strange experience which made me realize the odd dynamics that are often at work in seminaries when it comes to the Latin Mass. We had a Lenten tradition called “fraternal correction” in which any member of the house could call another member of the house on the floor for anything which he considered wrong. I had escaped four previous Lents without feeling the need to engage any of my brothers in this somewhat contrived version of what we did every day living together, nor having to feel the brunt of someone else’s issues at my expense. Not this time.

One of my confreres came up to me in the magazine room and expressed his concern over the fact that I was a Lefebvrist. My superiors were already content with the fact that I had told them I was more than happy being a priest in the contemporary Church, as she is today and not as she was at some mythical time in the future, so I was rather annoyed at this sincere desire to save me from my own schismatic self. I attempted to try to explain that not everyone who is attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgical tradition is a schismatic, but was apparently unsuccessful. One of my superiors attempted to come to my aid. He said, “You think Christopher is a Lefebvrist because he likes Latin and Gregorian chant. Well, then I am a Lefebvrist too. And so is the Church, because she made it very clear at Vatican II that we were supposed to have Latin and chant in the Mass.”

The problem was that I realized that neither my superior nor my confrere knew who Marcel Lefebvre was, or anything about the genesis and the complicated nature of the traditionalist phenomenon. Neither had any experience of what we called back in the day the Indult Mass, and they would not have known anyone who actually was a priest of the SSPX, if it had not been for one of our alumni who had just jumped ship to them a few years before.

The whole experience left me rather sad. It made me realize that there are many good men in the Church, who are products of and involved in seminary formation who do not understand why anyone, least of all a seminarian, would be interested in the Extraordinary Form. There is no knowledge at all, or only partial circumstantial and anecdotal knowledge, often negative, that they have of others who expressed an interest in that liturgy.

Shortly after the abortive attempt at fraternal correction, I had an exam with a famous Italian liturgist. He was famous for giving everyone perfect scores, and all he asked was that you come in and talk about one chapter from the books he assigned us to read in class. Five minutes, and you were done and had a nice advance on your GPA. There was a chapter in one of his books which compared the Ordinary of the Mass in the older and the newer forms. So I began to talk about that chapter. “How do you know anything about this?” he asked angrily. I replied that it was in the book, and tried to show him where it was in the book that he had told us to read in class, but he would not be moved. And so began a 45 minute oral exam in which he grilled me on everything in the books, which I had studied and knew. I was dismissed from the exam and given a barely passing grade. Imagine my surprise when he showed up at the seminary to give a talk to my class on the liturgical reform. He started off with, “Well, of course, none of you know anything about what the Mass was like before Vatican II.” My class knew about the exam from hell I had just had with him and started snickering. Looking for an answer as to why the giggling, I calmly said, “Well, I actually served the Old Latin Mass this morning before I came to your exam today.”

I would never counsel a seminarian to do the same. Nor do I offer anything I have ever done as a model! But what I gained from that experience was that I could not dispassionately engage a famous liturgist about the Old Mass with something as objective as what the differences are between the two forms.

So in my seminary experience I encountered two phenomena: a lack of knowledge and a positive hatred of one form of the Church’s liturgy. Since then, we have had Ratzinger elected Pope, as well as Summorum pontificum and Universae ecclesiae. The nature of the game has changed, even if there are some who are unwilling to admit it.

Reasons Why Seminaries Should be Afraid of the EF
But a question must be asked: Are there any legitimate reasons why a house of priestly formation should be leery of the EF? As far as most seminaries go, Ecclesia Dei adflicta has not landed, much less Summorum and Universae. The day to day liturgical life of the seminaries has changed very little since Pope Benedict XVI took office, even as seminarians in some parts of the world have done an admirable job of trying to educate themselves about the rite. Some seminaries offer a few Masses a year and some optional training in the old rite, but I am not aware of any diocesan seminary in which it is a normal part of the life.
Much to their credit, seminary rectors and faculty realize that they are preparing their men for ministry in a Church in which they will find a variety of liturgical expressions. Whether that pluralism is always legitimate or not is a good question, but young priests have to be capable of serving in parishes where the Good News of Pope Benedict XVI has not yet reached. Some might be afraid that emphasis on the EF might render them incapable of reaching the people in the pews.

Also, the more that curious seminarians delve into the EF, they will have a lot of questions, not only about the mechanics of the EF but about the whole liturgical reform itself. These are uncomfortable questions, and seminary faculty must have not only a wide learning to answer those questions, but much patience to accompany seminarians through their questioning.
Seminary superiors also are loath to divide the community in any way. There is a fear that encouraging the EF might split seminarians in their fraternity and cause them to break off into cliques of liturgical preference, and that this division would be magnified in parish life. Parishes, rectories, and schools would feel the weight of EF-happy clergy intent on changing how they “have always done” things until the biretta-wearing, Latin-talking upstart comes to town.

Seminary staff are also aware that the enthusiasm of youth is often not tempered by the virtue of prudence and seasoned by the practical knowledge that comes with experience in parish ministry. One of the phenomena that has come about is the seminarian who has taught himself all he knows about the EF. The autodidact often knows less than he thinks he does, and, with the best intentions in the world, annoys people unnecessarily. I was reminded of this recently as I was sitting in choir at a EF Solemn Mass. Although the clergy were seated in their proper order, a seminarian spent his whole time fretting about giving the signs to the senior clergy he thought were ignorant of when to sit, stand, bow, and use the biretta. As it happens, he was frequently wrong and I spent the whole Mass distracted by his trying to be a Holy Helper.

Many seminarians have a genuine love of the Old Mass, but the tradition has not been handed down to them in a living organic way. And when one tries to resurrect the tradition by way of books, videos, and self-help, there are too many holes in the fabric to make a rich vesture in which to clothe the Church’s liturgy. As most seminarians’ experience of the liturgy has been more or less exclusively the Ordinary Form, there is also the inescapable temptation to graft a Novus Ordo mentality onto a liturgy whose mens is quite different.

There are not a few people responsible for the formation of priests who see all of the above phenomena and think to themselves, “We don’t want to touch this with a ten foot pole.” And of course, what does a good seminary rector do when he knows that Tradition-unfriendly Bishops will pull their guys out of their seminaries if they begin to teach the EF?

