Monday, December 31, 2012

CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARES AND LITURGICAL ABNORMALITIES

Parishioner Nate, newly received into the Church this past Easter traveled to Virginia, the Diocese of Richmond. These are his experiences. He reports, you decide.

On Christmas Day, I flew through Charlotte, and was eating breakfast when I heard over the intercom that there was a Catholic Mass located in the upper atrium of the hub between terminals at 8:30am. I figured I could still go, I just wouldn't receive Communion. So I got up there after it already started, and the priest waved me in. There were about 20 people there, about half employees and half travelers. So we had the homily, and went right into preparing the gifts with a deacon assisting him. The priest seemed a little sick, so he coughed through most of the preface and Eucharistic Prayer, and I remember a few "Ummms and Uhhhs" during the Consecration. After the Agnus Dei, the priest broke the bread, but did so in a way that little pieces went on to the floor and table. Then we went right into Communion, with no "Lord, I am not worthy." I went up to receive a blessing, but I don't think the Deacon understood, as he kept trying to give me the Body of Christ. I leaned back and crossed my arms higher and he still tried to give me Communion. Finally, I just stepped to the side and walked back. After that, I caught my flight. I was glad to see they had a Mass though, but it probably was more for employees, since travelers wouldn't have been aware unless they heard the announcement.

Then the next two days in Jersey, I went to St. Gabriel's, which was a really nice parish. It was a consolidation of four parishes in South Jersey, which might be because of dwindling numbers? I remember you talked about a survey from there on your blog a few months back, but they'll use the old buildings for one Mass over the weekend.

Back in the good ol' Diocese of Richmond, I went to daily Mass at St. Stephen Marytr, which was another no kneeler parish. This is the parish with the pastor that has a dog, but he didn't receive Communion like I thought he was going to, so we're good there! :-)

On Sunday morning, I went to St. Mark's. Again, no kneelers, and I also didn't see the tabernacle. I sat down and prayed, while trying to avoid the distraction of everyone talking. Mass started like usual, and the priest introduced himself as a retired priest filling in for the pastor who was in Haiti. During the homily, the priest started talking about how Jesus died for all of us, and not just many of us which we now say. I recognized he was talking about the words used during the Consecration, but thought nothing else of it. During the Eucharistic Prayer, he then said "all" in place of "many", and it was emphasized. He correctly said all of the other changes though. After we held hands for the Our Father, the 16 Eucharistic Ministers (not exaggerated) came forward. After Mass, everyone continued talking loudly, and left.

I don't know why, but most of the parishes I have been to while at home (7 by my count) don't have kneelers, and they also don't have a tabernacle in the sanctuary. And these parishes also talk about New Evangelization on their website...is there some sort of connection there?

THE TEN TOP NEWS STORIES AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH IN MACON FOR 2012

THE TOP TEN NEWS STORIES FROM MY BLOG AS IT PERTAINS TO SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH IN MACON,GEORGIA IN DESCENDING ORDER OF IMPORTANCE. IN OTHER WORDS THE NUMBER ONE BLOCKBUSTER, BOMBSHELL IS LAST!

10. In March, we celebrated the Ordinary Form of the Mass in an Extraordinary Form sort of way with our combined choirs singing Schubert's Mass in G.

9. Our new bishop, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM, Conv. celebrates his first Clergy Conference Mass at Saint Joseph Cathedral, I mean, Church in Macon, Georgia:

8. Saint Joseph Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist at our normal 12:10 PM Mass as a Latin/English Ordinary Form Hybrid Mass, with the Extraordinary Form "Asperges" as a prelude to the Ordinary Form Mass and this regularly scheduled Sunday Mass for the first time ever is celebrated Ad Orientem. Could it be a foretaste of things to come for this Mass, stay tuned:

7. The Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia kicks off with Mass at Saint Joseph and Fr. David and me in the parade. Real priests do wear pink!
6. Faure's Requiem is celebrated as an Extraordinary Mass on November 2nd:


5. St. Joseph's Ordinary Form 12:10 PM Sunday Mass is now celebrated "ad orientem" each and every Sunday what we call the "new normal!"

4. Our annual stewardship renewal video shown at Mass!

3. BOMBSHELL BREAKING NEWS: CARDINAL CANIZARES LLOVERA, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS STATES THE FIRST 10 PARAGRAPHS OF SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM APPLY TO THE MISSAL OF 1962 TOO! PRESS THESE SENTENCES TO GO TO THE POST!
2. Kneelers are placed at Holy Communion "posts" to allow for those who wish to kneel for Holy Communion to do so comfortably what is truly an act of Catholic charity toward those who have a legitimate right to kneel for Holy Communion if they so desire and First Holy Communion is given to the communicants kneeling and by way of intinction which has become the common method for distributing the Precious Blood at four of our five weekend Masses. Our written norm inserted in our missalette indicates the following about the method of receiving Holy Communion: "Standing for Holy Communion is the norm in the USA; kneeling is the exception. Bot are allowed and the choice is yours."
THE NUMBER ONE BLOCKBUSTER BOMBSHELL NEWS OF 2012!

1. Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, at the approval of our Pastoral Council and my endorsement, okays the restoration of a vintage altar railing from a closed church of the same period of St. Joseph Church at Saint Joseph Church. Less than ten people thus far have contributed $40,000 toward this restoration. Make your contribution today to: Saint Joseph Church, 830 Poplar Street, Macon, GA--mark, altar railing, att: Fr. Allan J. McDonald
Please note the facade of the main altar in the background of this closed church. It is almost identical to the altar table of our original high altar with it's last supper sculpture! How uncanny is that!










Sunday, December 30, 2012

WHY ARE CATHOLICS NOT ATTENDING MASS AND BECOMING PROTESTANTS OR WORSE YET, "NONES?"

Let's face it, Houston we have a problem, or maybe we should say, Rome we have a problem. Catholics no longer attend Mass in the same high percentage that they did following World War II through the 1960's. In that period and in this country, about 90% of Catholics attended Sunday Mass regularly. It was much lower in Europe though, but still approaching 40% in places like secular France.

I am not sure that there has been any real sociological studies done to show why this has happened but certainly common sense and a sense of the history of the Church and world in the last 50 years qualifies people such as myself who is now 59 years old or as some sarcastically remind me, in my 60th year, can proffer some analysis from experience.

So these are my candidates for the reasons in the decline in Church attendance.

I. Prior to Vatican II in this country, lay Catholics knew the basics of the faith (those who were educated and could read)and they gleaned it from the Baltimore Catechism that taught them the very basics. However, they were also biblically illiterate compared to Protestants.

II. Bishops and priests were very authoritarian in those day and the emphasis was more on obligation rather than love. I'm not criticizing that, for obligation is a part of love and the two must go together. In post Vatican II times that only emphasized love as a feeling, an emotion, obligation has been jettisoned leading to a variety of maladies such as divorce and leaving the Church and not taking care of one's commitments and responsibilities.

III. After Vatican II there was a separate cultural upheaval against authority in this country and in Western Europe. Rebellion was the name of the game and respect for authority was compromised. This reach an apex in this country in 1968 with the Vietnam War and men burning their draft cards, escaping to Canada to resist the draft and the outright rebellion of the a significant number of priests and bishops toward Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae. Pre-Vatican II Catholics who saw their clergy rebelling gladly joined in lock step with them in a pre-Vatican II sort of way and these rebellious clergy used their clerical stature from the 1950's to rally this rebellion, the truest form of clericalism. This is a turning point!

