Monday, February 27, 2012


Two lay Catholics who epitomize the nature of the divided Catholic Church today, one who is faithful to Holy Mother Church and the other one who isn't; one who takes seriously Vatican II and the other one who perverts its meaning, especially Lumen Gentium's call to the laity to bring the truths of the Church to where they live, work and play as well as to politics and other institutions of society. Guess which one is faithful and which one is an infidel?
As the institutional Church enters yet another period of salvation history where she is being marginalized, harassed and threatened by trends and movements beyond her control, this time godless secularism, what aspect of her membership will be able to be warriors against that which would suppress her?

We know that it will not be the progressive wing of the Church which hates her authority, derides the bishops and wants to neuter the role of the Bishop of Rome. In fact this segment of Holy Church are collaborators with her enemies much like Judas in Jesus' historical public ministry, when by the way, he was in the process of founding His Church. They are the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Katherine Sebelius and many, many members of the Democrat party who say they are Catholic but are more loyal to the god of their politics rather than the true God and sell the true God out for 30 pieces of silver. Republican and independent Catholics can do the same thing but today not on the same level as fanatical democrats.

The ones who are equipped for today's spiritual battle are traditional Catholics who love Holy Mother Church, love the Magisterium and are faithful to Sacred Scripture and Tradition (not some perverted, progressive interpretation of these)as well as Natural Law, Divine Law and Canon Law, not to mention the rubrics of the various liturgies of the Church. These are not fundamentalist Catholics as though there could be such a thing, but Catholic who believe, love and embrace the fundamentals of Holy Mother Church.

Those in the Church who are unabashed and unapologetic Catholics and not of the cafeteria or "lite" type, will be the ones who will be willing to be martyrs for the faith--as it has always been and always will be. Progressive liberals in the Church are just too wishy washy and all over the place to be faithful as Catholics in difficult cultural times, rather than go underground and be faithful, they become collaborators with the enemy.

But how did we get to such a divided state as a Church when Vatican II authentically interpreted and fundamentally embraced should have prepared us to meet head-on the crisis we are now experiencing with godless secularism even in the United States of America with a president who wants to impose upon the Church by government mandate what her mission and identity should be (sounds like England under King Henry the VIII, doesn't it)?

Here are my thoughts as an eye witness to Church history since the late 1950's (or when I can actually remember things):

In pre-Vatican II times (1950's) there was a quiet, but brewing anger amongst lay Catholics who were getting better educated and resented the "authoritarianism" they experienced in Catholic parishes and schools and resented being treated as children when it came to obedience . Discipline was strong, but it was also sadistic at times and this is a fact. Keep in mind, my parent's generation (my mother is 92 and my father would be 102) usually did not even finish high school let alone college. So they were quite willing usually to acquiesce to Church authority, to Father and Sister. In 1976 when I graduated from college, I was the first in my family to do so.

But pre-Vatican II Catholics were not always helpless little sheep! When my first grade teacher, a nun who should not have been teaching first grade due to her mental health, pinched me on the arm leaving a mark and doing so in front of the class when as I stood before her trying to answer a question from a lesson and did not know the answer,my father upon seeing the mark on my arm went directly to the authority of the parish and school to have the sister reprimanded. I don't know what that conversation was about and my father never told me, but the next day that sister apologized to me privately and gave me a gift, a plastic framed image of Our lady of Perpetual Help. That apology and that gift have meant more to me over the course of my life than any pinch annoyed me.

Quite frankly, there was horrible paternalism and triumphalism mixed with clericalism that made many Catholics angry at the Church which in their minds didn't really include them but was in fact Father and Sister only, the institutional aspects of the Church. In this regard, Vatican II was a breath of fresh air for educated laity where they were asked to become more adult-like with the clergy and religious and to see themselves as much a part of the Church as the hierarchy and lower clergy and the religious. The laity had an important role, and that role was in the world and evangelizing it. The term laity was elevated to priestliness but not so much by usurping the unique role of the priest in worship or the life of the institutional Church but in the world, at home, at work, in politics, etc. At Mass, they were asked to do what the laity always had done, but altar boys represented, to be active and participative during Mass outwardly and inwardly.

But what went wrong was that we made the laity so involved in the life of the institutional Church that family life sometimes became secondary to them and issues of power and control on the parish and diocesan levels become more of an issue for them rather than empowerment as laity which is their proper role in the world and Church. The role of the laity after Vatican II and because of a corrupt interpretation of Vatican II made the role of the laity more churchy than worldly oriented and worldly oriented is the laity's true calling.