Reasons Why Seminaries Should Welcome the EF

None of the above phenomena, which are real, should impede seminaries from a joyous welcome to the EF within their daily life. By this point, it should be patently obvious to everyone that a significant proportion of the men interested in the seminary are also, if not positively enthusiastic, at least not unfavourable, to the EF. Of course, this is true only in certain countries and in certain regions of those countries. But even where there is little or no interest, there are still reasons why seminaries can welcome the EF.

The most important reason is that the Magisterium has made it very clear that there are two forms of the same Roman Rite and that both are equal in dignity. If all priests of the Latin Rite have the right to celebrate both forms, it follows that seminaries should then form all priests in both forms. Then, they will be ready to fulfill the requests of those faithful who desire the EF and they will broaden their own pastoral horizon.

The enthusiastic welcome of the EF into seminary life will also unmask the tension that has been growing over EF-friendly seminarians in houses of formation. If they are not formed properly in the seminary to be able to offer the EF, many will embark on an auto-didactic parallel formation which will keep their minds, hearts and often their bodies out of the seminary formation environment. When seminarians begin such an autodidactic parallel formation, the tendency is to develop a form of duplicity to be able to engage in such formation. And given the state of the clergy in today’s Church, no seminary can afford to give seminarians a blank check to get their formation elsewhere.

A Plan for Integrating the EF into Seminary Life
But how can the EF be integrated into seminary life? First of all, all of those involved in priestly formation must come to accept what Pope Benedict XVI has done for the Roman liturgy: he has declared that there are two forms of one Roman rite, and every priest has a right to celebrate both. If that is true, the question must be asked: Why is every seminarian in the Latin Rite not trained in both forms? Some seminaries have offered some limited training to those who are interested in it, but that still makes it seem like the EF is a hobby for some priests, or some kind of eccentric movement barely tolerated within the Church, and not of equal value with the OF.

Yet before any seminary can integrate the EF into seminary life, seminaries must offer a comprehensive training in the Latin language and sacred music. These two subjects, which were once part and parcel of every seminary training, have been relegated to a few optional classes in many places, when they should undergird the curriculum.

Many seminaries, in an attempt to prepare their men for the reality of life in the parishes to which they may one day be destined, often offer Spanish Masses or folk Masses or other kinds of “Liturgical Styles” for seminarians to participate in. Whether or not this is a good type of formation is not the scope of this article, but it also brings up a question: If OF and EF are two forms of the Roman Rite existing side-by-side, for the universal Church, how can they not both be celebrated side-by-side in the seminary. For the community Mass of a seminary, one wonders why Low Mass, Dialogue Mass, Sung Mass and Solemn Mass cannot be part of the weekly rotation of types of Masses celebrated in seminary communities.

There are indications that, in many seminaries, the men themselves are pushing their seminary rectors and faculty to recognize the validity and the possibilities of the celebration of both OF and EF in their communities. There is open discussion of this topic, with much less fear than there was in my time, which was not all that long ago. The openness and transparency with which the liturgical questions can be asked, confronted, and resolved bodes well for the future. Far from producing one-sided priests who leave the seminary bitter liturgical Nazis bent on reforming their parishes to their liturgical opinions, the frequent celebration of the EF in seminaries can foster an atmosphere of serene liturgical formation in which men can better appreciate both forms and learn how to more effectively open up the riches of the liturgy for the People of God.

What Can Happen when the EF is integrated into seminary life
I was recently at a Cathedral down South on a weekday and I wanted to celebrate a private Mass. As I was vesting in my Roman chasuble and my altar server, a seminarian, was preparing the altar for my EF Mass on the feast of Saint Dominic, a newly ordained priest was vesting in a Gothic chasuble and a layman was preparing another side altar for his OF Mass on the feast of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney. My newly ordained priest friend has not yet learned the EF, but is interested. We both went to side altars at the same time to offer two forms of the Roman Rite, with clergy, seminarians and laity in attendance. It just kind of happened that way, was something not planned. Later that week, my newly ordained priest friend sat in choir at an EF High Mass that the seminarian and I helped to sing, and I concelebrated the OF in the same Cathedral where he was ordained. The Director of Religious Education for the Cathedral, a young woman theologian and student of liturgy, happened to be present at all of these occasions, and she commented on how, in our own way, we were making real Pope Benedict’s vision of the Roman Rite in two forms. No one was confused, no one was angry, no one was ideologically motivated to criticize the other.

The younger clergy have a tremendous opportunity to be conversant in the two forms of the Roman Rite, and in doing so, build bridges where previous liturgy battles had separated the faithful from each other. Seminary superiors are right to want to avoid at all costs further liturgical polarization in the Church. But continuing to marginalize a form of the Roman Rite which has been restored to its full citizenship within the Church will only continue to polarize people. Giving the EF its due in priestly formation will be the way forward beyond opposing camps into a Church where both forms can co-exist side-by-side in harmony.

Cassocks....Advocated by Communists?

An interesting little piece from Fr. Z.....
From what used to be, until 1991, the official daily of the Italian Communist Party, L’Unità, founded by Antonio Gramsci in 1924:
The Cassock
The Church has been for quite some time strenuously defending herself from a media-driven movement that has turned on the lights on the phenomenon of the erotic activities and aberrations of the clergy. And it is not only about the horrors of pedophilia, but also red-light feasts, orgies, and clandestine sorties of every kind. Abandoning the cassock and wearing civilian clothes, many priests have gone from the sacred onto the secular in no time. I ask a friend who writes for this paper, Father Filippo Di Giacomo, if it would not be more appropriate, for him and for his jolly colleagues, to renounce walking around in civilian clothes and go back to wearing the long habit of the priest. It would not be embarrassing to wear it, on the contrary, it would be a sign of respect for the Catholic community and would even have the power of eliminating any ambiguity. It is hard to recognize a priest from a fellow in a shirt: we are in the presence of a deception, at least at the semiotic level. My friend Di Giacomo should throw his “lay” habits out of the window and launch an appeal to all priests in the world that it be forbidden to wear anything except for two cassocks: one of wool for winter, and one of cotton for summer. This will certainly not deter the truly possessed from eros, but will keep at bay the profusion of numerous, small daily corruptions. It is said, in general that “l’abito non fa il monaco” ["the habit does not a monk make"], but it is not thus for the Church: the habit must make the monk. Catholicism, as other religions, lives off of symbols, of rites, of chastity, of foundational and unrenounceable values, of faithfulness to doctrine, of rigorous obedience to priestly rules. The cassock, at the simple sight, conveys to us all this: much spirit and little flesh. A priest who replaces his cassock with plains clothes gives up the spirit, as it were. August 15, 2011 [Vincenzo Cerami]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adoration as Worship? Wrongheaded thinking...

