Wednesday, November 30, 2011

THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE LITURGY UNDER THE GUISE OF RENEWAL

I've posted this video before from Elvis Presley's movie, "A Change of Habits." What I find fascinating about it is that the Mass depicted in the last act of the movie is from the 1965 missal which is the EF Mass, but allowed for the procession of gifts.

Already in the late 1960's when this movie was made, the silly season of music was taking place and with folk groups singing from the front. It also captures some of the sentiments of older folks who were befuddled by all of this.

But the point that I'm making is that this occurred with the EF Mass. The EF Mass didn't stop this cultural experimentation and the denigration of the traditional piety Catholics had for the Mass. And this was happening to the Ad Orientem celebration of the Mass that emphasized the sacrifice over the "Supper."

Your thoughts:

I LIKE IT, BOTH THE CHANT AND THE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION!

They say the Holy Father is using this because of joint problems with his knees. That may well be the case, but I think it does enable those in St. Peter's to see him better. While not as high as the contraption that the Holy Father would sit on as several men carried him in, it is high enough for people to get a better glimpse of the Holy Father. As well, it offers more protection to the Holy Father. I think it is a good compromise on the previous loftiness and not using anything at all.

HAS JOHN ALLEN HIT THE LITURGICAL NAIL ON THE HEAD? YES AND NO!


John Allen describes his experience with the corrected English translation of the Mass this past Sunday. This is a small excerpt from what he wrote:

Chatting briefly with Mass-goers afterwards, I heard several versions of what I would label the "common sense" perspective on liturgical matters. In different ways, most people -- whatever they thought of the new language -- said that the things that really matter in shaping the quality of their liturgical experience boil down to three points: How good the preaching is, how good the music is and how welcoming the community seems.

If those three things are in place, they said, the most defective translation in the world won't prevent them from coming back. Conversely, if those three things are off, even the Platonic ideal of a translation won't get them in the door.

The consensus seemed to be that at the grassroots, most Catholics wish the church would devote even a fraction of the time and energy it's poured into debates over translation to the things that really strike ordinary people as decisive: preaching, music, and community spirit.


My Comments: Since Vatican II we have gauged the effectiveness of the Liturgy as some sort of product that the Church sells to its customers. If they don't like it, we have to sell it as new and improved.

What about the Mass, no matter how good the community is, how poor the music is and how bad the preaching is as the One Sacrifice of Christ re-presented on our altars in an unbloody way for our personal salvation and the salvation of the world? If that is lost in the conversation, then God help us!

John Allen is giving us more of the same of the silly season right after Vatican II about the Mass being a feel good experience for customers.

I'm not opposed to community. We need it, but this must happen naturally through other venues in the parish.

I'm not opposed to good music, but there has to be an objective norm by which good liturgical music is evaluated and it can't just be something that affects our hormones and elevates the spirit in a narcotic "feel-good" way.

I'm not opposed to good preaching, but the Mass can stand on its own without any preaching! It's the Sacrifice of Christ re-presented in an unbloody way for our salvation that is central and foundational. Everything else, including warm community, good liturgical music and inspiring preaching follows.

How did we get so far off track in what is important about the Mass and make false god's out of the icing on the cake?

The corrected English translation of the Mass and a vigorous new emphasis on its sacrificial content will go a long way offering the world what is essential for their salvation--it ain't just community, good preaching and good music! It is Jesus Christ and His suffering and death on the Cross and His resurrection that forms the Community of Saints on earth, in purgatory and in heaven.

THE CULTURE WARS AND CATHOLIC COMMON SENSE


Archbishop Nichols of Westminster said the following concerning same sex civil unions:

'We would want to emphasize that civil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision,
............
'As a Church we are very committed to the notion of equality so that people are treated the same across all the activities of life. The Church holds great store by the value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that people give. Stability in society depends upon the reliability of commitments that people give. That might be in offering to do a job but especially in their relationships with one another. Equality and commitment are both very important and we fully support them.'


My Comments: I am all in favor of the good fight to preserve the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman in civil law. However, I don't know of too many Catholics who would want civil law to outlaw civil divorce although the Catholic Church does not recognize civil divorce as it pertains to our understanding of a marriage that is a Sacrament. Nor do we fight the government in providing benefits for those who are in a second, third or more marriage after a civil divorce.

I think we have to recognize that many same sex people have powerfully loving partnerships. As they grow older, this friendship/partnership is very healthy and supportive. I would have to endorse that there should be a way for them to have rights under the law and various benefits. This should all be a part of civil law. At the same time, religious liberty must be respected and Churches and other religious groups should not be forced to act against their teachings. For example, the Church should not have to provide insurance for people who work for the Church who want birth control or abortions to be a part of their coverage.

Many same sex partnerships provide stability for those involved in them and are a path to a higher form of sexual morality that avoids promiscuity.

The Church can still call all couples to chastity. But we don't have to police what is going on behind closed doors, whether it is illicit forms of sex, the use of birth control and the like.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A LOT OF CATHOLIC BASHING: DO YOU WONDER WHY?


Michael Coren is a well-known columnist, author and T.V. broadcaster and writes the following article for Canada's "The Catholic Register." You can read his biography HERE.

Some more hypocrisy and Catholic-bashing

Written by Michael Coren
Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A confession. I don’t like American football very much, and I’m not enormously fond of Episcopalian theology either. But most of all, I hate hypocrisy and Catholic-bashing. So let’s take a trip to Pennsylvania, via Kansas. Bede Parry is a former Benedictine monk who has a history of abusing young men. When this was discovered he was ejected from his abbey and then refused by another monastery in Las Vegas. Rejected by the Roman Catholic Church, in 2004 he became an Episcopalian priest, even after informing the then bishop of Nevada, Katharine Jefferts Schori, that he had sexually transgressed just a few years earlier. She was also told by his former monastery about his sordid past and given highly damaging psychological records. Surprise, surprise. In July this year he resigned from his post and is currently facing criminal charges.

But here is where it all becomes somewhat Kafkaesque. Rather than campaigning against Jefferts Schori and demanding to know why she accepted into ordination a man with such a grotesque record — reports that suggested he was likely to reoffend — the usual anti-Catholic brigade have set up shop locally to attack the Catholic bishop and the Catholic Church.

My comment first on the next paragraph: If the Catholic Church embraced what Bishop Shori embraces, the Catholic Church would not have endured the public spectacle of being singled out for its mismanagement of the sex abuse scandal:
Ms. Jefferts Schori, of course, is now the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, or in other words the head of the American version of the Anglican communion. She is also a roaring liberal, a darling of the left, the gay community and those who believe Catholicism to be reactionary, ultra-orthodox and on the wrong side of history.

Those of us who have had to study the ugly figures for sexual abuse knew some time ago that the rates within the Church of England and its international branches were generally higher than within Catholicism, though not as high as those documented in, for example, public education. No matter, if it’s abuse it has to be Catholic abuse, and why allow truth to get in the way of a good story.

A good story; which is precisely what I heard when I listened to Coach Joe Paterno speak a few years ago now, down at Penn State. I was there delivering a set of lectures on G.K. Chesterton and Edwardian English literature of all things, and “Coach,” as he was known, came to listen. It was as if the icon has suddenly come to life. Awe and invincible respect all round. He seemed a nice man, and it’s his assistant, Jerry Sandusky, not him who has been charged with hideous crimes of molesting young boys. Joe, we’re told, knew about some of them and did far too little to intervene.