Unfortunately Vatican II occurred in the midst of a cultural world wide revolution toward authority, toward sex and toward drugs. We had the hippie movement and the drop out movement and the peaceniks and Watergate and police being called pigs and a general hatred for law and order. The Church tried to combat the more anarchist of attitudes by promoting peace and love and letting people be themselves. This may well have saved the Church of that period. Flexibility was the key word. This applied to authority and the Mass and its renewal which unfortunately gave entirely too much authority to liturgical theologians and made amateurs in the Church into self-made gnostic theologians encouraged to be creative in planning the Mass and executing it, making it banal and common place rather than sublime and other-worldly, that is pointing to the Kingdom of God which is not here--many lost sight of that profound truth thinking the Kingdom of God is here already and completely so, we just have to make it happen by our own means and ingenuity. The Missal of 1973 soon experienced such experimentation that it became the victim of this creativity. But I suspect it would have happened also with the 1962 missal had it been the official missal at the time--we'll only know that for sure in heaven though!

At the same time though, the Church was seen as a powerful and respected force in the world in the area of social justice as it concerned the dignity of people. Catholics, laity and clergy marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Catholics began to integrate Catholic schools and parishes and to speak against the sin of racism and segregation. Here the Democrat party (and most Catholics at that time were Democrats, but of a Democrat party that unfortunately no longer exists, hijacked by radical leftists)was more in tune with official Church teaching than Republicans were.

But while many clergy and laity were embracing with new zeal the so-called "social Gospel" they were abandoning the Gospel of natural law and Divine law as it concerned issues of sexuality and marriage. This is highlighted by the abysmal dissent of so many Catholics from Humanae Vitae. These Catholics loved the Church's social teaching because it was a feel good teaching for them but they hated the Church's teaching on natural law because it touched them personally and made them feel guilty and went against the principles of secularism at the time. These liberal Catholics in other words became schizophrenics when it came to the moral teachings of the Church. We see this even more today with the acceptance of fornication and adultery amongst heterosexual Catholics as well as with its acceptance amongst homosexual Catholics who hate natural law and the Church's insistence upon it and that marriage is a sacrament and as such is for only one man and one woman and for a lifetime. Sex is the most intimate aspect of who we are and the one area that can be so "screwed up" that anything the Church teaches about it is perceived as way to personal becasue the Church's teaching touches us on such a personal level and sometimes makes us feel guilty rather than good about ourselves. For progressive Catholics guilt is the worst kind of mortal sin foisted upon them by Holy Mother Church and her teachings on natural law!

And then there is the Mass and its so-called "renewal." I'm not saying that major mistakes weren't made in the implementation of Pope Paul's revision of the Mass and that the Holy Father could have been more forceful, but what happened in 1968 with Humanae Vitae--because of the sexual revolution, scientific development of the pill, etc, there was outright rebellion against the pope's authority--the hierarchy did not act as dictators from Communist Russia or Germany, but allowed for dissent to keep dissenters in.

It is not just the revised Mass that caused a certain generation that is my age and older (like Pelosi, Biden and Sebelious) to be like they are, but authority issues, worshiping now false gods of secularism and their children not having been catechized properly--that's our failure.

It's not the "renewal" of the Mass entirely, but other issues that have brought us to the state of the divided Church we have today where there are zealous Catholics who are usually traditionalist and tepid Catholics who are zealous only about their own narcissistic needs and have serious authority issues that linger from the 1960's. There is a new clericalism that also infects the laity since so many lay Catholics have been clericalized that expresses itself in the Liturgy itself.

Priests ad lib during Mass and impose their own words into the fixed parts of the English Mass thinking these are superior to what is given them by the official Church and thus treat the laity as an audience that they can manipulate for their own personal preferences and whims. And then there are laity who do the same thing and refuse to do what the Church asks them during the liturgy--this is clericalism pure and simple.

I had one priest tell me that he thought his parishioners were so dumb that they wouldn't know or couldn't learn the definition of the word "compunction" and so he changed it to a simpler term when this word was used in the Collect of the Mass recently. That's clericalism and elitism pure and simple, no doubt about it. He also thinks the words "we pray" are used too often in our revised prayers so he eliminates them altogether--this sort of shocking clericalism born of narcissism is quite prevalent today amongst many priests but not limited to them. It is even worse that the clericalism of previous generations. But clericalism, no matter what type, disrespects the laity and other clerics. Father Z is correct in calling bishops and priests "to do the red and say the black!" It is very simple really but this takes humility on the part of the priest of course a humility lacking in so many today!

