Saturday, December 31, 2011

NOT DAVE LETTERMAN'S TOP TEN, BUT POPE BENEDICT'S TOP TEN STORIES OF THE RELIGIOUS YEAR


And ten other top stories of concern to Catholics:

Ten news stories developing:

JUST HOW MUCH AUTHORITY DOES A PRIEST HAVE TO DABBLE WITH CHANGES IN THE LITURGY

What if a pastor under pressure from a small group of advocates for kneeling at Holy Communion who had formed a small advocacy group and the pastor gave into their demands for kneeling for Holy Communion at the OF Mass, how do you think the majority of Catholic at that Mass would feel?
What if a small pressure group of EF advocates wanted this at the EF Mass and pushed their agenda with the pastor who says, Okay, I'll appease you and do it? How would EF Mass goers feel?
It was until about 1974 or possibly later that St. Joseph Church in Augusta, my home parish where I grew up, changed the manner in which we received Holy Communion. Up until that time, we knelt at the altar railing and received on the tongue. The neighboring parish was standing, some were receiving in the hand and they had a limited number of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion--not out of need at that time, since the chalice was not given to the people and there were enough priests on the staff there, but out of theology. This was a lay ministry that had to be exercised.

Then over night the pastor told us that "Vatican II" said we should stand for Holy Communion, because we are adults and it is more "adult" to stand. Some of us were puzzled by that statement, but it was a rationale and many still use it today. It wasn't until the 1980's that my home parish allowed the common chalice, although I distinctly remember intinction around 1975 and I liked it--but that was short-lived because liturgical theologians were saying it was like "dunking donuts" and shouldn't be done, only drinking from the chalice was liturgically correct.

But the point to what I am saying is that no one in our congregation asked to stand, asked for intinction or asked for the common chalice. No one asked for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. It was imposed and this cause some negative reactions--it was top down and what Vatican II mandated.

As I read some of the comments on my blog, it seems that many who comment like this top down imposition but only if it fits their "theology and theological disposition."

Even though for the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the General Instruction and the rubrics of the Mass clearly favor the vernacular, facing the people, standing for Holy Communion and Communion under both kinds, there are some who would like all that ignored. And there are some priests who are willing to oblige. They impose their own ideology upon their flock. They celebrate Mass ad orientem in the Ordinary Form, they use a great deal of Latin and they do not allow the choice of receiving from the chalice. They do not allow altar girls (although this is allowed in liturgical law) and they do not allow EMC's although this is clearly allowed in the norms and by every bishop in the USA when there is a need. And I want to clearly say that when a priest following the norms of the liturgy that are allowed and thus makes the chalice available that sufficient chalices must be available and sufficient Holy Communion stations must be available to "facilitate" this rite of the Church. So if there is only one priest and you have the chalice and need four stations for the Host and six chalices for the laity--that is a need, not a luxury or a contrived use of EMC's.

But let's put the shoe on the other foot. We know that bishops are slow to correct actual liturgical abuses by priests and congregations in the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

Let say that I want to celebrate the EF low Mass in ten minutes and I race through it. Shouldn't I be able to impose that on you?

Let's say that I like standing for Holy Communion and I impose that on the EF Mass because there are several who want that in the EF Mass? In fact they've formed a community to push this agenda for the EF Mass? They even find priest willing to celebrate the EF Mass with standing for Holy Communion. And let's say that I want to provide the chalice for the laity at the EF Mass because a group at the EF Mass wants it and so I have a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion providing that at the EF Mass because there are some who want it and they have formed a lobby group to bring it about and I have acquiesced.

Now, how would the majority who go to the EF Mass feel if I succumbed to a small pressure group that wanted these things at the EF Mass and I could care less about consulting with the bishop about it and I do it anyway?

How would those who want to follow the rubrics of the EF Mass feel if there were a group coming to the EF Mass who wanted to make a public act of piety and stand for Holy Communion although the norm for this Mass is to kneel? And to recive in the hand? Should they be accommodated as we are suppose to accommodate those who in the OF form of the Mass refuse the norm to stand and kneel? Just wondering?

Friday, December 30, 2011

POST CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE, FROM WHENCE DID IT EVOLVE?

