Friday, August 23, 2019


While this isn’t his point, the priest being turned into a narcissist, please note how many times Father B. Jarabek, JCL, from his blog, Dilexi decorem domus Domini, uses “he could” in his blog post:

The Options That Divide Us

There can be rather drastic liturgical differences between parishes — most of us have experienced this. Some of us have chosen to attend a parish precisely because of the way it “does liturgy”. But does that necessarily mean that the one is “doing it right” while the others are “doing it wrong”? When it comes to the Ordinary Form of the Mass or Novus Ordo, things aren’t quite that simple.
Let’s run through some of the options that each priest has on any given Sunday. I’ll do it in an outline form:
I. Opening Hymn/Chant
a. It could be the Gregorian chant introit verse (entrance antiphon)
b. It could be a vernacular composition of the entrance antiphon
c. It could be the Latin but in another musical style/composition
d. It could be a hymn from a hymnal
e. He could just enter in silence and read the verse upon reaching the altar
f. Oh yes – there are more options than just these
II. Greeting
a. He could do “The Lord be with you”
b. He could do one of several others that are provided
III. Remarks/”Pre-homily”
a. He could now add remarks, introducing the liturgy of the day
b. Or he could omit remarks and continue to the penitential rite
IV. Penitential Rite
a. There are three forms that can be used
b. Within one of the forms — “form c” — there are nearly endless options
V. Gloria
a. He could recite it with the people
b. He could intone a Latin Gloria and then the people and/or choir sing it
c. A vernacular setting could be sung – the possibilities are rather numerous
VI. Collect (Opening Prayer)
a. He could sing it according to a traditional tone (solemn, festive, etc.)
b. He could sing it according to some tone that he made up or prefers
c. He could recite it
VII. Responsorial Psalm/Gradual
a. The responsorial psalm as printed in the lectionary could be recited or sung
b. Another psalm could be substituted in many cases
c. Another translation is also possible
d. Or he could have the Gradual sung (whether in the Gregorian setting or another composition/language)
VIII. Alleluia/verse
a. He could omit it entirely
b. He could recite it
c. He could have it sung according to a million different settings/styles
(We’ll leave out options that exist concerning chanting the readings versus reciting them)
IX. Homily
a. He could preach on the readings
b. He could preach on the other prayers of the Mass
c. Or…. he could preach on what the bishop told him to preach about, like the charities drive
X. Creed
a. He could use the Nicene Creed
b. He could use the Apostles’ Creed
XI. General Intercessions
a. Virtually unlimited possibilities for the texts
b. Also the possibility of singing all or part of them (e.g. only the response)
That’s just the “Liturgy of the Word”. And 99% of the things I listed are legitimate options. Then we could start listing common abuses…
How does a priest decide? I’ll tell you what happens in many, many places: he chooses what he likes, what he thinks/knows the people like, or some combination of the two. Some places have liturgy committees that assist with these decisions also.
What this alarming multiplicity of options has led to is precisely a subjectivism about liturgy: it becomes about us and our preferences. This then drives the choices that many make about what parish they will attend — “I like their hymns better”; “I like the fact that they recite everything and use the shortest options”; etc.
This subjective approach to worship is not what true worship is about. It is God who tells us how he is to be approached. Think of the burning bush: he instructed Moses first to take off his sandals, for it was sacred ground. Think of the two sons of Aaron, who offered incense in a way that went against what God had commanded in Leviticus 10: they were burned up.
God makes us worthy to offer him fitting worship through baptism. That is when we come to share in his priesthood, such that we can pray to him in a way that befits his majesty and is pleasing to him. But he doesn’t just leave it to us to figure out afterward. No, through both divine revelation and the further guidance of his Church, he effectively tells us how we are to approach him.