But in terms of the on-going reform of the "renewal" of the Mass, what should occur? Well, I am not clairvoyant nor do I have any inside track to that reform but I have opinions which many others share, including those in high places in the Church and non other than the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. So this is what I believe and my opinion only will help strengthen Catholic, young Catholics in particular, to be warriors for the Church as she confronts and perhaps dies for her mission and identity in a secularized,godless culture and government:

1. stricter guidelines concerning art, architecture and the orientation of the sanctuary, as well as for music. These already exist and for music it goes back to the 1800's that sacred words set to secular melodies or styles of melodies are not in keeping with the nature of the sacred music for the liturgy--this applied to orchestral settings of the Mass which were for entertainment purposes but often sung at Mass especially in Europe.Today this would have different implications, but Broadway sounding sacred music or music that sounds like bar music fits this norm that says it shouldn't be brought into the Mass. Sacred Words set to music that sounds like rock music or any other trendy medium should not be allowed during Mass--outside of Mass in devotional or entertainment venues, great, we need more of that!

2. The Benedictine altar arrangement or ad orientem, either one or both (I think there needs to be flexibility here) and mandating some Latin, such as for the Sanctus and Agnus Dei and Pater Noster and the Greek Kyrie for the Mass

3. Better catechesis and a Catechism like the Baltimore Catechism for elementary, middle and high school and only one used nationwide

4. Communion kneeling and by intinction, thus lessening the need of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who should only be installed acolytes.

5. On going recovery of a strong popular devotional life in the private and communal lives of Catholics and making clear that devotion and cultural influences belong outside of the Mass, not during the Mass--but cultural differences of Catholic devotional life should be embraced and celebrated by all cultures in the Church, but not during the Mass or in only a limited way

6 Recovery of adult respect for obedience to the Church and her Magisterium in the areas of faith, morals, Sacred Scripture and Tradition, for natural and divine law as well as canon law

7. Love for the Church, a conviction about the nature of the true Church and a love for priests and priestliness. In a desire to avoid "triumphalism and clericalism" we threw the baby out with the bath water--we need a sense of pride about our Church and about the unique character of the ordained as a sacramental, visual sign of Jesus Christ, High Priest and Bridegroom and make no apologies about either truths.

8. Pope Benedict's call and agenda to interpret Vatican II within continuity with all previous Councils of the Church and everything that was good that preceded Vatican II, what he calls "reform within continuity" is the key to the authentic renewal of the Church!

But we must also recognize the need for community that we should not swing the pendulum so far back to the vertical that we forget the horizontal--not everyone is an introvert in the Church and many need community and a friendly experience at Mass and in their parish. Priests and laity need not be robotic and rigid during Mass but friendly and hospitable in a quiet and respectful way--more opportunities for fellowship should be available outside of the nave of the Church before and after Mass and at other times during the week, like Wednesday night suppers.


William Meyer said...

I like your list, Father! On the catechism, though, I would think that for high school, something like Canon Ripley's This is the Faith might be a better fit than the Baltimore Catechism. No disrespect to the latter, but the former may be more in keeping with the teenagers' sense of growing up.

I am so very ready for these things to happen!

Anonymous said...

William, The EWTN web site has three versions of the BC that are listed as age appropriate. That is, the third version is listed as appropriate for the high school group.

I was coincidentally looking at my copy of the BC inherited from my sister-in-law. It was published in 1942! I suppose I am like the riddle of the Sphinx, it seems perfect to me. Accurate and written as from a favourite uncle, simple and relevant in everyway.


Templar said...

Let those who could find serious fault with your list be anethma.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I deleted a comment from a priest who gave his name as he felt I was writing about him (like that song from the 70's , "You're So Vain") but his example is what laity must endure week after week. He also suggest that I do the same with the rubrics bringing EF sensibilities or rather imposing them on my laity to which I must ask how?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The accusations you level against "a priest" are false. He never said that he thinks his parishioners were "so dumb that they wouldn't know or couldn't learn the defintion of the word compunction." I was present for this conversation, which included a number of priests. What you say took place did not happen - it is a figment of your imagination.

You will recall, with accuracy I hope, that a number of the other priests in the conversation also said they they did not know the meaning of the word "compunction."

It is wrong for you to exaggerate the conversations you have with other priests, putting words into their mouths that they, because they respect their parishioners, would never say.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus...Your true identity at last. Wondered when you'd get around to it...Finally got angry enough to come out of the closet re your identity? What Priest does not know the meaning of "compunction?" Oh, wait, a mod one...LOL!

TCR said...

I must say I love the thought of communion by kneeling and intinction.

Here is a well reasoned article on the culture war we find ourselves in and its similarities to "kulturkampf," Rudolph Virchow's coined term to describe Bismarck's authoritarian struggle against the Catholic Church in Germany:

May your list come to fruition and we regain our awe of the Holy.