Once the Anglican Communion approved this in 1930:
The following images eventually evolved in the Anglican Communion:
Female "bishops" a openingly gay bishop and the same openly gay bishop with his same sex partner:
A brief history from Wikipedia:
Before the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church viewed the purpose of sexual intercourse as almost exclusively for purposes of procreation. As part of the Reformation, Reformers began to more strongly emphasize the unitive pleasures of marriage. Still, all major early Protestant Reformers, and indeed Protestants in general until the twentieth century, condemned birth control as a contravention of God's procreative purpose for marriage.

As scientists advanced birth control methods during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the tradition of Protestant rejection of birth control continued alongside growing dissent from Protestant Nonconformists. As an example of the dissent, the editor of a Nonconformist weekly journal in the United States wrote in 1893,
There was a time when any idea of voluntary limitation was regarded by pious people as interfering with Providence. We are beyond that now and have become capable of recognizing that Providence works through the commonsense of individual brains. We limit population just as much by deferring marriage for prudential reasons as by any action that may be taken after it.

Non-Catholic denominations were slow to officially go along with such a view, although followers were not as reluctant.

Then in 1930, at the Seventh Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Communion, after years of considerable internal debate, issued the first statement permitting birth control "when there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence." During the 30 years afterward, Protestant acceptance of birth control steadily increased. By 2005 acceptance had increased such that a Harris Interactive poll conducted online among 2,242 U.S. adults found that 88% of non-Catholic Christians who identified as either "very religious" or Evangelical supported the use of birth control/contraceptives.

My comments: Most if not all mainline Protestant denominations since the 1930 Seventh Lambeth Conference have embraced all forms of artificial birth control and leave the abortion issue to the private domain and condone laws that allow abortion for the same reason, making it a private matter between a woman, her doctor and whomever else she wishes to consult or not consult.

Since the true and complete meaning of sexuality based on natural law and Sacred Scripture and Tradition is eliminated by most mainline Protestant denominations, they now emphasize the unitive, pleasurable aspect of sex and begrudgingly acknowledge that for some people it can be pro-creative. This has led them to become neutral on same sex relationships and even endorse homosexual marriage.

Pandora's Box was opened in 1930 by one Christian denomination and an unraveling of traditional Christian ethics concerning marriage and sex has evolved for them and most in various Protestant denominations.

Not too far back I was speaking to an Episcopal priest (in another city) who is homosexual and in a committed partnership. His Episcopal bishop endorses his relationship and the Church where he is employed is well aware of it. The only concern by one member of the vestry was whether or not he would show public affection to his same sex partner.

I asked him if a heterosexual Episcopal priest who had a live-in opposite sex partner would be allowed the same liberality. He said no. They can get married legally. I asked, "Isn't that discriminatory?" He said, "I hadn't thought of it that way."

Once a Christian community or individual displaces divine law and natural law in favor of situational ethics or feelings or letting the good times roll, anything becomes possible. Why in the world couldn't an Episcopal priest who is married have a paramour on the side if no one is hurt by this. There are many couples who actually love a ménage à trois. But, heck, why limit it to three? Why limit it to humans?

The absurdity of the logic of the 1930 Seventh Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion has led it to become post-Christian today and spiraling toward Unitarianism, not just in sexual morality but in doctrinal belief.

My last and most important point. If not for Pope Paul VI reiterating traditional Catholic teaching as it concerns human sexuality and marriage and the Church's prohibition to artificial contraception with Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church would be well on its way to becoming just like the Anglican Communion is today--irrelevant, not because of the truth but because of the infidelity. In fact, there might well have been a reunion with the Catholic Church and the Church of England if Humanae Vitae had not reiterated traditional Catholic sexual and marital morality and the Catholic Church would have today female priests and bishops with same sex partners and same sex marriage and a post-Christian Catholicism.

But herein lies the good news: The Holy Spirit guides the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the Pope and Bishops in union with him to preserve the Church from fatal errors of this sort. That is why the Catholic Church no longer sees as any real possibility reunion with the Anglican Communion as it now is. Heck, Anglicans around the world don't want to be in union with the Anglican Communion precisely because of its fall from grace and truth symbolized by its errant sexual novelties that started it all in 1930.