IV. While the initial reforms of the Mass imposed in a pre-Vatican II authoritarian way were mostly well received, and these were the associated with the 1965 missal that was the Tridentine Mass, but had much of it in English, although the Roman Canon was still in Latin with its elaborate rubrics, problems soon arose and almost immediately with the type of new music thrust onto the Mass, primarily banal folk music and the stripping of churches of their magnificent pre-Vatican II altars and accouterments and moving the tabernacle out of sight or to a side altar. "Ironing Board" altars came into vogue with two rinky dink candles on it--it clearly had the symbolism of dumbing down the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

V. The 1973 missal led to more experimentation and iconoclasm of the Mass and the loss of traditional piety, reverence and respect in the church building for the presence of God as the presence of people was over emphasized, what is now called the horizontal to the detriment of the Vertical! The universality of the Mass was greatly compromised and the Mass was different not only from diocese to diocese but parish to parish in the same city and unrecognizable in terms of from which the new Mass came, namely its Tridentine counterpart that became forbidden as though there was something radically wrong with it and its theological and spiritual thrust.

VI. Pre-Vatican II Catholics who loved and respected the Church (my parent's generation and some of their non-rebellious baby boomer children) were completely confused and disgusted with many of the reforms of the church that initially looked promising when done conservatively but became caricatures of themselves as time progressed, especially the rampant disregard for traditional Catholic obedience, piety and reverence. The Baltimore Catechism was through out for touchy-feeling catechesis, what many now call vapid coloring book Catholicism.

VII. Many pre-Vatican II Catholics stopped practicing the faith by the late 1970's (my parent's generation out of disgust) and their children stopped practicing out of rebellion and a fierce individualism when it came to faith and worship as well as morality.

VIII. Those who remained in the Church became detached from anything authoritative as they thought things would continue to change. Two generations of post Vatican II Catholics saw priests and nuns get married, Catholic schools closing and religious education in total disarray.

IX. By the 1980's word was getting out about the sexual promiscuity of some of the clergy and religious especially in the 1960's and 1970's. Most unbelievable was the abuse of children and teenagers by priests. Many lay Catholics refused to believe the reports coming out or downplayed its significance. But scandals kept being reported in both the religious and secular press.

X. After the turn of the century, the Boston Globe brought the true proportions of the scandal to light in the USA (it had already happened in Canada) and then other countries experienced it in Europe, first in Ireland, then Belgium and other places.

Clearly this sex abuse scandal is more deleterious to Catholicism and the practice of it compared to anything that preceded it but more than likely was/is a part of the liberalization of the Church and the refusal of bishops to properly manage not only their dioceses but their priests and make hard decisions about firing them when they egregiously were unfaithful to their promises, to their Church, to their parishioners and most of all to their God.

XI. Because of the very poor experience of the Church Catholics had for the past 40 years, many succumbed to secularism, individualism and contempt for traditional Catholic beliefs and morals. 80% have stopped attending Mass and many of them have become Protestants as unbridled ecumenism blurred the distinctive truths of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church by many ecumenists was no longer seen as the one, true Church.

XII. But it brings us to the final analysis. The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief and traditional piety and reverence for Catholic Prayer was greatly compromised by universal decree of the Second Vatican Council and for its unfounded "spirit" subsequent to it. Yes, the banal changes in the Mass and its music and total confusion of what the Mass is remains at the root cause in the decline of church attendance and the weakening of the Catholic Church and the immorality of clergy and laity or now we must say their amorality.

But as Pope Benedict has said, success is not our goal but faithfulness and we might have to become a smaller church in order to be a faithful Church. The reform of the reform in continuity as well as the restoration of the Tridentine Mass are strokes of genious from His Holiness and shows that we can't show contempt for that which preceded Vatican II, espcially for the traditional Mass and still have an authentic renewal of the Church, Her Faith, Her Morals and Her Laws.

The Law of Prayer is the Law of Faith. If the law is compromised as it was in the spirit of Vatican II the faith too is seriously compromised.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY IS THIS PRIEST AT THE SPLENDID ST. STEPHEN'S CATHEDRAL IN VIENNA THINKING? OH, THAT'S RIGHT, HE WASN'T!

No clown Masses aren't over and are still in high places. Yes, the reformed Mass got rid of the prayers at the Foot of the altar and substituted these with banal introductions, secular greeting and mini-sermons. We also got rid of "useless" repetition, incense, bells and smells and substituted these organically developed traditions for this:

Is it any wonder that there is a loss of reverence, wonder and awe when these things are done? Is there any wonder that fewer and fewer Catholics are taking the liturgy seriously except those who go to the EF Mass and are a part of the Reform of the Reform in Continuity movement spearheaded by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI?

LITURGICAL ABUSE IS RAMPANT IN 2012! IT HAS NOT GONE THE WAY OF THE CLOWNS AT ALL



Those who are opposed to the common sense reform of the reform in continuity that our Holy Father is promoting and will in fact be his legacy, often chastise those of us who care about the "re-enchantment" of the liturgy for dwelling on the liturgical abuses of the 1970's especially clown Masses. They think we still live in the past and that the present has no such abuse any more. Think again.

The following I copy from the National Catholic Register's Blog by Dan Burke which you can read at the Register with comments that follow it, by pressing this sentence.

What are your liturgical abuse nightmares of recent times?

Tidings of discomfort and liturgical abuse

by Dan Burke Friday, December 28, 2012 12:02 AM

This Christmas, I was delighted to have the opportunity to travel across at least three states to celebrate the joy of this season with my family. This was the good news. The bad news? I was pelted to a spiritual pulp by liturgical abuse after abuse. Because the Mass in my home parish is faithful, I have not had to endure this level of concentrated torture for some time — and, frankly, the shock was a bit much to take.

So I share with you here a list of the dastardly deeds of the ignorant, sloppy, slothful, unfaithful and the well intended. Each of these listed below is prohibited by the liturgical norms or other instructions from the Holy See or is an omission contrary to expressed guidance provided by the Church:

• Changing of the prayers by the priest (absolutely forbidden).

• Standing when the rubrics instruct us to kneel (diocese-wide disobedience to the Holy See).

• Tropes repeated at the singing of the “Lamb of God” (recently clarified by the Holy See as inappropriate and forbidden).

• Priests, deacons and laypeople scrambling around the altar before Mass with no indication — other than a few rapid half bird-pecks toward the tabernacle — that they believe that Christ is actually present in the tabernacle.

• The use of an extraordinary minister of Communion when there were less then 10 people in a daily Mass that was presided over by an able deacon and an able priest.

• Priests and people running around the sanctuary to offer the sign of peace.

• No observation of silence before Mass, except at a midnight Mass at a faithful monastery.

• Applause and praise to individuals at Mass during the Mass (directed at my own family, which was even more embarrassing). Here’s a quote from Pope Benedict on this practice (with my emphasis): “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly — it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.” I was chastised by a parishioner for bristling at this and was told that the applause was to God. However, we were the only ones asked to stand and if the applause was directed to God, me and my family should be added to the ranks of the Blessed Trinity. I really do appreciate the sentiment — it was honoring and sincere — but if it is necessary or appropriate, please, please, please do this after Mass or some other time. The Mass is to bring us to worship Christ, not us.)

• Hand-holding during the Our Father — with one extraordinarily silly, though I am sure well-intentioned, contortionist even reaching backward while facing forward in order to connect the two rows of pews. (This is forbidden on the basis that we are not allowed to add or change the Mass.)

• Only one Mass of many offered “primacy of place” to sacred polyphony or chant. This Mass was at a monastery and was beautiful and liturgically faithful and Christ centered end to end. It was the highpoint and salvation of my vacation time.

• A Sunday Mass that did not include a single Advent hymn (not an abuse, but the band leaders should be retired to a local piano lounge).

• A priest who declared that Zachariah (the father of John the Baptist) was struck blind, not dumb. (No, this is not liturgical abuse, but the priest should be ashamed. It was clear that he had much to say but little concern for the central message of Advent and had not prepared for his homily.)