Henry Edwards said...

I wonder if this accurately quotes the priest in question:

The pastor said his goals for the church are universal."They're the things every pastor does" he said. "We are ordained to teach, to preach and to pray, and in that order."

Is the order inverted here? At a traditional ordination Mass one hears these specific prayers:

Bestowal of the Power to Offer Holy Mass
"Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God and to celebrate Mass for the living as well as for the dead. In the name of the Lord. Amen."

Bestowal of the Power to Forgive Sins
"Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins thou shalt forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins thou shalt retain, they are retained."

If priests are no longer ordained first to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins, then perhaps the rite of ordination also needs some of that famous "mutual enrichment"?

And one might wonder whether Paul VI's diluted 1968 rite of ordination is partly responsible for a generation of priests who often seem not to know what they were ordained to do.

Marc said...

Does God know the meaning of the word "compunction"? The prayers of the Mass are directed toward Him, not us. So, whether we understand the words really makes no difference.

But, as Pin rightly asks, what educated person doesn't know the meaning of the word "compunction"? I'm really starting to question the education of priests... I mean, there is, as far as I can tell, an almost complete lack of understanding of the history of the Liturgy and now we learn that there is an inability to use a dictionary to learn what the prayers of the Church mean... Is seminary just several years spent learning about ecumenism and religious liberty?

Templar said...

I was feeling a bit of anxiety, a twinge of misgiving as it were. What if I did not know the meaning of the word compunction? What if its meaning were other than I thought it was?

So I looked it up.

Imagine my ineffable joy at having discovered my anxieties were misplaced.

Henry Edwards said...

"a number of the other priests in the conversation also said they they did not know the meaning of the word "compunction."

Now who's exaggerating? The word "compunction" never came up in their moral theology courses? Or were these "priests of Vatican II" not taught any moral theology? At any rate, I seriously doubt that I know a single adult, ordained or not, who doesn't know this word.

Certainly, in leading a morning prayer group where--in accord with a recent bishops liturgy committee newsletter--I routinely insert the new English translation of the day's collect for the closing prayer as shown in Christian Prayer--I've not yet encountered a word that I felt the ordinary folks there could not understand. But admittedly they're all laymen.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Not to mention shibboleth and gibbet and that totally perplexing word consubstatial as well as incarnation! Parousia is a doosey too as is transubstantial. But I really love antithetical and antipathy. Paschal is hard too as is sacramental! Bit impenitent seems mysterious to some as does via crucis. The anemesis as well as the epiclesis should be outlawed! The sociology needs to go too as well as the evangelical counsels! The exegesis of any pericope is scripture should be outlawed.

William Meyer said...

Well, you know, it's like Latin, which is clearly too difficult for the laity. I began following it at the age of 7, though I clearly did not know the meaning. But the mere fact that I could follow it on paper as the priest pronounced the words was enough to convince me that it was approachable. As a teenager, I received a St. Joseph's Sunday Missal and then was able (despite all odds) to compare the facing pages, and thereby acquire a degree of understanding.

But obviously, such antics are clearly beyond the capabilities of adults. In fact, for adults younger than I, and therefore perhaps products of the continuously degraded American public schools, it may indeed be too much.

Anonymous said...

Now that we've got compunction out of the way, perhaps Fr. Kavanaugh would like to know that one of his brother priests in this diocese admitted publicly that he did not know what "continence" means (with regard to celibacy). No exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

Tosh. My youngest is enthralled by the odd words that surface in the liturgy and prayer. She works them into daily use when she can and loves saying them in Mass. It's a lark to her.

Would these concepts, phrases and words not form a useful basis for the homily? Inculcation and catechises go hand in hand.


Henry Edwards said...

These stories about Fr. Kavanaugh and his fellow priests remind me again of the priest I mentioned before--who said his only liturgy course in the seminary was taught by a bitter ex-nun using as her textbook a slim paperback written by a Methodist laywoman. No wonder some of these guys appear to have no clue what they're doing up there behind the table of plenty.

pinanv525 said...

God forbid we should hit them with such words as concupiscence:"Hey, Fr., what about concupiscence?" He replies, "No. my son, I went just before lunch."

Modern Priest Vocabulary

Eschatology=what you eat with drawn butter in a French restautrant.

Caritas=those things that the rabbits keep eating in your garden.

Epistomology...he did what!!! Where!!!

Pecare...shhh! You should never use slang or vulgar terms for parts of your body!

Maniple=a device on an automobile for the exchange of hot air and gases.

Biretta=a pistol of Italian manufacture. James Bond carried one in the early books.