With that said though, we must recognize as Catholics that many Catholics who are ill-formed about their Catholic faith and are malformed by liberal theologies and political trends are buying into the Episcopal way of viewing human sexuality or at least into the general culture's decline and fall as it concerns human sexuality. But that is different than the Church herself falling into such error.

NOW THIS IS HOW THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS SHOULD BE SUNG! LISTEN FOR CONGREGATIONAL PARTICIPATION

WHY THE VATICAN CHOIR CAN'T BE THIS GOOD IS BEYOND ME!
Please note where the choir is. This is classic for a cathedral and goes back to the 4th century in style.
Listen to the Introit by the schola after the processional congregational hymn and the lovely woman in the Santa's hat!

Father Dawid did this almost as well. We did it as a prelude before our Processional and we sang the Latin Introit prior to the processional.

A wonderful Latin Gloria!

A fantastic Sanctus:

The Our Father a wonderful English version

The communion antiphon (wow)

The Dismissal and Marian Hymn before recessional in Latin, listen to the congregation!

IS THERE MORE CONFUSION NOW OR LESS WHEN IT COMES TO THE MASS?

Ad Orientem or toward the people? Latin or vernacular? Kneeling or standing; Singing the Mass or singing songs at the Mass? The Responsorial Psalm or the Gradual? Chalice or no Chalice? Intinction or no intinction? Girls or no girls? EMC's or no EMC's? The Benedictine altar arrangement or not? The EF or the OF? These are the questions! What is a modern day pastor to do? What kind of guidance are bishops to give?

As much as I love celebrating the EF Mass, I wish there were some flexibility for it, such as a little more vernacular and the reformed calendar and lectionary. Of course the only way to really do that is to have an EF order of the 2010 Roman Missal. That would be so easy.

On this blog it appears that the majority of those who comment are the ones who want what the actual majority of Catholics are not asking. Therein lies the rub. While I might be sympathetic to having the EF Mass at one of our normal Sunday Mass times, I know that doing this would reduce significantly the number of people who attend, especially those with children. Therefore I would never impose this on one of our normal Masses unless mandated to do so by our bishop.

We have a significant number of laity who are willing to be EMC's and find this ministry to be a calling. And we certainly have a significant number of communicants who receive from the chalice. Apart from ideological concerns why take this away from them considering that in the Church of the East the laity have always received from the chalice?

We have the modified Benedictine altar arrangement. Armageddon did not occur. But neither has anyone said yea or nea about it.

I don't think anyone would care if the Gradual was sung instead of the Responsorial Psalm and if in Latin if the English translation were provided no one would say anything. But I think most people like to join in the refrain of the Psalm; I know I do.

So do we have more confusion today? I don't think we do in our parish. We are mainline. We aren't doing anything radically different than most parishes but I think that what we do we do well and we pay attention to detail

But for the more radical shifts that the majority are not seeking. We'll have to wait for the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to be amended as well as the "norms" approved by the Holy See for use in the United States. That's just how I am. I like the law and don't believe that we should impose upon people what is not mandated.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A TALE OF TWO SIMILAR CHURCHES AND TWO UNSIMILAR RENOVATIONS, YESTERDAY AND TODAY

Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina looks remarkably like the Sacred Heart Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago, but it took a different route toward renovation, thank the Lord.
The 1904 look for Saint Mary in Greenville, SC:
Pre-renovation Sacred Heart (looks similar, no?)
Saint Mary's 1970's Renovation
Sacred Heart's 1950's renovation:
Saint Mary's look today:
Sacred Heart today:


Hillenbrand's Sacred Heart Church post updated

Go down to my post: "THE MAGIC OF GOING BACK IN TIME VIA THE INTERNET AND GETTING ACCURATE DATA AND IMPRESSIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE POST VATICAN II CHURCH" and view what Hillenbrand's Church looks like today as I found photos of it; these are below the original look, Hillenbrand's 1950's renovation and today's renovation. Very interesting!