Which has led most people to assume that pretty much every football coach is part of some enormous sexual underworld, covering up or committing rape and any number of sexual assaults. But of course not. We’re sane, sensible people and we would never make such banal generalizations. That sort of rubbish is reserved for Roman Catholic priests.

Look, numerous studies have shown that abuse occurs wherever there is a power dynamic between an adult and a young person. Its truly horrible, and not confined to any one denomination or profession. Yet only Catholic priests are smothered with the same dirty blanket of assumed guilt; only Catholic priests have to tolerate venomous jokes about their alleged behaviour; and only Catholic priests, it seems, are never allowed to defend themselves.

The leader of the Episcopalian Church in the United States has a great deal to explain, and it appears as if she knew far more about the sexual criminality of a man she personally welcomed into the clergy than did many of the Catholic bishops condemned for not doing enough to prevent abuse from occurring under their watch. Coach Joe Paterno also seems to have been aware of crimes that should have made him act immediately and firmly. He, at least, was fired for his failings; the lady bishop has so far escaped with her credentials unscathed.

It’s the victims that matter most, but the victims who are forgotten first. All in the name of trying to darken the reputation of the Catholic Church. What is odd, though, is that no matter how hard they try, the Church is still so full of light.

POSSIBLE BOMBSHELL? DOES CARDINAL BURKE KNOW SOMETHING: A NEW ROMAN MISSAL? WHEN? WHERE? HOW?


The future new Roman Missal will make the Mass look like this?

Here are the excerpts on matters liturgical from a longer article in the National Catholic Register:

The tribunal prefect also exercises care for the Church’s liturgy as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship.

He is grateful to Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for giving the Church “a font of solid direction” regarding worship, based on the Second Vatican Council’s vision of a “God-centered liturgy and not a man-centered liturgy.”

That intention was not always realized, he said, since the Council’s call for liturgical reform coincided with a “cultural revolution.”

Many congregations lost their “fundamental sense that the liturgy is Jesus Christ himself acting, God himself acting in our midst to sanctify us.”

Cardinal Burke said greater access to the traditional Latin Mass, now known as the “extraordinary form” of the Roman rite, has helped to correct the problem.

“The celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form is now less and less contested,” he noted, “and people are seeing the great beauty of the rite as it was celebrated practically since the time of Pope Gregory the Great” in the sixth century.

Many Catholics now see that the Church’s “ordinary form” of Mass, celebrated in modern languages, “could be enriched by elements of that long tradition.”

In time, Cardinal Burke expects the Western Church’s ancient and modern forms of Mass to be combined in one normative rite, a move he suggests the Pope also favors.

“It seems, to me, that what he has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite — the ‘reform of the reform,’ if we may — all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.”


MY COMMENTS:

What are the major differences and similarities in the Ordinary Form from the Extraordinary Form?

1. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar was changed to the "penitential" rite with numerous options.

2. The Kyrie is in the same place although truncated when the Confiteor is used. However, when the rite of sprinkling takes place, the penitential rite is omitted and unfortunately also the Kyrie is eliminated altogether. Unfortunately this is also the case in the Funeral Mass.

3. The Gloria and Collect are the same.

4. The Liturgy of the Word is expanded, laity are allowed to read the first two readings and all is read from the Ambo.

5. The Offertory Rite is totally revised and truncated

6. The Orate Fratres is the same

7. The prayer over the gifts (secret) is the same, but prayed out loud.

8. Preface is the same.

9. Sanctus is the same.

10. Mystery of Faith is added, although Roman Canon is the same, but more choices for canons and simplified rubrics.

11. The Great Amen is emphasized as is the "Through Him..." but is the same wording.

12. Pater Noster is the same

13. The addition of the embolism and elimination of several post Pater Noster Prayers.

14. Separate duplicated rites for Holy Communion of priest and then faithful.

15. Clear Communion rite for Laity (missing in EF Missal!)

16. Post Communion prayer the same

17. Blessing and dismissal is reversed and a prayer is eliminated

18. Last gospel is eliminated.

What would a new Missal that suppresses the current OF Mass and the 1962 Missal look like. Of course now we enter into my well-known clairvoyance!

1. Ad Orientem returns

2. Penitential Rite is eliminated in favor of the "Requiem Mass" Prayer at the Foot of the Altar, although this is omitted when the Rite of Sprinkling takes place with the blessing of the Water during it."

3. Kyrie, Gloria and Collect--normative for all Masses.

4. The Liturgy of the Word will be unaltered from the OF Mass and the manner in which it is celebrated. Year D will be added, though, which will be the 1962 Missal's Sunday readings.

5. The calendar will remain the same except for the designation of Ordinary Time as After Epiphany and then after Pentecost. Ember days will return and the season prior the Lent will return. The Octave of Pentecost will return.

6. The Creed and Universal Prayer (Intercessions) will remain as is

7. The offertory prayers will use the 1962 version

8. The additional canons will remain, but the rubrics will be more defined for the use of the pall, double genuflections (one also genuflects each time the pall is removed after the Precious Blood is consecrated). However, the other rubrics from the OF will remain.

9. The Post Communion, Blessing and Dismissal will remain the OF version.

10.It will be mandated that the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons be used and "devotional" hymns, anthems and songs only used as "filler" if desired, but not mandated.

11. The distinction of styles of Mass will be clarified: Low Mass, no music; Sung Mass--all parts sung; Solemn Sung will be eliminated and the role of the deacon will be as it is currently in the OF Mass.

12. Vernacular will be the norm but Latin encouraged for all or parts of the Mass; perhaps a Latin version in parishes with multiple Masses on Sunday.

13. Receiving Holy Communion according to the 1962 missal kneeling will be the norm, but the laity will still have the option of the chalice through intinction

Monday, November 28, 2011

JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU CAN'T GETTING ANY HIGHER BECAUSE OF THE CORRECTED ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE MASS, THEN THERE'S THIS! GOD IS GOOD!

The corrected English translation of the Mass yesterday,then this today! Can life get any better?

I just filled up at this gas station near my mother's house in Augusta. I never thought that I would think $3.06 for a gallon of gas would be cheap! But my heart is fluttering!

HE LIIKES IT! MIKEY LIKES IT! THAT'S LIFE!

At the Chant Cafe, Jeffery Tucker has an article, The Spectacular Success of the New Missal Translation. He quotes "Mikey" I mean, Father Anthony Ruff, the Benedictine priest at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN who hated the corrected translation and has been trying to foment rebellion towards it and the "monarchy" of the Church's Magisterium in posts and others articles but has had a "come to Jesus conversion experience" yesterday with the corrected English translation of the Holy Mass implementation at the Abbey:

"I suspect that many people who had doubts coming into this project have changed their minds already. In the New York Times today, Fr. Anthony Ruff is quoted with extremely critical remarks to the journalist: "The syntax is too Latinate, it’s not good English that will help people pray," But on his blog today,(Pray Tell) he writes: “It all went quite well at the abbey, and I was struck by the beauty of the liturgy.... Overall, I liked it much more than I expected."


What was your conversion experience yesterday with the Corrected English translation of the Mass?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FLASHES OF GOD'S ROTTWEILER RETURNING?

SHOULD THE HOLY SEE BE MORE PRO-ACTIVE IN FIRING BISHOPS WHO UNDERMINE THE FAITH?



My comments first: The story below is about the German bishops who own a very profitable publishing company and have made millions of dollars from it. For well over ten years many in the German Church have tried to get the bishops to get the company they own to stop selling pornography. The efforts of these "whistle blowers" were ignored time and time again!

