Thursday, March 31, 2011

THE CHURCH OF EXTREMES




When I was in the seminary, there was real talk about the Catholic Church changing its name. Now this talk was amongst seminarians inspired by Vatican II and the euphoric attitude the Church had concerning ecumenism in the immediate aftermath of the "spirit" of Vatican II. What better gesture toward ecumenism than to change the Catholic Church's name to the Christian Church. That would unite us with all those who are Christian. The only requisite for receiving Holy Communion is that we be Christian, that is baptized in one form or another. Instant Christian unity, everything else could be sacrificed and was considered fluff!

Now mind you, I'm not talking about serious theologians and bishops considering this, it was the lunatic left that was a very powerful force in the late 1960's and 1970's, drunk on the euphoria of the "spirit" of Vatican II.

But consider what more radical, left leaning reformers after Vatican II did to the Church and her Catholic identity.

1. They dismantled all traditional Catholic piety including a very powerfully strong Marian piety. The Holy Rosary was definitely out! Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was out--the tabernacle was moved to locations that very few people would visit except for the most die hard of adorers. Novenas, processions and the devotional music were out.

2. The Mass itself was reformed to reflect Protestant sensitivities and allure them to become enamored with the Mass as meal, simplified, in the vernacular,and devotion surrounding it not as pietistic, all the things that would appeal to Protestant sensibilities and thus bring us closer together.

3. The English translation of the Mass was a paraphrase of the original Latin reform of the Mass. In many places the English translation has no resemblance to the Latin meaning whatsoever. This is now being shown with the new English translation which is more faithful to the Latin, especially as it concerns theology and doctrine which are the most important things to be preserved. In many of the translations there is the heresy of Palagism. Catholic devotion is lost in terms of superlatives to describe the Church, Christ, Eucharistic actions, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. All of this would appeal to Protestant sensibilities. It would dumb down our Catholic identity and it certainly has (the law of prayer is the law of belief and if the prayer is wrong, diminished, heretical and dumbed down, the same happens to our belief!)

What Pope Benedict has done in his short papacy is to identify the need to the Catholic Church to be unabridged in her Catholic identity. He has done this with his theology of "Reform within continuity" approach with what the Church was prior to Vatican II. He has sought to bring about inner healing in the Church so that we do not view the Church prior to the Second Vatican II as some nasty anachronistic institution that Vatican II did away with and instituted something entirely new altogether.

The liberal allowance of the "unreformed" Mass using the Missal of 1962 which was the missal used at Vatican II is a sign that what was good for the Church since the 1500's if not before cannot be bad for the Church today.

The Holy Father's view of Christian unity is important too. It means that those who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church which is always to be understood as being under the authority of the successor of St. Peter, the Pope, means that they must become more Catholic, the Catholic Church does not become more Protestant.

Thus we have the Anglican Ordinariate. This structure will allow Anglicans and Episcopalians to return to the full communion of the Catholic Church but only after its Protestant ideologies are purified. However, their tradition of prayer and liturgy that are in keeping with Catholic traditions can be retained. There is now talk of Lutherans returning to the Full Communion of their Church (The Catholic Church) through a similar means! Pope Benedict is the pope of Christian unity!

The greatest struggle the Church has now is with her own. Those who wish to remake the Catholic Church according to the principles of liberal Protestantism symbolized by the Episcopal Church.

That won't wash! Yes many Catholics want a Church that is no different from Protestant communions, embraces all the secular trends concerning human sexuality and marriage, included homosexual marriage, divorce, remarriage and a million other combinations of human relationships. It won't work though. It can't! The Church can never be officially opposed to Christ and His teachings. That would make us the Anti-Christ.

Yes, we will see many Catholics defecting for more liberal expressions of Christianity and for no religion whatsoever. We have to let them go if we can't persuade them to change and convert to Christ.

Yes, the Catholic Church many be fewer in numbers and that's just fine if we are faithful to Christ and our Catholic identity.

The "spirit" of Vatican II babel is not dead. It keeps rearing its ugly head in diehard liberal theologians. At least in this case below, the bishops of the United States grab the "bull" and it is that, by the horns and call it for what it is:

READ THE USCCB'S CRITIQUE OF A NEW IDEA OF GOD FROM A CATHOLIC KUMBAYA SISTER BY PRESSING THIS SENTENCE!

18 comments:

pinanv525 said...