WHAT IS ACCOMPLISHED WITH THESE RENOVATIONS, ONE MINOR ONE MAJOR

The first three pictures are the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago as it looks today or at least recently. This is the very same church in which the 1941 Solemn High Mass "Dance" was filmed. It hasn't changed much except for the addition of a post-Vatican II altar that in no way compares to the Pre-Vatican II altar or fits with the grand architecture of the this basilica, but at least the old altar wasn't ripped out:
Please note where the new altar is, not in the sanctuary but in the nave and not very well thought out and the pews triangulated around it. At least the old sanctuary was not tampered with nor the magnificent high altar, so theoretically it could be easily restored. What does doing this to a Church like this imply in the minds of the people who attend Mass? Once the Mass was majestic and celebrated on the High Altar, now it is pedestrian and celebrated in a less than dignified position. What comparisons can we make between the old and new altars? What does it imply about the Mass and our attitude toward it?
An earlier attempt at post-Vatican II insights for the Liturgy

How not to renovate a traditional Church--what did this renovation accomplish? I don't know where this church is and what they did with the original sanctuary, it could still be there behind this ugly altar arrangement:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE MASS AS A DANCE, THAT IS, THE SOLEMN HIGH EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS

We shouldn't sing at Mass, we should sing the Mass! We shouldn't have liturgical dance at Mass, the Mass is the dance!

The following is a Solemn Sung Mass from 1941 and a beautiful expression of it. The quality of the video is poor and dark, however if you watch closely and listen closely you will learn much about not only the technical and theological aspects of the Mass, but more importantly the pre-Vatican II spirituality and devotional understanding of this Mass. What a pity that we lost the spirituality and devotional aspects of this Mass when it was reformed. Was that necessary? I say no! It did not have to happen and in part I would say the loss of this is what contributed to the loss of Catholic identity that we have not fully recovered yet--but the days are coming says the Lord.

This is narrated marvelously by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. He captures not only the theology of the Mass but the sentiment that we all should have toward the Mass.

Please note what I mean when I say that there is not need for Liturgical Dance when one realizes that the Liturgy is the Dance--we've lost that too with the reform of the dance aspect of the Mass and substituted banal, secular dance in some parishes at Mass. What a pity!

UPDATED PICTURES! THE MAGIC OF GOING BACK IN TIME VIA THE INTERNET AND GETTING ACCURATE DATA AND IMPRESSIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE POST VATICAN II CHURCH

CLICK THIS SENTENCE FOR A PIONEER IN THE LITURGICAL RENEWAL,Fr. Reynold Hillenbrand WHO BECAME DISILLUSIONED BY WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH IN THE 1970'S. HE DIED IN 1979!
Fr. Reynold Hillenbrand parish that he renovated in the 1950's!
Before Renovation:
After renovation:
This is how this very same church looks today! Yes, it is the same church, compare it to the first picture prior to any renovation and then please note the latest take on the sanctuary. The recent pictures make the Church look like a tiny chapel, the original picture makes the Church look like a basilica. Was it just the camera lens? Or did the original design strive for grandeur through optical illusion? Was that grandeur compromised in all the subsequent renovations:
I suspect this is a Rambusch renovation which is how they did things in the late 1970's with the altar, ambo and priest's chair configuration. This is exactly how we renovated St. Teresa's Church in Albany, Georgia in 1981 and we had Rambusch as our liturgical designer However, they did return the arches to the side chapels areas which were squared off in the 1950's renovation. Rambusch was/is famous for their lighting and they did not like hanging chandeliers, so please note the 1950's new hanging chandeliers are removed in favor of recessed lighting which opens the space above the pews which I like.

BLESSED POPE JOHN XXIII CELEBRATING THE ONLY STYLE OF MASS HE CELEBRATED AS PRIEST, BISHOP AND POPE

This is Pope John XXIII's Coronation Mass. This is the style of the papal elevation with the trumpet fanfare! Please note the Master of Ceremonies barking orders at him. The papal Mass was very complex prior to Vatican II and somehow I wonder if "noble simplicity" wasn't directed toward it rather than the Mass as experienced in most parishes throughout the world which were nobly simple. At the end of this video other videos will come up and they are interesting to watch too!

I'M NOT CLAIRVOYANT, BUT MAYBE I AM, BUT CARDINAL MALCOLM RANJITH MAKES YOU WONDER

Tridentine Mass celebrated facing the people in 1957:


This is a letter which was written by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith -- former secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW):

I wish to express first of all, my gratitude to all of you for the zeal and enthusiasm with which you promote the cause of the restoration of the true liturgical traditions of the Church.