Does it sound familiar to you?
Can you spell S E X A B U S E S C A N D A L?

I have to agree with those who say the Holy See, meaning the papacy which has authority to do so, should fire bishops and quickly as well as transparently who are so incompetent that they allow the sex abuse of priests to continue by shuffling these priests around the world, produce pornography in their own publishing house because it is profitable thus abusing the moral teachings of the Church, allow the Liturgy and architecture of the Church to be desecrated and vandalized and the clear teachings of the dogmas and doctrines of the Church to be modified and called into question thus abusing faithful Catholics who are confused by the bishops actions or inaction, sins of commission or omission.

Yes, Holy Father, it is time to be ruthless in firing these kinds of bishops and quickly and making an example out of them to other bishops. You did it in New Zealand--do it throughout the world.

Read it and weep:

After papal rebuke, German bishops to sell book company caught selling porn
by Patrick B. Craine

Wed Nov 23, 2011 13:57 EST


AUGSBURG, Germany, November 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a decade of complaints by lay Catholics, and a public rebuke from the Pope himself, Germany’s bishops have reportedly decided to sell WELTBILD – the lucrative book publishing company that was recently outed by mainstream media for carrying some 2,500 pornographic titles.

“We can’t make money all week long with something we condemn from the pulpit on Sunday,” said Cardinal Joachim Meissner of Cologne, according to Deutsche Welle.

WELTBILD is the second largest bookselling company in Germany, with annual sales of $2.1 billion, and is wholly owned by the German bishops.

News about the company’s dealings in pornography broke in the mainstream press late last month, embarrassing the Catholic Church in the country. The bishops initially claimed it was an oversight due to a filtering problem, and would be dealt with quickly.

However, lay Catholics retorted that the public revelations followed years of attempts to alert the bishops to the inappropriate merchandise. In one case, a 70-page dossier was sent to all of Germany’s main bishops, but was apparently ignored.

The scandal was exacerbated further when WELTBILD issued a statement lambasting its critics, saying that the titles were not pornography, but merely “erotica,” and that it would sue those who said the bishops were profiting from porn.

In addition to erotica, LifeSiteNews verified that WELTBILD also sells books promoting Satanism, the occult, esoterism, and anti-Christian atheist propaganda.

Weeks after the scandal broke, Pope Benedict publicly called on Germany’s bishops to take “clear and divisive” action to combat pornography.

“The time has come to take an energetic stance against prostitution and the widespread availability of erotic and pornographic material, also on the Internet,” said the Pope in remarks to the new German ambassador to the Vatican on Nov. 7.

“The Holy See will ensure that the Catholic Church in Germany takes clear and decisive initiatives against this form of abuse,” he added.

Ownership of WELTBILD has been divided between the Bishops’ Conference (24%), the Archdiocese of Munchen and Freising (13%), the diocese of Augsburg (13%) and 11 other diocese with percentage ownerships ranging from two to seven percent.

MARTIN LUTHER WOULDN'T LIKE THIS AUGUSTINIAN CHURCH, BUT JOHN CALVIN AND JOHN KNOX WOULD, THE PURITANS MIGHT BUT THE MASONS WOULD DIE FOR IT!!

The photos below which I got from Rorate Caeli are from the Augustinian church in Würzburg, Germany. The first is how the Church looked prior to World War II. Obviously it is Baroque in architecture and decorations in this picture (or maybe Rococo, I can't remember the difference). The Second picture is how the Church looked in the 1970's after a major renovation that took out the Baroque and substituted Puritanical simplicity. The third renovation just completed and costing over 1.7 million euros which is well over $2 million, is nothing more than a Masonic meeting hall in design. It is the place where the Holy Supper is celebrated and takes its theology from the 1970's which I describe so well in my article on Albany, Georgia's renovation of St. Teresa Church in 1980.

The last picture is art work that hangs in front of and thus hides a piece of art that actually goes with the Church. Talk about vandalism of a Church and her liturgy!

Martin Luther who began the Protestant Reformation and was an Augustinian Monk would probably be turning in Purgatory if not hell realizing that the Augustinians have become Masons.

Keep in mind that this is from Germany whose Bishops own the most profit producing publishing company in all of Germany that also produces pornography! This is what the bishops finally decided to do after the story went worldwide and the pope rebuked the German bishops:

AUGSBURG, Germany, November 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a decade of complaints by lay Catholics, and a public rebuke from the Pope himself, Germany’s bishops have reportedly decided to sell WELTBILD – the lucrative book publishing company that was recently outed by mainstream media for carrying some 2,500 pornographic titles.

“We can’t make money all week long with something we condemn from the pulpit on Sunday,” said Cardinal Joachim Meissner of Cologne, according to Deutsche Welle.

My comments: Really, Cardinal Meissner!? And you wonder why the German bishops allowed the selling of porn for well over ten years? Look at what they allow in the Liturgy and in Church renovations below and you'll understand!

I'm not a fan of Baroque as I think it is too fussy and busy, but I respect it for its time, place and as a part of legitimate art history. The Church prior to the 1970 renovation:

John Calvin and John Knox would be pleased. This is what the Puritans did to the Church during the 1970's revolution:

This is what the European Masons did to the Church and just recently believe it or not, although it looks like the 1970's. Yikes!

A contemporary painting ("The Heavenly Jerusalem") now covers the painting over the high altar. The latter depicts the Battle of Lepanto and is the only painting in the church that was saved from the flames of World War II. You can see the painting behind this "artwork" in the first two pictures above!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A BLAST FROM THE PAST; A TIME WARP FROM THE 1980'S AND OH TO BE YOUNG AGAIN!

MY COMMENTS FIRST ON MY VERY OWN 1981 NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON THE RENOVATION OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA CHURCH IN ALBANY, GEORGIA (BE SURE TO SAY ALL-BENNY!) Okay, this is going to be good! I was ordained on June 7, 1980. I went to major seminary in St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, 1976-80. I was influenced greatly by the Sulpician school of liturgy and Father Eugene Walsh,SS both of which were very much influenced by the iconoclasm of the 1960's and 70's in the Church, the liturgy and the seminary! The pictures below I took with my blackberry from old photos I have and from the Southern Cross Diocesan newspaper which accounts for their poor quality. But you get the idea! My article was rather lengthy and I was surprised the editor of the Southern Cross published it in its entirety on November 19, 1981. I acted as the Master of Ceremonies for this consecration and a month later for another one at St. Joseph Church in Waycross, GA! This combined with the article eventually led Bishop Lessard to name me the Associate Pastor of the Cathedral in 1985 as well as Diocesan Master of Ceremonies and Director of Liturgy.

While the article below the pictures from 1981 depicts my thinking very well and much I still agree; I would write today more from the hermeneutic of reform within continuity rather than reform within rupture with the past! Please note, though, and this doesn't shock me, that no where in the article do I discuss the Sacrificial aspect of the Mass--it is the Lord's Supper and our sharing in it! It's all about the banquet, not about the bloody sacrifice re-presented in an "unbloodly way." Nor is there any description of the Holy Eucharist as the "Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ." That was so pre-Vatican II in the 1980's! It is to laugh today! What a time warp!

I had a great deal of influence on this renovation and pushed it mightily through and tried to convince reticent parishioners to get with it! But the one good thing I did do was to convince the renovation committee not to follow Rambusch's demand that the large crucifix on the wall above the altar be removed. I save Jesus crucified! (another example of how the sacrifice of Christ was not emphasized in the post-Vatican II, spirit of Vatican II theology that Rambusch and other church renovators shoved down the throat of the Church in America.