In the end, I have decided to begin using a particular phrase in response to questions about my expressed dismay at this madness: “Because I am not a protestant.” The implication is clear. Here’s how it looks in a real dialogue: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.”

I became Catholic because I recognized that the Church has properly claimed that it is the Church of Christ. The Church teaches, admonishes and instructs by the authority of Christ and 2,000 years of wisdom and guidance by the Holy Spirit. I obey the Church because I obey Christ. I am not a protestant who is free to make up whatever I feel is best without any concern for Tradition. I am a Catholic. I am unashamedly submitted to Christ and his Church. If you are not, you are not Catholic. Let’s stop pretending.

Care to fuel the fire of my outrage — or, hopefully, calm my nerves? What did you experience?


MY FINAL COMMENT: And still there are priests who think a Volkswagen of a Mass that has all of the above does not account for the fact that nearly 80% of Catholics do not come to this rubbish any more and find God in other ways. Priests who think that way should be sued for malpractice!

Friday, December 28, 2012

THIS IS WHAT I WROTE FOR OUR DIOCESAN NEWSPAPER IN 1988!

The Liturgy, from this:
To this:
The Mass: Attention to Detail

When older people nostalgically recall the Tridentine Latin Mass of yesteryear, the greatest impression that remains is the precision with which the rites were carried out. From the priest’s well-rehearsed and solemn reverence, all the way to the altar servers’ disciplined, choreographed movement in their flowing cassocks and gleaming surplices, one knew something important and awe-inspiring was taking place. The choir added its embellishing panoply to the liturgy with majestic polyphony and solemn Gregorian chant both of which evoked inspiration, contemplation, and piety. There were “bells and smells” and this was not understood in a derogatory way. After all, Catholic worship is “sensual” making use of all our senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing.

There were few complaints about the quality of the Liturgy in those days. No one would dare critique the sacred, because they had a deep and abiding respect for the sacred and the purpose of their participation in the Mass. Their participation in the Mass united them to Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity and his one sacrifice on the cross. It also united them to Holy Mother, Church and her pastors. This was a big deal!

But in the decades that followed the Second Vatican Council, complaints and criticism about the “renewed” liturgy soared to unprecedented volume. Many felt that what was once a fully loaded Cadillac had been stripped to a rear-engine Volkswagen. The caricatures were not without foundation.

Today (1988) we hear young people, who never experienced the Tridentine Mass asking for its celebration. Is it just to be obstinate or rebellious? Or has their experience of the renewed Liturgy left them uninspired and starving for awe and reverence? Is it more a commentary on how we have carried out the renewal of the Liturgy rather than a vote against the renewed liturgy altogether?

In an effort to promote the new Liturgy, many in the post-conciliar era often used the technique of denigrating the old Liturgy in order to establish in the hearts and minds of the faithful what was called the “new and improved” liturgy. Along with this trend, there was an undue emphasis placed upon the humanity of Jesus Christ to the neglect of his sovereign divinity. The “ordinary” was emphasized as the place where God could be found. And the ordinary slowly but surely crept into the life of the liturgy, architecture, art and technique. Combined with this was a pernicious mind-set which mistakenly equated “attention to detail and neatness” with a pathological scrupulosity.

For the first time, priests felt it was okay to improvise during Mass, not only with fixed greetings, such a “The Lord be with you” which was changed by some to “The Lord is with you,” or worse yet, banal, secular “good morning” or “how are you,” but also to improvising with the prayers of Mass in particular the Eucharistic Prayer. The spirit of narcissism was consuming some celebrant-priests, as though their spirituality, personality and personal prayer were at the heart of the liturgy.

Together with this, was the beginning of the “dark ages” of liturgical music in the vernacular that combined a banal, screeching style that ballyhooed a guitar strumming ensemble with a cadre of in-your-face vocalists. Narcissism and “it’s showtime” attitude of performance, as well, crept into those leading the assembly in the ministry of music. The organ was deemed outdated and overpowering. Fortunately, modern liturgical music is maturer today, but remnants of the “Glory and Praise” generation still rears its ugly head.

With all the trendiness of the late 1960’s and 70’s, the church had to contend also with the charismatic movement. Guitars, drums, piano and tambourine reigned there also. “Solemn Catholic devotion” which was outwardly passive prior to the Second Vatican Council was replaced by unfettered emotion, spontaneous prayer, speaking in tongues, hands upraised and handholding. “The Sign of Peace” became a “liturgy” unto itself! The same was true with the “General Intercessions.” They became open to all, spontaneous, personal and very particular, even to the point being classified as “gossip.” Those who promoted these liturgical novelties felt it was of the “spirit of Vatican II” and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Evaluation some 30 years later would indicate it was also the work of the “Assembly of God” theology and mentality that won the hearts of many Catholics of that period. Pentecostal worship by nature is less structured and more spontaneous that Catholic worship. Its music is more of praise and inspiration rather than liturgical. It relies heavily on the “movement” of the spirit, emotions and feeling good because it lacks the sacramentality of the Catholic Church and our rich liturgical history, prayer and spirituality.

The renewal of the Mass after the Second Vatican Council was not meant to break continuity with what had preceeded it. But it was to advance the Church in her worship by maintaining a continuity between the previous style of worship through the implementation of a “noble simplicity” marked by active participation of the laity in the Church’s worship. The outward form of the Mass was in transition, but its underlying doctrines and dogmas remained in tack. New ways of showing reverence were institutionalized, but not without roots in an earlier tradition of the Church. For example, standing to receive Holy Communion as a sign of being raised up in Christ was taken from the tradition of the Eastern Church and an earlier tradition of our own. Receiving Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand both had long standing traditions as well. Now Catholics had the option of either.

Perhaps the greatest thing that the Second Vatican Council recovered, was the need for the assembly, that is, the laity, to take their rightful place in the celebration of the Mass. The entire assembly, not just the priest, altar boys and choir, have an important role in making beautiful, inspiring Liturgy that is pleasing to God and gives him glory and worship. The liturgical renewal of the 1950’s had already begun this renewal within the Tridentine Mass. The Second Vatican Council simply took it many steps forward.

The laity accomplish their important role by arriving at Church early, being hospitable to each other and robust in their spoken and sung responses. They are the ones who must help to create silence and stillness for active listening to prayers and scripture and the contemplation of them. Screaming, unruly, misbehaving infants and small children do not enhance the liturgy, nor does passive indifference to the singing and praying. The way the laity dress for mass may also indicate an attitude of awe and wonder or indifference for the sacred.

The clergy and those who have liturgical roles such as altar servers, choir, lectors, Communion Ministers and ushers must pay close and strict attention to their outward appearance and abilities. This obviously must be inspired and motivated by an inner spirituality and reverence. The roles of each of these ministries during Mass must be choreographed to look and sound good. It must be an art form that is pleasing to the eyes and ears. Attention to the details of choreography and movements will greatly enhance the post-Vatican II Mass. We can learn important lessons from the Tridentine Mass in this regard, for this area was a major strength of the Tridentine Mass and something that should indeed be recovered!

Tied into this “attention to detail” should be a concern for the environment of worship. Do our churches invite active participation, devotion and contemplation? If the priests and the laity understand the nature of liturgy, active participation and energy can be just as satisfying and edifying in a Church designed prior to the Second Vatican Council, with communion railing and high altar, as in a contemporary church building in the round. In fact the pre-Vatican II design may be more conducive since it does not exaggerate the need to see each other’s faces in worship as though that is of equal or more importance than seeing God in the Sacrament. The “sacrament presence” of Jesus Christ still has a position of greatest importance in the Liturgy without denigrating the liturgical presence of Jesus Christ in the assembly, the word proclaimed and the presider!

We must also use the talents of true artists and artisans to enhance the entire abode where we worship. When a beautifully crafted statue or crucifix are removed in favor of a homemade, burlap and felt banner filled with slogans and other symbols, we do a disservice to our liturgy, environment and people.