As you know, it is worship that enhances faith and its heroic realization in life. It is the means with which human beings are lifted up to the level of the transcendent and eternal: the place of a profound encounter between God and man.

Liturgy for this reason can never be what man creates. For if we worship the way we want and fix the rules ourselves, then we run the risk of recreating Aaron's golden calf. We ought to constantly insist on worship as participation in what God Himself does, else we run the risk of engaging in idolatry. Liturgical symbolism helps us to rise above what is human to what is divine. In this, it is my firm conviction that the Vetus Ordo represents to a great extent and in the most fulfilling way that mystical and transcendent call to an encounter with God in the liturgy. Hence the time has come for us to not only renew through radical changes the content of the new Liturgy, but also to encourage more and more a return of the Vetus Ordo, as a way for a true renewal of the Church, which was what the Fathers of the Church seated in the Second Vatican Council so desired.

The careful reading of the Conciliar Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilum shows that the rash changes introduced to the Liturgy later on, were never in the minds of the Fathers of the Council.

Hence the time has come for us to be courageous in working for a true reform of the reform and also a return to the true liturgy of the Church, which had developed over its bi-millenial history in a continuous flow. I wish and pray that, that would happen.

May God bless your efforts with success.

+Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
Archbishop of Colombo
24/8/2011

My comments:

First of all, this is an opinion piece by a cardinal that some say could be pope and thus shouldn't be dismissed as off the wall.

I can't see a radical reworking of the Novus Ordo but certainly we can critique some aberrations that were not intended. I think the most unintended is the creativity and drunken inculturation that has occurred with the official liturgy of the Church. Inculturation and creativity is rightly celebrated in street processions and other devotions that are precisely that, devotions which are not universally official.

What are the two areas of the new Order of the Mass that most traditionalists don't like? They are the truncation of the prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the truncation of the Offertory Prayers. Is there a middle ground? Can we have a return to a more traditional format for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and revisit the Offertory Prayers? Is that a big deal?

The other area apart from the Order of the Mass is the direction of Prayer. I think we have to realize that even in the EF Mass there is no law against it being celebrated toward the people and it was celebrated this way in the 1950's in some places. There is no law that says the OF Mass can't be celebrated Ad Orientem, although for a priest to do this would risk being labeled Pre-Vatican II by progressives as the single biggest reform in their minds was the Mass facing people although never explicitly mandated by the official books.

I think the vernacular is here to stay and I am personally glad for that. I also think the revised lectionary is here to stay although the traditional Gradual may make a come back as it did at the Holy Father's Midnight Mass.

Keep in mind that we have seen a "reform of the reform" with the revision of the Latin Roman Missal in 2003 and the revision of our English Missal and a totally new translation in 2010. These are huge steps in an organic development that isn't complete.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

SOME WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A 93 YEAR OLD FORMER PARISHIONER

Mrs. Rita Harris formerly of Macon and Saint Joseph but now living in Portland, Oregon writes me a letter almost every month. I just received her Christmas letter. She says her neighbor John just celebrated his 100th birthday and as she is in close proximity to him she hopes "that it's not contagious!"

Then she leaves me with some one-liners "to bring good cheer"

1. He who laughs last thinks slowest.

2. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

3. Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have any film.


THE CHRISTIAN GRINCHES WHO STOLE SUNDAY MORNING CHURCH SERVICES ON CHRISTMAS

A brief Story of the Atlanta Journal:
This Sunday may be the first in a long while that Annette Bridges hasn’t attended church But as it does occasionally, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday and Bridges’ church, First Baptist of Atlanta, will hold its weekly church services on Saturday — Christmas Eve — instead of Sunday, a practice that is becoming more common here and across the country.

The reason, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports -- is so the church’s hundreds of volunteers and teachers can spend Christmas morning with their families, said Marcus Ryan, director of communications at First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

Although there’s no way to estimate the number the churches that have canceled Christmas Day services this year, First Baptist of Atlanta, North Metro Church in Marietta and the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta are among local congregations scheduled to hold Christmas Eve services only.