After this Mass was over, many parishioners came up to me and said the altar is too low, we couldn't see a thing! Rambusch only wanted it all to be two steps high so that it wasn't distant and aloof from the congregation! Within a couple of months I regretted this "reckovation!" About ten years ago, this sanctuary was again renovated (restored) and statues placed back where they once had been rather than hidden off to the sides. Everything that goes around comes around again! Enjoy my time warp article below! I'd love to read your comments! But be nice, I was a young whippersnapper!

My article on the front page of our Diocesan newspaper "The Southern Cross" from November 19, 1981!

This photo from the paper of the "before" pre-Vatican II design:

The renovation in progress after the deconstruction:

Bishop Raymond W. Lessard incensing the new altar:

Choir leaders and choir singing from new location next to the altar, please note where the choir director had to stand!

Bishop Lessard celebrating "The Lord's Supper" as it was described in 1981 for the first time on the newly consecrated altar. Please note my modern chalice (my parents gave it to me for my ordination gift) and the baskets of bread in real baskets with napkins below the bread to be consecrated, real food and drink and not to be missed! Please note too the large crystal decanter of wine being consecrated to later be "poured out" into additional "cups" as a sign of Christ's Blood poured out for us!

One of the first school Masses in the renovated Church:

On Saturday afternoon, October 31, (1981) Bishop Raymond W. Lessard dedicated the newly renovated sanctuary of St. Teresa’s Church in Albany (GA). The rites of the solemn ceremony included the sprinkling with water and anointed with chrism of the new altar as well as its incensation. This ritual corresponds to the rites of initiation of Christians through the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. Just as we are initiated by the waters of baptism, and anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit for membership and service in the Assembly of God’s people, so to is the altar sprinkled and anointed for service in the midst of God’s people as we celebrate the presence of the risen Christ among us.

When Saint Teresa’s Church building was first dedicated in 1958 by then Bishop Thomas J. McDonough, its worship space was designed to accommodate an understanding of the church liturgy which was primarily the responsibility of the priest assisted by altar boys. The laity passively participated as spectators to what occurred beyond the barrier of the altar railing between the priest and God.

The universal changes promulgated by the Second Vatican Council touched the local churches throughout the world. Saint Teresa’s in Albany began to experience what this renewal meant as the concrete changes began to touch them in the most dramatic way in the mid 1960’s. As the years progressed, the leadership of St. Teresa’s began to realize the broader implications of the symbolic changes in church liturgy. The 1958 design of the church’s worshiping space neither captured nor symbolized the new role of the laity in the total life of the church and its worship. Under the pastorate of Fr. Herbert J. Wellmeier and the parish council, a committee was chosen in the summer of 1980 to come up with a new plan for St. Teresa’s sanctuary. The architectural firm of Rambusch of New York was hired as design consultants for the renovation committee. They are noted specialists in church renovation.

The design concept of the newly renovated sanctuary incorporates the most recent theological thinking on how best to symbolize the presence of Christ in and with the worshiping assembly. We worship God the Father through the presence of His Son Jesus. His presence calls us to actively participate in His life which should touch every aspect of our lives.

The seating around the altar and ambo (pulpit) is arranged in a manner that draws the assembly into the actions of worship. The assembly becomes aware of Christ in and with the gathered community, “Where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.” (Matthew 18:20) The presence of Christ here must be acknowledged and reverenced. The arrangement of chairs allows faces to be seen rather than just the backs of people’s heads. We do not worship privately, but corporately with others.

The assembly gathers around the one table of God’s Word, the ambo, to be nourished by the presence of Christ in the proclaimed Scriptures. “In the beginning was the Word: The Word was with God and the Word was God…The Word was made Flesh, He lived among us…: (John 1:1-14) The presence of Christ here must be acknowledge and reverenced.

Likewise, the assembly gathers around the one table of the Lord’s Supper—the altar. A multiplicity of altars lessens the significance of the one table which is a sign of Christ who is the source of our unity. As a unified assembly aware of our communion with the entire church, we are nourished by the body and blood of our Lord who is present through the signs and actions of blessing bread and wine, and communally eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper-the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The presence of Christ here must be acknowledged and reverenced.

The altar, ambo and celebrant’s chair are centrally located in the worship space of the Church. These furnishings extend far into the assembly eliciting participation and symbolizing the intimacy of Christ with His people—the Church. Statuary and other art work are placed in locations other than the sanctuary so that at Mass the focus of attention is on the various actions of the celebration not on various devotions.

To the left of the ambo and altar is the large baptismal pool. Baptism incorporates the Christian into the assembly of believers. It initiates the Christian into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The baptismal pool with its life-giving water is a powerful symbol of our Christian dignity and responsibility as a priestly people.
To the right of the ambo and altar is the organ and place for the choir. The choir as part of the gathered worshipping assembly does not entertain, but leads the community in singing and actively participating in the worship of the heavenly Father. The move from the choir loft to the side of the sanctuary highlights the ministry of leadership of the choir.

To the rear of the altar and ambo is a beautifully crafted decorative screen. Behind this screen is a devotional area which accommodates eight to ten people. This is where the Holy Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle for those who are sick and shut-in and for private prayer and meditation. A hanging sanctuary lamp above the screen signifies the presence of the Eucharist I the tabernacle.

The total perspective of the renovated sanctuary immediately encourages the gathered worshippers to focus in upon the faith realities of the presence of Christ in His community, in His Word and in His Supper. St. Teresa’s sanctuary is a model of what other churches in the diocese can do with their pre-Vatican II sanctuary designs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A GOOD HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC ALTAR FROM THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA




Guess which year this Mass is being celebrated? 1954! And it is the Tridentine Mass now known as the Extraordinary Form, celebrated facing the congregation in what year? 1954! But please note that it was required by liturgical law that the main altar be at least three steps higher than the rest of the sanctuary. Please note too, that in the EF Mass the readings of Scripture are from the one altar, not from a separate location--we are fed from one table both the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist which is not a bad thing to recover in the OF Mass as well as the number of steps for the altar and altars that look like this, the so-called Benedictine arrangement!

In the New Law the altar is the table on which the Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered. Mass may sometimes be celebrated outside a sacred place, but never without an altar, or at least an altar-stone. In ecclesiastical history we find only two exceptions: St. Lucian (312) is said to have celebrated Mass on his breast whilst in prison, and Theodore Bishop of Tyre on the hands of his deacons (Mabillon, Praef. in 3 saec., n. 79). According to Radulphus of Oxford (Prop. 25), St. Sixtus II (257-259) was the first to prescribe that Mass should be celebrated on an altar, and the rubric of the missal (XX) is merely a new promulgation of the law. It signifies, according to Amalarius (De Eccles. Officiis, I, xxiv) the Table of the Lord (mensa Domini), referring to the Last Supper, or the Cross (St. Bernard, De Coena Domini), or Christ (St. Ambrose, IV, De Sacram. xii; Abbot Rupert, V, xxx). The last meaning explains the honour paid to it by incensing it, and the five crosses engraved on it signify His five wounds.

Position


In the ancient basilicas the priest, as he stood at the altar, faced the people. The basilicas of the Roman Empire were, as a rule, law courts or meeting places. They were generally spacious, and the interior area was separated by two, or, it might be, four rows of pillars, forming a central nave and side aisles. The end opposite the entrance had a semi-circular shape, called the apse, and in this portion, which was raised above the level of the floor, sat the judge and his assessors, while right before him stood an altar upon which sacrifice was offered before beginning any important public business.