Yes, the multiplicity of options that I listed above are legislated by the Church, and so are legitimate variations: I am not disputing that. What I am pointing out is the way that they have led, in practice, to a subjective approach that has contributed to our being divided into camps. We may well choose certain options, and legally — but we may choose them for the wrong reasons. And we often have done so.
The way forward, which I think will help us to achieve better unity within our worship, is two-fold:
  1. Realize, through liturgical education, that worship calls us out of ourselves and challenges us – it is not something we create based on personal tastes or questions of efficiency or convenience;
  2. Seek always those options that are in continuity with what was done by our ancestors.
When a priest sets about celebrating a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, yes, he does have options. But they are far, far fewer in number. And it’s not like abuses or deviations from the ideal didn’t enter in also (historically) or aren’t still present now in some places. But the general approach — the starting-point — remains quite different: it simply does not lend itself well to “personalization”.
Most priests, the present writer included, who have learned how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, have experienced in a rather striking way how it makes a claim on us. The burden of choosing between countless options is all but eliminated, and I simply must obey the text. I don’t have to make things up. “Amen, amen, I say to you: when you were young you used to gird yourself and go where you would. But when you are old, behold, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and lead you where you did not wish to go” (John 21:18): this prophecy applies to all who are invited to follow after Christ, but in particular, to priests. Some liturgical forms assist us in appropriating it better.
Taking the above partial outline, and trying to seek those things that would be in fuller continuity with our tradition, these are the options that a parish might choose for its Sunday liturgy:
I. Opening Hymn/Chant
a. Chanted introit/entrance antiphon instead of a hymn
II. Greeting
a. “The Lord be with you” (the other options are certainly scriptural but are not in continuity with liturgical tradition)
III. Remarks/”Pre-homily”
a. Omit entirely — important announcements may be made before Mass or in the bulletin
IV. Penitential Rite
a. Use the Confiteor (“I Confess”)
V. Gloria
a. Chant, ideally in Latin — Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis) may be over-done in many places, but it is easy for people to learn and can be a good starting point
VI. Collect (Opening Prayer)
a. Sing it according to a traditional tone
VII. Responsorial Psalm/Gradual
a. Chant the Gradual rather than the Responsorial Psalm. Use either the Gregorian setting or a composed setting in English or Latin
VIII. Alleluia/verse
a. Sing using a Gregorian setting or at least something dignified, that doesn’t sound like a stadium chant
IX. Homily
a. Fr. Hugh has some good reflections/guidance on the homily
b. (Of course, if the bishop mandates a certain topic, do it in obedience!)
X. Creed
a. Use the Nicene Creed and consider chanting it in Latin. Credo III is not hard to learn
XI. General Intercessions
a. Keep them brief and follow the outline given in the GIRM
b. Omit them entirely at daily Masses
If all parishes took the approach of choosing those options that are in continuity with our tradition, they would be liberated from slavery to subjectivism while at the same time finding that there is still a wonderful variety. They would be worshipping more fully in union with their ancestors. They would be challenged to appreciate new things rather than taking refuge in familiar comforts. The quality of their liturgical celebration might be raised. A new reverence and a holy fear of God might more readily be fostered.
Many have written on this and there is certainly much more that can be said. Perhaps I’ll return to this topic in the future and from different angles.