I recently read an article by Shawn Tribe about the Liturgical Movement and the Sacrifice of the Mass; it gave me pause to think. Here is how I responded to Shawn;


Wonderful insights! I think that you're spot on with this has provoked a couple of thoughts and a question initial thought is that the Mass is the public prayer of the Church. Insofar as this is the case, every Catholic has a role to play in that prayer. The ministerial priesthood offers the Mass and the faithful come to worship. That is our function. In changing the "understanding" of the priesthood to one where we "offer" the Mass along side the priest, the faithful has lost sight of the true meaning of why they assist at Holy Mass. Your points about catechesis, adoration, and reception are very important. When these actions are put together, they form the basis of the worship of the faithful. I think that the overpaid attention given to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a bane upon the prayer life of the Church. We should not be finding the most satisfaction in adoring the Blessed Sacrament. We should be finding the most satisfaction in assisting at Holy Mass. It is the loss of this principle which I think has done great harm. I'm not saying that we shouldn't spend time in adoration, we most certainly should.

My second thought is this, if Catholics were to return to a more liturgical life, would there be a need for such adoration? I think that looking objectively at the liturgical crisis, the reality is that at every turn Catholics are either being over simplified or eliminated in favor of alternatives to the Mass. You hit upon the idea and I have given this some thought recently (before this article); why wasn't perpetual adoration a primary concern prior to the reforms of the 1960s? And why did it become so after? I think that it is a knee jerk reaction to the utter loss of a liturgical life. And the solution was to take the most important part of the liturgical action and over-emphasize it, by promoting adoration in it's extreme form. My contention is that if a parish has a developed and mature liturgical life, then there is no need for extended adoration, because the Blessed Sacrament is publicly administered, adored and promoted through the every day life of the parish church. This is not to say that adoration doesn't have a place, but rather it is to say that there is not a need for perpetual adoration, or a replacement of the liturgical life with it.

My question is this....if your premise is correct (and I think that it is), how do we, as laymen make this a reality? What can be done to promote proper worship through the liturgical action, as opposed to adoration-as-worship, which is misplaced?

Because the reality is that in even the most orthodox of mainstream parishes, the adoration of the Bleesed Sacrament has usurped the liturgical action as the main mode of "worship." Whenever the question is raised in a parish, "How do we resurrect the life of the parish?" The answer is almost always in some form of promotion of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and not promotion of the Sacred Liturgy.

A Complete Misunderstanding of Vatican Council II

Over at The National Catholic Reporter, Fr. McBrien posted this article:

Some highlights:

For the past several weeks this column has been underscoring some of the most important ecclesiological principles espoused by the council. This week the emphasis is on the council's teaching that the church is a communion -- a communion between God and ourselves (the vertical dimension) and a communion of ourselves with one another in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (the horizontal dimension).

The church is a communion of local churches, or dioceses, each of which is the Body of Christ in its own particular place (Lumen gentium, n. 26).


The church's mode of activity will necessarily differ from region to region. It will take longer, for example, in some regions of the world to accept a married clergy or the presence of women in positions of real pastoral authority than in other regions, like our own.
But such developments as these are inevitable, even though some bishops, such as William Morris of Australia, have been sacked for even raising the possibility.

My response is as follows.  Although, I would be willing to bet that this will never be published.  So, I'm moving it over here....

Fr. McBrien,

I am utterly perplexed by your view.  I cannot for the life of me make out how you come to the conclusion that you do.  You have completely misinterpreted Lumen gentium #26.  There is no mention of "communion" in the sense that you're trying to convey.  LG #26 speaks about being united to their bishops, yet you immediately tear down that very union which is made manifest in the two most recent popes.

Also, this understanding of "experience" is flawed.  You go on about how a younger Catholic cannot understand the Church without having lived it.  That is fallacious and you know it.  It is analogous to saying that a psychiatrist cannot possibly know how to treat a crazy man, unless he was first crazy himself.  No.  I resist that incorrect notion. 

The Church has 2000 years of history and Vatican Council II should be seen in that light, not in the light of the "reformers" of the 1960s.  This is not an ecclesial communion created in their image.  It is the Catholic Church which is the mystical body of Christ.  We can know the Church through her teachings, both through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  So, a young Catholic, such as myself, can know, understand, appreciate and be drawn to the Church as a whole, not just the Church as seen through the cracked lens of the Vatican Council II reformers.

I do believe Vatican Council II was necessary.  I do believe that Vatican Council II was meant for the time in which it took place, but I also think that the authentic application of Vatican Council II should be allowed to take place.  It is through jaded and incorrect notions of "reformers" that terms like "communion" replace the actual word, which is community.  It is through jaded and incorrect notions that collegiality is applied to the faithful.  We are not a democracy in the Church.  We are exactly what you say we are not.  We are a monarchy.  Christ is our King and the pope is his regent.  It is not for you or me to determine whether or not this is the best action.  God deemed it to be so.  Radical humanism cannot cause the Church to fail, but it can cause damage.  We need to see the Church for what she is, not for what a few liberal minds after Vatican Council II wanted it to be.

Let's call a spade a spade Fr. McBrien, the reason Vatican Council II is failing isn't because it is being re-imaged, it's because those who imagined and tried to implement what they thought best, did not have the best interest of the faithful in mind.  The real intent was to undermine the Church.  Had Vatican Council II, been authentically rendered immediately following the closing, the Church would be a much different place and a much better place.

Your view has failed.  What you embraced following Vatican Council II has been proven false.  Now we, the younger generation, are left to pick up the pieces of what you and your contemporaries attempted to destroy.  Thankfully, those of us left with the rubble you created, know that the Church will not fail and it is that which keeps me Catholic.

Holy Days of Obligation?