Stole=what Democrats did to the election.

Chausable=an early English poet. He wrote the Canterbury Tales.

Ambo=a shoot 'em up movie starring Sylvester Stallone.

Paten=a famous WWII general.

Vespers=when Germans speak softly they speak in "vespers."

Monstrance=you know, Godzilla, Rodan, King that.

Thurible=a bad movie. "That movie was just thurible."

Cardinal= a red bird.

Papal=How an Alabama guy addresses a crowd, "Listen up, papal!! I got a 'nouncement!"

Jenny said...

Pin, it was only a matter of time-- "tincture of time" as we in medicine prescribe to our patients who desire an instant cure for a viral infection.
We here locally have known the identity of the priestly blog specter for nearly a year and a half. We certainly began praying for you all when assignments were announced last June! (I especially have prayed for you, Pin.) 'Course as a faithful Catholic, I always pray for our priests, and will always do so, regardless of their personal treatment of me or my family members.

Which brings me to comment on Father's #7: "..and a love for priests and priestliness." Father, please correct any error, but my thinking is that #6 and #7 are intimately connected and cannot realistically be separated. We laity encounter the Magisterium first and foremost through our priests. Most of us spend little/no time with our bishops and have never laid eyes on the Pope in person. So it matters VERY much how our priests behave as a "...visual sign of Jesus Christ, High Priest and Bridegroom...", both within and outside liturgical celebrations. We don't expect perfection in this very imperfect world, but we do wish for our priests to model dignity, prudence, openness, forbearance, humility, and charity-- kinda like, well, you know, like Christ. When they become callous, secretive, calculating, mean-spirited, spiteful, display favoritism, or worse, are vengeful, we all suffer.

Yes the laity has much to do to improve, but I would posit that ALL within the Church have much work ahead if we are to impact the radical secularism of our time.

pinanv525 said...

I have known Ignotus' identity for a while, too. It was a stupid charade.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc, if it really doesn't matter whether or not we understand the prayers, why did the Church spend a great deal of time and energy giving us this new translation? It is intended to give us, not God, a better understanding of our faith. I would suggest that that goal is achieved in some cases and missed in others, "compunction" being one of the misses.

Of course it makes a great deal of difference whether we understand the prayers. They are addressed to God but meant for us to understand, so that we might be drawn more deeply into the mysteries of salvation.

Henry, I was part of the conversation that Fr. McDonald has misrepresented. You were not. I am not exaggerating in the least.

Anon 4:04., I am surprised that a priest does not know the meaning of continence. I hope he learns.

Jenny - Priests and parishes suffer when laity behave in the manner you have described, too.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be good if all Parish councils were composed of retired NCOs. They know who the boss and how to keep him straight.


Jenny said...

Pater: "...Priests and parishes suffer when laity behave in the manner you have described, too."

I couldn't agree more, Pater--I've been waiting for the time (actually for years now) when you and I would totally agree about something!

May God bless you and Mary keep you.

pinanv525 said...

Ah,'ve been "especially" praying for me. Ya' know, I do not normally announce publicly to someone that I am praying for them. I usually tell them in quiet during their time of need, or just pray for them without the presumption of anyone needing to know. Now, it is a common ploy, especially among Baptists, Presbyterians, and other congregationalist groups, to cast the stone of a public announcement of prayer at the head of someone you do not like or of whose life style, personality, etc. you do not approve. The most locally famous example of this was when Lester Maddox(Governor) and Ronnie Thompson (former Macon Mayor)were having one of their toxic spats. Yep, right there on WMAZ six o'clock news Lester said for all to hear, "Ronnie Thompson is a sick man. I'm gonna' pray for him."

Now if, in whatever your "medical background" is, you ever did any psychiatric reading, you may have come across a book called, "Games People Play." In there, Berne describes a game called NIGYYSOB..."Now I've Got You, You SOB." Public announcements of praying for someone fall nicely into that category because they immediately cause others to wonder what it is about this person that so desperately needs prayer, and they give the pray-er a sort of righteous high ground that is difficult to overcome. One cannot very well say he does not need prayer, but to acknowledge the offer(threat) is to concede the presumed guilt and justify the public speculation. See...NIGYYSOB.

In domestic affairs, wives do this alot and they are very good at it. Snip,snip...

Jenny said...

Hebrews 11:1 is probably the most concise definition of faith found in the Bible. It is considered the classical definition of faith. Faith is both the substance of things hoped for and the evidence that things exist that are not yet perceived with the senses.

Frankly, who UNDERSTANDS the word "compunction" and who doesn't isn't the real issue. All of us experience it (yes, even the non-believers), but most of us ignore it at times, even on this blog (yes, sometimes, even good priests ignore that "prickling of conscience")!