What do you think?

'Ad orientem' tussles turn on matters of community, liturgical diversity

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In this screenshot from a diocesan video, Mass is celebrated "ad orientem" during the July 2018 ordination ceremony in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. (YouTube/Madison Diocese)
In this screenshot from a diocesan video, Mass is celebrated "ad orientem" during the July 2018 ordination ceremony in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. (YouTube/Madison Diocese) 
As the church has been tussling over liturgical practices since the Second Vatican Council, it's easy to anticipate criticism. So when Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, announced in a July 22 letter that he would begin celebrating Mass in his cathedral ad orientem, that is, "toward the east," with his back to the people, his words leaned into the punch.
"I know this can be a contentious topic. To make changes to the way we pray can be difficult, especially when it comes to liturgical prayer," he wrote.
In announcing the change, Wall, 54, cited an April 10 open letter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that addressed the sexual abuse crisis in the church, but also stressed how the worship of God impacts all other aspects of life.

Bishop Wall CROP.jpg

Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico (CNS/Bob Roller)
Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico (CNS/Bob Roller)
"This more than anything was why I was moved to make this decision regarding Mass adorientem, and why I chose to use Pope Emeritus Benedict's letter as a springboard," Wall said via email.
Wall, who has headed the diocese for just over a decade, emphasized he was not choosing Benedict over Pope Francis. "By quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict in my letter," he added, "I am in no way appealing to him over and above Pope Francis, but rather, like Pope Francis himself, expressing in my own way my admiration for Pope Emeritus Benedict's great insights into the liturgy."
Legitimate diversity
Wall's move is not reflected in a national trend line. While bishops in Portland, Oregon, and Marquette, Michigan, have moved to implement widespread use of Gregorian chant in recent years, the last bishop to take the ad orientem turn was Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, who in 2016 announced a move similar to Wall's.
Morlino died in November 2018. The diocese's longtime director of worship, Patrick Gorman, shared that the bishop had taken care never to impose the practice on another priest, even the rector of the cathedral where the bishop celebrated in that manner.
"I think he chose to do that because he realized not every priest is comfortable with this," Gorman said.
But even a non-imposition creates expectations when the model is the bishop in his cathedral. Wall in Gallup admits openly that he is seeking to lead by example with the move, saying via email that he wants to move the diocese "towards a liturgical unity of sorts. For while the rubrics of Mass do allow for options — for legitimate diversity — this doesn't mean that the celebration of Mass from one parish to another ... should be radically different."
It's this diversity permitted in the conciliar texts and the Roman Missal, along with the bishop's role as the chief liturgist of his diocese, that allows for a move as this, noted Msgr. Richard Hilgartner, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Cockeysville, Maryland, and president and CEO of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
"The way you celebrate the Easter Vigil isn't the same way you celebrate a weekday in ordinary time," said Hilgartner of why a Mass by a bishop at his cathedral can be celebrated more solemnly. "For centuries, there have been degrees of solemnity within the liturgy."
Hilgartner, who staffed the Divine Worship Office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2014, added that postconciliar liturgical rubrics are more simplified in terms of delineating "high Mass" from others, and so, "in some ways, to do some of these things is simply to carve that out."
Catechesis and coexistence
In explaining his move in Gallup, Wall wrote, "I am trying to open the treasury of the Church's patrimony" rather than disrupt the prayer lives of the people of the diocese.
The need for catechesis was echoed by several liturgy experts, including Gorman in Madison, who said Morlino urged sensitivity among his priests to the noise such a practice creates for Catholics who've lived through the upheaval of reform and, prior to that, a church in which — for instance — women had no say.
"People who desire to worship ad orientem, it's one step on their way to involving themselves deeper in prayer," Gorman said. "I've talked to many of them. They say they pray more deeply in this way. They say it takes out the personality of the presider."
The communities who worship in this way tend to coexist with other Catholics, Gorman said, with conflicts coming "from the outside," that is, from Catholics — often with an internet platform — who form a strong preference for or against something, "and they're going to drive it home with everybody, telling them how bad the other side is and how right they are. And that is a lack of humility."
Brian MacMichael, director of worship for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, agreed that technology has exacerbated the environment for Catholics who want to fight about liturgy. In the past, "we couldn't know what was going on in real time," he said of history as recent as the debates of Vatican II and being able to form opinions and to pontificate on working documents. "There's a lot of noise today. It doesn't help."
Not a cudgel but a tool
MacMichael offered the frame "Is this helping to point us toward Christ?" in discerning liturgical matters. He warned against the tendency to approach liturgy as a commodity and the "gross oversimplification" on both sides of the debate to see their way as the answer to all that ails the church, the sentiment of "as long as you fix all this, they'll come back."
Hilgartner agreed that a healthy respect of others' preferences and faith journey are key: "How one person experiences the presence of God isn't necessarily going to be defined by one set of norms. And it's a big church."
"Liturgy's the battleground, and it's the one thing that's supposed to unite us," Gorman said.
He added that ongoing debates were "a silly fight." He said that different forms of the Mass draw people to the divine and enrich one another.
While using liturgy as a weapon is antithetical to its purpose, Hilgartner noted that turning to the liturgy at a critical moment in the life of the church — as the bishop of Gallup characterizes his move — is enshrined in the central place Vatican II gave to worship.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Over at the Deacon's Bench Blog, there is a rant about a church in New York and its strict wedding rules and how it turns off nominal Catholics who simply want to have a wedding in beautiful church building.

Personally, it is important to have rules for weddings because some Catholics today are so crass and lack reverence for the Church and her sacraments, much of it having to do with the casual and silly experiences they have had and only have had with the Ordinary Form of the Mass. 

I do not allow "destination" weddings in my parish in Richmond Hill. There must be some connection to St. Anne Church, like living in the parish boundaries, registered or not, or family connection. Proximity to Savannah as a tourist venue doesn't cut it. The destination weddings that I have allowed have been nightmares and turns weddings into a product for the bride or her mother who approach the parish as though we were Walmart or, should I say, Neman and Marcus.  

For registered parishioners, the "donation" for the Church is minimal an usually covers fees for our wedding director and the organist. 

What requirements does you parish have?