The Church in the US, led by the USCCB has done everything in it's power to reduce the obligation of Catholics to assist at Holy Mass over the last 40 years.  While this is nothing new, Pope St. Pius X reduced the number of non-Sunday holy days of obligation from 36 to 8, the US bishops decided that 8 was just too many, so they made the "Monday" rule.  In my humble opinion, this has been an incredibly destructive action with regard to the life of Holy Mother Church in the USA.  The Code of Canon Law says, in Can.  1246 §1
and §2: .

Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.
With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.
 This would seem that the majority of the holy days have been transferred and/or eliminated when faced with the "Monday" rule.  It makes no sense to me to move these days.  

Here is the list of holy days in the USA:
 Note 1: However, when 1 January (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God), 15 August (Feast of the Assumption), or 1 November (Solemnity of All Saints) falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass on that date is abrogated. The result is that in most years the obligation applies to only two of the three dates (e.g. If 1 January falls, in non-leap years, on a Tuesday; and it applies only to 1 November, if 1 January is a Saturday in a non-leap year). However, it applies to all three if 1 January is a Sunday.

The understanding of holy days of obligation has become so convoluted, the average Catholic has lost sight of what a holy day is and what it signifies.  What is the major difficulty in assisting at Mass during the week?  Is it that much of a burden to ask a Catholic to assist at Holy Mass several days outside of Sunday?  Apparently to the USCCB, it is.  And what is the reasoning?

Here it is....
§1: Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church. Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary Mother of God and her Immaculate Conception and Assumption, Saint Joseph, the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and finally, All Saints.

§2: However, the conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.

Complementary Norm: In accord with canon 1246, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the holy days of obligation to be observed in the United States are the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; the Solemnity of the Ascension; the Solemnity of the Assumption; the Solemnity of All Saints; the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; the Solemnity of Christmas. The Solemnity of the Epiphany shall be transferred to the first Sunday following January 1; the Solemnity of Corpus Christi shall be observed on the second Sunday following Pentecost.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1983

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Clergy), Letter from Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No. 1091/84/8) February 13, 1984

Promulgated: Minutes of November 1983 General Meeting, March 1984


On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of American made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin rite Catholics:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

This decree of the Conference of Bishops was approved and confirmed by the Apostolic See by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops (Prot. N. 296/84), signed by Bernardin Cardinal Gantin, prefect of the Congregation, and dated July 4, 1992.

As president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby declare that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin rite dioceses of the United States of America will be January 1, 1993, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, November 17, 1992.

Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk
Archbishop of Cincinnati
President, NCCB

Monsignor Robert N. Lynch
General Secretary


In accord with the provisions of canon 1246§2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states: "... the conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See," the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States decrees that the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the United States may transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter to the Seventh Sunday of Easter according to the following procedure.

The decision of each Ecclesiastical Province to transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension is to be made by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the bishops of the respective Ecclesiastical Province. The decision of the Ecclesiastical Province should be communicated to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and to the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This decree was approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and dated July 5, 1999.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America will be September 8, 1999, Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, August 6, 1999, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB
Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary

So, what can the average Catholic glean from all of that?  Well, let's take a look.  We can take away that as the years have progressed from 1983, the idea of a holy day of obligation is too obligatory for Catholics.  So, the movement of some to Sunday and the abrogation of some in light of Saturday and Monday being too close to Sunday (The Monday Rule), was supposed to make being Catholic easier.  Since when is being Catholic supposed to be easy?  I don't remember Jesus saying anything about being a believer, which should be easy.  Yet, by eliminating holy days (read: transfer to Sunday or abrogate) Catholicism in the USA has become easier, because the obligations have been reduced.

Ultimately what I see from this that rather than continuing to hold Catholics to a higher standard, the USCCB has found a common denominator and reduced the obligations of being Catholic to the bare minimum.  This begs the question, how does this help us, as Catholics, to grow in holiness?  How does this help us as Catholics, remain faithful.  If celebrating a holy day of obligation gives us pause on our lives, by asking us to assist at Holy Mass, in an obligatory manner, how can that be seen as a bad or undesirable thing?  There is nothing too busy about a Catholic's life in America that says that one cannot assist at Holy Mass several days outside of Sunday.

In my opinion, it is a travesty that our Catholic life is being stripped away from us.  In my opinion, a Holy Day is still a Holy Day and it should be treated as such.  The nagging and begging question still remains, am I doing all I can (not should, not required) to save my soul?  The answer for me is no.  So, I need holy days of obligation to help me.  These days should not be seen as a hindrance to the faith, but rather as a help.  And if our faith can be helped, why is our leadership taking that help away?

Bottom line, holy days of obligation help.  The minimum says that we need not go if they fall on certain days, but why wouldn't we go?  Why wouldn't we get all the help we can?  I certainly need it, but the USCCB doesn't agree, by virtue of their actions regarding this issue.  Interesting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bp. Coyne on what to do when priests don’t “Say the Black and Do the Red” From WDTPRS

Fr. Z made a post recently about abuses in the Mass, here.

I made this response to that thread:

See, I have a real problem with Bishop Coyne’s view. I think that while His Excellency has the right mentality, he (read: all bishops) needs to have enough courage to enforce it. If I’m not mistaken, he is the auxiliary. If that is the case, he has a little more “freedom” to bird dog, between confirmations and ordinations, with regard to the Mass, right? Something was said about the priests having workshops, but going back and doing what they want? What if Bishop Coyne were to start showing up unannounced at Mass around the Archdiocese? And what if he were to catechize immediately after Mass. As an MC, we often teach servers immediately after Mass, when needed. Why can’t the same be applied to the priest? (All of this assumes rubber stamping from the Ordinary, btw)

The reality is this…”complicated” in this instance is a substitute for fear. Bishops don’t want to upset the apple cart. And the bottom line is this (His Excellency and I disagree on this), 99% of bishops don’t care about the Mass in their diocese. 99% of bishops now equate being Catholic as being pro-life. If they are pro-life, then they are are doing a good job. Being pro-life isn’t enough. I would much rather see a bishop pair back his statements on pro-life and step up his statements on proper liturgy. If the Mass is the most visible expression of Catholic worship, then why isn’t more said about it? The short answer….the Mass is not a social justice issue. If it were, then it would be on the top of the heap.