"Lunatic Left..." Fr., you really must watch those redundancies. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I bet the Protestants would have loved a name change: "Do you attend the Baptist Church in Macon? No, I'm a Christian." In all seriousness I was relieved in a sad way when I read B XVI comment that the Church would likely get smaller in order to grow. So many people are claiming to be Catholic when they don't agree with so much of what identifies it as Catholic. In many cases they would be at home and happy to the point of elisium in an Episcopal or Presbyterian Church. It almost seems a mental illness to claim to be in communion with the Church while fighting all the core teachings. Why not join the C of E and work from their side for unity that would legitimately acknowledge the alternative? They could likely become a priest or bishop in no time. I suppose it would be a sin to suggest such a thing to them.

rcg

BDKing said...

"...what was good for the Church in since the 1500's if not before cannot be bad for the Church today."

Where do we start...? Slaves owned by priests and bishops? No women allowed in the choir? Castrati in the choirs sounding like women? Expulsions of the Jews?

It is simply too fascile (and in my estimation an implicit denial of the Incarnation) to say of the liturgy "what was good then is good now." As translations have changed, as language has evolved, as the doctrine of the Church has developed, so has the liturgy.

And that is a good thing.

Frajm said...

BDKing, of course we're speaking of the hermeneutic of reform within continuity. To say that the pre-Vatican II Mass which is what I was writing about contributed to slavery and other forms of cultural idiosyncrasies is to say that the post Vatican II Mass contributed to priests molesting children, bishops who reassigned them, laity who enter into spousal abuse and divorce and on and on shall we go.

The thing that the Church of all ages has, which we seem to have forgotten, is clergy and laity corrupted by original and actual sin and always in need of reform from that point of view, both from the personal and cultural point of view. So Jesus used imagery of slaves in His parables and He's the Master. Therefore, He's not to be our Messiah?

pinanv525 said...

Ewww! Ewww! Slavery!!! Ewww!! *wring hands, run in circles* Do you have any idea how stupid and mindless it is for certain people, usually libs, to scream and moan about slavery in some knee-jerk reflex response every time anyone mentions tradition, structure, law, heritage, history, or the blessings, triumphs, and benefits of Western culture and the Judaeo-Christian tradition? Slavery and much worse still exist in many parts of the world. Why don't you run and wring your hands about modernism? (Fr., am I allowed to say "moron" on this site?)

Frajm said...

There should never be any name calling, only address the issues not the personalities or people.

William said...

One of the great failings in modern teaching is that few among us realize that slavery has been in every culture, at one time or another. That is not to justify the practice, but simply to put things in perspective: it is not a failing of any one group, but has been a failing of all groups, not all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Charity demands that I point out for BDKing that the blog post sentence reads "What was *good* for the Church..." obviously allowing that all things were not good. I would then ask, less charitably, if BDKing intentionally meant to say that what was good then is not good now. How would that reconcile with the Incarnation?

rcg

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Trivia: the third picture is of the Pink Panther, not Tony the Tiger.

Play on.

BDKing said...

I did not say the pre-Vatican II mass "contributed to slavery." No one thinks that. Nor, for that matter, do I think the post-Vatican II mass contrinutes to child molestation.

I did say that there were many things that were approved/accepted in the Church in the 1500's that we no longer approve/accept. Slavery was good enough in the 1500's... Castrati were good enough in the 1500's... But they are gone now.

You see, the argument is weak as water. Just because it was good enough then doesn't make it good enough now. (No, Pin, I am not suggesting we jettison divinely revelaed Truth, so don't get your shorts in a knot.) The form of the mass, however, is not a matter of Divine Revelation, otherwise it would never, not once, have changed.

Charity demands that I point out to rcg that slavery and castrati were never, in themselves, good. The Church thought they were good, but the Church and her leaders recognized their error.

pinanv525 said...

The logical progression of positions like that of BDKing/Ignotus is that we are moving full steam ahead towards a secular/humanist utopia peopled by reasonable, charitable, humble, non-violent, universalist automatons who use no bad words, think no bad thoughts, love everybody (except themselves, of course),drive matchbox cars that run on Perrier water...all run by a hip, benign, welfare state bureaucrat. All tradition, history, culture, individuality, and Catholic identity be damned. Here we come!!! Ignotus can be the High Priest of Proper.

pinanv525 said...