Vesture for priests and servers should be beautiful and becoming. Albs for altar servers with hoods and cinctures that tie them at the waste either make them look like giant potato sacks or members of the K.K.K. Albs that are too short or too flamboyant are also a distraction. Certainly all vesture from vestments to altar linens should be clean and ironed!

Catholics are hungering for the sacred in their lives which are otherwise filled with the profane. The profane is neither needed nor desirable in the celebration of the Church’s liturgy. Someone once said that when we begin to rediscover and prefer the sacred to the profane, our liturgies will be such that if the Parousia were to occur during Mass, we wouldn’t know it! Concomitant with this rediscovery of the sacred is a deep reverence and appreciation for the divine presence of God. This indeed is encountered in those who assemble for Mass, in God’s Word and in the sacred signs and symbols of all the sacraments. Particularly, in the sacred species of Holy Communion, bread and wine consecrated and shared which are the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ and his one sacrifice renewed for us, do we share God’s divine and redeeming presence.

When people long for the pre-Vatican II liturgy, is it really that liturgy they long for, or is it a liturgy that is sacred, awe-inspiring and dignified? The post-Vatican II liturgy can satisfy the hungry heart just as well, if the attention to detail is present and an appreciation for the sacred is paramount. Liturgy celebrated well will “foster and nourish faith; poor celebrations may weaken and destroy it.” Let our liturgical celebrations be the best they can be and in continuity with the best of our liturgical tradition gained from the pre-Vatican II days!




Thursday, December 27, 2012

SHOULD THE PRIEST BE PRE-OCCUPIED BY WHAT THE CONGREGATION IS OR ISN'T DOING?

The biggest complaint that modern liturgists lodge against the pre-Vatican II Mass is that the congregation was not in "full, conscious, active participation." This usually means that they came in late, left early, didn't understand Latin, sat in their pews like bumps on a log and did private devotions, such as the Rosary to occupy their time. Their body postures were not always uniform, some sat while others knelt and so on.

After Vatican II with the emphasis on a narrow interpretation of what "full, conscious, active participation" meant, and the priest now facing the congregation which made it possible for him to see what was happening out there in front of him, the priest and deacons now acting as policemen would chastise the congregation if they weren't in lockstep with a narrow, sterile view of full conscious, active participation. And on top of that the priest introduced his own peculiarities into the liturgy, such as asking everyone to hold hands at the Lord's Prayer, turn and greet everyone at the beginning of Mass and the like.

Now, since I am more of a traditional minded priest, even when celebrating the OF Mass facing the Congregation, I do get disturbed by what I see happening in the congregation if I find it distracting or not in lockstep with what the books tell the people to do. I use to go ballistic when I saw people holding hands at the Lord's prayer, or the charismatics holding hands high at the singing of hymns or at the Gloria and Sanctus or the congregation motioning back to me when I extended my arms to greet them and they did the same when responding, "and also with you."

I did not particularly like the orans position for the congregation when praying the Lord's Prayer which has become very common place around the world.

But when I celebrate Mass ad orientem, I don't feel like a policeman, I am non-plussed by what is happening behind me, although sometimes I worry no one is back there, all have left or are making faces toward my back or someone is coming up to stab me in the back. But these are my psychological issues of course. :)

So should priests give a flip over what the congregation is or isn't doing, such as standing at the Eucharistic Prayer when everyone else is kneeling, or kneeling when the reading are read when everyone else is sitting, or raising their hands in ectasy like charismatics are prone to do which is clearly not prescribed by "read the black and do the red."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

GUESS WHO WAS FIRST TO CHANT THE GRADUAL AT AN ORDINARY FORM MASS AS WELL AS THE TRACT AS THE GOSPEL ACCLAMATION? NO NOT THE VATICAN, AS THEY ARE JOHNNYS COME LATELY, IT WAS SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH IN MACON, GEORGIA ON MARCH 19, 2012 IN AN ORDINARY FORM MASS SUNG IN AN EXTRAORDINARY FORM SORT OF WAY!

At the Midnight Mass with the Holy Father at St. Peter's Basilica, the Gradual was chanted in place of the "Responsorial Psalm." The Chant Cafe is reporting that this is ultra-radical! But let me remind everyone who is the true ultra-radical around here. We chanted the official Gradual for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary this past March 19th (2012) but at an Ordinary Form Mass that was a hybrid of Latin and English. And our cantor sang the Tract after the second reading rather than the Lenten Gospel acclamation! Our combined choirs sang the Schubert Mass. I also and I didn't intend for it to be "illicit" although some may judge it as so, celebrated this Mass which was an OF Mass in an EF way, with adjustments made to the rubrics of the Penitential Act, double genuflections at the consecrations and kissing the altar each time I turned from it to the congregation. Will we see this in higher place in the future? I will make you a modest wager, I will wager that you'll see this in high places by offering you an Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in an Extraordinary Form sort of way.

Go to about minute 14 for the Liturgy of the Word and the Latin Gregorian Chanted Gradual and then following the second reading, the Tract chanted in Gregorian Latin chant in place of the banal Lenten Gospel Acclamation. Of course you can watch it from the start to see the other illicit things I did unwittingly of course, but compared to the illicit things we see at Ordinary Form Masses regularly is this really so awful?:

Now this is the Gradual sung at St. Peter's just two days ago. Do you think they got the idea from my Schubert's Mass, no I realize that is impossible, or is it?


This just goes to show that the reforms of the Mass required by Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium are still in its infancy and that on-going reform is taking place and before it is actually mandated by revising the Liturgical books of the 1970's. This is great news and we will actually see today a reform/restoration/renewal of the Roman Liturgies. God is good!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

THE FANNON IS BACK AND OTHER THINGS DISTRESSFUL TO MY GENERATION OF CATHOLICS

The Holy Father once again resurrected the fannon, the cape like garment placed over the chasuble and worn by popes at Mass for centuries until the reforms of the 1962 missal. You can clearly see it in the video below:

Raw: Midnight Mass at the Vatican by associatedpress
And I had a brainstorm during my meditations yesterday and it concerned the new and more elegant translation of the English Missal. As you know the more progressive camp in the Church, my age group, doesn't like it. I finally realized why. They now see the disconnect between the words of the Mass which are very formal and elegant, majestic and the manner in which they celebrate the Mass, which in keeping with the casualness of the previous translation, is a Mass that is quite casual, sloppy and folksy.

They haven't realized that the new translation needs a formal style of celebrating the Mass and that you can't put the new wine of this superb translation into the old wine skins of the happy clappy Mass of the recent past.

Now you know the real reason for the dislike of the new translation--it forces them to bring up the quality of their own celebrations of the Mass and make it more formal.

And, by the way, our Midnight Mass's Liturgy of the Eucharist was celebrated ad orientem. It was splendid, but unfortunately no video or pictures, unless someone took them behind my back! :)

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TIDE TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

While I deplore The Gospel According to Peanuts as the sole textbook for Catholic Catechesis, (which many Catholic High Schools used in the 1960's and 70's, but that's another story) I applaud Peanuts for getting Christmas right! Merry Christmas to you and to all a good night!


And what great congregational participation, as Vatican II envisioned. And what a great way to have a congregational processional and still chant the Official Introit for Midnight Mass:

I hope you hear this tonight:

An ultra modern fantastic Latin Gloria!

And this is a great Latin Sanctus!

Listen to the congregation sing the Latin Alma and recessional!

WHO CAN ARGUE WITH THIS VIDEO? ONLY YOUR GUITAR STRUMMING, BONGO DRUMMING, TAMBOURINE JANGLING, PIANO POUNDING CHURCH MUSCIANS

I just saw this at the Chant Cafe and think it is one of the best apologetics for what the Church actually desires for Liturgical Sacred Music. How many church musicians are telling us just the opposite and forcing us into thinking that what most parishes have for music featuring guitars, pianos, drums, tambourines and the like is actually what Vatican II desired. Think again!