I would love for Bishop Coyne to just show up some weekend. I would love to hear that he was catechizing. If a bishop wanted to make the Mass a priority, he would. Bishops don’t want to, so they don’t. Oh sure, they will opine 3 or 4 times a decade about the proper implementation of Vatican Council II, but then nothing will be followed up on…why? Because they have that pro-life rally to get to, so they can be seen in a social justice setting.

Please don’t get me wrong…being pro-life is important. One cannot be Catholic without being pro-life. But that is the point. Bishops today are focused on the wrong thing…if they put as much energy into Sacramental theology within their dioceses (and deaneries, for auxiliaries), as they do into social justice issues, I firmly believe the NOM would be celebrated much more reverently and much more faithfully.

Looking at the Landscape....

So, I had a peer come to me with some questions about the landscape of the Church and Traditionalism.  Below is how the correspondence went, she and I have been emailing back and forth:

I'll try to respond as succinctly as I can.

But even in the videos you posted on the change in the liturgy on STP spoke to how the liturgical reform was well underway by the time V2 rolled around. But it would not have been able to creep in if secularism had not already reared it's ugly head in the hearts of so many. It obviously has contributed to the decay in the Church, but it's not like the Church was in tip-top shape and then just in the last 40 years came tumbling down. There were many little leaks in the dam prior to the invention of the NOM. So because of the weakness the dam just broke.

Yes, the Liturgical Movement was underway by the time that Vatican Council II rolled around, but the Liturgical Movement wasn't so mainstream that it was calling for the wholesale changes that came with Vatican Council II.  The Movement was simply about understanding how to apply the Mass to the 20th Century, not how to apply the 20th century to the Mass.  It is the latter which brought all of this "off the rails."

As for secularism, yes it was creeping in and there are a lot of problems which exist because of it, Modernism being the heresy by which secularism gained a foothold in the Church.  Yes, the decay in the Church is due to Modernism and yes, it is bigger than the Mass; I've never denied that, but what I've always contended is that the Mass is the most outward sign we have of expressing our Catholic faith, so I've chosen to focus on that.  I can also speak to the culture of death, the emasculation of the priesthood, the rending of the religious life, the utter destruction of the family unit and other issues which as a whole speak to the totality of the hermeneutic of discontinuity (or rupture).  But, I do firmly believe that had the Mass remained unchanged OR had the Mass been adjusted according to the wishes of the Council Fathers, we would not be in the situation we're in today.  For if the Mass is the most outward sign of our Faith and both the Mass and the rest are intimately tied to one another.  Lex orandi, Lex credendi.

But there is not that much wiggle room in the freedom of expression, Right? That there is the right and the wrong way of saying the Mass. Today we see much less liturgical abuse then say 15 years ago, especially in more orthodox dioceses. So I guess I would argue with that they can't be stopped-  they could. I think it would be easier to stop the liturgical abuses then to try .and eliminate the NOM and go back to the TLM.

Let me ask you this- Do you think that if a NOM was said completely according the rubrics would it be as sufficient as the TLM?

There is that much wiggle room when one takes it.  The old adage, "give an inch, take a mile" certainly plays into this.  You're absolutely right, there is a right way and a wrong way to say Mass.  Look at the rubrics and tell me how many priests say Mass 100% according to the rubrics?

I think that the amount of liturgical abuse today is just as rampant as it was 15 years ago, but Catholics have become so desensitized to it that it has become the norm.  AND THAT IS WHAT I AM REBELLING AGAINST.  I agree, they can be stopped, but name one bishop who has attempted to stop it.

Because the NOM has become so engrained with abuse and is out of control, the only solution is to simply stop it.  How do we put it back on the rails?  We know that the TLM has never come off of the rails, so there is nothing to try to fix.  And it seems that those who are assisting at and those who are celebrating the TLM, have very little trouble following the rubrics as set forth.  So, as a matter of ease, it would be MUCH easier to simply enact the TLM as opposed to enforcing the NOM, mainly because nobody seems to know how to enforce it.

To answer your question directly, If the NOM were celebrated completely according to the rubrics, with absolutely no innovation and absolutely no abuse, then yes, it would be as sufficient.

The caveat:  That doesn't happen.  I know of one parish in the United States (just one, mind you) that even comes close.  So, your question is a non sequitur.  The premise doesn't apply to the conclusion.  It's like saying, "I hear rain outside my window, therefore the sun isn't shining."

The real answer is this, The NOM is nowhere said completely according to the rubrics, so it will never be sufficient.

But we also have to look at our culture. We are dying as a culture as well. This came when we denied our need of God in the West. As the computer age changed the face of the world materialism took hold full force. As we made leaps in science and technology we began to busy ourselves and shut God out. We looked for the next latest and greatest. Not-so-slowly individualism and independence became the mantra of the West. Why would we need to go to Mass if we do not need God. Plus we were taught that if I am a good person, I'll make it to heaven. Doesn't matter the faith. So yeah, why go to Mass. That is why I think Mass attendance is the lowest in history.

Oh, it isn't just in the West, it is everywhere.  That is the end of any heresy and it is the end of Modernism and Protestantism.  Modernism started with the Enlightenment.  Protestantism embraced it.  This was going on well before computers.  The problem is and the goal of the Enlightenment was to separate science and religion.  The two are not mutually exclusive.  Science is not an end, it is a means.  Religion on the other hand is an end.  Look at most scientific fact, it is based as much on hypothesis and theory as theology is.  The issue is that science uses the physical world to justify it's conclusion, whereas religion uses logic and philosophy.  Protestantism bought into all of this, why?  Because they were protesting religion.  Religion at the time was the Catholic Church.  So, to discredit the Catholic Church, the Protestants accepted the principles of the Enlightenment and brought about the discrediting of religion.  All the while, Protestants were changing how we look at God and how we approach Him.  Rather than using science to explain how God is, which was the original goal of science, it became a way to explain why God is not.  See the shift?  It is subtle, but it is nevertheless there.  So, if the Protestants were to justify the Enlightenment, they had to become subjective in theological and philosophical thought.  Has it never occured to you that some of the "greatest" Protestant philosophers and theologians were also scientists?  Ayn Rand, Immanuel Kant, Charles Darwin, and there are many, many more.