You can read the Deacon's Bench Rant HERE. But my problem is with the wordiness of one aspect of this parish's rules and here is their wordiness and how I would correct it:

The use of “unity candles” is strongly discouraged. Experience has consistently demonstrated their clumsiness. For instance, they often do not light properly, or they spread wax, or they can even set other decorations on fire. More importantly, the Catholic marriage rite does not allow for such a lighting ceremony. Therefore, if desired, unity candles belong best at the wedding reception, where they can be incorporated into the first dinner blessing of the newly married couple. Floral decorations should not be extravagant. Our beautiful Gothic church needs little extra ornamentation. The priest will discuss with you the options about where the flowers can be arranged. Candles in the body of the church must be enclosed in glass globes. Due to past experiences, runners are no longer permitted.

Why give an apologetic for their rules or anticipate objections as the above "guideline" does? Just write it this way:

The "unity candle" is not a part of the Catholic wedding liturgy and is not permitted at this church. 

Aisle runners are not allowed in this church.

The wedding director will discuss with you where floral arrangements may and may not be placed as well as where additional candles may or may not be placed.  

Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia can be read HERE. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


There will be much more to be said in the weeks and months ahead about the rejection of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction for “historic sexual abuse,” by the 2-1 vote of a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Victoria. For the moment, this astonishing, indeed incomprehensible, decision calls into the gravest doubt the quality of justice in Australia—and the possibility of any Catholic cleric charged with sexual abuse to receive a fair trial or a fair consideration of the probity of his trial.
In the live-streamed appellate court proceedings on the morning of August 21 (Melbourne time), Victoria Supreme Court chief justice Anne Ferguson, reading the decision, made persistent reference to “the whole of the evidence.” But there has never been any “evidence” that Cardinal Pell did what he was alleged to have done. There was only the word of the complainant, and there was absolutely no corroboration of his charges—which, in the months since the cardinal’s trials, have been shown to be alarmingly similar to a fake set of charges leveled against a priest in a story published years ago in Rolling Stone
Read the rest of George Wiegle’s commentary at First things HERE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Father Thomas Reese’s rhetoric in this National Chismatic Reporter article is what has led to the poor state of faith in the Church today. This is 1970’s theology and apologetics that I was taught in a seminary that refused adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as Benediction and placed the tabernacle in a side chapel and if anyone went there to pray they were immediately suspect.

My seminary class which was about 60 men in the fall of 1976 was only 23 in 1979 in part due to the progressive theology/ideology of those three years. Imparting this crap on the laity has accomplished the same goal!

Father Reese grow up, wake up and stop this crap. And the problem isn’t just catechesis, it is catechesis of the kind Reese spews wedged in 1970 as well as the entrenched manner in which the Ordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated today:

The Eucharist is about more than Christ becoming present 

There has been a lot of clerical hand-wringing of late about Catholics who don’t believe what the church teaches about Christ’s presence in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. According to the Pew Research Center, only one-third of Catholics agree that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Almost 70 percent believe that during Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion "are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ."
This certainly shows a failure in catechetics, [Yes, the kind of catechetics you are about to read!] but I think the church faces a greater problem: Like the Pew Research Center, Catholics have an impoverished idea of what the Eucharist is really all about. [Father Reese, your 1970's mentality about the Most Holy Eucharist is what is impoverished and has impoverished the Faith of Catholics!]
Much of Eucharistic theology — especially the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation — goes back to the 13th century, when people rarely received Communion at Mass. They went to church to adore Christ present in the Eucharist, and the purpose of Mass was to transform the host into the body of Christ so that people could adore him. Devotionally, the Mass was not all that different from Benediction, where the Eucharist is placed in a monstrance to be adored by Catholics. [This 1970's rhetoric I remember well! How bad and evil the 13th Century was for the Most Holy Eucharist! This is right out of the talking points of liberal Catholic liturgists!]
In order to explain how what looked like bread could be the body of Christ, 13th-century theologians used the avant-garde thinking of the time: Aristotelianism. [Yes, more horrors from the 13th century!]
In ancient Greece, Aristotle described reality using concepts of prime matter, substantial forms, substance and accidents. This allowed Catholic theologians using Aristotelian philosophy to explain that the "substance" of the bread was changed into the body of Christ while the "accidents"(appearance) remained the same. Thus, "transubstantiation." Using Aristotelian concepts to explain Catholic mysteries in the 21st century is a fool’s errand. When was the last time you met an Aristotelian outside a Catholic seminary? [Not often, but in my parish yes, but that's the problem!]
I personally find the theology of transubstantiation unintelligible, not because I don’t believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but because I do not believe in prime matter, substantial forms, substance and accidents. I don’t think we have a clue what Jesus meant when he said, "This is my body." I think we should humbly accept it as a mystery and not pretend we understand it. [So, Fr. Reese dosen't believe it so it must not be used!]
In any case, Jesus did not say, "This is my body. Adore me." He said, "Take and eat. This is my body." Only in the early 20th century, with the encouragement of Pope Pius X, did receiving Communion again become common in the Catholic Church. [So let's destroy adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and we'll get to what Jesus' wants as though Jesus didn't guide the Church to make dogma the dogma of Transubstantiation! This sentence by Reese is the single most devastating piece of evidence as to why we are where we are today in the Church!]
The church also spoke of the Eucharist as making present and effective the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. But even here, the concept of sacrifice was quite limited. Only in a holocaust sacrifice was everything burnt. In most Hebrew sacrifices, some of what was sacrificed was eaten in order to show God’s communion with his people.
At the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, the bishops were arguing about whether the Eucharist is a sacrifice or a communion. Pope Benedict had to intervene and explain to the bishops that it was both, something the bishops should have learned in their first course on sacramental theology. [By the way, the Baltimore Catechism has separate chapters on the Sacrifice and the Banquet of the Mass. Bring back the Baltimore Catechism for balanced catechesis!]
The context of the Last Supper is also essential to understand what Jesus was instituting. The Last Supper was a Passover meal where Jews remember the Exodus and thank God for his gracious acts toward his people. Here they also renew their covenant with God.