What About 1967´s "Musicam Sacram"? Well, it is still in force. But would you know it by the following recommendations? How would you interpret the following authoritative norm from Muscam Sacram on the use of appropriate instrumentation at Mass?

VI. Sacred Instrumental Music

62. Musical instruments can be very useful in sacred celebrations, whether they accompany the singing or whether they are played as solo instruments.

"The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lift up men's minds to God and higher things.

"The use of other instruments may also be admitted in divine worship, given the decision and consent of the competent territorial authority, provided that the instruments are suitable for sacred use, or can be adapted to it, that they are in keeping with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful."43

63. In permitting and using musical instruments, the culture and traditions of individual peoples must be taken into account. However, those instruments which are, by common opinion and use, suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions.44

Any musical instrument permitted in divine worship should be used in such a way that it meets the needs of the liturgical celebration, and is in the interests both of the beauty of worship and the edification of the faithful.

64. The use of musical instruments to accompany the singing can act as a support to the voices, render participation easier, and achieve a deeper union in the assembly. However, their sound should not so overwhelm the voices that it is difficult to make out the text; and when some part is proclaimed aloud by the priest or a minister by virtue of his role, they should be silent.

65. In sung or said Masses, the organ, or other instrument legitimately admitted, can be used to accompany the singing of the choir and the people; it can also be played solo at the beginning before the priest reaches the altar, at the Offertory, at the Communion, and at the end of Mass.

The same rule, with the necessary adaptations, can be applied to other sacred celebrations.

66. The playing of these same instruments as solos is not permitted in Advent, Lent, during the Sacred Triduum and in the Offices and Masses of the Dead.

67. It is highly desirable that organists and other musicians should not only possess the skill to play properly the instrument entrusted to them: they should also enter into and be thoroughly aware of the spirit of the Liturgy, so that even when playing ex tempore, they will enrich the sacred celebration according to the true nature of each of its parts, and encourage the participation of the faithful.46


-- Extract from the General Instruction of the 2012 Roman Missal --

How many parishes actually following the following?

The Importance of Singing

39. The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord\´s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (cf. Col 3:16). Singing is the sign of the heart\´s joy (cf. Acts 2:46). Thus Saint Augustine says rightly, \"Singing is for one who loves.\"1 There is also the ancient proverb: \"One who sings well prays twice.\"

40. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.

In the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, however, preference should be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those to be sung by the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together.2

41. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.3

Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord\´s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.4

Sunday, December 23, 2012

GOD MUST HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR AND REFLECTIONS ON SAINT JOSEPH'S EXTRAORDINARY MASS FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

I post this again, as I reflect on what I see and experience by watching it and then offering my opinions in my comments below it:

First for the humor. The "Blip" format of showing the video on this blog usually has an advertisement prior to the actual video. Sometimes the advertisements are somewhat questionable but not outrageous. But I've notice that prior to the Extraordinary Form Mass, there is an advertisement for the Mormon Church! How funny is that? I don't know how one purchases ads for these sorts of things, but maybe the Catholic Church should start doing so. The Mormons are way ahead of us in their advertisements, although we almost caught up with "Catholic Come Home."

Now for the Extraordinary Form Mass. You may find this odd, but I have not attended an EF Mass in choir or from the congregation since about 1965 or whenever it ceased completely in my parish where I grew up. Since 2007 I've only celebrated it and experienced it from that point of view. However, I think our video of the EF Immaculate Conception Mass is the first we've videoed of one of our EF Masses, although I've videoed the Schubert Sung Mass but that was an Ordinary Form ad orientem.

So as I watched this Mass, I'm struck by a number of things that prick my memory about why so many adults shortly after the changes in the Mass did not like the changes in the Mass and were quite disturbed by them. As a disclaimer, there were many who liked the changes, but normally that revolved around the vernacular and the Mass being simplified, which meant, it was becoming shorter. Children in particular like shorter Masses!

I think there are some very legitimate critiques of the way the Reformed Mass was/is celebrated and I'm afraid it is somewhat intrinsic to the reform and not always based upon the idiosyncrasies of the priest.

1. The loss of the sense of the sacred, the Mystery: What strikes me about our IC Mass is that from the very beginning there is a sense of awe and mystery and it is accomplished very simply though actions that are quiet and capture the spiritual imagination. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar said quietly by the priest and servers as the Introit is overlaid captures that these people are preparing themselves to enter the "holy of holies" and the congregation participates in that by also kneeling, following these prayers if they wish, or simply observing through active participation what is happening, simply by the quietness of it overlaid with chanting.

2. The Latin gives meaning to what it means for us to be "Latin Rite Catholics." Immediately we know that is the Rite to which we belong. We are not Anglo Catholics, or Eastern Rite, Greek, Slavic or Russian Catholics, we are Latin Rite and the words prove it.

3. The quietness of the prayers, for example the Secret and Roman Canon elevate these prayers and make clear that the priest is praying publicly something that is very intimate, holy and awesome. It is not a loud "proclamation" as though it is made in the form of a brash announcement at a sporting event, or a reading of Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, in the OF Mass, the prayers that are said quietly are usually considered unimportant and thus have the option of being quiet, such as the preparation prayers. The quietness of these don't elevate them at all.

4. The postures of the priests, ministers and congregation and frequent standing, kneeling, genuflecting and sitting all contribute to the active participation of the body and make the Mass not only an intense spiritual exercise but a physical one also, there is the melding of the body and the soul, the physical and the spiritual more so in the EF Mass then the OF Mass.

5. Kneeling for Holy Communion certainly promotes respect for the Holy One we receive as it is an act of adoration before our Lord and just as importantly an act of humility in humble adoration. We are creature before God and whether we stand, sit or kneel to receive Him in Holy Communion, or lying on our back dying, we are raised up with Him though our worthy, humble reception of our Salvation.

6. I think many Catholics today absent themselves from Mass precisely because there is for them no sense of the sacred; they view themselves on an equal footing with God and so there is a haughtiness and arrogance of heart, both in attitude and body postures. This arrogance is visible both spiritually and physically in other words and I'm afraid it is intrinsic to the OF Mass that has made so many of us Catholics so haughty, arrogant and casually disrespectful. The law of prayer is truly the law of belief in this regard.

7. Kneeling too, for the final blessing, makes us as Catholics realize that we are to show reverence for God and appreciate all His gifts even the physical blessings bestowed upon us by the priest which we receive in a physical way by kneeling and making the sign of the cross.

MY LAST COMMENT:

I think we can recover all of the above and make authentic, traditional Catholic piety and attitudes of humility present in all Catholics again, for clergy, religious and laity, by simply doing the following to the Ordinary Form Mass:

1. Kneel for the Penitential Act (Sing the Official Introit before the Introductory Rite).

2. Kneel starting with the chanting of the Sanctus and the Eucharistic Prayer, whichever one is used, prayed in a low voice.

3. The Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated Ad Orientem

4. Add the triple "Lord, I am not worthy" to the Communion Rite

5. Kneel for Holy Communion

6. Kneel for the Final Blessing

7. Remain for the singing of the recessional hymn and depart in silence





Saturday, December 22, 2012

MAY GOD GRANT YOU PARDON AND PEACE, AND I ABSOLVE YOU OF YOUR SINS, "IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"

BREAKING NEWS, (AND I HAVE ONCE AGAIN BEAT THE OTHER SLEEPING CATHOLIC BLOGGERS IN REPORTING THIS!)JUST THIS MORNING, DECEMBER 22, 2012, HOLY FATHER MEETS WITH AND PARDONS PAOLO GABRIELE
We have seen the number of people going to confession in our parish multiply dramatically over the past 8 years. For a year now, we had daily Confessions from 7:30 AM until 7:55 AM. We get anywhere from 2 to 15 people each day.