Pater said: "Of course it makes a great deal of difference whether we understand the prayers. They are addressed to God but meant for us to understand, so that we might be drawn more deeply into the mysteries of salvation."
If mysteries were meant to be understood, they wouldn't be called "mysteries". Prayer is the ineffable TURNING OVER of the mind and heart to God. If you haven't experienced that wondrous exchange, you are missing out on the greatest gift God has for you. The great mystics knew this--it doesn't require knowledge (sometimes not even words). If you want to understand God with words, that is TALK; talk in more common street words is fine as far as it goes, but its cheap--find a time at home privately.(I sometimes blabber/blubber with God, as you surely have figured out by now!). During Holy Mass, the greatest prayer of the Church, Trust your priests to "say the red" properly whilst you in the pews are given the great privilege of "ineffable" communion with God.

OK, so y'all ignore any compunctions, and just take your best shot--

Jenny said...

WHEW! OK, Pin, I'm so sorry, forgive me. Please accept my apology.
Yes, before my medical degree, I majored in Psychology (more's the pity) and know the book of which you speak. Thank you.

Anonymous said...


please remember that the term "I'm praying for you" can be taken at least in two ways.
(1) you interpreted..I'm praying that you change your course,

(2) or... I'm praying in support of you, because there are hazards in this valley of tears.

I happen to know Jenny very well, and I know that she is a long-time member of various Catholic prayer groups...these groups commonly use the term "I'm praying for you" in support of one another.

Don't presume intent.

And a lenten quote (for all of us) from St. John Chrysostom: "What good is it to abstain from chicken and fish, if we devour our neighbors"?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I was asked to delete someone as a follower, but have no clue as to how to do that, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Pin, I may be misunderstanding, but I read Jenny's quote as supportive of you. I also wonder if the comment in the priestly discussion that touched off this thread was sad somewhat tongue in cheek? Or perhaps in despair?


Henry said...

Yes, Pin, you misread Jenny. With the advantage of knowing neither of you personally, I saw clearly that she was praying in support of you. Last June, specifically (probably) that your present pastor not be replaced by you-know-who when new pastoral assignments were made. So you should thank her.

pinanv525 said...

If I misread her, I apologize. I have run into that phrase way too often in its hostile context. Since Jenny and I have disagreed in the past (although we probably agree doctrinally on everything), I assumed it was a barb. She knows. I still lean towards barb. Oh, and the fact that people attend many prayer groups doesn't really mean anything...except that they attend many prayer groups.

pinanv525 said...

Fr., I think they have to delete themselves. I think there is a "stop following this blog" button...or maybe it is "thin-skinned press here."

Anonymous said...

St. Joseph anonymous here.
The enacting of many of the liturgical changes at Sunday masses at St. Joseph has led to less active participation in the liturgy by very many of the parishioners. Intellectually you may be able to justify them but the spiritual fervor at Mass has decreased. I'm getting lost and disillusioned - slow down please and don't leave us behind in your pursuit of perfection.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Need examples of what you mean in terms of less participation as from my vantage point I find people singing and participating very, very well.

pinanv525 said...

St. Jo's Anon, are people really that slow? I can name a number of parishioners whose active participation has increased and whose enthusiasm has grown. Why are these few and simple changes such a problem for people of presumably normal intelligence? These same people, I'll bet, have no trouble adapting to changes in their computer browsers or in their hand-held devices like phones, IPADs, etc. I'll bet they wade through reams of Social Security paper, Insurance Forms, and other inscrutable bureaucratic nonsense with no problem. I'll bet they adapt to all kinds of bureauspeak and pop "neologisms" in daily life, yet they whine about "incarnate" and "consubstantial." I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I lose patience with this kind of recalcitrance. It is more about them than it is the changes...

Pater Ignotus said...

Adding to the list of traditionalist misunderstandings of liturgical theology: "So, whether we understand the words [of the mass prayers] really makes no difference."

pinanv525 said...

And, this from someone who did not know the meaning of "compunction?"

Marc said...

Pater, which "we" are you talking about? There is no need for each person in the congregation to understand the words of the Mass. There is likewise no need for the offering priest to understand the words of the Mass. There is need for the words to accurately convey the Faith and to be understandable to God (in the sense that they accurately convey that for which we are praying).

This isn't a traditionalist error. How about all those priests right here in our Deanery who say the Mass in Spanish - they don't speak Spanish. How about Saturday when the Bishop read a bunch of prayers in Spanish at the Rite of Election? I didn't understand those prayers. What is the common thread in both of these instances - God understood the prayers and they (for the most part) convey the True Faith.