The reason that Mass attendance is at it's lowest in history, is because of two things,
  • The Church has been relegated to the spiritual and the temporal has been abandoned, thank you very much Pope Paul VI.
  • Population Control.  Abortion.  There are fewer and fewer people to become Catholic.
Calvary has the the salvific power and Calvary is present at both Masses. And why isn't NOM being accepted as the TLM? you mentioned 2 times about attendance and such, but the NOM has far more people assisting at those Masses? And many solid, holy people.

The NOM also wasn't supressed for 40+ years either.  You keep trying to convince me that the salvific power of Calvary is present at the NOM.  I know that it is.  I've never denied it, you keep equating sufficiency with validity.  Sufficiency has to do with how licit the Mass is, not how valid it is.

If you think that the TLM isn't being accepted, think of this...Summorum Pontificum came out in 2007 loosening everything with regard to the TLM.  Since that time, the number of people assisting at the TLM has grown by something north of 350%, as compared to when the indult was in place from 1988 on.  And it has grown by something north of 1000% since Quattor Abhinc Annos in 1984, which was the first document since the Council on the TLM.  I think that within 10 years, the majority of Catholics will be assisting at the TLM far more than at the NOM.  And the NOM will simply fall into disuse, as did many regional celebrations of the Mass immediately following the codification of the Mass in 1570.

Sure, many solid and holy people assist at the NOM, but for every 1 of them, there are 30 who are either lukewarm or flat out indignant about any number of Catholic issues.

I still stand by that all of the people I have had the conversation with that are old enough to speak to V2 spoke to how they didn't know Latin or what was going on. May not have been the way it was supposed to be, but it is the reality. Especially in this day. I doubt 99.9% know a lick of Latin.

And that is PRECISELY why the Council Fathers wanted everyone to be able to understand the prayers in Latin.  It was a matter of laziness and poor catechetics on the part of the clergy and this apathy continues today.  It's easier to say Mass in the vernacular, that is why it is done that way, laziness on the part of the clergy.  The won't teach it in seminary and therefore they won't/can't teach it to the faithful.  And the vast majority of those clergy who do know Latin are indignant and won't pass that knowledge along, because it doesn't fit their world view inside the Church, which brings us back to Modernism.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Six Points of Religion and Society

As many of you know, I'm not a fan of World Youth Day.  I think that the idea behind it is a little too "charismatic" for me.  That's my opinion and I know that many disagree.  Whatever.  That's fine. That notwithstanding George Weigel has put out a great article about Pope Benedict's mission, Weigel thinks that WYD 2011 is necessary.  I don't disagree that the Pope needs to get this message out, so I support what he has to say....take a read:

World Youth Day 2011, to be held in Madrid from Aug. 16-21, will be an important moment in Pope Benedict XVI’s campaign to remind Europe of its Christian roots and to call Europe to a nobler understanding of democracy. As the Holy Father demonstrated in an address in Zagreb, Croatia, in early June, the two parts of that campaign—the recovery of Christian roots and the deepening of 21st-century Europe’s idea of democracy—go together.

In remarks to Croatia’s religious, political, business and cultural leaders in Zagreb’s National Theater, the pope refined into six digestible propositions the case he has been making about religion-and-society ever since his election to the papacy in 2005:

1. Religious conviction is not something outside society; it is part of society’s inner core: “Religion is not a separate area marked off from society … (but) a natural element within society, constantly recalling the vertical dimension: attentive listening to God as the condition for seeking the common good, for seeking justice and reconciliation in the truth.”
2. The human element in religion is imperfect and flawed; there is no shame in admitting this, for reason can help refine religious passion: “Religions need always to be purified according to their true essence in order to correspond to their true mission.”
3. Ancient religions should welcome the political achievements of modernity while calling modernity to open its windows and doors to a world of transcendent truth and love: “… the great achievements of the modern age—the recognition and guarantee of freedom of conscience, of human rights, of the freedom of science and hence of a free society—should be confirmed and developed while keeping reason and freedom open to their transcendent foundation, so as to ensure that these achievements are not undone. … The quality of social and civil life and the quality of democracy depend in large measure on this critical point—conscience, on the way it is understood and the way it is informed.”
4. “Conscience” is not a matter of determining what I want to do and then doing it; “conscience” is my search for truths that can be known to be true and then binding myself to those truths, which stand in judgment on me and on society: “If, in keeping with the prevailing modern idea, conscience is reduced to the subjective field to which religion and morality have been banished, then the crisis of the West has no remedy and Europe is destined to collapse upon itself. If, on the other hand, conscience is rediscovered as the place in which to listen to truth and good, the place of responsibility before God and before fellow human beings—in other words, the bulwark against all forms of tyranny—then there is hope for the future.”
5. Europe detached from its Christian roots will wither and die, for, in the name of a dessicated secularism, it will have cut itself off from one of the sources of its cultural vitality: “I am grateful to [those who remind us] of the Christian roots of many of the cultural and academic institutions of this country, as indeed all over the European continent. We need to be reminded of these origins, not least for the sake of historical truth, and it is important that we understand these roots properly, so that they can feed the present day, too.”
6. The Church does not seek a direct role in politics; the Church forms the people who can shape the culture that makes democratic self-governance work: “It is by forming consciences that the Church makes her most specific and valuable contribution to society. It is a contribution that begins in the family and is strongly reinforced in the parish, where … (we) learn to deepen [our] knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, the ‘great codex’ of European culture. …”

These six points, while obviously contested, are also considered, well, obvious by many, many Americans. That’s not the case in Europe, where Benedict XVI’s social doctrine is regarded as wildly counter-cultural—even as it offers Europe what may be its last chance. I hope someone is listening.

I think that George Weigel is right on when he speaks about conscience.  Conscience MUST be based upon objective truths and not simply reduced to the subjective.  We are finite beings and as such we can only gain so much insight reflecting inwardly.  We have to rely on objective truths to guide us.  We have to have a balance of knowing ourselves and applying that knowledge to the world around us.  But, it is imperative that we know the world around us, first.  That is the only way that we can know reality, otherwise we'll paint ourselves into a corner, much like the Cartesian paradox.