This week, the 7:30 AM Confessions have been overwhelming and we've had to complete them after the 8:00 AM Mass.

On Friday morning, I had to do the same thing before and after Mass and must have heard about 40 confessions and that is on top of our Advent Penance Service Thursday night where more than 200 were present (with six priests). I made sure I went to confession on the eve of by 59th birthday and the presumed end of the world!

But this morning, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI extended forgiveness and pardon in a rather dramatic way which gives the true meaning of the pardon God gives us from our sins and crimes:

Vatican City, 22 December 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the communiqué released this morning by the Secretariat of State:

"This morning the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and communicate in person his decision to grant Mr Gabriele's request for pardon, thereby remitting the sentence passed against the latter. This constitutes a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the Pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years.

"Mr Gabriele was subsequently released from prison and has returned home. Since he cannot resume his previous occupation or continue to live in Vatican City, the Holy See, trusting in his sincere repentance, wishes to offer him the possibility of returning to a serene family life".

SAINT JOSEPH'S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION EXTRAORDINARY FORM MASS, YES VIRGINIA, "FULL, ACTIVE AND CONSCIOUS PARTICIPATION" CAN BE AND IS BEING PROMOTED IN THE CELEBRATION OF THE 1962 MISSAL AS VATICAN II ENVISIONED FOR ANY FORM OF THE MASS IN ANY RITE

Below the following quotes, I have posted the video of our Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Extraordinary Form Sung Mass digitized for us by Mr. Lovel Miguel in Houston, Texas. Many thanks to him! Please note the "full, active and conscious participation" of all who are present, clergy and laity alike, including children. Never, never, ever, let anyone tell you that in the Latin Mass of the Extraordinary Form there can't be the noble simplicity of full, conscious, active participation of all present. If you are told that, either in the present expression of this Mass or its expression in pre-Vatican II times, please know that it is a bald face lie! The article below I happened upon when trying to find Vatican II quotes on "Full, Active and Conscious Participation."

Full, Active and Conscious Participation

by Fr. Christian Mathis on August 27, 2010

One of the phrases heard often when speaking of the post conciliar liturgy is the call to “full, active and conscious participation”. The council fathers in the document on the liturgy put it in these words,

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.

Recently at St. Thomas [Church] I embarked upon a series of homilies meant to remind our parish of what this full, active and conscious participation might look like.

First, I challenged the parish that full participation means that one must be present for the entire liturgy, meaning that one arrives early enough to prepare for mass and stays through the singing of the closing hymn. Growing up it seems to me that too much emphasis was put on what was the minimum amount of time one could be at mass for it to “count”. This seems overly legalistic to me and tends to promote the idea that we are somehow earning points with God by coming to mass rather than our worship expressing our thanks for the salvation he has freely given to us.

Second, I encouraged them to actively participate by engaging in all parts of the liturgy while looking for the message God was sending to each one of us every time we step into the church for mass. This outward participation is not only for ourselves, but by doing all we can to participate we share the work of the liturgy and help each other to actively pray.

Third, I suggested that not only is it the outward signs of our participation that are important, but that we are conscious of what it is we are doing when we gather to pray. It is not enough to simply say the words of the prayers, to participate in the singing, to make the sign of the cross, etc. if there is not something deeper happening within each one of us. This process of transformation must be ever deepening each week when we attend the liturgy together.

My hope is that by beginning with these three simple practices we can begin to deepen our prayer together and participate fully, actively and consciously each time we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist.

Friday, December 21, 2012

LIKE THE CHURCH'S FIGHT AGAINST THE LEGALIZATION OF DIVORCE, THE CHURCH'S FIGHT AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE MAY WELL BE DOOMED TO THE SAME FATE

Well if Newt Gingrich sees the writing on the wall, maybe the rest of us should too and deal with the new reality when it comes.

This is what Newt Gingrich had to say recently, from a political point of view and the Republican Party:

"I think that [same-sex marriage] will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," Gingrich told the Huffington Post. "It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality."

What's charming about Gingrich is that he did not try to dress up this analysis as a change of heart. His argument, instead, is explicitly political: The public has moved – let's chase them.

"The reality is going to be that in a number of American states – and it will be more after 2014 – gay relationships will be legal, period," Gingrich said.


MY COMMENTS: We live in a society that condones abortion on demand and has made artificial contraception, sterilization and abortifacients a part of "women's health care."

How have we dealt with Catholics who are in second marriages that are not recognized by the Church? We ask them to come to Church and pray, to seek God's grace of conversion in their lives, but if they cannot or will not separate or live chastely without sex, we tell them they are censured and cannot receive Holy Communion or the other sacraments except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.

Cannot we do the same for those Catholics who will eventually enter into so-called same sex marriages? Can we be pastoral toward them and if and when they start living as brothers or as sisters in that union, can we not invite them back to Holy Communion?

I think as a Church, we have a right to try to prevent the passage of same sex marriages through political and judicial means, but avoid alienating the larger culture that accepts same sex relationships from the Church. The Church cannot come off looking like bigots in this regard.

But when we fail, and no one says that we will succeed, we need to draw some lines, proclaim the religious nature of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and get the state out of our business as it concerns the legality of our infallible beliefs about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

As I've said before, I think we should require Catholics to go to the courthouse the day or two before the Church wedding to take care of all the civil legalities for their "legal union" as the state understands that. And of course the Sacrament of Marriage needs to have a larger imprimatur in terms of civil legality, always had and always will. Then once the legal part of marriage is recognized by the state, then the priest solemnizes it in the religious ceremony that makes it the Sacrament of Matrimony, a sacred union.

That seems to me to be the best solution when all else fails.

And yes, we as Catholics need to view ourselves in this corrupt society as an alternative society which means we may well need to circle the wagons once again for our spiritual and moral protection, not to mention our strong Catholic identity.

UNLESS THE WORLD WAS RAPTURED AND I WAS LEFT BEHIND ON MY 59TH, I WILL CONTINUE TO BLOG FOR THE INDEFINITE FUTURE

It was in the 70's on Wednesday and early Thursday, but a cold front has come through with rain and wind. At 5:16 AM it is a chilling 40 degrees outside. By Christmas Day it should be approaching the upper 60's or low 70's again.

I can't tell if anyone is moving outside. I presume the end of the world has not happened as my computer is working, the lights are on and my toilet flushed. I haven't turned on the TV to hear if the end is beginning slowly and moving this way.

But shouldn't we live our lives in joy expecting the end at any moment and ready to meet our Savior at our personal judgment or in the case of the end of the world at the Last Judgement?

All of us are fearful of the end of our lives, how it will happen and what lies beyond. Many of us fear that this life is it. Others believe this life is it and thus live it as though God does not exist. Still others do believe as the Church does that there lies after death, judgment, heaven and hell. Of course purgatory is a part of heaven.

Given the tragedy of a week ago today, when the world did come to an end for so many children completely innocent, my homily for Christmas will be based upon what the coming of Jesus Christ portends for those who respond to His will that all be saved. I will talk about heaven as the Church understands it and the great saints have described it as told to them through private revelations. My homily makes me want to go to heaven and I hope you do too.

Speaking of those innocent children, the Funeral Mass for Children shows us in the way we pray what we believe about innocence stolen by evil.

In fact, this is what I love about the Post Vatican II Roman Missal. It is much richer in orations, prefaces and other prayers compared to its 1962 predecessor.