The Mass must therefore be seen as a sacrificial meal where we give thanks to God, especially for the gift of his son; where we renew the new covenant with him; and where we are united with him through Christ.
The Mass is not about adoring Jesus or even praying to Jesus. In the Eucharistic prayer said by the priest at Mass, we pray to the Father through, with and in Christ. We give thanks and praise to God for his wondrous deeds, especially for raising up Jesus as our savior. [Here you go, the apex of 1970's ideology!]
The Eucharistic prayer asks that the Spirit transform us so that we can become like Christ, or as St. Augustine said, that "we become what we receive." Ultimately, the Mass is more about us becoming the body of Christ than it is about the bread becoming the body of Christ. [Yes, 1970's theology the Mass consecrates us, which isn't completely wrong, but no matter how consecrated we are, we are still poor miserable sinners who miss the mark. Jesus never does and when we lose that focus in the Mass and who it is that is Transubstantially present and we can adore and worship, we end up where we are today and with Mass celebrated in the most casual and silly sorts of ways, the horizontal overpowering the vertical!]
The Mass renews the covenant that commits us to follow in Christ’s footsteps in loving our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and the marginalized. The Eucharist is about making us more Christ-like so that we can continue his mission of establishing the kingdom of God, of bringing justice and peace to the world. [Here we go, it is all about US ESTABLISHING GOD'S KINGDOM AND US BRINGING JUSTICE AND PEACE IN THIS WORLD. HAS FATHER REESE ANY CLUE AS TO WHAT WE, MEANING THE HIERARCHY AND THE LOWERARCHY HAVE DONE TO THE CHURCH IN THESE PAST 50 YEARS AND MORE WITH HIS KIND OF IDEOLOGY AND THEOLOGY ROOTED IN THE NARCISSISTIC 1970'S AND WHERE WE ARE gODS?]

Father Reese, it is time for you to retire and to retire your corrupt theology that has done so much damage to the Church's True Faith. But thank you for showing a new generation what truly went wrong in the Church of the 1970's that your generation is trying to regain! Nostalgia for the 1970's is worse than nostalgia for the 13th Century!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Over at The National Catholic Register, Msgr. Charles Pope has recommendations about restoring orthodox belief to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I agree with most of his insights especially his last paragraph:

It’s going to be a long journey. I realize that some who read this will say, “Why don’t we just admit that the Mass of 1970 was a failure and put everything back the way it was — now!” But that just isn’t realistic. The ordinary form is here to stay; more than 90% of Catholics attend Mass in the ordinary form. Parishes are diverse, and people have differing sensibilities. Within this complex reality, it is prudent to reintroduce things gradually and by way of offering more options. It is an important step toward loosening the grip of the liturgical police and permitting greater freedom to pastors and parishes under the guidance of their bishops who, I pray, will see wisdom in this gentle way forward.