When these public buildings were adapted for Christian assemblies, slight modifications were made. The apse was reserved for the bishop and his clergy; the faithful occupied the centre and side aisles, while between the clergy and people stood the altar. Later on the altar was placed, in churches, in the apse against, or at least near, the wall, so that the priest when celebrating faced the east, and behind him the people were placed. In primitive times there was but one altar in each church. St. Ignatius the Martyr, Cyprian, Irenaeus, and Jerome, speak of only one altar (Benedict XIV, De Sacr. Missae, no. 1, xvii). Some think that more than one altar existed in the Cathedral of Milan in the time of St. Ambrose, because he sometimes uses the word altaria, although others are of opinion that altaria in this place means an altar. Towards the end of the sixth century we find evidence of a plurality of altars, for St. Gregory the Great sent relics for four altars to Palladius, Bishop of Saintes, France, who had placed in a church thirteen altars, four of which remained unconsecrated for want of relics. Although there was only one altar in each church, minor altars were erected in side chapels, which were distinct buildings (as is the custom in the Greek, and some Oriental Churches even at the present day) in which Mass was celebrated only once on the same day in each church (Benedict XIV, Ibidem). The fact that in the early ages of Christianity only the bishop celebrated Mass, assisted by his clergy, who received Holy Communion from the bishop's hands, is the reason that only one altar was erected in each church, but after the introduction of private Masses the necessity of several altars in each church arose.
Material of altars

Although no documents are extant to indicate the material of which altars were made in the first centuries of Christianity, it is probable that they were made of wood, like that used by Christ at the Last Supper. At Rome such a wooden table is still preserved in the Lateran Basilica, and fragments of another such table are preserved in the church of St. Pudentiana, on which St. Peter is said to have celebrated Mass. During the persecutions, when the Christians were forced to move from one place to another, and Mass was celebrated in crypts, private houses, the open air, and catacombs, except when the arcosolia were used (see below, FORM OF AN ALTAR), it is but natural to suppose that they were made of wood, probably wooden chests carried about by the bishops, on the lid of which the Eucharistic Sacrifice was celebrated. St. Optatus of Mileve (De Schismate Donatistarum) reproves the Donatists for breaking up and using for firewood the altars of the Catholic churches, and St. Augustine (Epist. clxxxv) reports that Bishop Maximianus was beaten with the wood of the altar under which he had taken refuge. We have every reason to suppose that in places in which the persecutions were not raging, altars of stone also were in use. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus in the third century built a vast basilica in Neo-Caesarea in which it is probable that more substantial altars were erected. St. Gregory of Nyssa speaks of the consecration of an altar made of stone (De Christi Baptismate). Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II, presented an altar of gold to the Basilica of Constantinople; St. Helena gave golden altars ornamented with precious stones to the church which was erected on the site where the Cross had been concealed for three hundred years; the Popes St. Sixtus III (432-440) and St. Hilary (461-468) presented several altars of silver to the churches of Rome. Since wood is subject to decay, the baser metals to corrosion, and the more precious metals were too expensive, stone became in course of time the ordinary material for an altar. Besides, stone is durable and, according to St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:4), symbolizes Christ — "And the rock was Christ". The Roman Breviary (9 November) asserts that St. Sylvester (314-335) was the first to issue a decree that the altar should be of stone. But of such a decree there is no documentary evidence, and no mention is made of it in canon law, in which so many other decrees of this Pope are inserted. Moreover, it is certain that after that date altars of wood and of metal were erected. The earliest decree of a council which prescribed that an altar which is to be consecrated should be of stone is that of the provincial council of Epeaune (Pamiers), France, in 517 (Labbe, Concil. tom. V, col. 771). The present discipline of the Church requires that for the consecration of an altar it must be of stone.

Form of an altar

In the primitive times there were two kinds of altars:

The arcosolium or monumentum arcuatum, which was formed by cutting in the tufa wall of the wider spaces in the catacombs, an arch-like niche, over a grave or sarcophagus. The latter contained the remains of one or several martyrs, and rose about three feet above the floor. On it was placed horizontally a slab of marble, called the mensa, on which Mass was celebrated.
The altar detached from the wall in the cubicula, or sepulchral chapels surrounded by loculi and arcosolia, used as places of worship in the catacombs or in the churches erected above ground after the time of Constantine. This second kind of altar consisted of a square or oblong slab of stone or marble which rested on columns, one to six in number, or on a structure of masonry in which were enclosed the relics of martyrs. Sometimes two or four slabs of stone were placed vertically under the table, forming a stone chest. In private oratories the table was sometimes made of wood and rested on a wooden support. Within this support were placed the relics of martyrs, and in order to be able to expose them to view, folding doors were fixed on the front.

The Liber Pontificalis states that St. Felix I decreed that Mass should be celebrated on the tombs of martyrs. This no doubt brought about both a change of form, from that of a simple table to that of a chest or tomb, and the rule that every altar must contain the relics of martyrs. Usually the altar was raised on steps, from which the bishop sometimes preached (see ALTAR-STEPS). Originally it was made in the shape of an ordinary table, but gradually a step was introduced behind it and raised slightly above it (see ALTAR-LEDGE). When the tabernacle was introduced the number of these steps was increased. The altar is covered, at least in basilicas and also in large churches, by a canopy supported by columns, called the ciborium (see ALTAR-CANOPY), upon which were placed, or from which were suspended, vases, crowns, baskets of silver, as decorations. From the middle of the ciborium, formerly, a gold or silver dove was suspended to serve as a pyx in which the Blessed Sacrament was reserved. Veils or curtains were attached to the columns which supported the ciborium. (See ALTAR-CURTAIN) The altar was often encircled by railings of wood, or metal, called cancelli, or by low walls of marble slabs called tranennae. According to the present discipline of the Church, there are two kinds of altars, the fixed and the portable. Both these denominations have a twofold meaning, i.e. an altar may be fixed or portable either in a wider sense or in the liturgical meaning. A fixed altar, in a wider sense, is one that is attached to a wall, a floor, or a column whether it be consecrated or not; in the liturgical; sense it is a permanent structure of stone, consisting of a consecrated table and support, which must be built on a solid foundation. A portable altar in a wider sense is one that may be carried from one place to another in the liturgical sense it is a consecrated altar-stone, sufficiently large to hold the Sacred Host and the greater part of the base of the chalice. It is inserted in the table of an altar which is not a consecrated fixed altar.

The component parts of a fixed altar in the liturgical sense are the table (mensa), the support (stipes) and the sepulchrum. (See ALTAR-CAVITY.) The table must be a single slab of stone firmly joined by cement to the support, so that the table and support together make one piece. The surface of this table should be perfectly smooth and polished. Five Greek crosses are engraved on its surface, one at each of the four corners, about six inches from both edges. but directly above the support, and one in the centre. The support may be either a solid mass or it may consist of four or more columns. These must be of natural stone, firmly joined to the table. The substructure need not, however, consist of one piece, but should in every case be built on a solid foundation so as to make the structure permanent. The support may have any of the following forms:

at each corner a column of natural stone, and the spaces between the columns may be filled with any kind of stone, brick, or cement;
the space between the two columns in front may be left open, so as to place beneath the table (exposed) a reliquary containing the body (or a portion of the body) of a saint;
besides the four columns, one at each corner, a fifth column may be placed in the centre at the front. In this case the back, and if desired the sides also, may be filled with stone, brick, or cement;
if the table is small (it should in every case be larger than the stone of a portable altar), four columns are placed under it, one at each corner and, to make up the full length required, frames of stone or other material may be added to each side. These added portions are not consecrated, and hence may be constructed after the ceremony of consecration;
if the table is deficient in width, four columns are placed under it, one at each corner, and a frame of stone or other material is added to the back. This addition is not consecrated, and may be constructed after the consecration of the altar.