Whoa, there, BDKing/Ignotus...Re: slavery and castrati sopranos being a bad thing: Hey, I'm just sayin'...I mean, without slavery you would have had no Pyramids, no Sphinx, no Great Wall, no Exodous, no "let my people go" so we could have the '60's, no Roman Empire, none of those neat gladiator fights so we can have movies, no Parthenon, no Parnassus, and no Gant shirts, Jockey shorts, or blues music. There would be none of those cool folk songs about slavery and freedom everyone used to smoke dope to, nothing for liberals to whine about, and no livelihood for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and Obama would never have become President. Better re-think that.

As far as castrati sopranos are concerned...who else is gonna' hit all those high c's? And, you have to imagine how wonderful all that medieval and Renaisance plainchnat must have sounded...wow! Hey,now that I think of it, Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Bill Clinton, and Michael Moore would make great castrati sopranos. I mean, they are practically there already...a little quick micro-surgery and there you are...wouldn't even need anesthesia...they are already numb.LOL!

StabatMater said...

So a dear friend just called me about this Pink Panther thing. This photo is from St. Dominic in New Orleans. These props are used for Mt. Carmel Academy (a nearby girl’s “Catholic” school). For every “special” Mass, ie Ring Night, pinning ceremonies, etc., the mascot of the senior class is put in front of the altar (Pink Panther’s was hers in the mid-nineties, and so got handed to the incoming freshman class & rotated.) The bear represents the school mascot– cubs. The colorful thingies are spirit sticks. This has been a part of this school’s tradition for at least 20 years.
And now you know another reason I am HOMESCHOOLING my children!!!!!!
I coordinate Novus Ordo Masses for our homeschool group (with much more traditional priests). I have been hit with the document on children’s Masses by another mother who is much more liturgically liberal than I. It has been difficult, but with the support of many other families we have held firm in not turning our Masses into the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. Why does everything need to be dumbed down & turned into Chuck E Cheese to think it has any value to children? Give them the sacred mystery that every human heart desires! My children have never asked me to “shake things up a little” in order that Mass might strike their fancy. Please keep our group in prayer!
Additionally my family has begun attending EF– and it has been nothing short of miraculous! The sense of right-order in my home as of late has taken my breath away. I returned to the Church through the charismatic movement, but I must say in the EF I have found the FULLNESS of Faith! And having a daughter (11 yo) with neuro-sensory processing issues– well, I wish I would have known before what a fluid, multi-sensory experience the EF would be. She is beautifully captivated as is my 6 year old son (insert vocation prayer, please ;) as well as one for his upcoming First Communion on the Feast of Corpus Christi!) I am one VERY happy mother! Latin has changed our homeschooling efforts for the better. I could ramble forever, sorry– but we have truly been overcome with immeasurable joy since attending the EF of the Mass. Ain’t nothin’ ordinary about it!!!!

StabatMater said...

Oops for got to correct the church name before sending my earlier post. It is St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in New Orleans which was damaged in and torn down after Hurricane Katrina.

Frajm said...

Thanks Stabat Mater for your words. When we take the Church and the Liturgy seriously, we take God seriously and that does indeed bring order out of disorder!

pinanv525 said...

StabatMater, What a wonderful story you have shared with us! Thank you very much and you will definitely be in my prayers. Gene

Anita Moore said...

BDKing said...

"...what was good for the Church in since the 1500's if not before cannot be bad for the Church today."

Where do we start...? Slaves owned by priests and bishops? No women allowed in the choir? Castrati in the choirs sounding like women? Expulsions of the Jews?


Notwithstanding Summorum pontificum, there are still places where the Mass of tradition is inaccessible; and the foregoing illustrates why those of us who live in these liberal enclaves and want to restore it must fight an uphill battle. Too many Catholics have been taught to associate the Extraordinary Form with racism, sexism, homophobia, Jim Crow, chastity belts, pollution, dead white males, etc. etc. etc. Personally, I don't see the connection; but too many of my fellow Catholics think it's there, and that is a tough thing to overcome.

Maimonides said...

Anita: There is NO connection between th EF mass and racism, sexism, etc. And I never suggested there was. Nor, is there any connection between the OF mass and child sex abuse.

They simply existed at the same time.

The historical fact is that many things that were thought "good" by Church leaders and Catholics in general - slavery is one example - are now understood to be horribly evil. Just because a thing was the norm "back then" does not mean it is or should be the norm now.

There has to be a better reason.