My comments: I am a supporter of the reform of the reform in continuity with our Tradition of the Mass and other sacraments. I am not in favor of the exclusive return to the Extraordinary Form because I am in favor of ecumenical councils properly implemented. That's Catholic, folks. Pope Benedict in his Christmas Address to the Roman Curia paved the path to this reform in continuity which one day, I pray, I hope and I believe, will take place but not until the two popes and their generation pass away. I hate to be blunt but that  is what it is going to take. And yes, I know, I am a part of that generation who needs to pass away.

In my previous parish I moved slowly implementing the EF Mass at a regularly scheduled Mass time and making the Mass where the EF was celebrated once a month ad orientem in the Ordinary Form and with Holy Communion distributed at the Altar Railing to kneeling communicants. Keep in mind we had four Sunday Masses at the time, 7:45 AM, 9:30 AM, 12:10 PM (ad orientem and once a month EF Mass) and 5 PM. We also had a 4:30 PM Saturday Vigil Mass. 

I have to say that most of the laity attending the 12:10 PM Mass more than likely thought that the EF Mass was no different than the OF Mass except that we used Latin for the entire Mass!

In my new parish, its new church seating almost 1,200 we only need two Sunday morning Masses at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM with a Saturday Vigil at 5 PM. I have slowly brought back some tradition to these Masses with the chanting of the propers at all Masses and the Mass itself chanted as well as incense at the 10:30 AM Mass which I see as the principle Mass of the parish. 

But ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion would be most difficult in the current design of this neo-modern facility and with an already $5 million debt amounting to a $38,000 a month payment toward the debt, I don't foresee an altar railing anytime down the road or within my pastorate barring a mega donation to pay off the debt or someone winning the Billion dollar lottery and giving 10% to the parish!

I do have a weekly EF Low Mass each Tuesday at 6 PM in our old church which is now our chapel. It has an altar railing and an OF portable altar easily removed for the EF Mass on the high altar where the tabernacle is.

Another thing that I agree with in Msgr. Pope's article is this assessment of  things:

Yet, these laudable efforts at education and the reintroduction of Eucharistic adoration seem to have come up short — the number of Catholics correctly understanding and believing in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has fallen even further.

I would argue that the poor results are mostly due to the fact that the Mass, as it has been celebrated since the early 1970s, has remained largely and stubbornly resistant to changes aimed at restoring reverence. It has been a combination of the force of many bad habits and an entrenched liturgical establishment that has resisted anything that seemed to be a “step backward” (e.g., kneeling to receive Holy Communion), even as an option. Stories such as this one, “Priest Removed From Parish for Traditional Style of Worship,” still occur too frequently; they show that even modest proposals for reintroducing tradition are often greeted with overly vehement resistance by some of the very people who claim to celebrate “diversity.”

My final comments: Two of the most influential archbishops in the country, one already a cardinal and another so-to-be a cardinal are both 1970's priests who obtained degrees in "Liturgy" during the worst time in the history of the Church to get such degrees. You will not hear from them any denigration of the the Ordinary Form celebrated in the most ordinary way in about 99% of parishes in our country, because to critique the Ordinary Form as it is celebrated would mean that the degrees they obtained in the 1970's in Liturgy are worthless and a waste of their valuable academic time! So don't expect reform of the reform from them as it calls into question everything they have striven to do to the Liturgy for decades. Humility is not their strong suit, hubris is, which is the case with most liturgists unfortunately!

Thus other solutions to the loss of Catholic Faith in what Jesus teaches about the Bread of Life are put forward, like Adoration and proper catechesis. But they never will put forward what is the true solution to the malaise, what Pope Benedict explicitly asked and modeled, renewal in continuity!

Friday, August 16, 2019


Apart from the fact that this church in Fell's Point of Baltimore is now closed and stripped of all the artwork and altars, to include the stained glass, what is it about this post-Vatican II image of St. Michael's Church that has contributed to the loss of belief in the Real Presence of Christ at Mass and Holy Communion?

Let me tell you what it is: It is that free standing altar placed below the actual high altar with the three chairs in front of it to hide what is already hidden in terms of where one's eye is naturally drawn in this Church and by design: the HIGH ALTAR!

What did it do the average parishioner after Vatican II that the High Altar was abandoned, where their eye was naturally drawn, to have this "fake" altar placed in front of it but much lower and then placing the priest chair in front of it so that the priest could face the people throughout the Mass? Symbolically the Mass and Holy Communion were LOWERED! There was no longer a High Christology or High understanding of the Mass and Holy Communion!

Talk about contrived! This kind of thing eroded the orthodox Faith of Catholics and began as soon as the "altar of sacrifice" was made to look like what we see in this photo!