This story is from Monday's Augusta Chronicle by reporter Kelly Jasper in Augusta, Georgia--a local story about no Sunday services on Christmas Day in some Augusta Protestant Churches (at least the Augusta Chronicle tries to write about local religion stories in the main part of their newspaper, this one was on the front page, whereas the Macon Telegraph seldom reports on local religious news--must be a budget problem with having a reporter to do stories of this nature and that is sad):

Christmas falls on Sunday once about every seven years. That inspired questions from the congregation several weeks back, recalled the Rev. Carolyn Moore, the pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans.

“People asked, ‘Will we have church on Christmas Day?’ It hadn’t even occurred to me that we wouldn’t,” Moore said.

With Christmas on a Sunday this year, the pastors of some Protestant churches canceled or consolidated Christmas services in favor of larger Christmas Eve celebrations.

Not at Mosaic, Moore said. On Sunday morning, the church held a festive service, with children in their pajamas invited to “curl up with the King” as they listened to the Christmas story found in the Bible.

Stevens Creek Church in Augusta was one of several to hold services on Christmas Eve, but not on Christmas.

“At the Creek, our families are one of the most important things to us. We encourage you to invest in those relationships more than ever this Christmas, as you celebrate the birth of Christ and the wonderful life He gives,” said an announcement from the church, which held five Christmas Eve services.

True North Church in North Augusta held four services in the two days leading up to Christmas, but none on Christmas Day.

Several churches – including First Baptist of Augusta, First Presbyterian of Augusta, New Life Christian Center and St. John’s United Methodist in Aiken – chose to have just one Sunday morning service instead of the usual two or more.

That’s a common option when Christmas falls on Sunday, according to a LifeWay Research survey. More than 90 percent of Protestant churches planned to hold at least one Christmas Day service this year.

“Having church on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday seems as if it would be as much of a given as having Thanksgiving on a Thursday, but this has been an issue of discussion and contention in recent years,” said Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, in a news release.

Many churches seem unwilling to “inconvenience” families on Christmas, said Moore, who wrote about her decision to hold Christmas services in a blog post titled, “Why I will go to church on Christmas.”

“No matter what the ads and movies say, Christmas is not ultimately about family,” she wrote. “It is about God. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family a lot, but they didn’t rise from the dead for me. On Christmas morning, I’ll be sitting in the house of the One who loved me so much that He gave His only Son. And I will preach the good news about the Messiah as if it is the most important present any of us will ever receive.”

Cedar Creek Church, with campuses in Aiken and Batesburg, S.C., is among those that didn’t meet on Christmas Day.

The decision was made several months ago, and was largely driven by the church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Phillip Lee, a father of five, said Wes Holbrook, the campus pastor of Cedar Creek Church West, which meets at the University of South Carolina Convocation Center.

“It’s more important for us to give families an option to be home,” said Holbrook.

THE CORRECTED ENGLISH TRANSLATION, ALL THE VISITORS AND ONE LESS VIGIL MASS

With all our visitors for Christmas Mass, I thought everyone did exceptionally fine with the corrected English translation. The only slight difficulty at least for me was that we have returned to the Mass of Creation for the Sanctus and Mystery of Faith. The Sanctus is basically what it was, but the "God of hosts" part was a bit tricky with the old melody still in my mind. The Mystery of Faith is nice but is new so that was a bit difficult for me without notes in front of me. We sang the revised Melodic Gloria and the congregation simply had the refrain and that was easy enough and our choir and cantors did a marvelous job with the main part of the Melodic Gloria.

We had trumpet, organ and tympani for the main Mass and what a richness these instruments together add to the Mass, the tympani in particular is awesomely majestic.

Our 4:00 PM Vigil Mass was the most heavily attended and people couldn't get into the Church and we had about 100 or so standing. The 6:30 PM Childrens' Mass was packed, but no one standing and the same for the Midnight Mass. We eliminated one of the Vigil Masses, the 8:00 PM. I encouraged people to come on Christmas Day and we only had two, 8:00 and 10:00 AM.

The 8:00 AM Mass was more than our normal 7:45 AM Mass on Sunday and the 10:00 Mass was packed but no one standing. This was the biggest change from last year, more people came Christmas Day and that is good in my mind!