I would argue, as a Traditionalist, that it is important for the people to understand generally what the prayers are accomplishing - that is, a basic theology of the Mass. It is of absolutely no importance for the faithful to understand the particular Collect for that Mass. It is likewise of no import for the offering priest to understand the particular Collect, although he probably should have read it beforehand. None of this is to say that in any case the prayer should not convey the true Faith, both thru its content and thru its translation (if you're dealing with the Novus Ordo).

So, now, what is traditionalist about what I'm saying? This is the Faith - it's not about new or old, this is the Faith, which is unchanged and unchanging.

pinanv525 said...

So, then, Kavanaugh/Ignotus, the logic of what you are saying is that Joe down at the factory, and Bill in the mine, and Sally at the diner counter must understand the theology of the Eucharist for it to be efficacious, that they must understand the Christology of Confession and Baptism for those to take, and they must understand the issues surrounding the Filioque for it to mean anything wen they say the Creed.

No, Priest, they do not need to understand the words of the Mass for it to be efficacious...God's Presence and power, His sanctifying Grace, are not predicated upon anybody's "understanding" them. If Joe down at the plant feels nothing but a sense of awe and reverence in the Mass, if he ascribes some untutored, mystical signifance to Latin (or words like "compunction") and leaves feeling humbled and closer to Christ, then it does not matter if he knows what "consubstantial" means. The Holy Spirit reaches us where we are in our understandings, or lack thereof, if we approach Him sincerely in Spirit and in Truth. How in the Hell did you get through seminary?

Of course, your understanding argument is just a specious attempt to justify the NO and the "bowdlerization" of the liturgy. You are so opposed to tradition that you are even willing to spout heresy in order to justify your silly views. Why don't you just run on over to the Episcoplaina Church? You'd be a celebrity over there.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - The "we" I referenced is from your own posting. You said "...whether WE understand the words really makes no difference."

Don't you know which "we" you (yourself) were referring to?

God understands the prayers, but does not need any of our words to achieve this understanding. The prayers are not intended for God's understanding, but for ours.

Of course there are some who, for whatever reason, cannot understand the prayers, but that does not change the reason why the prayers are prayed. They are addressed to God, but meant to be understood by us.

You seem to have contradicted yourself. Previously yopu stated, "...whether we understand the words makes no difference." But now you say, "I would argue... that it is important for the people to understand generally what the prayers are accomplishing - that is, a basic theology of the Mass."

Which is it? Does understanding the prayers "make no difference" or is it desirable that the people "generally understand."?

What is "traditionalist" is the notion that understanding the prayers of the mass makes no difference. (Your words) This is a false notion.

Liturgiam Authenticam says of the process of translation:

"The vocabulary chosen for liturgical translation must be at one and the same time easily comprehensible to ordinary people…"

Plainly, the purpose of the translation is to make the prayers "comprehensible to ordinary people."

Pin - I never suggested that every Tina, Dottie, and Harriett has to have an advanced degree in theology for the mass "to be efficacious." I said the prayers are intended by the Church to be understood by the people hearing them.

Marc said...

It is not important for the people to understand the prayers.

It is important for the people to have a general idea of what the prayers are accomplishing.

There is no contradiction in those statements.

If the comprehension of the prayers made a difference, then God help the souls of those poor Catholics for the first 1,950 years of the Church before you and your Modernist cronies became involved and "fixed" everything.

I agree that the translation was meant to make the prayers comprehendible to ordinary people. I disagree that the translation was necessary in the first place, but that is a different discussion. You and other clerical priests and bishops seem to believe that the prayers must be translated for us pitiful laity to understand. I disagree - whereas you and your ilk want to bring God down to our level in the Mass, myself and other Traditionalists want to elevate the laity (both spiritually and intellectually) to God.

Oddly, that is exactly what the greatest Council in Church history has to say about the Mass. From the Council of Trent:
And whereas it beseemeth, that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and of all holy things this sacrifice is the most holy; to the end that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, the Catholic Church instituted, many years ago, the sacred Canon, so pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in the highest degree savour of a certain holiness and piety, and raise up unto God the minds of those that offer. For it is composed, out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy pontiffs.
And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice
Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient usage of each church, and the rite approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in each place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the little ones ask for bread, and there be none to break it unto them, the holy Synod charges pastors, and all who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound either by themselves, or others, some portion of those things which are read at mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord's days and festivals.

Henry said...

Understanding is sufficiently important to me personally that each evening I study in Latin and English the propers and readings of the following day's Mass, mulling over the possible nuances and interpretations. To enhance the spiritual benefit when I hear them in the Mass itself. And for this reason understanding is beneficial for everyone, the more the better.