What say you?


In an off the cuff question and answer session at a theology on tap event in Washington, Archbishop Gregory said the following concerning 70% of Catholics not believing what Jesus teaches about The Bread of Life as summarized below:

After a mention of the poll about lack of belief in the real presence of the Eucharist, Gregory was asked what Church leaders could do to stress the reality of the Real Presence.
Gregory emphasized that making Eucharistic Adoration available and mentioned how it takes lots of coordination to have perpetual adoration, but Gregory wants to see them set aside a couple hours a week for adoration. He believes that the loss of belief is fueled by poor catechesis, which happened over two generations.

My comments: I am all in favor of Eucharistic Adoration and if a parish can institute perpetual adoration, all the better.

That is part of the solution, but let's face it, the majority of Catholics are not going to go to Eucharistic Adoration, which nonetheless, is a powerhouse of prayer that assists practicing and non practicing Catholics alike and all the world.

The bigger solution which will touch every Catholic and anyone else who attends Mass is to "re-enchant" the Mass with the Extraordinary Form's tried and true ability to instill orthodoxy and reverence to the Mass and Holy Communion! That alone will help turn around the poor catechesis of the past three generations since Vatican II!!!! The law of Prayer is the Law of Belief meaning the way you pray leads to what you believe and this is a two way street for either orthodoxy and reverence or heterodoxy and irreverence!

This is what is necessary Archbishop Gregory:

1. A concerted and concrete reform of the reform in Continuity of the Mass, Sacraments and devotionals

2. These two things alone will go a long way in turning things around: ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion even if everything else is banal and casual

3. Get rid of the banal and casual in addition to implementing ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion

4. Insist that in the nave of the Church there is to be SILENCE to allow prayer, meditation and contemplation before and after Mass. The nave of the Church is to be a noise free zone before and after Mass as the Blessed Sacrament is present in the nave

5. Make sure the tabernacle is central in the sanctuary and not shifted or shunted to the side and God forbid tabernacle chapels separated from the nave frequented by less than 1% of those who attend Mass!

6. For the major language groups in the United States, the USCCB should come up with a national hymnal of suitable hymns in the vernacular and Latin that are appropriate for Mass and have no doctrinal errors as well as are not hymns set to secular style music, like Broadway ditties and the like

7. Mandate the chanting of the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons as in the EF Mass, but either in Latin or the vernacular

8. Mandate Latin for the Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Pater Noster

9. Eliminate the common chalice for health reasons and the possibility of profanation because of the common practice of splashes and spilling on the floor or the communicant and allow intinction by the Minister of Holy Communion

10. Of all the things listed above, I believe the most important, bar none, is kneeling for Holy Communion as the means to emphasize what the Church believes about Holy Communion

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


No where in Vatican II or any actual authoritative, dogmatic teaching, does the Church say we must do this to churches! This is contrived for the Ordinary Form and much of the Ordinary Form was contrived by liturgists, to include inculturation, banal music and casualness. It also contrived where the choir should be and how the cantor should act, all of which turned the "music ministry" into entertainment for high strung artists.

Pope Benedict before he was pope stated that an OF and EF Mass both chanted and in Latin, ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion would be very similar to one another and few lay people would notice much of a difference.  I agree.

But he also stated that there is more variance from parish to parish in how the OF Mass is celebrated and even from various Mass times in a particular parish.

That is the problem and a dogmatic solution from a dogmatic pope, like Pope Francis, could change things over night. Pope Benedict simply proposed but never really mandated too much in terms of the "reform of the reform" in continuity. That is way too bad!

What I believe is contrived is the ideologies imposed upon the Ordinary Form. One example that a commenter made on another thread is the USCCB's 1970's "Art and Architecture" for Catholic Church, new ones being built and old ones being renovated. It was a contrived disaster.

What is worse, is that those who tried to implement it in various parishes, and I include myself in this in my first parish assignment in Albany, Georgia in 1980, made this little booklet and the Bishops' Conference a dogmatic teaching, infallible and had to be implemented, like it or not, because they knew better. There wasn't to be any disagreement about it! We are doing what the bishops are asking us to do and case closed!

This approach by modern liturgists and their enablers, like the USCCB, is what has led in part to about 70% of Catholics not believing in what Jesus teaches about the Most Holy Eucharist.

Liturgists who are more difficult to deal with than terrorists, as the old saying goes, contrived so much as it concerns the Ordinary Form and that contrivance is a fact!