Overall Christmas was marvelous and goes by fast. I still pray that the bishops will mandate one day that the Vigil Mass for Christmas not start until 8:00 PM and that there be only one per parish. That would help re-orient Christmas Mass back to Christmas Day. The Children's Mass could be at a later Christmas morning time.
I could see us having 7:45: 9:30 and 11:30 AM for Christmas Day.

What are your thoughts on having only one later Vigil Mass and then beginning Christmas Day with Mid Night Mass?

Friday, December 23, 2011

A BLESSED CHRISTMASTIDE TO YOU FROM SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH, MACON, GEORGIA AT CHRISTMAS

Saint Joseph Church has a wonderful decorating team for every Sunday and especially for special events such as Christmas and Easter. Steve Gonser and Elaine Schmitt and a cast of thousands put this together and I took the photos with my iPhone!
Do you see Saint Joseph Church's exterior in this shot and the real water fall:
Modified Benedictine Altar arrangement:
Looking at the decorated choir loft and magnificent Rose Window:
The view of the decorated ambo with Poinsettia tree in background:
I've added the Lord's prayer in English under the Latin version, because the English is on the previous page and you have to turn the page for the doxology, but now I don't. And I placed a tab at the bottom of the Doxology's page to make it easier to turn the page as the tab was at the top and made it more difficult:
Since 1985 I've been stationed in churches like Saint Joseph's, first the Cathedral in Savannah, then the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta and now here. Why am I so blessed? "O Lord, I am not worthy to come under your roof!"



JUST WHAT DID VATICAN II WRITE ABOUT THE REFORM OF THE TRIDENTINE MASS?

In no way was this intended by Vatican II or later developments as it concerns the reform of the Mass:

Reading the summary of Sacrosanctum Concilium below, we can see that the Second Vatican Council asked that the reform of the Mass have "noble simplicity" and expanded Liturgy of the Word, the Prayers of the Faithful and that the faithful receive Holy Communion consecrated at the Sacrifice they attend. It also laid out the principle of concelebrated Masses. It asked that the Latin be preserved and in some specific ways. Oddly enough though, the New Roman Missal does not have an appendix in the back of it for the Order of the the Mass and Eucharistic Prayers in Latin as did the one just discarded. The only Latin in the new Missal is for the Sanctus, the Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei and these are in the main body of the missal not in an appendix. I'm not sure what to make of that.

SUMMARY and Excerpt from the SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

SUMMARY (courtesy of Encyclopedian)

As the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium was one of the most significant measures enacted by the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963.

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work. (SC 14)

CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 4, 1963

CHAPTER II
THE MOST SACRED MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST

47. At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity [36], a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us [37].

48. The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator [38], they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

49. For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious to the fullest degree.

50. The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.
For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.

51. The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.

52. By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text, during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself; in fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, it should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

53. Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful." By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world [39].

54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.


55. That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice, is strongly commended.
The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact [40], communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

56. The two parts which, in a certain sense, go to make up the Mass, namely, the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic liturgy, are so closely connected with each other that they form but one single act of worship. Accordingly this sacred Synod strongly urges pastors of souls that, when instructing the faithful, they insistently teach them to take their part in the entire Mass, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

57. 1. Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration to the following cases:
1.
a) on the Thursday of the Lord's Supper, not only at the Mass of the Chrism, but also at the evening Mass.
b) at Masses during councils, bishops' conferences, and synods;
c) at the Mass for the blessing of an abbot.

2. Also, with permission of the ordinary, to whom it belongs to decide whether concelebration is opportune:
a) at conventual Mass, and at the principle Mass in churches when the needs of the faithful do not require that all priests available should celebrate individually;
b) at Masses celebrated at any kind of priests' meetings, whether the priests be secular clergy or religious.

2.
1. The regulation, however, of the discipline of con-celebration in the diocese pertains to the bishop.
2. Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually, though not at the same time in the same church as a concelebrated Mass, nor on Thursday of the Lord's Supper.

58. A new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and inserted into the Pontifical and into the Roman Missal.