In the last two cases the spaces between the columns may be filled with stone brick, or cement, or they may be left open. In every case the substructure may be a solid mass, or the interior may remain hollow, but this hollow space is not to be used as a closet for storing articles of any kind, even such as belong to the altar. Neither the rubrics nor the Sacred Congregation of Rites prescribe any dimensions for an altar. It ought, however, to be large enough to allow a priest conveniently to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice upon it in such a manner that all the ceremonies can be decorously observed. Hence altars at which solemn services are celebrated require to be of greater dimensions than other altars. From the words of the Pontifical we infer that the high altar must stand free on all sides (Pontifex circuit septies tabulam altaris), but the back part of smaller altars may be built against the wall.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "WHAT IF" "IF ONLY" AND "WHY NOT?"

What's wrong with this for the post-Vatican II reformed Mass (Ordinary Form)?

UGH!

UGH! After renovation! Please note that the renovated sanctuary is on the other side of the altar railing which they kept oddly enough, but now behind the new altar or sanctuary. Were they confused? But at least the old was save and could easily be restored by ripping out the new which I suspect will happen one day if not already!

UGH! After renovation!

Why not? Before Renovation! Was renovation really needed for the post Vatican II Mass? I say no! What a waste of time, energy and money!

UGH!

What if the reform of the Mass had not led to the reform of Church buildings and the sanctuary in particular? If only the reform of the Mass had been carried out without the reform of sanctuaries or what many call the iconoclasm of these sanctuaries that rivaled the destruction of Catholic sanctuaries during the height of the Calvinistic movement during the Protestant Reformation. Why not revisit the Catholic sanctuary as it was traditionally designed and recover what was tossed out?

I think the liturgical renewal was derailed by the destruction of Catholic Church sanctuaries after Vatican II and unnecessarily so. The liturgical renewal was derailed by the horrible examples of post-Vatican II architecture that abounds in the USA today and elsewhere. Music is a separate problem for another article but also derailed authentic renewal too!

My first paragraph should not be construed as opposing the reform of the Mass because quite frankly I love the reformed Mass when celebrated reverently and as the General norms and rubrics indicate. That doesn't mean that I don't love the extra-ordinary form either. I do and if I had a congregation that appreciated that and wanted it every day, they would get it.

The reason that I love both is because both are the same at least when it comes to its dogma and doctrine although their spirituality and theology may differ a bit.

But back to my main premise: why did we have to deconstruct the Catholic Sanctuary for the reformed Mass? Was it necessary? I say no and that has been a long time in coming as I would have been a "champion" for renovating sanctuaries in the early 1980's. (One day I'll reprint an article I wrote for our diocesan newspaper in 1981 extolling the renovation of Saint Teresa Church in Albany, Georgia by none other than Rambusch! You'll be shocked by what I wrote!) But when I saw what was accomplished by these renovations I realized that nothing really was and that in fact it had a deleterious effect rather than a positive effect upon the Catholicity and spirituality of the congregations which did renovate radically.

You can have a beautifully celebrated Ordinary Form of the Mass in a traditional sanctuary all the while still involving the laity both in interior and exterior participation, reading the scriptures and being Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion when needed.

You could still have altar railings and kneel for Holy Communion without damaging the intent of the reform of the Mass that is the Paul VI Missal.

You can still celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem and still have people understanding why and what is happening at the altar.

So, I say, let's recover the pre-Vatican II altar for the post-Vatican II Mass even if that altar is pulled away from the reredos and free-standing allowing for either Ad Orientem or facing the people but keeping the so-called "Benedictine arrangement" for whatever way is chosen (although I prefer the six candles behind the priest on a reredos if the priest is facing the people, but with a crucifix dead center, but low on the altar facing the priest). "Why not?"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

IS THE REFORM OF THE REFORM BEING KICKED UP A NOTCH?

Expect more of this:

Don't expect this:

But what you just saw could become this:

My comments first: This article is very much in line with Pope Benedict's masterplan of Reform within Continuity. As you know, I am clairvoyant, but maybe not. I've already predicted that the Nuptial Mass will have the vows said in place of the Penitential Rite with the Gloria sung or said following which places this reform into the context of the Rite of Sprinkling and the Rite of Receiving a Body during the Requiem Mass. I will stand corrected when this is revealed differently.

But my clairvoyance tells me that the Vatican isn't going to micro-manage Church architecture but put forth general guidelines as the Church has never insisted on any particular form of architecture.

However the Vatican can make legislation as to how the sanctuary is to be constructed, the number of stairs, the manner in which the altar will be decorated (Benedictine arrangement anyone)and how pews should be situated. I would not be suprised by a general rule even for altar railings!

The pre-Vatican instruction for how the Catholic sanctuary was to be designed was very specific, no less than three stairs to the main altar and how the altar was to be vested and decorated. I can see that in my crystal ball happening again.


The new commission will be established shortly, as part of the Congregation for Divine Worship. It will be in charge the design of churches and of music and singing in the liturgy
ANDREA TORNIELLI
Vatican City


A team has been set up, to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship. Its task is also to promote singing that really helps the celebration of mass. The “Liturgical art and sacred music commission” will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship over the coming weeks. This will not be just any office, but a true and proper team, whose task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses. The team will also be responsible for the further study of music and singing that accompany the celebration of mass.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Benedict XVI, consider this work as “very urgent”. The reality is staring everyone in the eyes: in recent decades, churches have been substituted by buildings that resemble multi purpose halls. Too often, architects, even the more famous ones, do not use the Catholic liturgy as a starting point and thus end up producing avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church. Tabernacles are semi hidden, leading faithful on a real treasure hunt and sacred images are almost inexistent. The new commission’s regulations will be written up over the next few days and will give precise instructions to dioceses. It will only be responsible for liturgical art, not for sacred art in general; and this also goes for liturgical music and singing too. The judicial powers of the Congregation for Divine Worship will have the power to act.

As is known, last 27 September, Benedict XVI transferred jurisdiction of two areas, from the Congregation for the Divine Worship to the Rota Romana (the Holy See’s Court of Appeal), under the motu proprio Quaerit simper. The first of these areas is the nullity of priestly ordination, which similarly to marriage, can be annulled due to defect of form, consensus and intention, by both the ordaining bishop and the priest who is ordained. The second area is the special licence for marriages that have been contracted but not consummated. These are practices that occupied a lot of Cañizares’ time as head of the dicastery.

In his motu proprio, the Pope explained: “Under the current circumstances, it seemed convenient for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the discipline of the sacraments to be mainly devoted to giving fresh impetus to the promotion of the Church’s sacred liturgy, according to the renewal required by the Second Vatican Council since the establishment of the Sacrosanctum Concilium.” The dicastery must therefore devote itself to “giving fresh impulse” to the promotion of the liturgy, giving it the focus insisted upon by Benedict XVI, including and above all by showing an example. In this aspect, in contract to the initial plans, the idea of a liturgical “reform of the reform” (an expression used by Ratzinger himself when he was a cardinal), seems to be eclipsed by a large-scale project favouring the ars celebrandi and a loyalty to the dictates and instructions of the new missal. It does so without proposing any modifications to the mass.