Which do you prefer:

Gracious God,
you filled your priest and martyr,
Saint Maximilian Kolbe,
with zeal for your house
and love for his neighbor.
Through the prayers of this devoted servant of Mary Immaculate,
grant that in our efforts to serve others for your glory
we too may become like Christ your Son,
who loved his own in the world even to the end,
and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe
with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary
and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor,
graciously grant, through his intercession,
that, striving for your glory by eagerly serving others,
we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


This may be a demographic destruction, St. Andrews in St. Paul, MN:

This is a destruction that has led to 70% of Catholics not believing what Jesus teaches about the Holy Eucharist and is contrived for the Ordinary Form:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


When I was in the seminary in Baltimore, this parish, Saint Michael's, was a possible field placement for seminarians. It was a beautiful Church.

It has succumbed to changing demographics and the decline in the practice of the faith. It has been closed. It's artwork has been removed to include the altars and all else associated with the Mass. I presume these will be recycled to other churches in need across the country.

It will be transformed into a brewery. There will be more interest in that than when it was a church for the unwashed masses.

Here are the renovating and after photos followed by the before photos:


Many Catholics, especially post-Catholic progressives, usually my age and older, are bloviating over what clericalism is and trying to rid the priesthood of it.

I contend, though, that many of the recommendations of progressives miss the mark and simply try to make the priest another layperson. It is the old problem that Pope Saint John Paul try to put to rest, the laicization of the priesthood and the clericalization of the laity. Most of what progressives suggest is nostalgia for the time before Pope St. John Paul but in the last few years of Pope St. Paul VI.

Clericalism in my view is most evident among progressive priests who dogmatically instill a version of the “spirit” of Vatican II on their people. They manipulate the Mass by ad libbing or doing things that are against the rubrics or even common sense. In other words they think they are above the law, not only canon law, liturgical law but also civil law.

For example progressive Catholics, usually my age and older, will do some sort of civil disobedience in our diocese either at Kings Bay, a nuclear submarine facility or at Fort Benning in Columbus. When they get arrested for damaging property, they cry crocodile tears if the book is tossed at them and they get a prison sentence. That’s clericalism, my friends.

Conservative clericalism does the same thing. It doesn’t respect canon law or diocesan regulations when it comes to pastoral councils, finance councils and respect for financial accountability as well as accountability when it comes to time away from the parish, extravagant vacations overseas and regularly and going beyond what is allowed for these things in terms of budgets.

But with that said, a progressive aging retired priest of Washington, DC, Father Peter Daley has an article in the National Chismatic Reporter on how to deal with clericalism.

This is an excerpt:

Clerics (bishops and priests) are often trained to think they are set apart from and set above everyone else in the church. Their word is not to be questioned. Their behavior is not to be questioned. Their lifestyle is not be questioned. They rule over the church as if they were feudal lords in a feudal society. That is often how they see themselves — lords of the manor, complete with coats of arms, titles of nobility and all the perks that go with "superiority."
  • Seminarians say they are called to "chalices, not callouses." (In other words, no physical work.)
  • People say, "Nothing is too good for "Father." Or, "Father never picks up the check."
  • Priests and bishops spend huge amounts of parish and diocesan money on themselves, with no controls. E.g., redecorating the rectory, building a new episcopal residence, taking lavish trips at church expense, or giving lavish gifts to each other with church money.
  • When the priest says, "This is my parish. My way or the highway."
  • When 18-year-old college seminarians wear clerical garb to set themselves apart.
  • When parents tell their children, "Never question a priest."
  • When people say that "the priests are 'next to God.' "
  • When bishops prioritize avoiding scandal over protecting victims of abuse by priests.
  • When thriving parishes are closed because there is a shortage of priests when there are deacons and lay people readily available to keep the community going.
It is not just clerics who are clerical. The laity often foster clericalism by always deferring to "Father" and putting "Father" on a pedestal. Clericalism is experienced in thousands of words and deeds that add up to a "culture" or atmosphere. Clericalism shows itself when:
All those things are symptoms of clericalism. The culture of clericalism can have horrific consequences.
My comment: I agree with some in the list above, but not with all when it reduces the legitimate authority of the priest by virtue of his ordination. Obviously legitimate authoirty can be abused, that's called sin, actual sin, which has two types, mortal and venial.

Instead of beating around the bush, why don't we talk about sin, mortal and venial as it concerns the abuse of what priests and bishops are called to do?????????????????????????