I don't necessarily think that the Church must simply stick with Traditionalism and completely abandon modernity.  We do live in a modern world, but I think that the modern world can learn from Tradition.  Again, I think that the same principle that applies to the person can apply to society.  If society only reduces itself to progression and knowing the self, then it cannot possibly grow.  There are objective truths that must be applied to society as well.  Not everything is as subjective as it would seem.  Religion, in it's proper sense must be objective.  If it is based upon truths, then there can be nothing subjective about it.

The only thing that I think I might disagree with him on is that the Church doesn't seek a direct role in politics.  I don't see a problem with the Church having a role in politics.  If Salvation is the end of man and man lives in society, it would stand to reason that the truths of the Church should play a role in the political structure.  This is partly the reason why I think it is important that Papa Ratzinger takes up the Triregnum again.  He is a temporal leader as well as a spiritual leader.  The Church must operate in modern world, but it must operate, not merely in the theoretical, but in the practical.  To be a complete leader to the Catholics of the world, it is necessary for the Pope to be a temporal and practical leader, otherwise his authority is diminished and the theological authority has no footing.

I do agree that the Church must be part of society's core.  I think that it is vital to society regaining a moral foothold.  I think, however that the Church must operate as both a temporal and a moral guide for the human condition.  The Church will be best served by those who understand that while we live in an age of democracy, to varying degrees, that it is not necessarily the best or most efficient way to govern.  It does lead to freedom of conscience, but without any temperance that freedom of conscience can lead too far inward and eventually it will implode.  There must be a guide, both spiritually and practically.  This is where I think that the Church can serve man best and why I think that the Holy Father needs to take up the mantle of temporal ruler again.  Clearly, we've seen that being a strictly spiritual leader, in the vein of Pope Paul VI's philosophy, does not work.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Small Towns....

The following was written by a fellow who is a few years older than me (he graduated in 1982.  I graduated in 1990), but we grew up basically at the same time in Humboldt, Iowa.  His dad was the Jr High band teacher for about a million years, no joke....If you want a good idea of what it was like to go to a small town school in a small Iowa town, read on.

From the blog of Rick Jenkins:
Dreams are strange things.  They take us to places we’ve never been and help us remember things that we are sometimes not sure even happened in the “real world.”  I’ve heard and read many things about dreams; that they are a portal into the spirit world, simply the brain processing engrams, or maybe even just the imagination left to play while the body rests.  Whatever they are I was pleasantly, joyfully, and sadly visited with a strange, but wonderful dream tonight.

    I suspect the advent of this little adventure comes from my own brain processing the news that my dear home town of Humboldt, Iowa is building a new Junior High School.  Of course, they are using the more fashionable name of “Middle School” and kicking the 9th grade to good old H.H.S.  Anyway, I think that news tugged at some engrams and sent many memories to my imagination to play for a while.  I hope you’ll come play and remember with me for a moment.

  The adventure begins at the Northwest door of the building at 210 7th St. North.  It’s an unusual place to begin, but this was the door that I entered many times even before I was a student at Humboldt Junior High (HJH).  It was situated between the shop and the kitchen in a small alcove.  From my perspective in the dream the place looked huge, that of a mouse rather than a person.  I slipped in the building unnoticed behind Mr. Miller who, presumably, was there to give some early morning band lessons or practice with the Jazz Band.

  The first door I came to was the shop.  I ducked inside and wandered about the cold cement floor.  I remembered the semester that Mr. (Marv) Buhr had tried to teach me to make a metal funnel.  “A mouse has no patience for such things anyway!”  I told myself.  I received a “D” on that project.  In that same room I also remembered helping my Dad, Mr. Jenkins, cut masonite squares for the band room ceiling so the music would sound better.  Since I have always been somewhat dangerous rather than creative with tools I was thankful to have gotten out of with all of my fingers.  I left the shop and continued down the hall.

  In the band room I did indeed find Mr. Miller giving lessons but as I watched, the present day slipped into the past.  In my mind’s eye my Dad, Mr. Jenkins, (whom we all just called “Sir”) was there with a few young trumpet players and Mr. Bill Mekemson, one of the other music teachers.

“Bill, I can’t find the book The Indispensible Book for Trumpet.  Have you seen it?”  Dad asked.

“No.”  Mr. Mekemson said, rather matter-of-factly.  “I guess we’ll just have to get along without it.”

One of the greatest things about teachers; they always seem to get the job done, even without “indispensible” things.  They can do this only because they are the ones who are truly “indispensible” to the students and the community.  Making sure they have the tools just helps them be better at what they already do so well.  It is a wise community that knows when to let an old building go.  It is, after all, just a tool of the trade even though many memories have been built there.  And to those indispensible people and those who have memories of that building let us say with Gertrude Lange in the film Mr. Holland’s Opus:

"We are your symphony, Mr. Holland.
We are the notes of your opus.
We are the music of your life."

                I scampered down the hall and found the Art Room on the right.  On the left were the two rooms where Mr. (Orin) Van Langen and Mr. (Dean) Bitler had patiently tried to teach me how to do math.  As I looked at those two rooms I particularly remembered their patience with me and how welcoming they were to questions.  They would sit and try to explain something over and over again to any student who asked.  Indispensible.

                Now, here is where the story gets a little bit strange.  I slipped into the Art room and found that I was not the only small animal stirring in the place that early morning.  A tall slender salamander named Lyle (Schwendemann) was working on a fine piece of pottery that was almost ready for the kiln.  On the desk was a design for three medallions to be struck in bronze for the Iowa State Fair.  Meanwhile, all around the room the student’s projects were in various stages of completion.  Some were making rubber stamps.  Others pencil drawings, still others pieces in clay or paintings in watercolor.  Every town needs an artistic Salamander.

I proceeded to the end of the hall to the old gym.  I remembered many times in this place.  I’d taken more than one shot with a red ball to the face attempting to play dodge ball.  That was before I learned from the famous Patches O’Houlihan the “five D’s” of the sport, “dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge.”   But here I’d also learned about archery and speedball, which I still believe was really soccer, from Mr. (Larry)Leibold. 

Most importantly, I learned about girls.  We had our Junior High dances in that gym even though none of us really knew anything about dancing.  I remember the custodian, Mr. Crowl, commenting that the place ended up smelling like sweat and Old Spice when the dances were over.  Still, I will forever remember that gym as a place where a certain young lady and I shared our first “slow dance” and our first kiss.  An indispensible memory.