If only we could have the 2012 Roman Missal with 1962 ritual, rubrics and GIRM. And of course you know I love the revised lectionary and always have since childhood. I guess that is because I grew up in the Bible Belt and experienced the love that Protestants have for the Bible. It is a point of pride for me when giving tours of the Church here at St. Joseph for me to tell Protestants that if you came to Mass everyday, that over the course of three years you would hear bout 95% of the Bible read to you. Yes, we are a Bible Church, a Bible based Church, a Bible believing Church.

But look at the orations for the Funeral Mass of a baptized Child. It is a sort of canonization of that child, not to be found in the orations for an adult:

Most compassionate God, who in the counsels of your wisdom have called this little child to yourself on the very threshold of life, listen kindly to our prayers and grant that one day we may inherit eternal life with him/her, whom, by the grace of Baptism, you have adopted as your own child and who we believe is dwelling even now in your Kingdom...

Or:

O God, who know that our hearts are weighted down by grief at the death of this young child, grant that, while we weep for him/her, who at your bidding has departed this life so soon, we may have faith that he/she has gained an eternal home in heaven...

I do not believe that the 1962 Roman Missal has a separate Requiem for children, but I am sure John Nolan knows.

The only problem that I have from a pastoral point of view with the second oration for children's funeral Masses that I have above is this one line: "who at your bidding has departed this life so soon..." In the case of the Newtown killings, it would make some believers think God is responsible for the manner of death in terms of "who at your bidding..." Or am I reading that into the prayer?

Just on a side note to indicate how small the world is and how connected we are to one another, my parochial vicar is a classmate of the parochial vicar of Saint Rose of Lima in Newtown. The mother of the killer as well as the killer were parishioners there and that parish has had ten funerals out of this horrible tragedy.

In addition to that the principal of the school who charged the killer and herself was murdered was the next door neighbor to my parish administrator who lived a town away from Newtown. He and his wife knew her well.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

IS DECEMBER 21ST THE END OF THE WORLD?


Yes, as it is the beginning of my final year of my 5th decade. So sure that tomorrow, December 21st would not exist, the breakfast club of 8:00 AM daily Mass goers, took me to breakfast this morning to celebrate my 59th birthday which is tomorrow. Of course there won't be a tomorrow and they know it. So kind of them to think of me in this way!

But if I had turned 60 years old tomorrow rather than next December 21st which won't come, thanks be to God, tomorrow certainly would be the end of the world beyond a shadow of a doubt!

Oh, and by the way, I intentionally scheduled our Advent Penance Service for tonight, knowing that tomorrow won't come and the world will end. I just pray that my parishioners saw my foresight in scheduling confessions tonight and that they show up before it is too late! We want to be found worthy for the Last Judgment. I wonder what time it will take place on the 21st? At the stroke of midnight or at 3:00 PM Friday afternoon to tied into the hour of the death of our Lord on the cross on Good Friday? Or will it begin at 12 noon? If that's the case, then maybe I can celebrate my 59th birthday tomorrow before it all happens.

GUESS WHO MADE "WHAT DOES THE PRAYER REALLY SAY?" BLOG AGAIN?

Hint:
PRESS HERE TO FIND OUT!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT MY ATTITUDES TOWARD VATICAN II AND SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

Today's neo-Protestant Reformation:
On the post below this one, I had the following comment and question that I thought was rather good and would allow me to clarify my position if it is muddied in the eyes of anyone:

Blogger Catholic in Brooklyn said...

I'm a little confused, Father. Are you saying that Vatican II is to blame for the crisis of faith in the Church, that it produced the rebellion against Humanae Vitae, and the pro abortion, anti-Catholic catholic politicians in our era? Are you also saying that unlike other councils, Vatican II is not infallible? Are you saying that we should ignore and discount Sacrosanctum Concilium?

Not to be disrespectful, but your post left me with more questions than it answered.

December 20, 2012 6:38 AM


My response was:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think the Second Vatican Council was hijacked by well-intentioned reformers who wanted to take the ball and run with it. I don't think the documents of Vatican II read in a strict, literal sense called for the type of rupture in Catholic identity, either liturgically, ecclesially or otherwise that the "spirit of Vatican II" theologians and bishops thought that it did.

I am very much in agreement that Ecumencial Councils are some of the most authoritative forms of Catholic teaching and promoting pastoral practice, the most authoritative way that the Pope and bishops in union with him excerise their commission to "teach, rule and sanctify."

Thus I very much think we should have followed Sacrosanctum Concilium to the letter in revising the 1962 missal and I think the 1962 missal should have been allowed from the beginning to maintain a place of pride in the liturgical life of the Church and if it had it would have certainly balanced the unbridled experimentation with the Ordinary Form we saw after the Council.

So, I would say that I am a disciple of Pope Benedict and his vision for reform in continuity and accepting all of Vatican II through the lens of continuity. That vision when implemented will bring about the authentic renewal that Vatican II desired and perhaps a reformed liturgy that is actually more in continuity with the 1962 missal. But I still contend that the revised missal as it is today can be in continuity with the 1962 missal if celebrated ad orientem, with some Latin, and kneeling for Holy Communion, not anything that is radical or opposed to Vatican II at all and in fact allowed since the Council, but who really knows and understands that when most Catholics were told all these things were wrong!

December 20, 2012 7:04 AM


My final comment:

I think too, that all the progressive, liberal neo-reformers today want to refashion the Catholic Church according to some corrupted ecumenical model embraced by the more liberal Anglican Communion and its expression in the USA, the Protestant Episcopal Church as well as the more progressive branches of Lutheranism and Presbyterianism. This model of Church will be governed by democratic principles, popular election of bishops and priests and the end to what they call the monarchy of hierarchy or the old 1960's worn out cliche "patriarchy."

What they desire is an "ecumenical liturgy" that allows for women priests, a church that allows for gay marriage, birth control and pro-choice morality when it comes to both contraception and abortion. They want a church that is more like the Unitarians but with a broader appeal to make what the Unitarians had desired into a reality.

They wish to do away with Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law as it concerns sexual morality and marriage. They are truly anarchists and perhaps anti-Christ.

They want a neo-Reformation Church that would make Martin Luther, John Calvin, King Henry VIII and other significant Protestant reformers blush in shame and regret what they had wrought.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

INFALLIBILITY APPLIED TO A SPECIFIC SCHOOL OF INTERPRETING SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

I am amused when I read other blogs that are of a more progressive bent and find a creeping infallibility applied not only to Sacrosanctum Concilium as a document, but even more so to a liberal interpretation of it as seen through the eyes of rupture with what preceded it.

Folks, the Second Vatican Council while one of the most authoritative ways that the Pope together with the bishops of the world fulfill their commission to teach, rule and sanctify, is not primarily a dogmatic Ecumenical Council, but rather a pastoral one. Because of that much of what is taught is in reaction to the social trends and changes of the late 1950's and early 1960's in light of the aftermath of World War II, the Holocaust and the liturgical movement of the 20th century.

What also had changed even more gradually was the relationship of the Church to Protestantism, to the Jews and to other religions. The Church at the time of the Council and certainly today saw dialogue with all of these realities as important and the need to find commonality with one another to build a better world.

With all the talk of how Sacrosanctum Concilium reflecting a new ecclesiology of the Church where the laity take their rightful, proactive place in worship by acknowledging their own baptized priesthood, the primary emphasis of Vatican II's ecclesiology powerfully symbolized by the call to holiness of the laity in addition to the clergy and religious was that they would bring their Catholic faith in a more public, less private way, to the public square, such as their home, their places of work and where they recreate. It was hoped that those public Catholics who are in high places of business, politics and government would do so in the most spectacular way of Catholic witness to the truths of the Church, not something they manufacture for themselves.

This is where Vatican II has failed and on a grand scale. Or it might be better for me to say this is where Vatican II has been neglected by liberal, progressive Catholics and even by more conservative pundits.