It is worth remembering, in fact, that the abuse of the liturgy that has gone on in recent decades, becoming common practice, is committed against the laws established by Paul VI’s liturgical reform. It is not therefore the reform that needs to be amended; rather, further study into the sense of the liturgy and its proper celebration is needed and must be salvaged in some cases. It is for this reason that the Congregation for Divine Worship intends to promote the training of priests, clerics and catechists, starting from the bare basics. By following the example and teaching of Benedict XVI, the Congregation aims to revive a sense of the sacredness and mystery of the liturgy.

Some liturgical texts need to be reviewed, because they are dated, as is the case of the penitence ritual, published in 1974. Indeed, in the years that followed, an apostolic teaching, a motu proprio, a new Code of Canon Law and a new Catechism were published. In this and in some other cases, updates will be needed. The idea Cardinal Cañizares is working on, is that of reaffirming the primacy of grace in human actions, of the need to give space to God’s action in the liturgy as opposed to actions which are left up to human creativity. There will be many opportunities to reflect on these topics. The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the year after that will mark the 50th anniversary of the first approved conciliar text, the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the sacred liturgy.

INTERFAITH JOY AMONGST JEWS, CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS LAST NIGHT


Last night, Saint Joseph Catholic Church hosted the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. It rotates three congregations, Temple Beth Israel, Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and Saint Joseph Catholic Church. This tradition has been going on in Macon, Georgia between these three congregations for more than 45 years!

Rabbi Larry Schlesinger preached the message and commented on how novel and controversial these three congregations getting together to pray in the 1960's was. Today that is changed and we take it for granted.

It was a wonderful experience. In the last three years our congregations have decided that the host congregation would plan the prayer service but within their prayer tradition rather than creating something that blends all three traditions in each location.

This has worked out wonderfully, while still trying to be sensitive to interfaith sensibilities. Mulberry Street United Methodist Church worship their way and I preached. Temple Beth Israel worshiped their way and the pastor of Mulberry United Methodist Church preached last year.

This year our liturgy was based upon a modified Sung Vespers. The Rabbi prayed a prayer in Hebrew, the Methodist minister read a reading from the Book of Sirach and our choir chanted the psalms with the congregation singing the antiphons and refrains. The choir sang a Latin version of the Magnificat and incense was used during it.

A wonderful reception was held afterward in our social hall.

We had the most people ever in the past three years. In fact, we ran out of programs! That is a good problem to have. It was a wonderful mix of Catholics, Methodists and other Protestants and Jews.

AN ELEVATED TONE IN OUR LANGUAGE OF WORSHIP


U.S. Catholic Magazine has an editorial once again on the very eve of the corrected English translation decrying how this translation was made. Most of us don't want to know how hot dogs are made, or at least what ingredients go into them. I recommend always buying Kosher ones.

This is the last sentence of the editorial:

"Many commentators are operating under the impression that God will be better served by a more “elevated” tone in the liturgy, forgetting that God has no need of our liturgy. Liturgy is for our sake and for the world--literally it is the “people’s work”--and this translation is a tool that I fear does not support us in that work. To the extent that it draws us away from the world to worship some distant Olympian God other than the one “in whom we live and move and have our being,” it is a millstone that would be better cut from our necks."

There is much truth in that last sentence although truth that was not intended by the one who wrote it.

"God will be better served by a more "elevated" tone in the liturgy..." Apart from the snark that God doesn't need our liturgy, we do, as though we don't know that, God is indeed better served by an elevated tone of His people when they strive to engage Him in prayer. This elevated tone should then be transferred to the world where we engage one another. God is indeed better served by our elevated tone of language with one another, something that is sorely lacking in many places, even here, in our Church today and in the world in general. Our elevated language in the corrected liturgy is a step toward elevating our everyday language too.

Isn't the the nature and tone of our conversation today crass and unbecoming of God's people? Maybe the way we pray with an elevated tone will affect the way we speak to one another!

"To the extent that it draws us away from the world to worship some distant Olympian God other than the one “in whom we live and move and have our being,” it is a millstone that would be better cut from our necks". Having prayed the corrected translation since September I have discovered that it has drawn me closer to our God who is imminent. The phrasing of the words and sentences makes me think about what I am praying and that I phrase it correctly, breathe properly and chew on it.

Charles Culbreth commenting on my satirical Mass of the Resurrection for the now defunct 1970's Missal takes me to task for treating the former missal the way I did for this kind of satire is not "elevated" language to describe the Liturgy of the Church which was the official Liturgy of the Church from Advent of 1969 until Advent of 2011. When I read his comment I saw what I wrote in a different light and thank him for his critique.

No one who likes the Extraordinary Form of the Mass likes having a satire made of it. There are many who appreciated the language of the now defunct 1970 Missal as it did help them to enter into the Mystery of God in a simple way.

But the language of the corrected Missal is more elevated and perhaps it will help me to elevate my everyday language and behold those to whom I communicate in a more reverent way without undo satire or snarkiness.

When I was in the seminary, our professors always pointed out that when we read the documents of Vatican II the words of each document seem to indicate that the bishops were in full agreement with everything that was written and that Vatican II was a love fest for them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The machinations, political intrigue and nefarious maneuvers all contributed to the final document that was eventually approved by Pope Paul VI. Somehow in all of that "making of the sausage" we have a wonderful template for renewal in the Church when we read these documents within the context of what preceded the Council and what has occurred since.

Vatican II did not created an immutable time warp for the Church. She continues to live and breath each day and develop accordingly, but like sausage being made. Nonetheless the mystery of God's reign is present within Her and the God who is not Olympian, far off and distant is right in the midst of the sausage making to bring good to the mouths of those who savor it! God bless this corrected translation no matter how it got to our altar-tables.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A GLORIOUS VIETNAMESE WEDDING AT SAINT JOSPEH

This wedding occurred about two months ago. The father of the bride is a former seminarian when he lived in Vietnam. He invited his seminarian buddies now priests. One came from Vietnam and another from Australia, two from British Columbia. The main celebrant works for Vatican Radio at the Vatican and has been there over 40 years.

The reception was to die for. The music for the procession in this video is not what was in the wedding but added by those who produced the video, so don't panic, also some of the actual singing is truncated.

GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN!



At another blog I was reading about people who were shedding "tears" last Sunday as that would be the last time they would hear the 1970 English translation of the 1970 Mass. This sort of bleeding heart emotions is what gives progressives a bad name; and of course they bleed for all the wrong things!

How many progressive liturgists had any form of a bleeding heart for many people who grieved for the loss of the pre-Vatican II Mass around 1970? At least for a short time they found comfort in the 1970 Mass being celebrated by faithful priests who brought the hermeneutic of continuity to the manner in which they celebrated the "new" Mass and made sure the music was good too, that is until the "spirit of Vatican II" iconoclastic liturgical theologians and amateurs dismantled any semblance of traditional reverence and piety from the Mass as the 1970's progressed. No one had bleeding hearts for Catholics who couldn't stomach it and in fact found that the liturgical silliness of the 1970's along with the silliness of iconoclastic priests and religious eroded their faith altogether to the point that they saw no point to their Catholic faith or the practice of it even going to Mass twice a year at Christmas and Easter.