Coming out of the gym and slipping down the South hall I came to the stairs of the “Center Hall.”  In these rooms Miss. (Jan) Brown taught us to cook and sew in Home Ec. class.  The boys hated it, but some did better at that than at building the funnel in shop.  One was also allowed to work more closely with the girls in that environment, something that was quite okay with me.  In that same hallway Mr. Lindemann could be heard playing a fine rendition of “Under the Double Eagle” on his guitar while extolling the virtues of left-wing politics.

A little further down that same hall was another indispensible critter, a tall and lanky Stork named Carl (Hansen) moved from student to student while hawking the necessity of vocabulary and reading.  Here I was exposed ENDLESSLY to the rigors of S. R. A. reading cards which were gigantically boring.  But the Stork was a man of gentle nature and consistent encouragement.

Turning to my right and left I saw the mountainous stairway that led to the upstairs auditorium.  On that small stage I remembered performing in variety shows like VO-BA-CHO, Jazz Mania and Soundsation that, from my mouse’s point of view and my memory, were productions to rival Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Carol Burnett Show.  On that stage we were rock stars.  We were soloists, dancers, and actors.  It was a place where we started to play out the roles of the people we hoped to become, or not.

An empty stage is a wonder-filled place.  In fact, it is not really empty at all.  It is filled with dreams.  Here the impossible becomes possible, even if just for a little while a few times each year.  It’s the place where that creative spark given to us by the Author of All Things turns imagination into reality.  In that tiny place, even a mouse can say “Let there be light.”  And the light comes.

Moving on to the next hall I came to the science room.  Here, once again I started meeting with some of the indispensible critters that inhabited the place.  A slender-faced frog named Mildred (Henry) was busily working on her lesson plans.  Simultaneously she was watching her well-balanced aquarium and reviewing her notes for her first class that morning on parallel and series electrical circuits.  During the lesson students would also be building their own batteries from lead plates, wax paper, and acid all in a plastic cup.  It’s amazing what a mouse can do when a Frog sets him up to succeed.  My electric car actually worked!

A little further down that same hall I met a gruff old Bulldog named Eugene (Smith) who was in the English room proudly hanging a poster proclaiming “This IS the YEAR OF THE BULLDOG.”  I had not the heart to tell him that this is actually the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.  I suspect he would have not listened to a young mouse such as me anyway. 

From the Bulldog I learned that I actually could understand Shakespeare.  His promise to us was true.  “You CAN understand this!  It is, after all, written in ENGLISH.”  His standards were high, and he expected ours to be as well.  No write-overs.  No cross-outs.  In the world before computers that was much harder than it is today. I also learned from him that writing can be fun, even healing.  That reading widely expands your world, and that reading all of the directions BEFORE one starts a test does make things easier.  These were truly indispensible lessons.

Hidden back in the far corner of the building was another kind soul.  Mr. (Ken) Robinson referred to himself jokingly as “the retarded teacher.”  Of course in the current mode of political correctness he would probably not say such things.  But, it reflected at that time his sense of humor and, I believe, his need for lightheartedness while seriously tending to the needs of developmentally disabled students. 

From the door of his small classroom and shop I watched as he helped some kids with craft projects.  He could help those students create what could almost be described as quality furniture out of industrial cardboard.  He had few helpers that worked with those classmates who had disabilities, but mostly it was his responsibility.  One boy was in a gate trainer learning to walk.

“You’re doing well, Bruce!  Keep it up!”
A young girl was getting ready to make a cut on her project.
“Mandie!  Be careful with the tools!  Safety, Safety, Safety!”  He said firmly but kindly.

Moving on from there I made my way down the North hall past the Teacher’s Lounge, the Meda Center and the Lunch Room.  I didn’t stop at any other classrooms, but I did pause a moment at the door to the “Custodial Engineering Department” where unofficial teachers like Orville Anderson, John “Beagle” Walley, and Phil Crowl quietly taught us these lessons:

·         Clean up messes right away, otherwise they get worse.
·         Cake sometimes isn’t.
·         Lockers are not REALLY locked if you know who has the bolt cutters.
·         “The cigarette is what smokes, you’re just the sucker.”
·         You don’t have to be a teacher to help a kid retrieve forgotten homework.

                These men taught me that sometimes the most important critters in our lives are the ones who are quietly doing what they do in the background without asking neither for praise or thanks, but we owed it to them anyway.  We may not notice what unofficial teachers do at all until, quite suddenly; they’re not able to be there to do it anymore.

                At the end of my dream I walked out the same door by which I had entered.  I was no longer the mouse of the story, but as I am today, a forty-something guy with some great memories.  For just a moment I swear I could see many old friends now young again mounting their mopeds and riding off into life.  I am not sure where many of them rode to, though I understand that some are still there trying to be the indispensible critters for the next generation.

                Even though I don’t live in Humboldt any more part of me wants to save my old school.  But the parent I have become knows that it is, as I said before, a tool.  It is a wise community that knows it is, in the end, just a building.  Even so, somewhere in the school of my memories a little mouse and some other indispensible critters will always be.  Even if the building they inhabited is not.
 If you grew up in a small town, you can relate. of the most interesting things about growing up in Humboldt is that everyone knows the same things.  You might be from the class of 1976 or you might be from the class of 1996, but the basics of Humboldt are the same.  Most likely the same teachers taught.  Most likely, the older siblings passed the "kid traditions" on to the younger siblings, who have in turn passed them along to their kids, who are doing the same things today.

By and large, Humboldt has remained unchanged.  Sure, there is some progress, but the traditions and the memories that made Humboldt home are still there.  The names have changed, in some instances...Frank's is now Pete's, but it's still the Knotty Pine.  The Fireside is still the Fireside.  The Jr. High is moving, but it will still always be the Jr. High, regardless of where it's located.  And the town will always be home, regardless of how long one has been away or how often one comes back.

If you want a glimpse into what it was like growing up in a small town, you just got it.  If you want a glimpse of what it is like to be from a small town, just ask.  They are going away, but the people that made the small towns still exist and move through the world and we shouldn't forget what made us who we are.