The priesthood of the baptized is primarily for the world and the witness that the Catholic baptized give to the world by their actions.

How then can we say that Vatican II has been fulfilled when nearly 80% of Roman Catholics do not go to Mass every Sunday, thus diminishing the hope-for participation of Catholics in a conscious, present way at Mass?

How then can we say that Vatican II has been fulfilled with the majority of Catholics who enter public politics appear to accept abortion of demand, the HHS mandate and same sex marriage?

How then can we say that Vatican II has been fulfilled with a great number of Catholics who dissent from Humanae Vitae that emphasizes the three legs of Catholic morality and from that point of view is indeed infallible, Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law?

How then can we say that Vatican II has been fulfilled when we see priests and religious in Austria and other places creating a neo-Protestant reformation that will lead to a break with the Catholic Church and her Faith and Morals?

The progressive, liberal element of the Church since Vatican II has been a miserable failure for the Church, fragmented and lacking in common sense. That truth is especially symbolized by the form and type of liturgy they would like to see for the Church and in fact have foisted upon two to three generations of Catholics since Vatican II, an iconoclastic liturgy and architecture to match it, an empty, sterile liturgy that focuses on the horizontal and leaves the vertical, the God aspect, on the periphery.

Infallibility that is creeping and creepy as it concerns Sacrosanctum Concilium is a liturgy that blurs the distinctions between the ordained and the laity, the holy of holies and the nave, that emphasizes what the symbols of the liturgy look like, taste like, smell like and act like while neglecting Jesus Christ and His clear mandates. Progressivism makes a god out of bread and wine eaten and drunk, standing to receive and liturgical actions and signs that are big and expansive. But it fails to connect the believer to God in any real sense of Mystery, awe, wonder and humility in the Divine Presence.

What really freaks progressives out is that traditionalists for the most part, while not entirely of course, accept Vatican II and the Liturgy it has wrought and appreciate Vatican II when interpreted within continuity with what preceded it. It freaks them out that the theology of Pope Benedict and his followers is on the ascendency while the post-Vatican II "spirit of the Council" is clearly descending into its own manufactured anarchy and decomposition. It is not long for this world or the next.

Traditionalists who love the hermeneutic of reform in continuity love the post Vatican II liturgy celebrated by the book (say the black and do the red) when sacred music is in continuity with sacred chant of the past, when Latin is allowed, kneeling for Holy Communion a clear option and ad orientem more frequent.

We also love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as Pope Benedict has allowed it! We see it as in continuity with the reform when the reform is celebrated in continuity with it!

I think Pope Benedict's view of things will impact the future of the Church in a way that no one ever imagined in the 1970's, that is those from the 1970's (like me, but at least I've tried to move on) who are still living as though it is still 1970 and can't believe that God has reversed things on them through the Magisterium of the Church and by popular demand. God is good.

Being stuck in the 1970's is tiresome and the 1970's really is over except where it is still practiced by a dying generation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MEAN, BAD OLD ALTAR RAILING

But I like it!

The New Liturgical Movement has a photo of a recently installed mean, bad, new altar railing in St. Gabriel's in Stamford, Connecticut:
The theology I was taught as to why these mean, bad, old and new altar railings should be removed is that it separated the laity from the sanctuary making them spectators rather than participants and made it appear that what was most important was what was happening at the altar rather than what was happening in the congregation and the priestly people's actions at the liturgy should be as important and unseperated from the ordained "presider's" actions at the altar. So out they went to make the priestly people of God feel a part of the Mass and here they come again and the priestly people of God still feel a part of the Mass.

Do you ever feel like you are living in a revolving door in the Church these days, like everything old is new again and you wonder why the old was gotten rid of and that the reasons given then seem so dumb now?

Monday, December 17, 2012

EMPATHY AND ANXIETY AND "BE NOT AFRAID"

The more the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut sinks in, the more all of us are beginning to empathize with that community and to realize that that community is us!

The news coverage on the 24 hour networks acts as a two edge sword. On the one hand it helps us to be there and to realize that this tragedy could have happened anywhere. On the other hand, I worry that it will inspire other deranged people to consider a similar type atrocity simply to go down in a blaze of notoriety and 24 hour a day international news coverage that garners even the President of the USA's attention and "ministry."

Yesterday we remembered the victims and their families at all our Sunday Masses. Both Fr. Dawid and I had to make some changes to our homilies to tie the tragedy into them and to give a perspective of faith, although the Advent readings actually contributed to that and the homily I already had only needed some minor adjustments.

In fact Fr Dawid has a classmate from Mt. St. Mary's Seminary who is a priest in a nearby parish to Newtown and that parish has lost some of the children killed. Our local television station learned of it and wanted to interview him about it.

One parishioner asked me before the procession at the beginning of the 12:10 PM Mass if we had security, anyone with a concealed gun who could react at any of our Masses if someone came into the Church at any time to do what the killer in Newtown did. Our nerves are frayed and we live as though the other shoe will fall at any moment. I felt the same way in the hours and days following 9/11, I felt as though a jetliner would crash into the building in my town at the time, into my church too!

As soon as I heard the news on Friday, I wondered if something similar could happen at our school. I wondered what we would do as a parish and community if it had been our school and our kids and our teachers. Yes, the thought is a nightmare, a nightmare that is a reality for the people of Newtown at this very moment.

We have security similar to what this Newtown school had in place. We have locked doors and people have to be "buzzed" in and they must register at the desk and get a security card clearance. But we've got to do more and we will.

I think we may have to consider hiring off duty police to be present on our campus at all our Sunday Masses. Our CCD program at our school on Sunday needs to have the same security in place as our school does during the week.

But we can't live like the bubble boy. What about field trips, the school Masses we have in a wide open church? Do we over react and make our children even more insecure and dependent on living in a bubble, a manufactured, virtual world?

When we look at how much more protected our children are today compared to what we baby boomers were allowed to do growing up, and we lived dangerously, not only in automobiles that had no seat belts but also in what we did and where we went without our parents holding our hands and having to know where we were every moment of every day, just as long as we got home by dinner and after dinner returned home before it got dark.

Ultimately, and I can't believe I'm saying this, we must listen to the Saint Louis Jesuits' in their popular song, "Be Not Afraid."

We have to get back in the car, even though the neighbors and their children were killed in a car accident that day. We have fly in planes that could crash, be hijacked and used as a weapon of mass destruction. We have to go into hospitals and risk contagious diseases. We have to undergo minor and major surgery which in itself could end our lives.

We can't live life paralyzed by the extraordinary and what happened in Newtown is grossly extraordinary.

Ultimately, we have failed in communicating the true faith to our people, if we haven't taught them or made it clear in our Sacraments, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that our true home isn't here but in heaven and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God was murdered to show us that this world is hostile to goodness and to truth and to love and to hope because of Satan, because of Original Sin and certainly because of actual sin. We may have to experience a fate like His but death will not be the end if we have died a death like His for we will also share in a like resurrection!

The prophet Isaiah standing in the ruins of Jerusalem which had been destroyed, mournfully cries out "Rejoice, (Gaudete) in the Lord always, Again I say rejoice." "Rise up Jerusalem!"

Our salvation is at hand, but it won't be through the means that this world offers us, it will only be through our Faith in Jesus Christ and what He has wrought.

Finally, if our American people and the political parties to which they belong cannot see the connection between being pro-choice when it comes to killing a child in the womb and the choice that this deranged man made on Friday, they are truly delusional like he was. You can't declare that killing in one circumstance is a women's choice only and therefore off limits to even legal prohibition and at the same time lament what has happened in Newtown. Each of those children could have been killed by their mom as long as that child was hidden in her womb and by her private choice which has no law to prevent it. How many six year olds are absent from their schools this morning because of abortion and no one gives a damn? That truth is a part of this national nightmare scenario of the current circumstances we lament.