So let's give the 1970 English translation of the reformed Latin Mass a proper "spirit of Vatican II" Mass of the Resurrection funeral. Here are my suggestions for this "Liturgy." Of course this is tongue in cheek:

The priest vested in white to show the joy of Christian death also has a "Christian" symbol of the "smiley" face on the front and back of his chasuble.

The 1970 Sacramentary is greeted at the entrance of the Church and sprinkled with Holy Water and covered with a smiley face pall as the congregation sings "Sing to the Mountains, Sing to the Sea" as a salute to Ultramontane sentiments.

After this salute, the congregation sings the processional as the sacramentary is carried in by clowns and placed on a miniature symbolic altar in front of the main altar.

The Processional Hymn is: "And the Father will Dance as on the Day Joy."

The Liturgy Committee felt that it would be meaningful to sing the Gloria at this Mass of the Resurrection, choosing a paraphrase "Gloria" called the "Echo Gloria" in which the congregation mimics the words and gestures of the song leader.

The Responsorial Psalm was substituted with the singing of "On Eagle's Wings" as children dressed in elaborate Eagles' Wings flutter around the symbolic altar on top of which was the dead "sacramentary."

The Celtic Alleluia is sung with all its verses as vestal virgins dance the book of the Gospel to the ambo with bowls of incense encircling the congregation and the book as well as the deacon.

After the homily which extols the qualities of the 1970 Sacramentary and that surely it is the Sacramentary of Heaven now, the Offertory anthem is "Be Not Afraid"

The Sanctus is one of Bob Dufford's sung with guitar and tamborine

The Mystery of Faith is: Christ has died Alleluia! Christ is Risen, Alleluia; Christ will come again, Alleluia concluding with "The Sacramentary has died, Alleluia"; The Sacramentary is Risen, Alleluia"; "The Sacramentary will come Again! Alleluia". This was considered hopeful and meaningful.

The Great Amen is "Yes, Lord, we Sing Amen!"

The Our Father is sung to the pop tune of the Australian singer whose edition of the Lord's Prayer was one of the top ten in the pop charts in the 1970's (but I can't remember whose it was). Of course everyone crosses the aisle to hold hands and to raise them up at the "for the Kingdom.."

As everyone in the Church exchanges the sign of peace with everyone else, "Peace is Flowing Like a River" is sung to cover this action which should be encouraged to last up to ten minutes.

The Lamb of God is substituted in favor of "Here I am Lord!" as the focus of the Sign of Peace which is central to the Eucharistic Action is upon the congregation and what we can accomplish on our own. The Eucharist is about and for us and what we can accomplish when we hold hands and sing. We want the Lord to know where we are in case He doesn't know.

As loaves of French Bread that were consecrated are distributed to about 15 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to tear off large, meaningful, chunks as real bread to each communicant and the Priest Presider sits and receives his Holy Communion last in a magnanimous act of hospitality and humility, the choir and congregation sings "Kumbaya" and "Day by Day" as well as "One Bread; One Sacramentary".

The Communion Meditation will be a medley of other "Godspell" favorites.

The Song of Farewell will be "O Danny Boy" as the sentiments of this great hit will surely illicit a tear or two in the congregation.

The Recessional as the Sacramentary is carried by a vestal virgin dancing with it all the way to the crematorium is, "Joyful, Joyful We Adore You" followed by "On Top of Old Smokey."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

THE IMMENSITY OF YOUR MAJESTY


Many portions of the "corrected" English translation of the Mass have been translated from the original Latin into what some find a "howling" English equivalent. Actually it is the "literal dynamic" way of translating rather than an "equivalent dynamic" of translating into English.

These "howlers" have been scoffed at; made fun of and the translators whom some in the blogging world feel hijacked the translating process and used preposterous language that could have been and was actually better translated are rubbing the faces of these translators into words and phrases that they used such as in today's Christ the King preface: "...making all created things subject to His rule, he might present to the immensity of your majesty an eternal and universal kingdom..."

At the three Masses this weekend were I sang these words, I thought, that's not how I would have worded that, but it grew on me after the third Mass.

But more importantly, no one howled during Mass, fell out of their pew in disbelief or was slain in the Spirit. No one walked out of Mass and no one has done so for the past three months since we've been praying the corrected English translation. I don't even think anyone noticed that it was different than the Christ the King preface I sang last year on this Sunday!

I call those who are hysterical and upset with the corrected translation and keep on calling "fire" in the crowed theater of the Church a corrupt trouble making brood of characters. They will not go down in Liturgical history as the good guys, but as,sophomoric fire howlers!

But sing a Te Deum! For most of the parishes throughout the English speaking world, in particular the USA, the horrible, dynamic equivalent translation of Latin into English we've been using for 40 years, like wandering Jews in the desert, is ended. This Sunday is the last of the 40 year desert experience. Advent brings the dawn of new hope and expectations for our Liturgy as the desert is watered and flowers sprout because of this corrected translation; and I am convinced it will be a tremendous blessing even with some of the more awkward words and phrasing in the corrected translation.

Sing no dirges for the 1970 English missal, but only alleluia that it is now relinquished to the archives of "what were we thinking when we issued this?"

THE RITE OF ACCEPTANCE OR WELCOME AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH

I don't have any photos of today's Rite of Acceptance, but this is last year's Easter Vigil Candidates:

Last year's newly baptized, former catechumens at the Easter Vigil

This morning on the Solemnity of Christ our Universal King, we accepted our inquirers into the Order of Cathecumens (unbaptized) and Candidates, (baptized). We average every year about 30 candidates and this year is no different, we have 34 candidates.

Last year we had 17 to be baptized at the Eater Vigil, the most people I've ever baptized at the Vigil or any other time.

This year out of the 34 we only have three who are not baptized which will make the Easter Vigil a bit easier to celebrate logistically.

We began in the Social Hall at 9:15 PM with the candidates and their sponsors and others and welcomed them, accepted them and signed/blessed all their senses from head to feet!

At 9:30 AM we processed into Mass and after the homily we acknowledged them once again by name and gave them a cross to wear. We gave them the Catholic Bible earlier in the year.

Today we begin the dismissal after the homily where they go to the social hall to reflect more deeply on the readings of Mass and ask questions. This will continue through Palm Sunday.

FRENCH FOLK MUSIC AND JAZZ PIANIST AT PAPAL MASS IN BENIN, WEST AFRICA, YIKES!



I wasn't able to watch the Mass with Pope Benedict this morning in Benin, West Africa until the very end. After the blessing and dismissal the recessional song began with a soloist and a pianist leading the music and singing. It sounded to me like a French Folk Song, if there is such a thing and the pianist improvised on the music as the pianist progressed in an "American jazz" sort of way! I'm not kidding! Guess who else was singing? NO ONE! It was a solo performance by a soloist on a microphone in French for the recessional at an African Mass.

I would have thought that the Africans if given the opportunity to sing something of their culture at that time would have been heard on our side of the Atlantic! But no, the French colonial influence on them (from the 1960's evidently)took away what could have been a rather exuberant experience. I didn't see any other aspect of the Mass, so it might have been more African than French 1960's Colonial than what the recessional was.

But it just confirms what I already know from my Georgian experience of being a priest for over 31 years. When contemporary music is sung or led, the only ones actually singing are the soloists and their cohort and everyone else is just idly listening. No one participates except interiorly; but most of this stuff is not for contemplation!

What is your experience with contemporary music or folk music and folk groups that lead it during Mass--is it music that people embrace and sing well or simply tune in?

I know in our traditional hymn and music parts of the Mass, people seem more engaged and sing what is sung. Am I wrong?