But it's often overlooked in these discussions that it's absolutely crucial that understanding NOT be required for efficacy or validity. For example, not every priest can be expected to fully understand what the words of consecration really mean. Certainly, some priests have a quite different interpretation than others. But all that's required is that the priest intend by his words and actions to do what the Church intends. He need not have a doctoral-level understanding of precisely what the Church's intent actually is.

Think how fortunate this is. Otherwise, the validity of almost every confection of the Eucharist would be up for grabs, depending on the specific intent and understanding of the particular priest. Not to speak of the priest who celebrates the Mass in Spanish (for instance), having learned to pronounce the Spanish words of the Eucharistic prayer, but not understanding their word-for-word meaning. But nevertheless, if he intends to do what the Church intends, then the confection of the Eucharist is valid.

So the lack of any necessity for understanding is a very good thing indeed.

Pater Ignotus said...

I never suggested that understanding the proper prayers of the mass was required for "validity." None of us can understand fully the great mystery of the mass - not popes nor back pew sitters. The mass is valid because the priest does what the Church intends to do.

But that's not the question. The question is "What does the Church say in her documents about the value of making the prayers understandable?" Does the Church say this is desirable or undesirable? Clearly, it is the former.

Not only does the Church say the prayers should be translated in a way that makes them comprehensible to ordinary people, but the Church instructs priests to pray them in way that is clear and audible.

For Marc and those of his ilk, agreeing with the Church on this question makes a person a "Modernist" heretic, bent on diminishing the glory of God.

I and my ilk believe, as does the Church, that by making the prayers "comprehensible to ordinary people" we are striving to draw the People of God more deeply into the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.

As usual, I am happy to be in the Church's camp on this one.

pinanv525 said...

Kavanaugh/ Ignotus, you do not listen. It is not what you "never said," it is what your statements imply. Of course, is is nice if everyone understands the prayers and the words, whether in Latin or whatever language. But, it is not necessary. You are merely using the "understanding" argument as a foil against the TLM and the reform generally. You have either a very careless theology or a careless way of presenting it.
Also, no one hears the silent prayers spoken in the TLM. So, whatever the Church says about the words being spoken clearly and audibly does not apply there...oh, but you don't like the TLM, anyway.

Marc said...

Pater, I agree the Church teaches that people should understand the action of the Mass. I disagree that this means the prayers need to include individual words the congregation understands - meaning there is no requirement that the prayers be in the vernacular and there is no requirement that the people understand the individual words in the translated version.

It is vastly more important that the prayers convey the true Faith. It is empirically true that the revised Mass of Paul VI includes vastly fewer references to many truths of the Faith that were included in the Mass as it has existed for the last 1,500 years or so (things like sin, miracles, and merit, for example).

Basically, you are arguing that the people should understand the specific individual words (that is, they should be able to comprehend the definition of each word used in the particular oration): whereas, I am arguing they should understand the Faith generally through the words (which requires that the priest explain a bit more, surely).

I think this might actually be one scenario where we are both right as I am willing to concede that, insofar as your are arguing that the orations should use language that conveys the Faith and educates the people (assuming here a vernacular Mass), the language should be generally comprehendible to the people. I am simply saying that the dumbed-down language as found in the previous translation, for example, did a disservice in conveying the Faith through its meaning and through its ineffective conveyance of the fact that the prayer is directed toward God (by being overly colloquial and familiar).

I hope that makes sense and I'm sorry I called you a Modernist - sometimes the anonymity of the internet gets the better of me. As I've said before, I really do like having these discussions with you because it causes me to examine the Faith in different ways and conduct additional research on points I might not have previously considered. So, thank you for engaging me and I will do my best not to throw further unwarranted accusations of heresy your way (unless you start espousing something heretical).

pinanv525 said...

Marc, would you and Ignotus like for the rest of us to leave the room...LOL!

Anonymous said...

On Reading Into Others' Posts

One could read certain posts here and decide that they "imply" that the poster is a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic bigot and a wife-beating misogynist.

One COULD reach those conclusions by reading into what the person who posts does NOT say.

Unfortunately this has become the pattern of too much of the public discussion that surrounds us. In politics and religion especially, every disagreement is turned into a toxic free-for-all that, while burnishing the self-righteousness of some, leads to precious little in building up the Kingdom of God.

Doesn't it make more sense, and isn't it more respectful, to respond to what is actually posted, rather than concluding that the person who disagrees with you is hell bent on destroying the Church?

pinanv525 said...

Anonymous: Re: On reading other's posts: No.