KYRSTAL KATHEDRAL IN KALIFORNIA IS A MIRACLE OF KATHOLICISM AND AN EKKLESIAL KOMMUNITY OF KRYSTAL AND LIGHT


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Crystal Cathedral sale to diocese a milestone; some see a miracle December 18, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times The deal was a triumph for ecumenism and for Orange County's growing Catholic diocese. Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller is pleased. "I think the Crystal Cathedral will be, for us, the heart and center for our Catholic community," said Bishop Tod Brown of the Orange County Roman Catholic Diocese. "I think the Crystal Cathedral will be, for us, the heart and center… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times) December 18, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times Whenever clergy from Asia, South America or Europe visit Roman Catholic Bishop Tod Brown in Orange County, they all want to see one church, but not one of Brown's. They want to see the Crystal Cathedral. For decades, the architectural landmark — famous for its 10,000 panes of glass and 236-foot bell tower — has been synonymous with the Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his "Hour of Power" broadcasts. That is about to change. Ads by Google Last month, the Crystal Cathedral property became the future home of the diocese after a bankruptcy judge approved the sale for $57.5 million. The Vatican has signed off and diocese officials expect escrow to open soon. In Orange County, where a third of the population is Catholic, the deal represents both vast demographic change and the rising influence of the church. "I think the Crystal Cathedral will be, for us, the heart and center for our Catholic community," said Brown, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 on Nov. 15, two days before the court victory. He will help oversee the transition because a successor has not yet been named. Such cooperation between Catholic and Protestant faiths was once unimaginable in American Christianity. In a rare interview, Schuller told The Times that he never saw it that way. "I think it could have happened 20 years ago because I haven't changed," he said. "It's who I have always been." The 85-year-old minister, who became the pivotal unifying force in the bankruptcy sale, said he has always respected the Roman Catholic faith and considers it the "mother church." Schuller also said he drew inspiration for his "Hour of Power" from Catholic Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, whose own popular TV show in the 1950s paved the way. "The Roman Catholic Church isn't going to change its theologies," Schuller said. "I trust them." Still, Brown's tenacious pursuit of one of the most recognizable Protestant symbols surprised many, even Brown himself, who said the idea "never crossed my mind" until several lay advisors approached him. After all, he had long planned to build a cathedral in Santa Ana for an estimated $200 million in response to the booming Catholic population. He even hired an architect last year.

But he quickly saw the bankruptcy as a chance to fulfill his dream in a different way and began a bidding war for the church property with Chapman University.

In the final 24 hours, Brown said that even he thought "it was all over." Then Schuller, who had won over millions of believers through his credo of "possibility thinking," told the court he could not abide the thought that Chapman might someday use the cathedral for nonreligious purposes. The deal was struck.

Diocesan officials were elated, with one attorney calling it a miracle. As Brown put it, "ecumenism has got a shot in the arm."

The acquisition unquestionably raises the profile of the nation's 10th-largest Roman Catholic diocese and could help it emerge from the shadow of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

"It was a tactical decision," said Father Thomas Rausch, a professor of Catholic theology at Loyola Marymount University. "Here's this beautiful church with a rich history in Orange County and an identity that's already established. It's a bargain for the local church."

It was a bittersweet victory, though, because Brown knew it marked the end of an era for Schuller's world-famous Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which has three years to vacate under terms of the deal, whereupon the Catholic diocese will use the campus.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, the founder's daughter, is senior pastor and continues to preach "possibility thinking," though the philosophy has not brought the $50 million in donations that could have staved off a sale.

"There's plenty of time for God to perform a miracle," she told congregants on a recent Sunday. At the front of the church, a table was set up with sign-up sheets for a "miracle" prayer drive.

Congregant Jillian Carter of Torrance said she still holds out hope.

"I feel like it's not over until it's over. Anything can happen," she said. "This place has its trademark. Nobody can take that."

That trademark is exactly what appealed to the diocese.

When Brown succeeded Bishop Norman McFarland in 1998, there were 600,000 Catholics in Orange County. There are now 1.2 million. That growth can be seen on almost any Sunday. For many parishes, the norm is standing-room-only turnout for Mass; at others, the Sunday crowds spill out the doors. Mass is said in 10 languages, including Vietnamese, Polish, Mandarin, Korean, Indonesian and Spanish.

During Brown's tenure, he dedicated nine churches, bringing the diocese total to 57. He also appointed Latinos and women to key positions and gave a new parish a Vietnamese name, Our Lady of La Vang, a first for a Catholic church in Southern California.

But he never lost sight of building a cathedral, first announcing plans in 2001.